To RFID or not to RFID

Australian businesses should carefully examine whether radio frequency identification (RFID) is useful for their companies or not, said Oracle vice president of global strategic business development, Allyson Fryhoff.Fryhoff said a positive return on investment in RFID hinges on "structuring the floods of data flowing through the supply chain.

Australian businesses should carefully examine whether radio frequency identification (RFID) is useful for their companies or not, said Oracle vice president of global strategic business development, Allyson Fryhoff.

Fryhoff said a positive return on investment in RFID hinges on "structuring the floods of data flowing through the supply chain." But first, companies have to re-examine their needs in a day to day basis and realise whether the technology is indeed needed.

"Take a top down approach, look at what happens in your business on a day to day basis that you can't answer because you don't have visibility of your assets. If you can determine that and determine what visibility you need to regain productivity or save cost, then you have the opportunity to test out those critical points," Fryhoff said.

She added that businesses should be focusing not just on the technology itself, but on "the greater concept of connecting the physical world with the information world".

"We encourage all of our customers to really examine if the technology makes sense for them. We talk about the larger concept, all of the ways that the physical world could be connected with the information world and see if their company can gain a competitive advantage by doing that," Fryhoff said.

"Turning the promise of RFID into a sustainable competitive advantage depends on how effectively you turn the vast amounts of data collected into operational intelligence. Mountains of data, encompassing all aspects of the business value chain, will push the boundaries of information management in terms of scalability, reliability and security.

"How you architect your information infrastructure to ensure you are able to capture, manage, analyse, access and respond to these mountains of data is the underpinning of a successful RFID strategy," Fryhoff said.

Fryhoff said Oracle believed RFID could be advantageous even to small and medium sized enterprises. However, Fryhoff warned that RFID should "not be adopted for technology's sake" and that like other companies, small-to-medium enterprises should know that "it is an investment to be made and that the return for that has to be carefully examined".

"It is up to businesses to start to understand what this technology could be. We believe eventually many companies will find it incredibly useful. The mistake of some companies is that they look at using RFID on small matters in order to save cost but I think they should be looking at what matters most for their company or where the greatest return will come from," she added.

Oracle's Sensor-Based Services provide companies looking to adopt RFID technology with a "comprehensive set of capabilities to capture, manage, analyse, access and respond to data from sensors such as RFID, location and temperature."