RFIDセンサーは現実のニーズを満たしているか? さらに進化できるのか?

RFIDセンサーは現実のニーズを満たしているか? さらに進化できるのか?

RFIDセンサーは現実のニーズを満たしているか? さらに進化できるのか?
RFIDがブームとなっています。その証拠に今やシリコン集積回路(IC)の大多数が、この機器の製造に使われています。年間20%超の成長が今後数年続くと見込まれているだけでなく、このブームは多方面に影響を及ぼす見通しです。RFIDは無線でのID特定という域を超えて、温度や湿度など数多くのパラメータを無線で検知する目的に使われています。

RFIDの通信プロトコルをセンサーシステムのトランシーバーに活用

NFCやUHF Gen2などRFIDの通信で採用されているプロトコルは信頼性が高く効率も良いため今やデータの特定だけでなくセンサーが取得したデータの転送にも使用されています。RFID ICにセンサーを組み込むケース、RFID ICがI2C接続経由でセンサープラットフォームへの橋渡しをしているケース、既存のRFIDラベルにセンシングフィルムを追加し、検出されたパラメータに基づいて、応答時の無線周波数を変更するケースなど、さまざまな展開方式があります。

より多くの企業が参入

過去2年間でRFIDセンサーへの関心は増大しています。現在では40社以上の企業が参入しているとIDTechExの新しい調査レポート 「RFIDセンサー 2017年-2027年:フォーキャスト、参入企業、ビジネスチャンス」 で報告しています。 RFID市場は近年注目を集めていますが、その一因は各ベンダーが新たな分野の開拓に注力し既存の投資と顧客基盤を活用した結果、市場全体が急成長した点にあります。
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In particular, RFID sensors today have been enabled by a new breed of built-for-purpose ICs, which made prior types of RFID sensor limited in performance and expensive. Combined with innovations in flexible batteries, printed sensors and antennas and wider deployment of RFID reader infrastructure, the opportunity for RFID sensors has moved into focus.

New market focus

RFID Sensors target a gap in the sensor market. The lowest cost type of sensors used for temperature, gas and other parameters are non electronic chemical based indicators, usually involving a color change when a parameter has been sensed, often showing the cumulative effect over a period of time. For example, time-temperature indicator labels are used on vaccines. They require no reader infrastructure - they are read by sight, looking at the color of the chemical sensor versus a reference color. They cost a few cents each for the simplest versions and up to a dollar or more for more sophisticated versions such as freeze indicators. Over half a billion are sold annually. They are effective and cheap but do not provide details of when an excursion occurred. They often have to be transported and stored in special conditions to prevent pre-activation.
 
On the other side is the established data logger business, worth about $500 million annually. These are boxes of electronics with varying options, most include displays and most are read through a physical connection such as USB rather than being wireless, although wirelessly read versions are becoming more common. They are used in a multitude of applications but mostly as proof of some excursion in the supply chain. For example, insurance companies often mandate their use so that it can be proved when / why a temperature breach occurred and therefore whether or not it falls under the mandate of the insurance policy. As such, most require calibration before each use or the data is not deemed valid. The analytics is proprietary to each company - many store the data for their clients and provide reports as needed. Prices typically range from $30 to $50 for the loggers but IDTechEx Research estimate that over half of the revenue comes from non hardware aspects such as the sensor calibration, analytic services etc.

The opportunity for RFID sensors

RFID Sensors are in the middle of these versions. They are digital wireless sensors that can mostly be read by standard RFID readers, but some types are proprietary. Many different choices exist, from battery-less versions that can only record sensor data when a reader is held near them, used, for example, in trials at the moment to detect fractures in welding and metal joints and also as smart diapers for the elderly to check remotely if a patient needs to be changed. These are creating new markets from inexpensive, disposable sensor labels or more expensive versions can be fitted for life - for example, embedded in concrete structures to monitor vibrations, requiring no onboard power source and therefore used for many many years by being remotely powered.
 
