How do you think RTLS/RFID industry will evolve?

In a LinkedIn discussion a software vendor who works with healthcare clients posited that "there is not a single technology (hence not a single vendor) which is the silver bullet for healthcare"

I couldn't agree more.  The real value is in the implemented solution. No hardware or software vendor can predict how your staff will utilize thier offerings,  or how the existing procedures, processes and systems within each facility will interact to achive the value of the solution. And no solution is final, so really, the solutions value is transient and the path is unpredictable.

In my reply I agreed that it does take multiple technologies and deep domain experience to get the maximum benefit from the LBS. But healthcare was target #1 to early RTLS vendors not because medical practitioners were clamoring for optimal capabilities, but because healthcare had good ROI for an expensive immature technology.

That got the sales past the financial gatekeepers, and developed the case study depth. So now a shift is occurring, where practitioners no longer wonder 'If' but 'How Well', and are becoming motivated by operational quality and effectiveness. This will challenge the industry to develop solutions where the true TCO is optimal. It will also press them to deliver on the promises they have made in quality way, meaning meeting customer expectation, which has been a problem historically.

As the market expands to a wider base, there is no more cherry picking projects. Every facility has to be a candidate. Most hospitals have to keep running while they implement incrementally, meaning there are many solution steps. As the 5 star general said about the DoDs RFID deployment, job #1 is stay out of the way.

So the culmination of these effects, many technologies, incremental deployment, and quality conscious consumers, is that its in the implementation. It also means integration to existing systems is essential to pave a reasonable road to the optimal outcome.

If there is anything I hope practitioners take from this is that the first question – "Which technology should I use?" – is the wrong question. It's like selecting a hammer to build a house. The more important questions are: Who is the architect, and which craftsmen should we hire to build it? Will I want to sleep in it when they are done?

So my optmistic answer to "How do you think RTLS/RFID industry will evolve?" will be for users to focus on the value of outcomes, not on technologies.

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