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Active RFID and Sensor Networks 2009-2019

Rapidly growing sector

Updated in Q2 2010

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Report summary
This IDTechEx report comprehensively analyzes the technologies, players and markets with detailed ten year forecasts, including tag numbers, unit prices and interrogator numbers and prices. Details of over 75 active RFID implementations are given along with over 100 suppliers and full technology analysis - from printed batteries to Wi-Fi RFID to UWB tags. We have constructed ten year forecasts usefully segmented by frequency, application, territory, etc, and illustrated by dozens of tables and figures.
The active RFID market will grow to over 10 times its present size by 2019, so whether a user or supplier, you need to keep up with this under-reported subject or get left behind.
Market forecasts
The term Active RFID incorporates many technologies including Real Time Locating Systems, Ubiquitous Sensor Networks and Active RFID with Zigbee, RuBee, Ultra Wide Band and WiFi. Active RFID, where a battery drives the tag, is responsible for an increasing percentage of the money spent in the burgeoning RFID market. It will rise from 10% of the total RFID market this year to 24% in 2019, meaning a huge $6.74 billion market. If we include the market for cell phone RFID modules (another form of active RFID), the market is an additional $0.4 billion in 2009 and $1.44 billion in 2019.
Source: IDTechEx
Factors for growth
The primary factors creating this growth will be Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), and ubiquitous RFID sensor systems (mainly disposable), including ones in the form of Battery Assisted Passive labels/Smart Active Labels (SALs). Conventional active RFID used where passive solutions are inadequate and RFID modules for mobile phones will make up the rest. The rapid growth of the active RFID market is being driven by such factors as:
  • Much stronger market demand for tracking, locating and monitoring people and things. This is driven by security, safety, cost and customer satisfaction, for example. Important factors are increased competition in consumer goods, the new terrorism, internal theft, threatened epidemics of disease, coping with increasing numbers of elderly persons and consumers demanding better service and more information.
  • Reduction in cost and size of the tags and systems. With lower power circuits, button batteries are now adequate for most applications and even printed batteries are gaining a place. In future, miniature fuel cells, printed photovoltaics and other power sources will have a place. This will help to overcome constraints of lifetime, cost and size.
  • Development of Ubiquitous Sensor Networks (USN) where large numbers of active RFID tags with sensors are radio networked in buildings, forests, rivers, hospitals and many other locations.
  • Availability of open standards - notably ISO 18000-7, IEEE 802.15.4 and NFC.
  • Leveraging many newly popular forms of short range wireless communication, particularly WiFi and ZigBee and including mesh networks
  • Use of mobile phones for purchasing, mass transit and interrogating smart posters, etc.
Source: IDTechEx
Active RFID sales to 2009
To the beginning of 2009, 664 million active RFID tags have been sold with the vast majority used for car clickers (645 million). Like these, a large percentage of active RFID tags being sold in the future will replace nothing: they will perform new functions. The second biggest use for active RFID to date has been by the military, using 8 million active RFID tags so far. Both sectors have spent over $1 billion on active RFID.
We are now in the decade of most active tags having button batteries and being the size of a matchbox and often incorporating other radio systems, and sometimes being parasitic upon them in some cases. Overlapping this, we are starting the decade or more of active RFID in the form of a label or laminate. This has been triggered by costs of smart active labels and battery assisted passive (BAP) tags coming down, even those incorporating sensors, and their laminar batteries having enhanced power and life. Some will even have displays. That will run in parallel with matchbox-sized and smaller active RFID tags that are exceptionally capable, with such features as Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) and multiple sensing.
Strong Investment
Recently, the investment community has taken even more interest in active RFID. Of 27 recent fund raisings by RFID companies studied by IDTechEx, 37% of the companies involved are in active RFID. 22% are in the particularly popular RTLS sector. Recent acquisitions also favour active RFID companies. Indeed the largest exit, for hundreds of millions of dollars, was a company selling active RFID and RTLS systems.
Active RFID a systems business
Companies involved know that this is not like the highest volume uses of passive RFID tags where disposable labels are usually involved and the label cost can be 50% of total cost. Most active RFID (such as RTLS) is more of a systems business.
Active tag price
With over 100 companies now involved in some part of the active RFID value chain, and considerable government financing of research on low cost active RFID, unit prices will strongly erode, creating a strong growth in numbers sold. The price erosion will be more rapid in some years as new technologies come into play such as new microbatteries and printed logic.
