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Item Level RFID 2008-2018

Analysis of Case Studies, Paybacks, Lessons, Technologies and Ten Year Forecasts

Major updates in Q4 2008

Show All Description Contents, Table & Figures List Pricing Related Content
Item level RFID is the tagging of the smallest taggable unit of things - the piece of apparel, library book, jewellery, engineering parts and laundry are examples. It used to be thought that item level RFID meant little more than tagging very low cost retail items - something to do last of all. However, it has become big business and far more profitable than many other RFID sectors because it gives excellent paybacks to everyone, not just retailers.
We assess hundreds of case studies such as Marks & Spencer in the UK using over 100 Million RFID tags to date to tag clothing and increase sales by reducing stockouts, in addition to others such as American Apparel doing similar work and reporting sales increases by 15% to 25% when all items are available on the floor.
IDTechEx forecasts that the item level RFID business will rise from $251.79 Million in 2008 for systems including tags to $8,263.7 Million in 2018. Detailed forecasts are given including number of tag units sold over the next ten years, average tag price, and tag value, in addition to systems value. Forecasts are split by the application sectors shown below:
Item Level RFID - passive RFID
  • Drugs
  • Other Healthcare
  • Retail apparel
  • Consumer goods
  • Tires
  • Postal
  • Books
  • Manufacturing parts, tools
  • Archiving (documents/samples)
  • Military
  • Other tag applications
Item Level RFID - active RFID
  • Pharma/Healthcare
  • Manufacturing parts, tools
  • Archiving (samples)
  • Military
  • Other tag applications
source: IDTechEx
Unique requirements
The biggest item level potential involves uniquely coding very high volume products, such as consumer goods, postal items, apparel, books, drugs and manufactured parts. These total 5-10 trillion items a year. Item level tagging therefore involves most or all of the following features and this creates technical and business challenges and benefits that are very different from those in other applications of RFID. We look at technologies which can ultimately achieve this, such as printed RFID where no silicon chip is employed in the tag.
However, it is challenging to meet the most sophisticated requirements for item level tagging and to evolve appropriate technical specifications and approval procedures for, say, mission critical aircraft parts. At the other extreme it is tough to get down to the price that justifies tagging a can of soda in a supermarket or a letter. Item level tagging has therefore started with the many lucrative intermediate requirements as shown below and it is rapidly widening in scope.
Evolution of item level RFID by tag price showing earliest date of mass adoption of leading application in each price band is shown below
Source: IDTechEx
New Research
IDTechEx has invested massively in research in China, Australasia, North America, Europe and elsewhere. Experts have been widely interviewed and IDTechEx experts have distilled their own analysis.
In this report you will understand the coming playoff between Near Field UHF and HF, the evolution of standards, winners and losers, detailed paybacks by applicational sector and much more besides. It describes the next wave of very large orders - not for what is popularly believed and not where most of the industry predicts it will occur. Get ahead with this unique resource, the antidote to superficial Western newsletters, press releases and the pronouncements by interested parties about how their frequency or technology will conquer all.
Includes access to 800 case studies
Every purchase includes 12 months access to all the item level RFID case studies on the RFID Knowledgebase. This amounts to over 800 case studies. These can be searched online, with case studies being updated on a regular basis and new ones added all the time.
Free RFID Knowledgebase
Purchasers of this report obtain free access to the IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase for one year. This is the world's largest searchable database of RFID projects, currently running at over 4400 case studies in 123 countries involving over 4440 organisations and linked to 770 relevant company slideshows and audio. It is continuously updated so new projects relevant to this report can be accessed as soon as they come in.
Analyst access from IDTechEx
All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
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Table of Contents
1.1.Library label
1.2.DVD for library with UPM Raflatac annular HF label showing through from underside
1.3.Rented textiles/ laundry
1.3.The Tagsys HF RFID label used to tag items of Pfizer Viagra, GlaxoSmithKline Trizivir and other drugs from other suppliers
1.4.Symbol RFX6000 1x1 Pharmaceutical UHF RFID tag. Actual size: 25.4mm x 35.1mm
1.4.Retail apparel
1.5.Plastic moulded RFID tags for laundry
1.6.Tagging and interrogating laundry in France
1.6.Gas cylinders, beer kegs
1.7.Disposable paper stitched tag used for stock control on apparel by Marks and Spencer. This folds from top to bottom before stitching. The RFID insert is shown to the left of where it is embedded in the tag. The insert is the size of a credit card.
