RFID ‘bright spots’

19 November 2009

Global economic conditions and business necessities have resulted in mixed outcomes for RFID. In some areas it still faces challenges, while in others, it is thriving. Earlier this year, ABI Research identified three of the most promising hot-spots as the retail apparel segment, asset management, and active RFID (in a number of verticals).

RFID Practice Director Michael Liard says; “All three of these RFID application and technology areas have shown strong growth, and today account for 9.3% of the total RFID market, with combined revenues of more than half a billion dollars. We expect the trend to continue in 2010 and beyond: apparel, asset management and active RFID should show a 12.7% combined compound annual growth rate through 2014, outpacing the overall RFID market growth. This is considered strong growth given the level of maturity of many RFID-based asset management applications.”

Specifically, adoption of item level RFID in the fashion apparel market is graduating from pilot testing to full-scale deployment. While installations at Marks and Spencer in the United Kingdom, American Apparel in the US, and Charles Vögele in Switzerland remain the largest contributors to market growth, scores of companies are now in various stages of implementation.

Asset tracking and management is showing particular applicability to work-in-process tracking, including spare parts and tools; Returnable Transport Items (RTIs); IT asset management; medical assets, and rental item management. “Multiple RFID frequencies and technologies support asset management, affording opportunities for multiple vendors,” notes Liard.

Active RFID-based solutions, including real-time location systems (RTLS), is expected to experience solid growth in a number of verticals, such as healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace and defence, transportation, and commercial services, in support of asset tagging, people tracking, and more.

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