Smart Labels Europe 2002
5 - 6 September 2002
238 delegates from 24 countries attended the event - the world's largest conference on smart labels, including low cost RFID and beyond
"You blew the lights out with your success" Steven Ludmerer, Parelec, USA
The world's largest event on low cost RFID and beyond, covering smart labels, tickets & cards
4-6 September 2002, Churchill College, Cambridge University, UK Speakers from Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, South Africa, UK, USA and Canada Missed the event? Purchase the conference proceedings and receive: * details of all presentations, and a glossary and white papers * The first and second issue of the new IDTechEx journal, Smart Packaging Journal * samples of smart labels * 3 months free subscription to the IDTechEx web journal Smart Labels Analyst * free email helpline access for one month * a 10% discount on all IDTechEx publications What the delegates thought of Smart Labels 2002: "A superb think tank and survey of the implementable as well as technical barriers." Dr Berman, Quantum Tag, South Africa "Very good. Great opportunity to network." Trevor Peirce, DHL, Belgium "A very good opportunity to meet the companies who will actually use the technology. Good facilitation of making contacts by IDTechEx." Natalie Polack, Dupont Teijin Films, UK "Excellent. A fabulous insight into the future for the non technical attendee." Phillip Rolls, Rollspack Pty, Australia "Greatest value for me was ability to meet so many people in two days." Colin McLaren, Proxximity Systems, UK "Insightful and informative." Wong Kong San, SNP Sprint, Singapore "Excellent attendance by many key persons from RFID companies." Bernhard Maier, ExypnoTech, Austria
Conference Review: Impressions of Smart Labels 2002
This conference in Cambridge, UK September 4, 5, increased to 238 delegates and 24 countries represented this year. RFID promises to penetrate most spheres of human activity and every year this is illustrated by the widening allegiances of delegates. This time it included those in oil, mining, chemical, retail, brewing, liquor, gems, the military, the air industry, confectionery, cash machines, tyres, photographic, shoes, buses, trains, homecare products, white goods, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, postal and courier services, car parking, metering and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacture. Pictures taken from the event As usual, the semi-end users such as paper, packaging, printing and label manufacturers were present to enhance their intellectual property and move up market. Tag and equipment suppliers were again strongly represented but a new trend was a widening of attendance from the chip manufacturers such as Intel, Philips, Atmel, Texas Instruments and Hitachi, and the software and systems integration companies. There were venture capitalists from Switzerland (Etech), Finland (NokiaVentures), the UK (Gateway, AVCP) and Germany (Deutsche Post Ventures). Even the British Cabinet Office sent a representative. 2010 view Peter Harrop of IDTechEx gave a view of smart labels in 2010. Despite near tenfold increase in the RFID market, much of the mix would be the same with EAS growing slowly and the majority of RFID tags being passive (no battery) and strong sales of both read-only and read-write versions. However, the share of chipless RFID versions would rise, possibly from today's 2.5% to up to 30% if they receive strong backing because of their low cost and other attributes. In RFID, the choice of frequencies will not narrow but will widen beyond today's popular 13.56MHz and around 130KHz to include substantial sales at UHF and 2.45GHz. Multi-frequency, multi-protocol readers will be successful as a consequence. The GTAG and Internet of Things concept of tagging vehicles, consumables and expensive products, packages and even airline bags should be successful with perhaps 20 billion tags being applied yearly but only a small proportion of FMCG would be tagged because, in the view of IDTechEx, that calls for a satisfactory tag costing under one cent and unprecedented investment by retailers and suppliers. Nonetheless, supply chain management will become the biggest market for RFID. Behind that, anti-counterfeiting will become important, including in banknotes. Beyond EAS and RFID, IDTechEx sees a possible one billion dollar plus market for diagnostic/brand enhancement labels emerging particularly in healthcare and FMCG. Trevor Peirce of DHL emphasised how RFID could leverage this major courier company's customer-oriented approach where heavy IT and communications investment is already in place. Today's track and trace with barcodes is not seen as reliable or scaleable. Disposable passive 'numberplate' tags, initially for regular customers, are a better alternative that automates additional data capture and control. DHL plans to use them on all 140 million shipments per year by 2005. Target price is 20 cents.