1.8.ChampionChip race timing tags that are attached to marathon runners' shoe laces, racing bicycles etc. The middle picture shows the LF inlet, magnified. This inlet is moulded into the two types of plastic fixture shown in the picture.
1.9.On the right, a one centimeter thick, three centimeter diameter LF tag made by Sokymat for TrenStar the asset manager and RFID system integrator, compared with an HF label of the type that can also be used on some very metallic objects, shown on the left
1.10.Time temperature recording label, including printed battery, for monitoring food, medical supplies etc.
1.10.Parts, components, equipment, supplies
1.11.Enlarged picture of a UHF RFID insert for moulding into tire sidewalls when made into a protective label
1.12.UHF RFID label containing the above insert for moulding into tire sidewalls, actual size
1.13.Parasitic WiFi RFID tag for RTLS on assets etc, about 45 x 25 millimeters
1.14.UHF RFID label used in the trials.
1.15.Flap unit duplex actuator unit RFID tagged in the trials
1.16.One version of item level RFID trialled by DHL on courier packages
2.1.Basic EPC coding structure
2.1.The Object Naming Service (ONS) tells computer systems where to locate information on the Internet about any object that carries an EPC (Electronic Product Code).
2.1.Systems issues
2.1.1.EPCglobal and The Internet of Things
2.1.2.EPCglobal NetworkTM
2.1.4.Read vs read write
2.1.5.Early filtering of data
2.2.Passive tags
2.2.EPCIS in the EPCglobal Network
2.2.Comparison of potential features of HF and NF UHF item level tags
2.3.Frequency preferences for item level and baggage tagging in 2006
2.3.ZigBee modules by Telegesis
2.3.Active tags
2.3.1.Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS)
2.4.Some examples of the different tags at the four main frequency bands.
2.5.An exaggerated view of the difference in interrogator and tag cost for item level RFID at the different frequencies.
2.5.Near Field UHF vs HF for item level tagging
2.6.Radio regulations
2.6.Frequencies - the good things. With hoop antennas, HF can give several meters range
2.7.Frequencies - the bad things
2.7.How converters can make item level RFID labels
2.7.1.Low cost entry - wrapping the electronics
2.7.2.Making the antenna as well
2.7.3.Getting involved with chips and batteries
2.8.Early pallet/ case tag at top compared with item level tag at bottom, both being Far Field UHF constructions
2.9.Demonstration of NF UHF multitag reading of tagged balls in water by Impinj. The reader is the black base to the water tank
2.10.Second demonstration of NF UHF multitag reading on small items by Impinj
2.11.Progression to high speed printing of both UHF and HF RFID antennas
2.12.A student railway discount sticker for China made by Shenshen Hyan Microelectronics in China using Parelec ParmodTM silver ink printed direct onto paper, no inlet being needed. First order in 2006 was for 15 million. Potential over 100 million yearly
2.13.TAGSYS AK Tag Module on a FF UHF antenna
2.14.One of the Impinj designs of FF UHF label for pallets and cases compared with its design of an H Field NF UHF label for small items.
2.15.Combined NF/FF UHF labels and, top right, an H field NF UHF label
2.16.The KSW Microtec combined UHF tag Taurus ™
2.17.Global UHF allocations of license free bandwidth
2.18.The TAGSYS HF tag that it claims is the smallest EPC inlet in the world
2.19.A strap attached to a screen printed silver antenna for UHF RFID and, right, the picture enlarged
2.20.Top: A screen printed silver UHF Near Field Far Field antenna for items by Alien Technology. Bottom: an etched aluminium HF antenna the size of a credit card by Expnotech. A screen printed version would look similar.
2.21.RFID chip from Hitachi Mu Solutions with antenna on the surface
2.22.The smallest RFID chips in the world, from Hitachi Mu Solutions and some of the benefits.
