RFID Consultants Starting to Attack Vertical Markets  Study

No "one size fits all" solution for radio frequency identification, ABI Research says

No "one size fits all" solution for radio frequency identification, ABI Research says

Oyster Bay, NY  August 25, 2004  Consulting firms are beginning to form groups dedicating to implementing radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies for specific vertical industries, according to a new report from technology consultancy ABI Research.

When RFID got its first big push, courtesy of major retail and Department of Defense mandates, affected companies began calling in consulting firms not only to help understand what the technology is and how it works, but also to determine what the business case might be for its use.

Currently companies implementing RFID are using large consulting firms in two new ways. The consultants act as integrators and project managers, and they also help develop their clients' longer-term planning. Now, according to ABI, the next phase in this process is beginning in earnest: the staffing and organization of consulting groups to target vertical markets.

Erik Michielsen, director of RFID and ubiquitous technologies at ABI, said that this strategy makes sense because RFID isn't a "one size fits all" solution: different industries and applications have very different needs. Consultants stand to benefit handsomely, so it's no surprise that many of them are adding RFID-trained staff at the rate of 25 percent per quarter.

Major consultants are zeroing in on specific markets. Accenture is particularly aiming at the pharmaceutical industry. For Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, transportation is a forte. IBM began with defense and is establishing groups across a number of industries, and defense specialists such as Northrup-Grumman are branching out into the consumer realm.

"One of the key benefits of this integration," added Michielsen, "is that by focusing on verticals, you enable replicable knowledge-sharing with new projects."

ABI Research's report, "RFID Integration Services Markets," includes models for RFID verticals and applications. It assesses compliance initiatives and spending for trial, compliance and full-scale RFID implementations, and it includes profiles of all the leading players in the field.

"We look at a number of vertical markets and their particular RFID needs," said Michielsen, "including automotive and transportation, retail, consumer packaged goods, point-of-sale, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, defense and security, and more."

For more information on trends relating to RFID, see the following SDCExec.com articles:

For more information on the use of RFID solutions in the supply chain, see "Needle in a Supply Chain Haystack," the Net Best Thing column in the January 2002 issue of iSource Business (now Supply & Demand Chain Executive) magazine.