Just picked up this from an article in the RFID Journal on August 26th 2008. Mary Catherine O'Connor reported that nearly two years after it issued a RFI to Active RFID equipment vendors that operated at 433.92 MHz and are compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has issued a RFP for the technology. Vendors have until September 3rd to respond. I have paraphrased the article to highlight to those of you who might have missed the article the main points covered in the RFP. If you want to read the whole article then go to http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/4280/.
The winning vendors will be able to sell products and services to the DOD under a three-year contract, dubbed RFID III. Language used in the RFP, however, suggests the contract could be utilised by any government agency. According to the documentation, there is a maximum dollar amount of $428,664,432.00 allowable for the total of all contracts awarded against the RFP.
Vendors will need to offer five separate tag types to meet the RFP requirements. These tags range from a simple battery-powered license-plate type of identifier to a tag used for container security, and must support five sensors used to track light, temperature, humidity, shock and tampering. To create active RFID systems that comply with the department's requirements, vendors that plan to submit proposals for the RFID III contract first have to license intellectual property from Savi, since that company holds IP essential to meeting the ISO 18000-7 standard.
According to the RFP's Solicitation Provisions section, it is anticipated that a maximum of three vendors will be chosen. This section states that "contract awards will be based on the best overall (i.e., best value) proposals that are determined to be the most beneficial to the Government, with appropriate consideration given to the five evaluation factors: Technical, Management Support Plan, Performance Risk, Price and Small Business Participation." The vendor with the lowest price, the document indicates, may not necessarily win.
The RFP notes that the contract awards are expected to be made no later than four weeks after the close of the RFP, which is currently slated for September 3rd. Vendors chosen may then need to provide oral presentations and/or a demonstration of their proposals.
Will this have an effect on the world RFID market? My feelings is that at the moment, RFID has passed from a technology discussion and sale to the higher level of a business solutions. The companies who are making money from RFID are the ones offering solutions to business problems. This US DOD RFP seems very technical, so I am not sure that it will have as great effect as the previous RFPs. Anyone got a different view? I would be interested to hear from you.