The first IDTechEx USA conference, focussing on Smart labels, tickets & cards, was attended by 164 people from 13 countries
What the attendees thought of the event: "The best conference of this type on any technology that I've seen. A great group of speakers." Rick Garber, Colder Products, USA. "Overall excellent." Ruben Duque, Procter & Gamble, USA. "Chock full of information on technology today and tomorrow." Michael Davies, Honeywell, USA. "One of the best I have ever attended." John Kendall, CHIPCO International, USA. "Excellent coverage of both current status and future trends of RFID technology." Neco Can, The Gap Inc, USA. "High quality information with industry executives conspiculously present and participating. Excellent venue for networking" Mike Caterina, Parelec Inc, USA. "Excellent conference for both newcomers and veterans in the RFID area." Dave Brennan, Dow Chemical, USA. "The show exceeded expectations and was wonderful." Mike Liard, VDC, USA.
Some Impressions of Smart Labels USA 2002
Smart Labels USA 2002 took place at Hotel @ MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on March 21-22, with a prior day of workshop for those wanting an in-depth introduction to the subject, from EAS (antitheft) to RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and other responsive labels. Both events were sold out at 31 and 164 attendees respectively. Smart cards, tickets and labels were covered as technologies and applications overlap. Wide Interest Those doubting the breadth of interest in the subject would have been disabused by the lively interest shown by delegates and/or speakers from Please fill in the form below to remain updated with our future conferences: Name Position Company Full Address Country Email Telephone Fax I would like to (optional): Talk Sponsor Exhibit Unilever, The Gap, British Airways, Pirelli Tyres, The US Military, The UK Military, The UK Police, Amsterdam Airport, Procter & Gamble, Chep, and General Motors, to name just a few. Large Orders Despite popular impressions, large orders are being landed. Cubic Transportation Systems reported on the rollout of their consortium's $1.6 billion order for RFID smart cards for buses and trains in London. Venture Development Corporation and IDTechEx gave market figures with two and sometimes three figure growth rates. Speaker Olivier Fleurot of Unilever and others think RFID smart labels can reduce inventory held by 50-60%. We heard how Goldwin Sportswear from Italy, sourced in China, is fitting 500,000 tags this year and has already demonstrated multiple paybacks from shutting a grey market (product diversion) to increasing sales by two percent (fewer stock outs).
Vehicles and Conveyances Andrew Price of British Airways felt that the recent $9 million robbery at Heathrow might have been avoided with RFID on property. Further advanced is tracking of vehicles and conveyances such as pallets using RFID. Integrated into supply chain processes this gives proven cost reduction at picking, despatch, and replenishment, and Chep (200 million pallets etc.) intends to tag most of them following their successful trial reported at the conference. FMCG In contrast item level tracking of Fast Moving Consumer Goods where the tag price is crucial was discussed. Unilever said it must be one cent or less and they think chipless technology may make the breakthrough in 2008 or later. Meanwhile, they are heavily into trials of RFID on conveyances. Alien Technology, Hitachi, and others are optimistic that 4 cent chip smart labels, with their superior data functionality over chipless smart labels, will be possible in trillions within 5-10 years. Certainly the five billion 5 - 6 cent EAS tags fitted to shop produce yearly should be replaceable with combined RFID/EAS at that price. Standards Problems General Motors and others expressed frustration with inadequacy and confusion of RFID standards, and discussed what they are doing to overcome this, including several of their RFID projects. Technical Advances The technical advances in the industry come thick and fast and their breadth is remarkable. NTRU announced new encryption/decryption mathematics where public key encryption with a larger key length (security) than RSA etc can be processed in 7 bit parts so, they say, the $3 co-processor in a true smart card can be abandoned and secure smart labels become a reality. LC array (swept RF) chipless RFID smart labels are now offered by more companies than any other chipless type now. Richard Fletcher of MIT Media Labs claimed to get 7 resonant frequencies (i.e. bits) from each LC thus, apparently, gaining seven times the data density. In chip tag technology an equivalent advance was announced. UHF smart labels have been too large to use in most potential applications of smart labels such as most shop produce. Now Fractal Antennas can make a postage stamp sized antenna for UHF to replace a long dipole for use at a few meters range. They can even fit it in a bottle top. With most of the world's RFID money going on developing smart labels at lower cost and smaller size, Hitachi's new Mu Solutions venture company attracted great interest with the smallest (and therefore potentially cheapest) chip in production soon. Clinton Hartmann of RF SAW presented a SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) smart label capable of working at 300ºC with 10 meters range thanks to choosing 2.45 GHz and a 53mm antenna to leverage off Bluetooth readers. Cost of the tag will be no more than 10 cents in volume. Auto ID Center Members of the Auto ID Center (based at MIT) shift 1-1.5 trillion barcodes yearly and want an improvement. Kevin Ashton said the 5 cent tag will be a reality in a few years with Japan using 13.56 MHz, Europe and the US using 868-915 MHz (UHF) and some players using 2.45 GHz. Tag price is crucial:, Kevin said he felt that even a drop from 6 cents to 5 cents added tens of billions to global potential.
Other Presentations Other excellent presentations were given including those by AT Kearney concerning baggage tagging at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (favouring read/write); The Gap, with its 4,000 stores, finding 1.7 years payback with RFID trials using potentially 10 cent microwave smart labels; Matrics claimed that their UHF systems were global leaders in range at over 15 meters, reliability and more. Technopuce fascinated the audience with its unique active card that can be detected at tens of meters and used by transport staff in emergency. Its labels have a wider range of uses because they can employ many types of sensor. Pharmaseq described a new diode-based chipless tag and Intellareturn described a splendid pretagging service for potentially lost or stolen items. For more information and to buy the full proceedings containing details of all 27 presentations, glossary, whitepapers and much more, please click here. Purchased proceedings also come with THREE months free subscription to the IDTechEx web journal, Smart Labels Analyst, which contains a full in depth report of the conference.