Lack of talent could put RFID projects in crisis

The talent pool of individuals skilled in radio frequency identification (RFID) is shallow and could impact the successful adoption of the technology, according to the results of a survey from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

Eighty percent of companies participating in the survey say they do not believe there are sufficient numbers of professionals skilled in RFID to hire from today. Two-thirds of organizations (66.7%) say training and educating their employees in the technology is one of the biggest challenges they will face in order to succeed in the RFID market.

"We believe the market needs hundreds of systems integration companies with RFID capabilities; and hundreds of thousands of individuals knowledgeable in this technology to meet current and future demand," says David Sommer, vice president, electronic commerce, CompTIA.

The survey of CompTIA members indicates that customer adoption of RFID solutions is relatively modest. A significant number of companies -- 71.4% -- say their customers have not implemented RFID solutions. For those organizations with customers that have implemented RFID solutions, responding companies said that fewer than 20% of their customers have done so.

Similarly, 80% of the responding companies either have yet to go past the investigation stage of RFID implementation, or have done no investigation at all. Just 16% have implemented one or more RFID pilot projects for themselves or their customers.

Survey respondents say their customers come from a variety of industries, including services, government, manufacturing, retail, health care, communications, and financial services and real estate.

When asked if they see their company offering RFID products and services in the next three years, 37.3% of organizations say they definitely will; and 39.2% say they will consider it if there is interest from their customers. Companies expect to offer hardware installation and maintenance services (82.1%), software implementations (61.5%) and other services (51.3%).

The majority of respondents to the CompTIA survey are value-added resellers and solutions providers (33.3%); consultants and systems integrators (21.6%); and manufactures (19.6%). Two-thirds of the companies have annual revenues of up to $25 million; while 22% are companies with annual revenues of $100 million or more.

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