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RFID Takes Root in Bangladesh

Early adopters include Apollo Hospitals Dhaka and the Bangladesh Army.
By Beth Bacheldor
According to Hossain, Deltech is the only company in Bangladesh able to provide organizations in that country with RFID analysis, systems design and integration, deployment and support, as well as RFID hardware and software. He says his company can develop and support any type of RFID system, including those operating at high frequency (HF) or ultra-high frequency (UHF). "Basically," he says, "Deltech's slogan is, 'We can do anything you want.'"

Both the private and public sectors are driving the RFID market in Bangladesh, Hossain says, adding that hands-free access control and employee-tracking systems, as well as asset management, are the most popular applications businesses are asking for. These early adopters now expect a strong return on their investments, Hossain notes, though convincing them to invest in the technology in the first place has been difficult. "Here, people have the will to do well, but they lack the direction and trust," he says. "What we need to do is study the market, meet [with companies] personally and show them the business case with ROI, and support them to grow using RFID."

In addition to working with Bangladeshi businesses and government organizations, Deltech has received requests from potential customers elsewhere in the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. "Most of those requests are for electronic toll collection, jewelry store management [and] library management," says Hossain. "Currently, we are working with a company in Bahrain and the United Kingdom to implement RFID projects like electronic toll collection and parking control."

Deltech has just signed an agreement with iCol Global Holdings Techtel21 to become the partner and exclusive distributor of Deltech RFID tags, interrogators and systems in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. "This partnership will drive Deltech's RFID growth to a greater and new dimension in the continuous success of Deltech," Hossain states, "which is going beyond the boundary of Bangladesh, and it symbolize the quality and commitment that Deltech demonstrates globally."

RFID's growth in Bangladesh does face some challenges, however. Few consumers understand the technology, and there is only a moderate understanding among businesses. To help remedy that situation, Deltech hosts seminars to raise awareness about RFID and its potential.

RFID may also face legal hurdles as well. "The government's restrictions and laws, or conservativeness in the area of radio frequency, is a subject that we worry about a lot," says Hossain. In fact, he adds, it took some time for Deltech to receive the Bangladesh government's approval to use particular frequency spectrums. Deltech no longer must apply for government approval for each project because a spectrum regulation is now in place for RFID. However, he says, the company still needs to get the type approval for each RFID reader and antenna every time it introduces a new product. "Deltech has had to work hard to get type approval of RFID equipment—things are getting better than when we started," he says.

Still, Hossain says, the technology climate is changing in Bangladesh, and the government's growing interest in RFID is helping to foster that change. "We strongly believe the Bangladesh government will be a key player in the growth of RFID in Bangladesh," he states. In addition to the military's interest in RFID, the government is also looking to use the technology for other applications, including automated toll collection systems. What's more, Hossain says, the government is considering an RFID-based national ID/voter ID card system. Government-driven initiatives such as these, he notes, will help drive the technology's growth and acceptance.

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