2.23.A printed carbon zinc battery from Thin Battery Technologies as used in Sealed Air Time Temperature Recording (TTR )RFID smart labels
2.24.The web assembly process of Thin Battery Technologies
2.25.A probable scenario for the part taken by printing in the global market for RFID tags in 2016
3.1.Examples of global potential for numbers of item level tags and benefits by sector
3.1.Level of non-compliance for different medical treatments
3.2.RFID enabled patient compliance blisterpack from Information Mediary, Canada with sensors and electronics revealed
3.2.Short and Long Term Anticounterfeiting Strategies
3.2.2.Books in retailing
3.2.3.Books at manufacture
3.3.Drugs anti-counterfeiting
3.3.Usage and background data is read from the device and logged
3.3.Telemetry technologies available and their drawbacks for patient monitoring
3.3.1.Supply chain
3.3.2.Attitude of legislators and the industry
3.4.Compliance monitoring packages
3.4.Luer connectors in 'wrong' configuration
3.4.HF vs UHF for pharmaceuticals
3.4.1.Patient compliance
3.5.Error prevention in general
3.5.Luer connectors in 'correct' configurations
3.6.Traceability / medical devices in a manufacturer/distributor
3.6.HF vs UHF for pharmaceuticals and other volume products
3.7.Other healthcare
3.7.Traceability / medical devices within a hospital situation
3.7.2.Recording information - hearing aids etc
3.8.Healthcare needs satisfied
3.8.Applying Coil-on-Chip to hearing aids
3.9.Square CoC tag chip enclosed in protective plastic coating
3.9.Retail items
3.10.Document management and archiving
3.10.How the intelliaid™ system works
3.11.Intelliaid™ scanners
3.12.Aircraft and other parts and tools
3.12.Smart shelf for the simultaneous interrogation of large numbers of test tubes.
3.13.Primary healthcare benefits of 11 billion item level RFID tags by number
3.13.Postal items
3.14.A smart shelf system for DVDs in a Tesco supermarket in the UK that has increased sales by 4% simply by reducing stockouts.
3.15.Industrial parts and equipment
3.15.1.Beer kegs and gas cylinders
3.15.2.Components and replacement parts
3.16.Privacy issues
3.17.Success factors
4.1.Maximum range vs memory for RFID applications under various core standards, with UHF tags not being widely available with more than eight kilobytes of memory. Well entrenched frequency choices in bold. Of the HF applications, UHF tags typically only appe
4.1.1.Benefits of standardisation
4.1.2.Types of standard
4.1.3.Open and closed application systems
4.1.4.Standards organisations
4.1.5.Types of standard relating to item level RFID
4.1.6.ISO 18000 and Gen 2
4.1.7.Market reach of UHF vs HF standards
5.1.Total item level market value in $ million
5.1.Market growth
5.1.Total item level market value in $ billion
5.2.Value of global demand for item level tags 2008-2018
5.2.Unique volumes and requirements
5.2.Global demand for item level tags 2008-2018
5.3.Number of items shipped yearly by those global leaders that are interested in item level RFID
5.3.Rapid change in technology
5.3.Evolution of item level RFID by tag price showing earliest date of mass adoption of leading application in each price band
5.4.Item level unit sales of RFID tags millions by application 2008-2018
5.4.Item Level applications in 2008 by number sold globally and other details
5.5.Typical 2008 selling prices and quoted prices of RFID tags for various item level applications at one million quantities compared with pallet/case tags
5.5.Increase in printing of item level tags
5.5.Item level tag value $ billions by application, 2008-2018
5.6.Systems and software value in $ million by application, 2008-2018
5.6.Impediments to item level tagging
5.6.Item level unit sales of RFID tags millions by application 2008-2018
5.7.Item level tag price in US$ by application 2008-2018
5.7.Price-Sensitivity Curve for RFID (Adoption curve)
5.7.Possible scenario for value of item level RFID tags by application in 2018
5.8.Possible scenario for number of item level RFID tags by application in 2018
5.8.Item level tag value $ billions by application, 2008-2018
