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Wrap-up of Smart Labels 2005

IDTechEx, host of the recent Smart Labels USA conference yesterday published a recap of the event. Highlighted in this article are the key take-aways and factoids from presentations and the trade show floor.
Jul 07, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 7, 2005—IDTechEx, host of last week's Smart Labels USA conference in Baltimore, Maryland, yesterday published a recap of the event. Highlighted below are the key take-aways from presentations and the trade show floor:
  • There were 400 attendees with over 40 exhibitors.
  • According to IDTechEx research, by far the largest market for smart labels is smart cards. The second largest market is up for grabs, with the leading possibilities being animal tagging and item level tagging.
  • Smart labels for drugs, pallets, cases, and other EPC-related applications are being used at a mere one to ten percent of what was forecast just last year.
  • According to presenter Gerald Darsch of the U.S. military, RFID use by the military is primarily of 433 MHz and not smart labels.
  • IDTechEx surmised that international shipper UPS is not as enthusiastic about RFID as competitor DHL, who recently announced an initiative to tag 100% of the packages it handles by 2015.
  • Only a few pharmaceuticals will be tagged by the end of this year, possibly amounting to only 20 million packages, a tiny fraction of the billions shipped annually.
  • Dr. In. K. Mun of the U.S.-based Aventura Hospital and Medical Center said that there are concerns about RFID in a hospital environment, including the possibility that radio frequency may interfere with pacemakers.
  • He also noted that healthcare requirements of technological reliability are very demanding, so given RFID's general lack of reliability, failsafes must be available.
  • From a business case perspective, a 3-5 year time horizon for ROI is acceptable in healthcare, which is far more generous than the 1-2 years expected elsewhere.
  • Japan's supply chain challenges are very different than those typically discussed with respect to RFID. Shrinkage, for example, is almost nonexistent.
  • The main motivation for the RFID baggage tagging system at Las Vegas' McCarrin International Airport, which is expected to go live this month, is to automate security screening.
  • The airport's RFID reads are better than those for barcodes, at 99% and 85-90%, respectively.
  • EPCglobal now numbers 520 members.
  • The EPCglobal representative replied to a question from the audience regarding GEN 2 royalties, answering that the organization supports a royalty-free process. IDTechEx reported that their interpretation of the audience response to this was that EPCglobal is "in denial concerning Intermec patents and intention to seek widespread royalties."

Read the full conference recap at IDTechEx
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