Radio frequency identification (RFID), one of the hot technologies of 2005, shows every sign of maintaining that status in 2006. The latest release of ABI Research's (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) "RFID Research Service" highlights three trends in a market already experiencing rapid growth.
The RFID market is becoming increasingly global, but the United States remains a very important piece of real estate within it. Recent months have seen a number of RFID tag and reader vendors based outside the US working to establish footholds and strengthen their presences in North America. Hailing mostly from Japan, South Korea and Europe, they include companies such as Sato, KSW Microtec, Rafsec, Siemens, Omron and Samsung, and they are refining their channel strategies for the region. According to ABI Research's director of RFID and ubiquitous networks, Erik Michielsen, this is generally a good thing: "Increased competition, and the infusion of international perspectives, will have a beneficial effect on the markets."
EPCglobal is, in 2006, trying to play a role in determining reader/network interface standards. But this is traditionally the territory of technology giants such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, BEA Systems, Sun Microsystems and IBM. "There is debate in the market whether by moving into the enterprise in this way, the organization is overextending itself," says Michielsen, "or whether this is something that will benefit the industry in general. ABI Research has an open mind on that issue."
Finally, 2006 is the year for label converters to jockey for position. There are dozens if not hundreds of companies that assemble labels and prepare them for mounting. They are urgently assessing their positioning and differentiation: should they choose high-volume, fast-moving consumer goods? Temperature-sensitive grocery supply chain environments? Security-sensitive item-level pharmaceutical tracking? There are large market opportunities and niche opportunities, and how well these companies position themselves will have a great impact on their success.
Source: ABI Research