Executive Briefings

RFID, Wireless Bar Code & Voice: Steady Growth, at Lower Cost, Seen for These Technologies

Analyst Insight: 2009 was a rocky year for some aspects of this market, but stellar for others. Retail continues to roll-out voice and other technologies to ensure customer service and efficiencies, but RFID has slowed, for now. Defense logistics still is on the move with requirements and deployment of both active and passive RFID. Expect more purchases of these technologies in 2010, with a broader application of these technologies in diverse markets.

RFID, wireless, bar code and voice are distinct technologies and applications which can converge in a variety of sectors such as logistics/warehouse, retail and maritime. Each technology area though has seen expansion of the application in more industries and applications-from logistics to game technology.  2010 will expand in applications of these technologies, but the total growth will be slow.

Some applications and technologies to note in 2010.

• Defense Logistics -- DoD and NATO continue to leverage active RFID in their global operations. And within the supply base of the DoD, the compliance/ contracting requirements for passive RFID on inbound shipments is stable.

• Commercial warehouse applications are more focused on voice and other directed picking technologies to improve productivity; and in combination with RF/bar-coding, this creates a very strong inventory management capability.

• Asset tracking is a bright spot in the RFID market especially used within the enterprise to track and account for high-end assets.

• Life sciences continue to probe at RFID and wireless applications from everything from medical dispensing, patient care, accounting applications to asset tracking.

• New research on RF frequencies for the auto and transportation sector has demonstrated "smart cars" and smart highways are possible in the U.S. market, but these changes will happen slowly.

• Risk-mitigation applications still hold promise from anti-counterfeiting to food and product safety, but these areas have not grown as expected.

• Other RF applications in the warehouse will continue to be the pillar and major sector for some time to come.

The Outlook

In 2010, we see slow growth of around 2 percent, but with a broadening of application areas. We also see some changing dynamics in these markets with prices continuing to drop for these technologies. RF-bar-coding readers, etc-should have a good year since equipment needs to be refreshed. And RFID's battery-assisted tags could challenge the Active RFID sector as a low-cost substitute. 

RFID, wireless, bar code and voice are distinct technologies and applications which can converge in a variety of sectors such as logistics/warehouse, retail and maritime. Each technology area though has seen expansion of the application in more industries and applications-from logistics to game technology.  2010 will expand in applications of these technologies, but the total growth will be slow.

Some applications and technologies to note in 2010.

• Defense Logistics -- DoD and NATO continue to leverage active RFID in their global operations. And within the supply base of the DoD, the compliance/ contracting requirements for passive RFID on inbound shipments is stable.

• Commercial warehouse applications are more focused on voice and other directed picking technologies to improve productivity; and in combination with RF/bar-coding, this creates a very strong inventory management capability.

• Asset tracking is a bright spot in the RFID market especially used within the enterprise to track and account for high-end assets.

• Life sciences continue to probe at RFID and wireless applications from everything from medical dispensing, patient care, accounting applications to asset tracking.

• New research on RF frequencies for the auto and transportation sector has demonstrated "smart cars" and smart highways are possible in the U.S. market, but these changes will happen slowly.

• Risk-mitigation applications still hold promise from anti-counterfeiting to food and product safety, but these areas have not grown as expected.

• Other RF applications in the warehouse will continue to be the pillar and major sector for some time to come.

The Outlook

In 2010, we see slow growth of around 2 percent, but with a broadening of application areas. We also see some changing dynamics in these markets with prices continuing to drop for these technologies. RF-bar-coding readers, etc-should have a good year since equipment needs to be refreshed. And RFID's battery-assisted tags could challenge the Active RFID sector as a low-cost substitute.