Review of RFID in 2007
In the build up to the annual IDTechEx RFID USA event in Boston this February and the latest IDTechEx RFID forecasts, Raghu Das reviews RFID progress in 2007.
January 15, 2008—In round figures, the value of the RFID market grew strongly to $5 billion in 2007, mainly powered by a peak in deliveries of the Chinese national ID card with about $2 billion of cards and infrastructure being delivered by Chinese suppliers. That made China the biggest RFID market but if we peel that away, we see the USA as the biggest market. Globally, the RFID business remained government driven with the Healthcare sector showing particularly strong growth in projects and the Financial, Security, Safety sector dwarfing all others in both expenditure and number of projects. It accounted for a massive 48% of market value with Passenger Transport, Automotive coming second with 19% value share. We refer to the value of tags, systems and support combined. However, let us look beneath the surface, because there are surprises in store.
Where were the most acorns sown?
It is one thing to look at the money spent but that is necessarily historical. On the other hand, the IDTechEx Knowledgebase of RFID projects - the largest in the world by a big margin - reveals where most of the new projects are cropping up. We added 509 projects in 2007 to reach 3096 projects in 101 countries and involving 4231 organisations, with links to 526 company RFID slideshows and audio. Those newly recorded projects represented 20% growth in the size of the database, reflecting the rapid growth of the market way beyond the Chinese ID card. We could have added over 500 more consumer goods companies mandated by retailers to tag pallets and cases but that would be living a lie because most of these are doing little or nothing in the face of the huge financial cost and lack of payback if (when?) they comply. Their usage averaged less than 300,000 tags each and those were purchased at prices nearer to ten cents than the $5 of passport tags and $50 or more for most active tags. The expenditure on associated infrastructure was also modest, though the potential is huge when new technology reduces costs so RFID suppliers to this sector can put today’s eye watering losses behind them. It also calls for certain retailers learn to practice mutuality of benefit with their consumer goods suppliers.