As I emerged from the cool, marble-floored corridors of the US Senate chambers into the sweltering heat of DC, only one thought came to mind – success! The past 24 hours had been filled with endless final preparation. Is the agenda perfect? Are the introductions scripted? Will I get the titles correct? Are the demonstrations ready?

On the morning of the big day, in the early, pre-newspaper delivery hours, a jog down the mall, between the Capitol and Washington Monument, eased the tension. Many others joined in this ritual, looking to have their own reasons for being out before breakfast.

By 10:00, most of the participating companies from the UID Suppliers Alliance had arrived in support of the event. We had five stations showcasing the use of IUID technology with another two areas describing the history of auto ID and its real world benefits: reduce costs while providing the best in readiness for the war fighter.

(Side note: This event was an amazing illustration of how business professionals, who often compete in the open market, can come together for a common purpose to orchestrate a well-organized message.  Everyone that participated from the UID Suppliers Alliance deserves immense credit for participating and supporting such a successful endeavor.)

By 10:30, demonstrations were humming along and dialog was in full-swing. Participants, including Senators, Congressmen, Congressional staffers and military officials as well as technology experts brought to the panel some very intelligent questions:

  • “How will IUID support anti-counterfeiting measures?”
  • “What’s your perspective on IUID and the integration to the defense supply chain?”
  • “How does the Army need to change the culture in order to support true adoption of IUID technology?”

By 11:00, I was making my introductory remarks to the panel (refer to my last blog for listing of panelists). But first there were five members of Congress who wanted to share a few words with the audience on the importance of this event. The Rhode Island delegation was well represented. We can’t thank Senator Whitehouse (and his staff!) enough for everything they did to provide key support.

Five panelists, including the 21st Secretary of the Air Force, then articulated the critical need for IUID technology. The discussion was insightful and the ensuing questions from the audience demonstrated a high level of interest and enthusiasm. Many facets of IUID were covered, and I’ll cite a few of the more notable topics aspects:

  • The shift in culture for the US military was addressed from a number of angles, including the adjustment in business processes to take advantage of IUID and machine readable codes. Other discussion involved the nature of massive ERP systems deploying within the military and the resulting impact on the best use of IUID.
  • Metrics for return on investment were provided to shed light on areas of our military beyond those addressed by the Joint Logistics Board (JLB) IUID Report of 2008. The significance of this only strengthened the business case for the technology.
  • Emphasis on commercially available IUID technology that exists today and the leveraging of the ubiquitous Smartphone.

Networking was lively and demonstrations were packed. This type of event always requires a much higher level of effort than originally anticipated and, with this in mind, I’d like to send a shout out to AIM North America COO, Mary Lou Bosco, who managed an infinite number of details and was critical in making this a huge success.

Thank you to all who had a hand in this significant milestone in the adoption of IUID.