Intelligent Kitchens with Electrolux
Udo Baumann of Electrolux described smart refrigerators, freezers and cabinets in development for commercial use where disposable passive RFID on the food is one of the enabling technologies leading to lower costs, better service and improved safety. This forms part of the Electrolux Intelligent Kitchen System. Facilities include automated warning of expired food and reordering. Advantages include less fixed assets, reduced stock, controlled warehousing, just-in-time delivery of fresh foods, less storage space and energy consumption, total stock visibility, less waste, less staff time. Neco Can of major retailer The Gap said that they seek increased sales, not just cost reduction, using RFID. His trials tag apparel and its packaging. The Gap seeks to replace fully EAS tags with RFID and enable the EAS function on more units with identification of loss at the unit level for the first time. The Gap considers RFID to be a proven technology with solid financial justifications for item level tagging at perhaps 10-20 cents per tag and near 100% accuracy of read-write in inventory and distribution applications. However, standards need to solidify: The Gap will roll out one system globally. Mark Percival of NCP saw similarities between The Gap retailers and his car parking business, the biggest in the UK (over 180,000 bays), in optimising the utilisation of limited space. To increase bay utilisation, he targets £10-50 per bay for RFID or some Bluetooth or similar system. Julian Boles of the British Gemmological Institute described a need for millions of securely written RFID on or with gems, meteorites and other collectibles, for authentication. Ideally they should store at least a photograph and ID number. Graham Miller, of Scottish Courage Breweries, by contrast, described four years of experience in tracking beer kegs with RFID at 20cms range (later 30cms) to reduce theft, costs and loss. Losses are $20 million yearly. Read-write Philips chips are used with 1.8 million SCB containers tagged at a system cost of $12 million. Thirty million movements have been tracked. Container losses have been halved, cycle time improved by four days, and "buying out" reduced 90% in tenanted estate, resulting in 6% increase in sales.
RFID and Biometrics
Michael Choong of Iris Technologies described their new 30,000 metre state-of-the-art facility and the RFID smart passports and other products it produces. The RFID records ID and biometric - fingerprint in Malaysia and photo where this is unacceptable. Already 4.2 million electronic passports have been issued and 8 million will be reached in 2005. They are autochecked in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Myanmar. The Myanmar passport uses the technology. They can record photographs onto air baggage tags and Malaysia will adopt this system. Michael Barjansky of the Paris bus/train system RATP described its first successful use of RFID smart tickets. ASK makes these and Schlumberger supplies reader gates. Portable readers use an Inside contactless coupler and a pocket PC. Over 7000 tickets were handled in under 6 weeks with 98% success.
The Internet of Things Helen Duce, Auto ID Center Europe, described how The Internet of Things is becoming real with cases tagged with simple numberplate RFID moving across 8 states of the US, interrogated on the Internet. Wal-Mart, Gillette, Procter & Gamble, and other sponsors of the Auto-ID centres are involved. Trials will soon take place in Europe and Asia too. Conference Quotes: "Very interesting, incredibly varied, I learnt a lot." Ryan Lishman, LSIR Mining Technology, South Africa "Provides a good insight to the viewpoints of the industry and the stages of RFID implementations around the world." Michael Choong, IRIS Technologies, Malaysia "Very useful and complete" Mabel Seco, IDAU Consulting, Argentina "An impressive array of users and manufacturers" Robb Clarke, M.S.U. USA "An excellent opportunity to learn about new developments and make new contacts" John Falck, John Falck Associates, UK Paul Groves of Miyake said that the RFID scene in Japan is defying the recession with many air baggage trials and installed road tolling schemes. NTT is putting RFID in cellphones to pay for things etc. Martin Damen of RIGO, The Netherlands gave thoughts on retrofitting RFID onto goods likely to be stolen. A first success is RFID tagged bicycles - there are 17.8 million bicycles in The Netherlands. Some new bicycles are tagged by methods supported by the police. However, it is proving tough to get the government or industry interested let alone to coordinate such programmes with other applications and paybacks from RFID. Undaunted, RIGO is trying to get insurance companies to at least set up a common database. Trevor Crotch-Harvey of Innovision discussed potentially large business in RFID for healthcare, theme parks and logistics. In healthcare, single use or limited use of consumables can be guaranteed. Extensive supply chain and asset traceability can be ensured and decontamination/sterilisation can be tracked. Product authentication/disposable handshaking can be ensured, and patients can be tracked. Mistakes cost lives. Solutions were illustrated. Hap Patterson saw access and asset control as the main ongoing applications of low frequency chip RFID and rental and library as the main future of 13.56MHz tags. It is