CompTIA Launches RFID Initiative to Address…

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The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is launching a new initiative to advance the adoption of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology throughout the computer, electronics and IT industries. CompTIA is also exploring the possibility of RFID education opportunities.

RFID uses chips that carry detailed inventory data and radio frequency to track them. This enables a device to read the data stored on the chip at a distance without line-of-sight scanning or physical contact. With RFID, businesses and other organizations can track items they would otherwise have difficulty tracking and track them more accurately. The potential cost savings and operational improvements from RFID are huge, derived from benefits such as processing efficiencies, collaborative planning and execution processes, better inventory management and reduced product tampering, theft and counterfeiting.

“With more than 19,000 members worldwide representing virtually every segment of the IT industry, CompTIA is uniquely positioned to help them minimize the challenges and maximize the benefits of RFID,” said David Sommer, vice president, e-commerce, CompTIA. “We’ve heard a real interest in collaborating to address the challenges of RFID technology from our members. We’ve got a leadership group within EIDX, and we need to come together and figure out ways to, as an industry, better deploy the technology. We’re bringing the industry together to address the technology, provide information and develop deliverables like standards and best practices.”


When considering deployment of any new technology, businesses face real challenges if they are to reap benefits. RFID is no different. Collaboration between trading partners, suppliers and customers is key as standards for RFID are still being developed. Significant investments in hardware, software and human resources are required. In addition, the computer, electronics and IT industries must address RFID issues separate from other industries. For example, there are problems with placing RFID tags in electronic goods.

“There’s a series of challenges,” said Sommer. “First, making the technology work. There are different technology components from different hardware and software vendors. Second, to realize the benefits, we have to talk in terms of what kinds of standards there are on the RFID tags as well as what type of data are exchanged between trading partners within the supply chain. There are also challenges surrounding the business processes within companies needed to effectively utilize the RFID technology. Certain business processes need to exist and other business processes need to change. There’s challenges in collecting the RFID data, identifying data within the application systems and having the application systems be able to utilize that data and provide additional information to companies. “


Benefits vary by company and industry. “In general there’s benefits with reducing inventory,” said Sommer. “Also, reducing the out-of-stock situations thereby increasing revenues, making supply chains more responsive to new demand situations, reducing shrinkage, improving asset utilization, even providing better service and support for computers after they’re deployed within a company. There are a lot of variations depending on the type of company.”


CompTIA has plans in the works to provide RFID education and training for resellers. “We’re exploring what the interest level is,” said Sommer. “And may have a full program on RFID technology as we progress.”


CompTIA currently has a taskforce in place to define potential applications for RFID technology within the information and communication technology (ICT) services and support realm. This effort includes work on a standard for data either directly residing on RFID tags or tied into the RFID that will be most effective in the provisioning of ICT services and support.

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