Throughout the next ten years, RTLS will dominate the spend on tags but this will consist of many small orders. Mobile phone / cell phone modules will see considerable price erosion as they are increasingly incorporated into the phone circuitry and volumes increase - already NTTDoCoMo have shipped over 50 million cellphones with RFID modules.
In the future, we see active RFID as intimately involved with many short range radio systems and interfaces, including passive RFID.
Source: IDTechEx
Analysis of Active RFID implementations
In our analysis of 75 active RFID case studies from 18 countries, the largest number of projects we have located has been in Logistics with around double the number for each of the nearest contenders - Air Industry, Automotive/Transportation and Healthcare. Added to those as important sectors will be such things as safety of constructions and people monitored by Ubiquitous Sensor Networks in later years. Meanwhile, RTLS is being put in about 50 hospitals yearly, for staff, patients and assets. In the case studies, the items that are tagged were mainly containers, followed by vehicles, conveyances and people and this probably reflects the market as a whole.
This report is the only one to comprehensively cover the full picture around the world.
The report shows the penetration of active RFID into different application sectors over the next ten years
Source: IDTechEx
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Table of Contents
1.1.Important functions that an active RFID tag can perform
1.1.RFID range required for typical applications
1.1.1.Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
1.1.2.Active vs passive RFID
1.1.3.Sub categories of Active tags
1.1.4.Many different ideal frequencies for active RFID
1.1.5.Smart Active Labels (SAL), Battery Assisted Backscatter
1.1.6.Lessons from sixty years of active RFID
1.2.Active tag from Identec for anti-theft
1.2.Benefits and disadvantages of active RFID vs passive RFID
1.2.The active RFID value chain and paybacks
1.2.1.Value chain
1.3.Total Asset Visibility
1.3.AIM survey of RFID user priorities
1.3.Passive RFID compared with the various types of active RFID
1.4.Road map of development of active RFID and allied technologies
1.4.Sales of active RFID tags from 1944 to start of 2007
1.4.Civilian logistics - Smart and Secure Tradelanes
1.5.Five key priorities for TAV
1.5.Cost structure of active vs passive RFID projects
1.5.RFID hierarchy
1.6.Active RFID characteristics
1.6.Active RFID in the prison and parole service
1.6.The $1 billion yearly potential in the prison service
1.7.Frequency versus range
1.8.SAL-C concept of a warehouse managed using disposable SALs on packages.
1.9.An active RFID car clicker working in semi-active mode at 433 MHz
1.10.Value chain for active RFID in 2009
1.11.RFID value chain in 2019
1.12.RFID read range versus cost for different RFID systems
1.13.Typical military deployment of active RFID tags
1.14.A military viewpoint of active RFID
1.15.Active RFID interrogator deployment in the Iraq war
1.16.Mobile interrogators in the Iraq war
1.17.Write terminal and docking station
1.18.Survey of priorities in sea freight by AT Kearney
1.19.Sealing and anti-tamper capability with intermodal containers
1.20.Smart and Secure Tradelanes active RFID seal being used to lock an intermodal container
1.21.Final check of security at dock
1.22.Security check of truck at customs point - interrogator monitoring active RFID tag
1.23.Some of the potential benefits throughout the supply chain
1.24.RFID protecting keys against theft or misuse.
1.25.Wristwatch transmitters worn by inmates
1.26.Belt transmitters worn by officers and staff
2.1.Approximate distribution of case studies by range.
