Active RFID Looks to Become Big Business

Improvements will affect a wide range of industries such as real time tracking of items and remote diagnostics.


CAMBRIDGE, England -- With a new initiative projected to sell one billion active RFID tags in the next five years the active RFID market looks set to increase massively before the end of the decade.

Active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) - tag with a battery - has the potential to greatly improve the world around us. By adding sensors, long range communication, and other exciting technologies to RFID and short range communications, there is an opportunity to achieve improvements in a wide range of industries such as real time tracking of items and remote diagnostics.

The IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase (www.rfidbase.com) gives unique insight into major changes in the RFID market. The number of case studies involving active RFID has risen 3% in the last year but this disguises the fact that the best selling type - car clickers - shows marginal increases but other applications have grown strongly. Last year's 121 applications have now risen to 210 and the rapid growth continues.

The main types of active tag are semi-passive ones which cannot initiate a signal to fully active types which can. Expect to see more semi-passive types in the future - even though they are not the most popular today.

Sales of RFID enabled cellphones will increase too. Cellphones are now available that have an RFID reader that can emulate an active tag. Growth will be driven by the applications offered by RFID enhanced phones. A phone with RFID capability could be used to access public transport, purchase coffee, and many other transactions.

Currently Europe has the largest number of active RFID case studies, although relative expenditures between territories may be another matter. The US Military continues to invest heavily in active RFID systems while Japan and Korea are setting the pace for innovation with new concepts such as Ubiquitous Sensor Networks.

IDTechEx considers active RFID to be so important that the company is staging the world's first major conference and exhibition solely devoted to active RFID and active RFID combined with WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and sensors. The US Department of Defense, Intel, Motorola, Cisco and Siemens are among the many major organisations that will present. Now that is an idea whose time has come!

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