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Wrap-Up of RFID Smart Labels USA Show

Last week research firm IDTechEx held its annual US-based smart labels show, RFID Smart Labels USA 2006. At 500 attendees from over 30 countries, the event saw a 20% increase in attendance over last year. The company has published an article with event highlights, summarized in this article.
Apr 13, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

April 13, 2006—Research firm IDTechEx recently held its annual US-based smart labels show, RFID Smart Labels USA 2006. At 500 attendees from over 30 countries, the event saw a 20% increase in attendance over last year. IDTechEx has published an article with highlights of this year's event, summarized below:
  • Gillette spoke about the launch of its new Fusion five-blade razor product. It was the first product launch from the company for which all cases and pallets are RFID-tagged. RFID is applied to cases during their production. They are read upon receipt at the retailer and then again at the box crusher, a method which allows Gillette to infer when the product is on the shelf. The company wasn't specific on the results of the initiative, saying only that the benefits had proved "phenomenal".
  • RFID adoption in China is expected to accelerate this year, according to Victor Claudio of SparkICE and Dr. Wenfeng Wang of the Chinese Government RFID Group. The pair sees a multi-standard future for China, saying that one standard is not appropriate for the many applications and frequencies. They also noted that business and government are closely linked in China, a characteristic that will be important for Western RFID vendors to understand as they do business there. The national ID card program was cited as an example, which, incidentally, is considered the largest RFID order ever at over one billion tags.
  • There is market demand for RFID readers more versatile than those that exist today. IDTechEx cited General Electric and the US Department of Defense as two examples of buyers eager for readers that can read tags at the various frequencies, from LF to HF to UHF. Such a super-reader still only exists in concept.
  • IDTechEx's own Peter Harrop spoke about a "mismatch of supply and demand", a theme covered in a recent RFID Update article IDTechEx on Where Profit Exists in RFID. IDTechEx estimates there are roughly 1,000 highly-fragmented suppliers serving various points of the RFID value chain, but that many of the opportunities on which they are hoping to capitalize will not bear fruit. In contrast, there is a major lack of global RFID systems integrators, the type of firm which Fortune 500 companies would favor for an enterprise-wide RFID deployment.
  • Lastly, near field UHF RFID was featured at the show. Rick Fletcher, CEO of Tagsense, spoke about near field UHF's advantage over far field as its ability to read through liquids and around metals. Recall that Impinj in February announced UHF technology for item-level tagging (see Impinj Launches UHF Tech for Item-Level Tags), which has stirred keen interest and a resurgence of the UHF versus HF debate.
Audio downloads for some of the event presentations are available for sale on IDTechEx's website.

Read the full report from IDTechEx
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