2.1.Active RFID wrist strap to protect disoriented patients
2.1.Spread of parameters and applications
2.1.1.Military, Logistics and Automotive/ transportation are dominant applications so far
2.1.2.Containers and vehicles are the main items that are tagged
2.1.3.Frequencies are varied
2.1.4.Ranges are varied
2.1.5.Totally new types of battery
2.1.6.The most important countries
2.2.Case studies of active RFID in manufacturing
2.2.TransCore system in action showing interrogators mounted on an overhead walkway
2.2.1.Volkswagen, Germany - work in progress
2.2.2.Peugeot, France - work in progress
2.2.3.Club Car, USA - work in progress
2.2.4.AM General, USA - part replenishment
2.2.5.Merrimac Industries, USA - tracking folders
2.2.6.BMW, UK - work in progress
2.3.Case studies of active RFID in transportation and automotive
2.3.EIRIS Technology IRFIDTM Components major car companies - vehicle immobilisers
2.3.2.Shanghai Xinzhuang Bus Terminal, China - tracking buses
2.3.3.NedTrain, The Netherlands - wheel maintenance
2.3.4.Tracker/ Police, UK - locating stolen vehicles
2.3.5.Hills, UK - numberplates
2.3.6.Ford, USA - location of new cars
2.3.7.Postauto Bus, Switzerland - bus terminal management
2.3.8.Tranz Rail, New Zealand - freight management
2.3.9.General Motors, USA - containers
2.3.10.Shanghai Railway, China
2.3.11.Hamburg Metro Germany
2.3.12.Parking, Arizona State University, USA
2.3.13.Korea World Cup vehicles
2.4.Case studies of active RFID in the air industry
2.4.EIRIS Technology Tags
2.4.1.Sepang Airport, Malaysia - catering trolleys
2.4.2.Los Angeles International Airport/ Long Beach, USA - vehicle tolling and management
2.4.3.Tacoma/ Seattle International Airport, USA - vehicle tolling and management and New York Newark International Airport, USA - vehicle tolling and management
2.4.4.Orange County Airport, USA - vehicle tolling
2.4.5.Hong Kong International Airport, China - catering trolleys
2.4.6.Vienna International Airport, Austria - ground support equipment
2.4.7.Charles de Gaulle International Airport, France - taxis
2.4.8.Envirotainer, Belgium - unit load devices
2.4.9.Air Canada - food trolleys
2.4.10.Arlanda International Airport, Sweden parking
2.5.Case studies of active RFID in healthcare
2.5.EIRIS Technology : Who, What, Where and When? - WWWWTM
2.5.1.National Health Service UK social workers
2.5.2.Massachusetts General Hospital, USA people and assets
2.5.3.St Elisabeth Medical Center patients USA
2.5.4.Hospitals, Israel and elsewhere - patient and staff tracking/ alert
2.5.5.Shelby County Regional Medical Center, USA - patient tracking
2.5.6.Royal Sussex County Hospital, UK - assets
2.5.7.HCA Hospital Dallas, USA - mother baby matching
2.5.8.HCA Hospital Arlington, USA - mother baby matching
2.5.9.French Blood Agency, France - chemovigilance
2.5.10.Alexandra Hospital, Singapore - people tracking for SARS and National University Hospital Singapore - people tracking for SARS
2.5.11.Hart District, UK - alarm for elderly
2.6.Case studies of active RFID in the military sector
2.6.EIRIS System Architecture
2.6.1.Kosovo/ US Military - military assets and supplies
2.6.2.Ministry of Defence, UK - military supplies
2.6.3.NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) assets
2.6.4.Department of Defense, USA - medical supplies
2.6.5.Bosnia/ UK Military - supply chain.
2.7.Case studies of active RFID in logistics
2.7.EIRIS Technology Optimal Installation
2.7.1.NYK Logistics, USA - intermodal freight containers
2.7.2.Fluor Construction, USA pipe spools
2.7.3.Brink's, USA - transport container access
2.7.4.Felixstowe Dock & Rail Company, UK - Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes RTGC handling intermodal containers
2.7.5.Agricultural Cooperative, France - vehicle tare weighing
2.7.6.Yard management, USA
2.7.7.Spittelau Thermal Waste Treatment Plant, Austria - trucks
2.7.8.Seattle Tacoma Sea Port, USA - intermodal container seals
2.7.9.Royal Mail, UK - roll cages
2.7.10.Parcelforce, UK - postal trailers
2.7.11.Mercator Transportation, USA - intermodal container tracking
2.7.12.Lynx Express, UK - roll cages
2.7.13.London Waste, UK - vehicles
2.7.14.J.A.M Distribution and Cemex, USA - vehicle loading and fuelling
2.7.15.HiroCem, Slovakia - trucks
2.7.16.DHL and Nokia, UK/ Finland - cases
2.7.17.Intermodal Cargo Shipments
2.7.18.Carlisle Carriers, USA - tractors and trailers
2.7.19.Alliant Atlantic Food, USA - access control
2.7.20.Somerfield Supermarkets, UK - trucks
2.7.21.Argos, UK - conveyances
2.7.22.Paramount Farms, USA - farming vehicles
2.7.23.Meat producer, Canada - case monitoring
2.8.Case studies of active RFID in Retail
2.8.ELPAS' System Architecture
2.8.1.Selfridges, UK - food containers
2.8.2.Safeway Supermarkets, UK - trolleys
2.9.ELPAS' Healthcare Applications
2.9.1.HM Prison Service, UK - keys
2.9.2.Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino, USA - keys
3.1.Summary of today's RFID physical configurations
3.1.Basic operation of an active RFID system
3.1.The tag
3.2.The interrogator
3.2.RFID - basic operation
3.2.The spectrum of choice between stand alone and networked RFID systems
3.3.The spectrum of choice between basic number plate tags and those with high data retention
3.3.Short range semi- passive tags
3.3.Other system components.
