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Pick Your RFID Customers Carefully
By John Moore, Ziff Davis Internet


Industry watchers harbored great expectations for 2005 as the year in which integrators would see growth in the RFID business.

While opportunity exists, integrators and resellers will have to take care in pursuing customers. A CompTIA report released this week indicates that companies across a wide range of industries are adopting radio frequency identification.

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But some, pressured by compliance deadlines, are taking a rudimentary "slap and ship" approach to deploying the technology.

"Resellers may not find much business in those industry sectors where slap-and-ship is the prevailing practice," according to Steven Ostrowski, a CompTIA spokesman. The report cited retail, consumer goods and textiles/apparel as industries under tight mandates, largely from big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart, to adopt RFID.

On the other hand, other sectors demonstrate more interest in tying RFID into their business processes.

"Financial services, computers/electronics, transportation/logistics and automotive were at the top of this list in our research," Ostrowski said. He suggested those industries may provide a "sweet spot" for resellers pursuing RFID work.

The CompTIA report is based on a survey of more than 500 organizations in North America that have either completed RFID implementations or plan to do so within the next 12 months. The automotive industry is on the most aggressive adoption path, according to the report. In this sector, 59 percent of the companies surveyed reported plans to deploy the technology in the next 12 months.

EqualLogic Grows Partner BaseThe Channel Insider: Solution Builder

Recent growth in iSCSI storage has helped double storage vendor EqualLogic Inc.'s channel roster over the past 12 months.

EqualLogic now works with more than 100 channel companies and plans to recruit additional partners, the company reported on Tuesday.

The key draw, according to the company, is its PS Series iSCSI-based storage arrays. Partners said iSCSI products are making storage area networks available to a broader market.

"I think the potential for this market is huge [based on] the ability to deliver the promise of shared storage at a cost that the average small and midmarket company can easily afford," said Mike Reilly, a managing partner at Foedus Group LLC, an IT infrastructure solutions provider based in Portsmouth, N.H. "We are doing a tremendous amount of business with EqualLogic."

Reilly said the 2-year-old company has been working with EqualLogic for about 20 months. He said he has seen the product used as a platform for disk-based backup and disaster recovery.

EqualLogic is looking for new partners that understand solution selling, maintain a trained sales force, and provide a systems engineering organization able to deploy storage solutions, according to John Joseph, vice president of marketing at EqualLogic.

EqualLogic offers partners a certification and training program. The company offers training through Webcasts and instructor-led training, among other methods.

Partners aren't currently required to certify a given number of sales and engineering people, but Joseph said he foresees that type of program in the future.

In addition, EqualLogic offers a deal registration program. A reseller who registers a specific, budgeted project with EqualLogic will receive a "steep discount" off the list price of a storage solution, Joseph said. Other resellers can pursue the same deal, but obtain a "much shallower discount level," he added.

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