The RFID industry, like many others, has followed the Gartner hype cycle curve in most RFID applications. It is old news now that orders for UHF for retail mandates have been limp due to technical and infrastructure issues. These applications will eventually prevail, but probably not fast enough to create a profitable business for tag makers in the short term. For example, IDTechEx has recently surveyed RFID chip makers, and we find that in 2008 approximately 1 billion UHF chips will be made. The largest single order is by Marks & Spencer for 150 million tags for apparel, but the number two behind that is much less. Indeed, it is still rare to hear of orders of more than 1 million UHF tags - in other words, the applications of UHF RFID are many and small, reaching a wide range of different markets. Almost all are closed loop applications.
However, from the unique sight of IDTechEx, an analyst firm tracking the global RFID market, we see the market is steadily growing. In total, 2.16 billion tags will be sold in 2008 versus 1.74 billion in 2007 and 1.02 billion in 2006 (across all frequencies, passive and active). By value, we forecast that in 2009 the value of the RFID market will grow by 23% over 2008, and in 2010 it will grow by 25% over 2009 - not exponential, but still very strong growth. In that there are many successes and areas of undersupply which IDTechEx do not see properly addressed still. For UHF, most applications over the next few years will continue to be on a project by project basis, and RFID vendors need to work out how to address that profitably - some already have.
Total IDTechEx RFID Market Projections in US dollar billions 2008, 2013, 2018
BAP: Battery Assisted Passive tags
IDTechEx has been evaluating RFID opportunities for clients since 1999. We give fact based conclusions, even if it is not what clients want to hear. The forthcoming IDTechEx "RFID Europe" event stands out from all the other events, many of which are declining, by basing it on that same level of insight and fact based content that we have become well regarded for. There are more exhibitors at the event than any other RFID show in Europe.
The event provides a useful indicator of which end uses are active or imminent in this $5.3 billion industry. Let us consider who is attending or speaking this year. The air industry is now very active in RFID and it is represented by such companies as Air France and Bombardier Aerospace and we host a visit to Marshall Aerospace.
In retailing and consumer goods, attendees include speaker Selexyz, the largest bookseller in the Netherlands and world leader in using RFID in bookshops, Tesco, the largest retailer in the UK, H.J.Heinz Company, EMI, one of the world's leading music companies, and Marks and Spencer, the world leader in apparel RFID, for example.
Great variety of attendees
More unusually, Upper Deck International in trading cards and web linked collectibles and speaker Progressive Gaming Corporation from the global casino industry will attend this year as will Philips AVENT in babycare products and services. Military organisations will be present and Posten AB and Royal Mail in the postal sector. Speaker Transport for London, runs the largest transport card scheme in the Western hemisphere - the Oyster card for London buses - a $1.6 Billion RFID project. LyondellBasell Industries will be there. It is one of the world's largest polymers, petrochemicals and fuels companies. GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical leader that is already using some RFID at item level, will attend.
Logistics and construction
Monokakobi Technology Institute of Japan will be attend as a conduit to applications in land, sea and air logistics and speaker Container Centralen which has a leading position in equipment pooling systems within the European flower and plant industry. Speaker Laing O'Rourke plc is the largest privately owned construction firm in the UK. We have offices in the UK, Germany, India, Australia and United Arab Emirates, with over 27,300 employees worldwide.
Healthcare and information technology
Healthcare is another hot area for RFID nowadays. St Olaf's Hospital Norway and Royal Alexandra Hospital of the UK will speak as will the Academic Medical Centre of the Netherlands. IBM will say how it will use RFID in its data centers. From Israel to the Republic of Ireland, the USA to Japan, this truly international event will field best in class users, suppliers, analysts, legislators, investors and others.
This event is aimed at providing significant value and market insight - attendees receive access to IDTechEx research for free, for example, to keep them updated with the topic. IT is being held in Cambridge, UK on Sept 30-Oct 1. See www.IDTechEx.com/RFIDeurope
for more details.
The agenda covers 8 major RFID sectors covered:
- End User case studies and needs
- Active RFID
- Near Field Communication (NFC)
- RFID Systems
- New Technologies
- Developments in RFID Manufacture
- Breakthroughs in UHF RFID
- Breakthroughs in HF RFID