News | July 31, 2009

Why Is RFID Beating The Recession?

By Raghu Das, CEO, IDTechEx

Europe's leading event on RFID, "RFID Europe", held by IDTechEx in Cambridge, UK on September 29-30, will explain how RFID is beating the recession and what comes next. In 2009, IDTechEx find that the value of the entire RFID market will be $5.56B, up from $5.25B in 2008. The market for RFID is growing, with 2.35 billion tags being sold in 2009 versus 1.97 billion in 2008. In the face of RFID in supermarkets turning out to be a damp squib and the UK National ID card scheme being poised for cancellation, how can this be?

Air industry

The answer lies in the huge and rising demand in certain applicational sectors and regions. After a slow start, the air industry, subject of the IDTechEx report "RFID for Airlines and Airports" is now using RFID more and more for the improvements in safety and security essential for its survival, the recent order for 60 million tags and associated RFID infrastructure by Hong Kong International Airport being just one example. There is much more to come at just that one airport. For instance, a product authentication RFID interactive information kiosk has just been installed to help consumers ensure that the products they purchase are genuine, to protect the integrity of brands in the market and for tracking. The keynote speaker at RFID Europe will be Air France, while TRAAK Systems and others will also cover aspects of RFID in the air industry.


Supply and retailing of apparel is moving forward rapidly on one year paybacks with Europe in the lead. IDTechEx has to regularly update its report "Apparel RFID 2009-2019" Major apparel retailer Charles Vögele has just implemented a Merchandise Visibility System. It is the first standards-based system to RFID-enable a retailer's entire supply chain, apparel tagging in stores being already commonplace. At the conference, GCS will reveal what it is doing for the next stage, together with many leading German apparel brands and BT, the UK leader in apparel RFID, will also present.


Healthcare leads the adoption of Real Time Locating Systems – second generation active RFID. However, S5 Systems will look at localisation of passive tags to save cost. Savant presents on tagging healthcare assets and Infineon deals with the healthcare supply chain.


Animal ID Solutions will present and the IDTechEx forecasts for global RFID markets will show strength in this sector. New legislation for tagging pets and livestock is appearing in many parts of the world, from the newly mandatory tagging of four legged livestock in Europe to introduction in Kenya this year. The US Department of Energy has spent over $50M on huge concrete interrogators in rivers help understand tagged salmon migration. A $0.62M maintenance contract for these was placed recently.


As for territory, the biggest story is China vying with the US as the biggest spender. It recently overtook the UK to become second only to US in number of RFID projects as well, having long outspent the UK in value of contracts. IDTechEx, authors of the report, "RFID in China" will present on China's ongoing boom in RFID. Japan continues to surprise as well with McDonald's now being its largest food service chain, having payments now made at its Japanese restaurants using Waon RFID cards. Over ten million of these have been issued in Japan in a short time.

RFID phones

Cutting across retail and transport, the RFID enabled phone is seeing some melodramatic predictions following extremely rapid adoption of tens of millions in Japan with a six month replacement cycle. Ericsson's vice-president of systems architecture, Håkan Djuphammar, speaking at the company's Business Innovation Forum in Stockholm recently said, "A year from now, basically every new phone sold will have [Near Field Communication]. It's a two-way, bi-directional RFID communication link that makes this device work as a tag or reader." He saw huge benefits to consumers and all in the value chain. Hear the IDTechEx forecasts at the conference.

Two talks will share experience in the postal service and how that is poised for growth in RFID usage and other newly important applications and technical breakthroughs also will be covered. There are optional Masterclasses, visits to local centres of RFID excellence and an exhibition and investment summit. See for more information. All attendees receive 6 months FREE access to the IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase, worth $1400, giving you access to details of over 3,750 RFID implementations in 110 countries.