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Friday, August 18, 2006

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News 2 The problem a

News 2: The problem about RFID testimonials.... and our advice

Should you listen to people who are already using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) in their organizations?
For example, Tony Plucket from Wal-Mart says, "RFID is not the silver bullet but the next stage in improving the supply chain"; and, Tesco's John Clarke says, "RFID may be a revolutionary concept which must be deployed in an evolutionary manner over the next 5 to 25 years".  Undoubtedly these RFID users are truthful and sincere, but their experiences are not necessarily going to be true for your organization. What then, should you do? To Discover the Truth (for you) about RFID*.... we highly recommend that you:
1. Carry out YOUR OWN analysis; don't rely on the experience of other companies; because...- RFID technology capabilities are evolving and are extremely wide-ranging; - actual and potential RFID applications are numerous; and, - each user's environment and needs are unique. In other words, RFID is NOT a "one-size-fits-all" proposition. 2. Measure the sales and other benefits you will get if your suppliers / customers are using RFID. 3. Evaluate alternatives to RFID (Bar Coding / RTLS / Smart Labels, etc.).4. Take the long-term view and consider what is happening with your competitors in your industry.5. Be clear about your reasons for adopting RFID and consider the problems / benefits of sharing data. 6. Run your pilot projects to test the business case for RFID, not the technology itself.

New, RFID-enabled ways of doing business may challenge the business models of today's industry leaders BUT it is the actions of innovative organizations (like yours?) that will determine the future of RFID. For your guidance, the (6th) RFID Solutions conference, 4-5th October, 2006 in Toronto is designed to help you to build a company-specific case for RFID - or not, as the case may be. The RFID Solutions conference provides workshops and conference presentations to help you to get a clear understanding of what RFID technology can or cannot do for your company.RFID Solutions Conference is the premier independent conference in Canada for decision makers who need to understand (RFID) technology, standards and mandates and how to make the right choices about investing in this technology for their organizations.
See Conference Agenda, and Register to attend at www.softmatch.com
*"Discover the Truth about RFID"© copyright SoftMatch.com 2004, 2005, 2006
SoftMatch is an independent organization and does NOT sell any conflict-of-interest products or services.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

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A dangerous side to RFID?

Free Independent Expert Advice about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

This interesting question just in. How would you would have answered it (before reading the answer below).

Q. Would it be possible to place a RFID tag inside a pressurized gas cylinder (LPG Gas) and be able to read it when the truck carrying the cylinders is slowly passing an exit gate. The purpose would be to count the number of cylinders on the truck and possibly track each individual cylinder. If you think this is possible, could you suggest a make of tag. Regards, Mike. (see Bob's answer below)

SoftMatch Conference Advisory Board Member and RFID expert, Bob Matson, is offering to answer (Q&A) any technical or non-technical questions that you would like to ask by email about RFID, without any charge or obligation. Bob is a veteran RFID Engineer and a holder of a string of U.S. patents. He's also very good at explaining complex ideas in an understandable way. He has worked with many customers including US State governments, US military departments and commercial organizations in North America and most European countries.

This service is being provided for a limited time only so please send in your questions right away. Questions should be sent to questions@softmatch.com Each questioner will receive a direct personal email response. Then the questions and answers will be posted on www.SoftMatch.com to help educate everyone who values independent commentary on RFID. Please visit the web site to browse the RFID Q&A. For your convenience, here is Bob's answer:

Mike: A gas cylinder is a completely enclosed metal object and forms a perfect RF shield. You cannot get a signal into or out of it. Your application will not work. Also, do you really want an electrically operated object inside an explosive container? I would not place a tag anywhere near a gas container. bob

Bob Matson is just one of the independent speakers at the RFID Solutions conference - in Toronto, 4-5 October, 2006. RFID Solutions, The Premier RFID Conference for Decision Makers, is organized by independent conference producers SoftMatch.com, based in Toronto, Canada. SoftMatch.com does not sell any conflict of interest products or services.

