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.
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.
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