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Awards Finalists Highlight the Maturation of RFID

The scope and complexity of many deployments show that RFID can play a role in mission-critical applications.
By Mark Roberti
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Mar 14, 2016

This week, RFID Journal unveiled the finalists for the 2016 RFID Journal Awards, which highlight some of the best radio frequency identification deployments across several categories (see Finalists Unveiled for 10th Annual RFID Journal Awards). We also asked judges to select 10 of the best new products that will be exhibited at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, which will take place at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla., on May 3-5. The finalists show just how far RFID has come during the past five years.

Many of the deployments selected are large in scope. I will just highlight the three finalists for the Best Implementation Award.

Decathlon, a French sporting-goods retailer, is RFID-tagging 90 percent of the items it sells, and has deployed the technology at every one of its 43 distribution centers and 1,030 stores to improve on-shelf availability and reduce shrinkage (see Decathlon Sees Sales Rise and Shrinkage Drop, Aided by RFID). We've come a long way from tracking pallets and cases. (Decathlon will discuss its use of RFID at LIVE!)

Delta Air Lines has been using RFID to streamline aircraft maintenance and reduce the amount of time required to ensure that every seat on every airplane has an oxygen canister, and that none have reached their expiration dates (see RFID Reduces Oxygen-Generator Waste for Delta Air Lines). Delta has reduced the amount of time it takes to check expiration dates on oxygen generators on a 757 from approximately 8 man-hours down to only 45 seconds (no, that is not a typo). Delta's award submission states: "RFID is now one of five corporate priorities at Delta— not just a maintenance priority." (Delta's Rick Lewis will also deliver a keynote address at the event.)

Shimane University Hospital, in Japan, adopted RFID to reduce the cost of managing 20,000 surgical instruments (see Shimane University Hospital Tags Surgical Tools, Cuts Costs). After completing the construction of a new building, administrators decided to implement a comprehensive surgical instrument tracking solution. The system reduced the amount of time required to prepare instruments for an operation from 150 minutes down to 50. With 6,000 cases a year, the hospital is saving 10,000 man-hours of labor—and because the system no longer requires expertise to prepare the instruments (the software indicates what is needed and checks that it is on the RFID-enabled cart), Shimane outsourced the task to a contractor, further reducing costs. In addition, the hospital decreased the required inventory of instruments by 10 percent. (An executive from the hospital has been invited to speak at LIVE!)

The finalists in the other categories are equally impressive, and you can learn about their projects at RFID Journal LIVE! There are two other things I would like to point out about the Best Implementation Award finalists. First, they are from three different continents—North America, Europe and Asia—indicating that RFID adoption is clearly global. And they are from three different industries: retail, aviation and health care.

RFID has matured to the point at which businesses are using the technology to achieve unprecedented efficiencies across their entire operations. It has expanded to every corner of the globe and to every industry. The success of these projects should give other companies the confidence to adopt RFID to achieve similar benefits.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.

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