3.4.Multi-tag reading (anti-collision)
3.4.Active beacon tags - long range
3.4.Spectrum of choice from short to long range
3.5.Choice of active RFID tags - typical cost, range, memory
3.5.Antenna hierarchy of Savi EchoPoint active RFID system
3.5.Choices of physical configuration of active RFID systems
3.5.1.RFID - basic operation
3.5.2.One at a time or many at a time
3.5.3.Active beacon tags - long range
3.5.4.Signpost system for long range active tag configurations
3.5.5.Real-time locating systems - long range
3.6.Options on range
3.6.Savi EchoPoint active tag
3.6.The commonly used licence free frequencies for active RFID
3.7.Various semi-active tags from Axcess Technologies
3.7.Systems aspects
3.7.1.Network vs stand alone
3.7.2.Stand alone - polled vs not polled
3.7.3.Networked - on-line
3.8.Networking at tag, reader or system level
3.8.Real Time Locating Systems - long range triangulation
3.9.WhereNet System Components
3.9.Data on the device or network
3.9.1.Spectrum of choice
3.9.2.Data capture on the tag or not - a summary
3.9.3.Continuous monitoring or not
3.10.Open and closed service provider access
3.10.Networks within networks - the "Russian Doll" approach
3.11.Three generations of active RFID
3.11.Networks within networks
3.12.Ad hoc / mesh networks
3.12.Technical performance for active RFID in crowded environments as a function of frequency in the view of Savi Technology
3.13.UWB frequency spread compared with some alternative active RFID bands in the microwave region.
3.13.The importance of interoperability
3.14.Choice of frequency
3.14.A Ubisense healthcare application of UWB active RFID.
3.14.1.Licence free frequencies
3.14.2.Ultra Wide Band
3.15.Supplier case studies
3.15.The elements of the Parco Wireless UWB RFID system
3.15.1.Parco Wireless
3.15.3.DSRC Industry Consortium
3.16.Parco UWB RFID tags
4.1.Shapes of battery for small RFID tags advantages and disadvantages
4.1.The Power Paper battery
4.1.Overall construction
4.2.The Infinite Power battery is very small
4.2.The spectrum of choice of technologies for batteries
4.2.1.Battery overview
4.2.2.Coin type batteries
4.2.3.Power Paper
4.2.4.Solicore, USA
4.2.5.Infinite Power Solutions, USA
4.2.6.Cymbet, USA
4.2.7.Blue Spark
4.3.Examples of potential sources of flexible thin film batteries
4.3.Infinite Power batteries ready for use
4.3.Fuel cells
4.4.Cymbet lithium thin film flexible battery
4.4.Examples of universities and research centres developing laminar batteries.
4.5.Comparison of conventional active RFID with temperature/ time recording and Smart Active Label (SAL) versions.
4.5.Relative performance claimed by Cymbet for its flexible batteries
4.5.Photocapacitors and supercapacitors
4.6.Active RFID with sensing
4.6.Carbon-zinc thin film battery from Thin Battery Technologies.
