Seize Your Share Of The RFID Market
The demand for radio frequency identification continues to increase. However, only a handful of VARs and integrators are adding this technology to their product offerings. Will you be among the first to capture these sales?
Almost every company in the automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) industry has identified itself with radio frequency identification (RFID*) nowadays. Since early 1999, when Business Solutions published its first RFID product showcase, the number of providers of this technology has more than doubled. At the 1999 SCANTECH show, traditional AIDC manufacturers (providers of bar code printers, scanners, software, etc.) rushed to claim their share of this technology by introducing new RFID products or partnerships.
RFID's Growth Outpaces Traditional AIDC
Based on RFID market forecasts, these AIDC/now RFID manufacturers made the right moves. Shipments of RFID systems are expected to increase by approximately 50% during the next two years to reach $1.6 billion by 2002. These statistics were gathered in a study done by Venture Development Corp. (Natick, MA).
The forecast for shipments of bar code-related products (except 2-D bar codes) is not as dramatic. In recent years, installations of bar code products have grown incrementally, rather than exponentially.
Lower-Priced RFID Expands Application Possibilities
RFID may seem like a new technology because of its recent popularity. However, RFID systems have been used for many years in livestock and automated vehicle identification applications. RFID technology offered these applications the ability to:
- apply tags that could withstand harsh environments where bar code labels could not survive
- track moving objects
- modify or write new data to the transponder (RFID tag) regarding the objects being tracked.
New, lower prices for RFID systems are now expanding the applications of this technology. Today, most RFID tags cost about $1. So, RFID is now more viable for applications in the transportation/distribution, industrial, and security/access control markets.
Emerging Applications For RFID
Business Solutions wants to keep you abreast of all of the opportunities with RFID - that's why every issue in 2000 will include an article on this technology. In this issue, Business Solutions includes two articles detailing RFID installations. A case study in this issue details how a group of integrators designed an RFID system to track luggage for Northwest Airlines at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Another case study discusses how an integrator, Proprietary Access Control Enterprises, installed an RFID system for building access control for Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric. These applications of RFID are somewhat unique because the majority of technology installations are still performed by RFID manufacturers - not VARs and integrators. Why? According to RFID manufacturers with whom I've spoken, only a handful of VARs and integrators have the integration skills and commitment to training necessary to sell this technology. Considering RFID's astronomical growth opportunities, isn't it time more channel members stepped up to the plate?
* RFID systems are typically composed of a transponder (commonly called an RF tag) that is electronically programmed with data, an antenna or coil, and a transceiver with decoder (commonly called a reader). The antenna emits radio signals that act as the conduit between the tag and transceiver, which control the systems' data acquisition and communication.
Questions about this article? E-mail the author at ShannonL@corrypub.com.