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Summary of Baird RFID Monthly for November

Baird has released its November report. The 16-page document is a worthwhile read for anyone requiring an overview of the industry's last 30 days. For those without time to do so, we have reprinted here the report's summary.
Nov 27, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

November 27, 2006—Wealth and asset management firm Robert W. Baird & Co. has released its RFID Monthly for November. Baird has given RFID Update permission to reprint the Key Developments section (below), which offers the report highlights. For those wanting more detail, the complete 16-page document is available free here.

The standard matrix of primary RFID providers is on page 13, and following are the Key Developments:
  • EPCglobal Show Attendance Flat, But Mix Appeared Better. Attendance was roughly 1,200, similar to last year, but with more new faces. Recall, one of the complaints from previous conferences was that the same attendees were present at every conference, and thus the opportunity to interface with end customers was limited. Therefore, many regular participants were encouraged to see new attendees. We believe the incremental Wal-Mart mandate is driving new participant participation.
  • RFID Learning Appears To Be No. 1 Priority. We continue to hear that supply chain end users are piloting extensively in order to discover reasonable returns on investment. We believe end users' ability to find sufficient benefit from RFID will be the single most important determinant of when supply chain end users begin to roll out the technology. Non-supply chain users remain less concerned on price and seem to be finding better returns on investment with asset tracking applications, where ROIs are more easily achieved even with higher tag costs.
  • Pilot Activity Strong, But Overall Market Progressing Slowly. We believe the pilot activity has been more extensive than most industry observers had expected. Many of the vendor contacts we saw indicated that they are not seeing the level of sales activity that they had hoped. Our sense is that Gen2 inlay volume will be in the 150M-200M range, down from the 250M units some had forecasted (see Prediction: 300m Gen2 RFID Tags Ship This Year). We believe end users are deploying RFID investment dollars towards technology integration, software development and business process changes in order to discover the benefits of the technology. As a result, we see fewer dollars deployed towards equipment. We believe this is an important development as end users seek to find an ROI rather than simply buying equipment to support mandate requirements.
  • Circuit Printing Technology Advancing. We recently attended a technical presentation by Motorola, which provided an overview of printable circuit technology. Motorola has already been able to print a working passive RFID chip/tag that measures roughly 7"x10" using existing printing technology. The company also expects to be able to print a 1"x1" label within the next 2-3 years, but with more limited capability than existing chips. Motorola believes existing printing technologies can be used to print such a tag with a $0.01 unit cost.
  • Interoperability Increasing in Importance. We hear from several vendors that they are increasingly working with other industry participants to achieve interoperability. We believe this will be especially important with several new silicon providers now entering into the market and with new reader iterations becoming available. EPCglobal has interoperability testing and certification underway. (See Interoperability Certified for 12 Gen2 RFID Products and Interoperability is Key to RFID Market Maturity.)

Download the full Baird RFID Monthly (pdf)
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