Monday, July 17, 2006

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Free Independent Expert Advice about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Free Independent Expert Advice about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

SoftMatch Conference Advisory Board Member and RFID expert, Bob Matson, is offering to answer (Q&A) any technical questions that industry executives would like to ask by email about RFID, without any charge or obligation. This service is being provided for a limited time only so please send in your questions right away. Questions should be sent to questions@softmatch.com

Bob is a veteran RFID Engineer and a holder of a string of U.S. patents. He's also very good at explaining complex ideas in an understandable way. He has worked with many customers including US State governments, US military departments and commercial organizations in North America and most European countries.

Each questioner will receive a direct personal email response. Then the questions and answers will be posted on www.SoftMatch.com to help educate everyone who values independent commentary on RFID. Please visit the web site to browse the RFID Q&A.

Bob Matson will be one of the independent speakers at the RFID Solutions 2006 conference - - in Toronto, 4-5 October.

RFID Solutions, The Premier RFID Conference for Decision Makers, is organized by independent conference producers SoftMatch.com, based in Toronto, Canada. SoftMatch.com does not sell any conflict of interest products or services.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

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More RFID questions... more answers

Following the money...again...
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Last week leading RFID technology supplier Alien Technology Corp. filed a proposed IPO (Initial Public Offer) with the SEC of some $120 million worth of common stock. Alien has received more than $200 million in eight rounds of venture capital, including $66 million last July.

RFID technology is expected to take off in coming years, with analysts predicting a large boom in unit shipments and revenue for RFID tags and readers.

HF v. UHF?
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Moving beyond pallet and case tagging, a debate has opened up over whether to use High Frequency (HF) or Ultra High Frequency (UHF) for RFID item level tagging to identify and track individual items in the supply chain. Currently, there is no agreement among end users as to which is preferable. In the pharmacuetical industry, for example, Pfizer is pilot tagging bottles of Viagra with HF tags while Purdue is using UHF tags on bottles of Oxycontin shipped to WalMart.

WalMart's new CIO, Rollin Ford, said he had committed to switching to the EPC Gen-2 standard RFID tags (on June 30) that support ultra-high frequency (UHF) tags; from the 'old' Gen-1 tags that support HF - after "...our team and our technology partners proved that the new UHF Gen-2 tags could, in fact, be read in water and on metal.... that's nothing short of a breakthrough."

Ford went on to say... "RFID will transform the way we do business, and I am privileged to be a part of this technology that is bringing positive change to Wal-Mart, the retail industry and many other sectors as well."

Which frequency will your firm embrace - HF or UHF for RFID item level tags?

This choice has implications for global organizations because, unlike HF, UHF does not have a dedicated band across the world. This may necessitate the creation of country-specific tags and readers which in turn may inhibit the goal of end-to-end supply chain visibility.

How will this affect the costs of RFID deployment in your organization?

Get the latest information to help you to make the right decisions about this and many other aspects of this potentially disruptive technology. Hear from the experts at RFID Solutions 2006 - the premier independent conference in Canada for interested decision makers who need to understand Radio Frequency Identification technology, standards and mandates and how to make the right choices about investing in this technology for their organizations and trading partners.

Agenda and Registration at www.softmatch.com

Thursday, April 13, 2006

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If you want to know what is going to happen...

News 7 ~ If you want to know what is going to happen, watch what astute investors are doing:


Tobin Smith, syndicated radio and TV broadcaster and the founder and editor of ChangeWave Investing, which is read by more than 250,000 investors each week, recently said:

"According to a recent article in EE Times, it took 50 years for electricity to get into 25% of our homes, but 35 years for phones, 26 years for TV, 15 years for both the PC and cell phone, and only seven for the Internet to reach the same percentage of households.

When you consider how quickly new products can realize 25% U.S. market penetration and the fact that new consumers (particularly in developing nations) are stepping up to the register every day, we'll see some amazingly steep sales ramps (i.e. ChangeWaves) for new products that are just now starting to get some traction. Naturally, we will be riding the world's largest and fastest-demand ChangeWaves in a number of areas. Here is one our ChangeWave Alliance members are watching for in 2006 and beyond:

Radio Frequency ID (RFID): Wal-Mart and Department of Defense mandates started Jan. 15, 2005. Their entire supply chain will be adopting RFID systems or face being dropped. Several major retailers, including Target, Home Depot and Best Buy, have since followed their lead and required their top vendors to come into RFID compliance."

