Interest in RFID is Spiking Again

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has generated peaks of interest in the recent past. When Walmart started using RFID chips in ’03 for tracking pallets as they moved through it’s huge supply network, people really sat up and paid attention. In the following years, the US Postal Service attached them to their delivery truck fleet.

Companies were able to execute their logistics and shipping more efficiently when they adopted the technology, however, it didn’t become as popular as a lot of analysts had predicted. Companies who supplied Walmart didn’t consider the benefits to outweigh the cost of adopting the technology, so Walmart cut back on it’s plans for RFID in it’s supply chain. Also, the US Postal Service still only uses RFID to track it’s fleet, and never moved on to using it for individual packages, with a preference for barcodes.

RFID technology has been in a bit of a recess over the last number of years, but is undergoing something of a revival due to its IoT (Internet of Things) applications. IDTechEx, who research printed electronics, recently published a report that makes predictions about the RFID market— for everything from tags to readers and software. They predict that RFID will be worth somewhere in the region of $13.2 billion by the end of 2020.

The main points to note in the revival of RFID is that it is bringing about new ways to manage everything from retail to amusement parks and music venues. An example of this is the announcement made by Eventbrite last year that they would allow their customers to replace traditional concert tickets with RFID bracelets. Disney also introduced RFID wristbands in 2013, allowing guests at their amusement parks to utilize them for payments and as part of their journey through the attractions. These are quite small if you consider the potential revenue transportation and logistics can generate.

The report from IDTechEx illustrates the point that RFID is recovering from the depths to which it fell following the early interest at the start of the century, and is surviving the typical lifecycle of new technologies. While it may have been overhyped it is certainly a good bet for the future.

Do you think RFID will finally live up to its full potential? Will IoT facilitate this? And of course, the age-old question—will RFID replace barcodes? Share your thoughts by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.

Learn how you can leverage IoT and RFID.