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RFID Software and Services Consolidation

ABI Research announced that it has reduced its 2007 market forecast for RFID software and services revenue to $3.1 billion, which represents a downward adjustment of approximately 15 percent from the firm's previous estimates.

According to RFID practice director Michael Liard, the lowered revenue expectations result from the current direction of RFID's evolution, not from any decline in the industry. "Four interrelated factors, particularly within asset-management and supply-chain-management RFID markets, have led us to revise our forecasts," he says. "They are: market consolidation; collaborative solutions; the growing availability of off-the-shelf commercial RFID software packages; and the improving level of skills in RFID project planning."

ABI Research expects to see considerable consolidation across companies as well as within companies as RFID solutions evolve. Consolidation among industry vendors and service providers will eliminate significant overlap and will lead to better-managed, more efficient solutions. These issues range from reader-level enhanced efficiency through cross-industry software and applications. "The goal is seamless integration," notes Liard. "Companies wishing to integrate RFID into the enterprise will naturally turn to their established software and service providers. If those vendors don't have a solution, they will frequently either build or buy one."

RFID technology is becoming increasingly standardized, which is fostering � in a variation on the market consolidation just mentioned � "ecosystems of partners", each contributing elements to a common solution. These collaborative efforts mitigate software costs because users do not need to seek multiple sources.

Custom software by definition costs more than commercial software, and today, many larger developers are offering off-the-shelf packages that fit lower RFID integration budgets. Over time, ABI Research expects many parts of RFID logic, event, and business process oriented challenges to be met with software that requires limited change.

As companies gain experience in how to fit the data collected using RFID into their wider corporate strategies, their project planning skills improve. "�Install in haste, repent at leisure' used to be a common pattern in growing RFID deployments," says Liard, "but with today's better planning, there's less waste, and less software needing premature replacement. End users are taking a more managed approach to budgeting and integrating RFID solutions internally."

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