Most RFID sensors, however, have a power source on the tag so that they can take sensor readings outside of being powered by an RFID reader. These will overlap in terms of addressable markets with conventional data loggers, providing a lower cost easier to read alternative, although IDTechEx Research expects that the insurance-led data logger markets will not change much given the need for sensor calibration on each use and the inertia of that industry to move quickly. Instead, powered RFID sensors are being used to monitor food freshness allowing retailers in trials to pay suppliers according to freshness or monitoring the temperature of blood in transit. They will create new service propositions.
 
Then there are RFID sensors merged with bio sensors, creating potentially inexpensive sensors that can be designed to be very sensitive to certain parameters, including, for example detecting poisons or explosives to a few parts per billion. These have been shown to detect milk spoiling when the sensor is on the outside of the package, such is their sensitivity. However, these require proprietary (and currently expensive) reader systems, although the ability to "tune" the sensor to many different parameters and the low sensor cost could see this deployed in many high margin high value niches.
 
The new IDTechEx Research report is the first to cover the entire sector. The report, titled RFID Sensors 2017-2027: Forecasts, Players, Opportunitiesfinds that the RFID sensor market will grow to $120 million in 2022, as companies spend the necessary years in pilots in a wide range of applications to identify the strongest paybacks and application pull, and thereafter the sector will grow to $980 million in 2027.

17 years' experience covering the RFID and wireless sensor market

IDTechEx Research has covered the RFID market since 1999, providing the most granular and accurate data on the sector above all others. Our long standing relationships with those in the industry, together with our accurate prior forecasting and respected impartial views have been part of the basis on which this report has been conducted. Extensive interviews were conducted with the key players, from IC makers to system integrators, with additional voice of the customer surveys to validate the needs of the technology.
 
If you seek to understand this sector, the players, your opportunities, and not repeat the mistakes of others, then take a look at the research at www.idtechex.com/rfidsensors.
 
Top image: Wikipedia
RFID Sensors are in the middle of these versions. They are digital wireless sensors that can mostly be read by standard RFID readers, but some types are proprietary. Many different choices exist, from battery-less versions that can only record sensor data when a reader is held near them, used, for example, in trials at the moment to detect fractures in welding and metal joints and also as smart diapers for the elderly to check remotely if a patient needs to be changed. These are creating new markets from inexpensive, disposable sensor labels or more expensive versions can be fitted for life - for example, embedded in concrete structures to monitor vibrations, requiring no onboard power source and therefore used for many many years by being remotely powered.
 
Most RFID sensors, however, have a power source on the tag so that they can take sensor readings outside of being powered by an RFID reader. These will overlap in terms of addressable markets with conventional data loggers, providing a lower cost easier to read alternative, although IDTechEx Research expects that the insurance-led data logger markets will not change much given the need for sensor calibration on each use and the inertia of that industry to move quickly. Instead, powered RFID sensors are being used to monitor food freshness allowing retailers in trials to pay suppliers according to freshness or monitoring the temperature of blood in transit. They will create new service propositions.
 
Then there are RFID sensors merged with bio sensors, creating potentially inexpensive sensors that can be designed to be very sensitive to certain parameters, including, for example detecting poisons or explosives to a few parts per billion. These have been shown to detect milk spoiling when the sensor is on the outside of the package, such is their sensitivity. However, these require proprietary (and currently expensive) reader systems, although the ability to "tune" the sensor to many different parameters and the low sensor cost could see this deployed in many high margin high value niches.
 
The new IDTechEx Research report is the first to cover the entire sector. The report, titled RFID Sensors 2017-2027: Forecasts, Players, Opportunitiesfinds that the RFID sensor market will grow to $120 million in 2022, as companies spend the necessary years in pilots in a wide range of applications to identify the strongest paybacks and application pull, and thereafter the sector will grow to $980 million in 2027.