5.9.Systems and software value in $ million by application, 2008-2018
5.9.A probable scenario for the part taken by printing in the global market for RFID tags in 2018
5.10.The adoption curve 2004-2016
5.10.Examples of global potential for numbers of item level tags and benefits by sector
5.11.Some of the leading territories and users so far by applicational sector
5.11.Distribution in value of item level RFID tag sales
5.12.The overall price-volume sensitivity envelope
5.12.The unequal share of gain and cost of item level tagging between retailers and their suppliers
5.13.Level of item level tagging activity across the world
5.14.The regions with the most ambitious item level rollouts
5.15.Some US regulations driving item level RFID
6.1.Level of item level tagging activity across the world
6.1.Marks & Spencer RFID flow diagram for item level RFID
6.2.Marks & Spencer prototype mobile scanner
6.2.Select case studies
6.2.The regions with the most ambitious item level rollouts
6.2.1.American Apparel USA
6.2.2.Best Buy USA
6.2.3.Marks & Spencer UK
6.2.4.Maruetsu Japan
6.2.5.Wal-Mart mandate for Type 2 pharmaceuticals
6.2.6.AstraZeneca Diprivan UK
6.2.7.Selexyz The Netherlands
6.2.8.Japanese bookstores and publishers
6.2.9.US Military
6.2.10.European Commission ParcelCall
6.3.Marks & Spencer customer information on RFID
6.3.Some US regulations driving item level RFID
6.4.Overview of the Field Trial
6.5.Avery Dennison UHF smart label for item level drugs
6.6.Diprivan TCI tag construction
6.7.Tagged syringe and Diprifusor™
6.8.How tagged books can alert staff to many books being taken from the shelves as a precursor to theft.
6.9.Demonstration of buying books tagged with RFID at the Point of Sale (POS)
6.10.RFID tag the size of a credit card is attached to the back of the book cover
6.11.Tag data elements
6.12.Future operational capabilities - smart stores
6.13.A typical supply dump during the Gulf War
6.14.ParcelCall scenarios
7.1.Some substantial problems that RFID can impact, but with indeterminate payback at the project level
7.1.The process - blood sampling
7.1.Types of payback
7.2.Item level potential is far greater than for any other form of RFID
7.2.The process - pathology laboratory
7.2.Examples of global potential for numbers of item level tags and benefits by sector
7.3.Summary of paybacks from item level RFID by sector
7.3.The benefits - supporting change
7.3.Checklist of types of payback
7.4.Retail vs CPG manufacturers
7.4.GSH equipment rental costs
7.4.Relative benefits and costs for the main potential users of item level RFID.
7.4.1.Retailers benefit more than suppliers
7.4.2.Large retailers and high ticket benefit more than small commodity ones
7.4.3.Retailers vs CPG supplier benefits
7.4.4.Other figures for retail and supplier paybacks
7.4.5.Multiple paybacks will be commonplace
7.4.6.CPG manufacturers
7.5.The projected unequal share of gain and cost of item level tagging between certain Western retailers and their suppliers
7.5.GSH equipment purchasing costs
7.5.1.Drug anti-counterfeiting and recalls
7.5.2.Drug compliance monitoring
7.5.3.Drug supply chain
7.5.5.Hospital assets
7.5.6.Good Shepherd Hospital USA
7.6.Payback factors for item level RFID identified in various rollouts, trials and studies
7.6.GSH associate satisfaction
7.7.Table showing the estimated savings of Wal-Mart from pallet, case and item level tagging
7.7.Bibliotheca's BiblioChip system
7.8.Time analysis of media circulation
7.8.HDMA estimates of financial benefits from RFID on drugs at item level
7.9.US drug recalls 1995-2004
7.9.The scale of the task. Scottish Courage Brewing have tagged 1.9 million containers to date
7.9.Gas cylinder and beer keg operators
7.10.Aircraft and other parts and equipment
7.10.Hemo-Tag™ specifications
7.11.Equipment Rental Costs: Financial Results
7.12.Other applications
7.12.Associate Satisfaction: Nursing Satisfaction Scores
7.13.Lessons learned

Report Statistics

Pages 303
Tables 47
Figures 98
Case Studies 800+
Forecasts to 2018

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