4.7.Konarka photovoltaic flexible film
4.8.Smart label road map
4.9.Semi-passive RFID label from KSW Microtec
5.1.The most important standards for active RFID
5.1.Layers of logistic units
5.1.1.Standards for active RFID systems
5.1.2.Benefits of standardisation
5.1.3.Types of standard
5.1.4.Open and closed application systems
5.1.5.Standards organisations
5.1.6.Types of standard relating to item level RFID
5.1.7.When long range is a problem
5.1.8.Summary of the essential standards issues and opportunities
5.2.The relative benefits and disadvantages of IEEE 802.11, IEEE 802.15.3a, IEEE 802.15.4 (WPAN)
5.2.The permitted frequency bands for RFID by territory
5.2.Radio regulations
5.3.Privacy issues
5.3.Bluetooth, WiFi, ZigBee and Semi-Active RFID compared
5.3.Examples of 802.11 and 802.15.5 tags and readers from Tagsense
5.4.ZigBee hierarchy
5.4.Bluetooth, WiFi, ZigBee, Active RFID and NFC compared and combined
5.4.1.Bridging the gap
5.4.2.Bluetooth and WiFi
5.4.4.Conventional active RFID
5.4.6.Near Field Communications (NFC)
5.4.7.RFID and communications interfaces
5.4.8.A virtual connector
5.4.9.Link to RFID smart cards
5.4.10.NFC Forum created by Sony and Philips
5.4.11.Standardization of NFC
5.5.Siemens hierarchy of networks
5.6.ISO 18000-7 devices
5.7.X-Mark Systems prevent mismatching in hospitals
5.8.Identec Solutions semi-active RFID personnel tag.
5.9.Identec Solutions secure access configuration
5.10.Verichip (X-Mark Systems) wander prevention system for disoriented elderly in care homes and hospitals
5.11.Some applications for NFC, usually in the form of second generation (active RFID reader) cellphones
5.12.Vending and ticket machine payment
5.13.Smart posters
5.14.Music downloads
5.15.Frequent payments for less than £UK7 ($12.5) in a city such as London UK
6.1.AeroScout WiFi RTLS tags
6.1.Triangulation, radio fingerprinting and multilateration
6.2.AeroScout WiFi armbands
6.3.Ekahau WiFi tag
6.3.WiFi RTLS from AeroScout
6.4.Supplier case study: Ekahau USA
6.5.Another form of RTLS
6.6.Near Field Electromagnetic Ranging (NFER)
6.7.Ultra Wide Band
6.8.Shakeout in Real Time Locating Systems
7.1.Global active RFID by value 2009-2019, tag vs non-tag (readers, software, services) in $ million
7.1.The future lower tag price - larger yearly numbers and the new tag technologies that will make it possible
7.1.Price sensitivity
7.2.Many bridges to cross
7.2.Market opportunity for disposable electronic displays
7.2.Global market for active tags in millions 2009-2019
7.3.Global market for active tags - unit prices in dollars 2009-2019
7.3.Global active RFID by value and type 2009-2019
7.3.Forecasts for tags 2009-2019
7.4.RFID enabled cellphones
7.4.Overlapping eras of evolution of active RFID in its new, broader definition, including use of the new radio systems for active RFID 1990-2025.
7.4.Tag market value of global market in millions of dollars 2009-2019
7.5.Global market for readers, software and services in millions of dollars 2009-2019
7.5.Global market for active tags in millions 2009-2019
7.5.Active RFID suppliers
7.6.Impressions from the IDTechEx Active RFID and RTLS Summit
7.6.Global market for active tags - unit prices in dollars 2009-2019
7.6.Sales of active RFID tags from 1944 to start of 2009
7.7.Main frequencies by type
7.7.Tag market value of global market in millions of dollars 2009-2019
7.7.Forecast for systems excluding tags 2009-2019
7.8.Forecast of systems including tags 2009-2019
7.8.Global market for readers, software and services in millions of dollars 2009-2019
7.8.The value of the RFID enabled active RFID cellphone market
7.9.Some substantial opportunities for active RFID systems including tags in the next ten years
7.9.Malaysian project for Ubiquitous Sensor Networks etc based on its ultra small MM chip
7.9.The importance of logistics systems
7.10.Total RFID market
7.10.What is USN in Korea?
7.10.Main present and future locations of active RFID tags
7.11.The IDTechEx forecast for active RFID systems excluding tags 2009-2019
7.11.Korean program towards ubiquitous sensor enabled RFID 2004 to 2010
7.11.Number of suppliers 2009-2019
7.12.An active RFID cellphone module
7.12.The total global spend on active RFID systems plus tags in US$ millions
7.13.Total active market as a portion of the total RFID market
7.13.Asset tags from Axcess
7.14.Present and next generation smart container market
7.14.Number of suppliers of active RFID doing serious business 2009, 2014, 2019
7.15.2012 Smart Container Market Segmented by Equipment Sales, Service & Communication Fees in millions of dollars

Report Statistics

Pages 308
Tables 50+
Figures 100+
Case Studies 75
Companies 100+
Forecasts to 2019

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