Little time to learn:
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The Internet is the greatest catalyst the world has EVER known to stimulate growth and development in technology. There is a huge amount of effort and investment being made by many significant organizations across the globe to continuously refine these technologies so that you can choose to have a better way to count, track and trace the products you make or sell.

Most of the executives we talk with admit they do not really understand what RFID can do for their organizations, let alone tell the difference between RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and RTLS (Real Time Locating Systems); nor can they explain the difference between between on-demand printing of RFID tags and "electronic printing" technology. Who can blame them? There is so much to read and to understand. We know you do not have enough time to read it all, nor to rate the credibility of commentators and balance their opinions about this technology.

Be careful with your timing:
===================
There is a shortage of well trained people who really understand RFID. Whether you decide to implement RFID now or wait until your customers are impatiently knocking at your door is, of course, your decision so bear this skills shortage in mind when you time your decision to launch a pilot or larger deployment.

Here at Softmatch, we research RFID information every single day and we surround ourselves with some of the world's best independent experts to help us better explain RFID for you in our conferences.

We have prepared an "Introduction to RFID" workshop on 25th April for those who need to get up-to-speed quickly; followed by a superb, balanced conference agenda and speakers on 26th April in Montreal. We limit the number of delegates to ensure that both workshop and conference delegates benefit by "small class sizes". If you are interested in attending, we advise that you register immediately at www.softmatch.com
Lots of opportunities to ask questions, network, hear about the experiences of others, which will lead to discovering the truth about RFID.

SoftMatch are veteran independent event producers (estab. 1982) and they do not sell any conflict-of-interest products.

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RFID Decision Making - to do or not to do

Deadline: Friday 21st April is the last day to register to attend RFID Solutions 2006 being held April 25-26, Dorval Hilton, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Only 7 places available in workshop on April 25th and 16 places available in the Conference on April 26 in Montreal. Don't delay ~ Register today at www.softmatch.com

Please call 416-756-3221 or 1-877-SoftMatch if you have any questions.

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News 6 ~ RFID Decision Making - to do or not to do that is the question . . .


"Most people think the benefits of RFID are around cost reduction and speed...... but....sending the right product in the right quantity to the right depot at the right time is far more important" according to Ian Mumby, head of supply chain logistics and IT for food at Marks & Spencer (UK), who said more than 1.4 million tags are read at its distribution centres every week.

Is Radio Frequency Identification right for your organization? Cut through all the claims, counterclaims and rumours about RFID. Feel confident and make the right decisions about when and how to invest in RFID for your organization. Come and meet the outstanding lineup of international experts we have assembled for RFID Solutions 2006. "Discover the Truth about RFID" as our presenters bring you up to date on the latest developments of global standards; how industry mandates are affecting Canadian and US organizations in 2006; and how international advances in radio-based ID and tracking technologies, including RTLS and "printed electronics" continue to redefine the proposition for organizations to understand and to consider deployment of RFID.

If you need to get up to speed on RFID quickly, start on 25th April with an "Introduction to RFID" Workshop, instructed by Carla Reed, VP Chainlink Research from Cambridge, Mass. and with hands-on demonstrations of RFID given by Paul Heino, CEO of Sundex Infromation Systems, Toronto. Then on 26th April our line-up of speakers from both Canada and the United States will deliver a balanced spectrum of perspectives and provide you with the opportunities you need to ask questions to make your decisions about this technology, with confidence. Our workshops are tailored to the needs of the restricted number of workshop participants; so register as early as possible to secure one of the very few places left.

This conference in Montreal is Chaired by Canadian, Dan Adirim, Senior Manager at Accenture, who will also moderate the panel sessions. Dan has obtained first-hand experience in all aspects of RFID solutions including: conceptual design, vendor selection, project management, application development, ERP integration, usability, scale-up and roll-out. His incisive commentary will help to clarify and analyse the conference proceedings for attendees.

