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LIVE! 2015 and the State of RFID

The technology has matured and is starting to gain traction. But progress remains slow—at least for now.
By Mark Roberti
Jun 24, 2015

Since the first RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition in 2003, the event has been a barometer of the state of the radio frequency identification industry. The number and makeup of attendees, including end users and exhibitors, at LIVE!—the world's largest trade show focused on RFID technology—has indicated how the industry is faring.

In 2008, for example, the technology was gaining traction despite the fact that few retailers embraced Walmart's approach of tagging pallets and cases. Attendance that year jumped to 3,000 from roughly 2,500 a year earlier. Then came the financial collapse in September 2008, and attendance the following year fell to 2,400 people, as many companies put new technology projects on hold.

Photo: RFID Journal
Analysis of attendance at LIVE! 2015 suggests the industry is beginning to regain the traction last seen in 2008. From 2009 to 2012, attendance remained flat, at around 2,500 attendees, as companies struggled to recover from the recession. Lawsuits aimed at users of passive ultrahigh-frequency technology also led companies to take a wait-and-see approach.

Attendance picked up slightly in 2013 and a little more in 2014. This year, overall attendance rose by 8 percent to just more than 3,000 attendees, a sign that interest in deploying the technology is picking up. Paid attendance, which includes end users, systems integrators and resellers, picked up by 10 percent from last year.

Moreover, more attendees purchased comprehensive conference passes, as opposed to exhibit hall-only passes, indicating strong interest in learning how to deploy RFID systems. The number of companies that sent more than one person to the event rose 34 percent over last year, again indicating strong interest in deploying RFID. Half of attendees were from companies with more than 1,000 employees, indicating large companies with complex operations are most interested in the technology.

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