Further, how RFID is implemented will vary according to the application, said some of speakers at the event, held in Washington, D.C., and broadcast live over the Web.
Gary Bann, senior applications engineer at SamSys Inc., predicted that the eventual use of RFID will not be just for product tracking, but also for document management, emergency evacuation control and access control to physical facilities. But use of RFID in document management will require super-powerful readers, capable of peering through as much as 110 inches of paper, according to Bann.
Moreover, for some applications, RFID readers might need to be embedded in cement, Bann said.
Alternatives to RFID include bar codes, GPS and cellular, according to Ravi Rajapakse, chief technology officer for Savi Technologies Inc.
Due to its relatively small range of wireless coverage, RFID isnt ideally suited right now for use with very large objects, Rajapakse said. When used to scan a lot of very small objects, problems with interference can crop up.
Speakers also cited technical barriers in areas ranging from metallic reflection to incompatibilities between RFID implementations across different frequencies.
Systems integration giant Accenture views RFID as a technology that can provide "data acquisition for a purpose" and give "intelligence to everyday objects, "said Joe Tobolski, an associate partner at Accenture.