Digital Magazine

RFID Comes on Strong

Finally, the reality of commercial RFID is just around the corner. Our research at AWA on this subject — which has led to the recent publication of our AWAreness Report RFID Tag and Label Market: A Review of Global Opportunities — illustrates commercial development now and an annual estimated growth rate of 17%-20%.

Tag prices are coming down, and trials on both sides of the Atlantic, in major retail chains such as Wal-Mart (ASDA in the UK), and pan-European outlets Tesco and Carrefour, have proved positive.

For logistics, RFID systems offer true flexibility. Simple, low-cost “passive” tags, as well as tags with a read-only memory, are ideal for logistical operations, rather like the standard bar code.

“Active” tags, containing both a radio transceiver and battery to power them as well as read/write memory can play a key role in extended supply chain track and trace operations — even to the extent of signaling to a retailer when replenishment of shelf stock is required. Our research shows we can expect to see, in 2005-2006, the implementation of full-scale RFID systems at case and pallet level by major retailers, and at single-item levels by 2008-2009.

Other areas in which RFID now is growing rapidly include point-of-sale, rental item management, and baggage handling.

RFID also will, of course, be a key topic at AWA's global Product Authentication and Brand Security Conference, which this year takes place on Hilton Head Island, NC, November 11-12. It will help us draw together the many threads involved in the developments across the world.

AWA Alexander Watson Assoc. is an international market research consultant company for the converting and packaging industries. Learn more about AWA at awa-bv.com.

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