Learn about the significance of the latest requirements for global standards and how they apply to RFID users from Jack Brooks, VP, ECPglobal Canada, who has more than 20 years experience in B2B Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), e-commerce, data synchronization and RFID.

Bernard Caron and Laurent Reit, both from Deloitte in Montreal, bring considerable experience in supply chain management to bear as they explain how to build a sound business case for RFID, and discuss the hidden costs and benefits of this smart, disruptive technology.

Hear the latest research findings as they apply to RFID in many different industries including pharmacuetical, retail, healthcare and military, presented by Ann Grackin, CEO of Chainlink Research of Cambridge, Mass as she explains the phases and associated costs of RFID deployment. Before coming to ChainLink Research, Ann served as the Vice President of Supply Chain Strategy at AMR Research.


Our very own "Dear Abbey" of RFID, Bob Matson, continues to answer your questions about RFID in our "Ask Bob" web site column at www.softmatch.com

Bob is a veteran design engineer of RF products and holds a string of US patents in the field. He is also extremely good at explaining complex ideas in ways that everyone can understand. Why not take this unique opportunity to come and meet Bob and ask him your questions face-to-face?

Speaking of explaining things clearly, Paul Heino, CEO of Sundex Information Systems will delight you with his clear explanations of the networking and middleware aspects of RFID infrastructure.

Following a networking lunch you will hear how a Quebec shipping company's passive and active-RFID solution saves labour in the Distribution Centre and beyond and provides real-time tracking of shipments. According to Can US's Daniel Rosetti, Director of Operations, "Before we used the RFID solution it would take us several hours to search for products that needed to be shipped; now it takes 10 minutes". Come and learn how they did it.

In addition to presentations dealing with advanced capabilities of RFID tags including their integration with sensors, there will be opportunities to question the panel of experts from advisory companies as well as Systems Integrators Ship2Save and Sundex, who design and put RFID systems together for organizations.

Following a lively debate which will expose the RFID's real threats to privacy, you will be treated to a special presentation from world leader IBM's Shai Verma, who will discuss RFID's role in the future of Supply Chain visibility and what we can expect to see in the days and months ahead. This sesion will be especially useful for organizations and investors who are interested in understanding where this technology is going and how they should react to its progress.

Lots of opportunities to ask questions, network, hear about the experiences of others, which will lead to discovering the truth about RFID.

SoftMatch are veteran independent event producers (estab. 1982) and they do not sell any conflict-of-interest products or services.

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RFID, RTLS or Printed Electronics?

Please email rfid@softmatch.com with your ideas and we'll add them to "The Great RFID Application List"
All contributors will see the Great List first - before it is published at www.softmatch.com
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Register by the end of March to attend SoftMatch's "RFID Solutions 2006"
held in Montreal 25-26th April and on 3-4th October in Toronto
and get the chance to WIN one of 11 the following books:

RFID Field Guide: by Bhuptani & Moradpour
RFID Sourcebook: by Sandip Lahiri
RFID Applications, Security & Privacy: by Garfinkel & Rosenberg
All books published by Pearson Canada, Toronto.
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RFID, RTLS or Printed Electronics?
==================================

In the early 1970's a philosopher friend said, "What concerns me is not the rate of change, but the rate of acceleration of change". How insightful he was.

Since then the invention and development of the silicon chip has created ever more powerful computers which have enabled the Internet to become the greatest ever catalyst for improving human communications and accelerating the rate at which people conceive new ideas and better ways of doing things. More people than ever are connected through the internet and this concentration of brain power leads to more and more exciting new ideas and possibilities.

We have been hearing a lot about the promise of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as a better way of identifying and tracking products, animals and even people. China had over 100 million tags shipped in 2005, with more than 2.9 billion tags be shipped by 2009, in a major RFID application for human ID through China's second-generation Resident ID Card program. Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry began supporting RFID pilot projects for: total traceability using RFID tags in electronics, electrics industries and in the pharmaceutical industry; in re-supply tasks for international peace keeping activities; autonomous service robots in shopping malls; a collaborative pilot project in hybrid stores aiming at real deployment of RFID tags in media contents (publishing, music and movie) industries, to realize future store services; returnable container pilot project; and an RFID pilot project in Japan-China-Korea supply chains. Countless developments and projects in RFID are happening also in North America and Europe.

