An investigation into the nature and extent of the adoption of RFID in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) allows for the wireless transfer of data between a small electronic transmitting tag and a reader without the necessity of line-of-sight. A feature of RFID, is that this read operation may occur over long distances and that multiple reads may occur. The aim of this study is to analyse the nature and extent of RFID adoption in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. The study fits within the theory of innovation diffusion and is concerned with issues around technology diffusion, adoption rates, and its associated critical success factors. The estimation of RFID diffusion rate in the study is based on a telephonic survey of 140 companies. The respondents were chosen from a marketing database that had extensive information on South African companies. Size was determined to be the selection criterion as the literature indicates that size is the most compelling concomitant to innovativeness. In this study, size was deemed to be companies that had more than 50 PC’s in one geographic unit, of the company, in KwaZulu-Natal. The key research result locates the RFID diffusion rate in KwaZulu-Natal to be around 19% which corresponds to points beyond the “chasm” as defined by innovation diffusion theory. The second phase of the study comprised the administration of a questionnaire to two groups of IT professionals with the aim of comparing perceptions and other characteristics between the two groups. The 140 respondents were asked to submit as many professional staff as they could for an in-depth interview. The result was that 21 companies submitted 30 candidates. This yielded the two groups: the Adopter sample with 14 respondents, and the non-adopter sample with 16 respondents. The analysis of results shows the two groups have similar views on many strategic factors such as privacy, security, cost and standards etc. Adopters perceive that the following factors impacts RFID adopting decisions more (than non-adopters): Turnover, Having labour cost savings, RFID ubiquity, It will take as long for my company to adopt RFID as it did for barcode, RFID cost awareness. On the other hand non-adopters felt that the following factor impacts non-adoption of RFID Technology unproven or immature, Human skills non-availability, Implementation costs, Corporate resistance, and, Support Concerns.