offering a combined EAS and RFID with double tags. Jean Cooper Moran of the British Post Office (Consignia) said that postal services would be using RFID far more in future. She gave an example where the cost of ownership of the RFID system was projected at £2.2 million vs £30 million for the barcode alternative! Mark Gillott toured an impressively wide range of applications and paybacks for their RFID chips from the production of Toyota cars and Dell Computers to libraries and video rental. In postal services he showed how the Italian Mail is particularly active, from tracking mail bags to fast tracking priority mail. Most commonly he sees RFID as part of a management information system. Mike Marsh of Trolley Scan described his frequency agile UHF tag system capable of 1000 at a time anti-collision and combined EAS and RFID functionality. Applications in Singapore Peck Hui Lim gave a sparkling presentation of activities in Singapore. They have 10 million books RFID tagged, more than anywhere else in the world and enabling automated stock check, auto check in and out, EAS and even 24-hour book return through automats. Tagging exam scripts sharply increased productivity. ATM cleaning and fault reporting uses RFID for deskilling and improved service. RFID on concrete building blocks records provenance. Rifles are tagged but there is a challenge to read RFID at EAS gates and they have not yet decided whether to use 13.56MHz or UHF. She counsels against too much emphasis on tag price because return on investment and total cost of ownership are usually more important and customer satisfaction is paramount. Cliff Horwitz gave good advice on progressing RFID schemes without waiting for the standards soup to solidify. He showed how to future-proof closed (single service provider) schemes so that they can become open - i.e. larger - schemes later as standards evolve. Ravi Pappu of ThingMagic described how they embed computing in everyday, cost-sensitive products. Custom RFID systems are made. At the encouragement of MIT Auto-ID Center, they are working on a multi-protocol HF and UHF reader. He says that RFID systems must provide insights not just data, this being possible with agent-like processing. Scaleable, low-cost readers are being developed. Conference Quotes: "Excellent conference, good mix of topics." Nikolaus Kero, IPO, Austria "Good range of subjects covered." Stephanie Taylor, Toshiba Tec, UK "Well run, good balance of speakers." Mark Gillot, Philips Semiconductors, Austria Clinton Hartmann of RFSAW has progressed his new Surface Acoustic Wave RFID devices leveraging the cost reduction resulting from the 4-5 billion non-RFID SAW devices consumed yearly in the world today. Because of the ultra-low power consumption, many metres range is achievable globally using 2.45GHz, something not currently achievable with silicon chip. By contrast, he noted that most silicon chip tags are not only banned in some parts of the world for long range at certain frequencies but give short battery life in handheld readers and problems of interface between readers and other wireless equipment. Indeed it adds cost to both tags and readers. RFSAW tags are being trialled by the Auto-ID Center. Sensing loaded pallets, the RFSAW system has both anticollision and positioning. Chris Richardson of Siemens Roke Manor Research described his motion-powered RFID microtags which need neither illumination with radio waves nor a battery. Selected 'particles' colliding generate 50mW or more of radio hash at very high frequencies. The pulses are below one nanosecond (1-30GHz peaks) so range is 100 metres or so and positioning is to 3cm. Tag cost is around 0.15 cents. Richard Fletcher of MIT MediaLabs showed how the most popular chipless tag - the LC array (swept RF) - can be further miniaturised and cost reduced by getting up to 10 bits per element instead of one. One method is to have overlapping insulated laminar coils that therefore have distributed capacitance. Checkpoint has 72% (3.5 billion yearly) of the world market for LC array (swept RF) EAS, so it was appropriate that they spoke next. Over 52% of EAS installations are swept RF globally. They have an RFID version and promote an EAS chipless to chip RFID route. Checkpoint achieves more than one bit per element by interference between elements but, as with Richard Fletcher's technique, range is compromised. Applications are being trialled in pharmacies (what moved, what has expired etc) and retail (smart shelves etc). Dan Lawrence of Flint Ink saw a different future based on printed transistor circuits. Appropriate inks are being developed with nanoparticles, polymers, active molecules and additives. A standard sheet of paper could have 12kB memory or 100 RFID transistor circuits. He showed working hybrid tags on paper (chips plus RT Circuit's antenna). Andrew Jackson of Sherwood Technology described smart label technology using "magic" inks such as patches that change colour to show if you are about to get sunburn, matched to skin type, and time temperature indicators and sterilisation indicators (gamma say, ethox etc). Chris Coomber of QinetiQ, a 9000 person spin-off from the UK military, described his additive metal deposition process aimed at RFID antennas etc, which is low cost even in low volume. QinetiQ has micro electromechanical machines (MEMs) that sense many parameters even in extreme environments.