RFID Technology Growth StrongMarkets Expanding
Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is gaining traction within existing markets, as well as emerging markets and applications. Without the average person even realizing it, mankind has unavoidably willed a new level of technological dependence and liberation in an emerging world of silent automation, control and monitoring.
Many RFID applications have become part of our everyday lives, driven mostly by a calculable ROI and values of convenience and security. Retailers have experienced some desperately needed relief from theft by using security tags on merchandise. We escape the need to stop at tollbooths on pay-as-you-go highways with e-passports. Some pay for gasoline at the pump using a smart key-chain fob. Many in the corporate/industrial community enter secured premises with smart cards and fobs. These RFID applications have become commonplace.
Emerging markets and applications are many and varied, ranging across consumer, healthcare/pharmaceutical and government sectorsall are concerned with security, monitoring, tracking and control to increase efficiency, accuracy, safety and to reduce costs. A leading area of focus is full supply-chain management with tagged shipping containers and tagged merchandise for inventory control/tracking and e-commerce, all under the watchful eyes of sophisticated software and databases. These and other RFID emerging markets and applications promise to continue a healthy growth for years to come.
A recent report from Research and Markets (see the Industry News section) predicts the long view that RFID industry figures will rise from $1.95 billion in 2005 to $26.9 billion in 2015, driven by many new applications dealing with supply-chain management and security.
RFID industry segments include tag/transponder manufacturing, reader manufacturing, software/database development and system integrationan entire infrastructure is emerging, a new community of designers, developers, manufacturers and service providers, to support market growth.
A recent report from Venture Development Corp. (VDC) predicts a strong short view with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 35.6% for hardware, software and services combined through 2008, with 2004 revenues at $1.7 billion and 2008 revenues at $5.9 billion.
Much growth will take place through open-loop supply-chain expansion, moving forward from closed-loop RFID systems employed in-house in manufacturing and retail environments. Open-loop systems are complex, involving manufacturer-to-consumer control and crossing many barriers commercially and geographically. This must be enabled through broad standardization at industry and international levelsa mountain that is now being climbed.
In addition to standards that ensure interoperability and compatibility, RFID developers have many other mountains to climb. Success will not be had without struggle and continued innovation. In the next installment of Emerging Wireless Technologies, we will give consideration to many of these. In the mean time
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