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2012: A Year of Progress

End users rolled out new RFID applications and expanded existing deployments, the technology continued to improve, and there were some major acquisitions.
By Mark Roberti
Jan 02, 2013At the beginning of every new year, I use this column to take a look at the radio frequency identification industry throughout the previous 12 months. This past year can best be summed up as one of steady progress, with encouraging developments in three areas.

First, several major enterprise deployments were expanded. Airbus, one of the world's two major airplane manufacturers, announced the expansion of its RFID part-marking activities for the A350 XWB aircraft to all seats and life vests for its A320, A330 and A380 models (see Airbus Expands RFID Part Marking Across All of Its Aircraft Families). This is the first step toward marking all parts across its fleet with RFID.

Global clothing manufacturer and retailer American Apparel began equipping all of its 280 stores with RFID technology, following a deployment of RFID readers and tags at 100 locations in 2011 (see American Apparel Adopting RFID at Every Store). In addition, Walmart, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration continue to expand their rollouts. It's important to note that these are large-scale deployments in which RFID is being used in mission-critical applications.

Cisco Systems adopted RFID to manage fixed assets within 70 U.S. data centers and R&D labs, thereby saving the network giant time and money (see Cisco's Business-Driven RFID Strategy). And BP deployed an RFID solution at two of its refineries, with plans to make the system a standard for use at all of its refinery locations (see BP Refines Maintenance Operations).

Macy's announced plans to begin its RFID rollout this year. Meanwhile, J.C. Penney's CEO, Ron Johnson, told a conference audience that he expects his firm to start affixing RFID tags to 100 percent of its merchandise, and to begin using the technology to enable self-checkout (see Word Is Getting Out About RFID in Retail and J.C. Penney CEO Predicts RFID Will Help Create a Transformational Shopping Experience).

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