Will RFID be "the way of the future" or will it be some other technology like RTLS (Real Time Location Systems); or will 'old-fashioned' Barcoding persist? Why not simply use printed electronics on 'smart chipless labels' to identify and track products for a fraction of the price of an RFID tag system? Recently, one company's team of world-renowned scientists successfully demonstrated that it is possible to detect and read multi-bit information from a fiber segment less than 40 microns in diameter (one inch long) at a distance of up to 25 meters.... which may lead to remote non-line-of-site barcode reading for merchandise tracking.

If you are considering improving the way products you make or re-sell are identified and tracked, which technology would you choose and why? Technologies can be superceded or displaced quickly and you don't want to invest in a technology that may not be around long enough to give you an adequate return on your investment. So how do you decide what to do?

Separate the hype from the real information and "Discover the Truth about RFID" at RFID Solutions 2006. Get the answers to these and many other questions from some of the best informed independent experts in this arena when you attend SoftMatch's RFID Solutions 2006 in Montreal 25-26th April and in Toronto 3-4th October. "Introduction to RFID" workshop on Day 1. Conference sessions on Day 2.

RFID Solutions is the premier independent conference in Canada for interested decision makers who need to understand Radio Frequency Identification technology, standards and mandates and how to make the right choices about investing in this technology for their organizations and trading partners.

SoftMatch are veteran independent event producers (estab. 1982) and they do not sell any conflict-of-interest products or services.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

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The Great List of Ideas

"The Great List" of ideas for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Applications

A century ago most people didn't realize what could be done with electricity. A quarter century ago people had few ideas for using personal computers beyond doing spreadsheets, word processing and databases. There are many different ways to think about RFID - whether it's: identifying and track things in real time; using (disposable) sensors to track and trace things (and changes to their state); or, monitoring complex systems, each has potentially thousands of applications.

Most RFID applications have not even been thought of yet, so.... tell us what you want RFID to do for YOU. Help to inspire new products and services which can make people safer, better informed, more creative, more efficient and productive; more capable; more profitable; less frustrated;..... happier?

How should RFID tags and sensors, including ultra thin 'smart' labels and batteries, be used to help people and organizations? SEND US YOUR IDEAS before 20th March - we'll add them to the Great List of RFID Applications ideas - and as a 'thank you' we will enter your name to WIN a chance to attend a SoftMatch.com Workshop or Conference session FREE at one of our educational RFID conferences.

Be CREATIVE - please email your suggestions and the benefits (if not obvious) for an RFID Application(s) to:
rfid@softmatch.com

We look forward to adding your ideas to this list and to sharing the list with you.

Thank you in advance for your help, Alwyn

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

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Finding and Counting "Things"

As the good-humoured Irish farmer said to his helper, "Bring the two cows out of the barn so I can count them".

Finding and counting "things" is a necessary part of running almost every kind of business organization. Millions of computers and countless numbers of people are employed across the world to find and to count the things that are bought, stocked and sold by their organizations.

While computers count things quickly, sometimes things can't be found so easily. This may cause their owners to think they have somehow vanished and are therefore unavailable for sale.

What if there was a better way to find things, and count them, too?

There is. It's called Radio Frequency Identification or RFID for short, and it's making some organizations more efficient.

We all decide things by asking questions and evaluating the answers. To help you decide if RFID could be good for your organization, I invite you to talk to our community of RFID experts from Canada and the United States. Ask them (through us) any question you like about RFID. It's free to ask and there's no obligation to buy anything at any stage. We identify you to the experts by your first name only; you can introduce yourself to them if and when you attend our annual conferences (as event organizers, our only job is to coordinate these discussions and meetings among people who are interested in RFID).

To learn about better ways to find and count things, start by asking us a question about RFID. You can read the answers to questions others have asked, or check out the agenda and register to attend our RFID Solutions conferences, at www.softmatch.com