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RFID Weekly News Roundup May 14, 2009

This article highlights RFID news and developments from the previous week. The biggest RFID industry news this week came from Europe, where the European Commission issued RFID privacy guidelines after years of discussion.
May 14, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 14, 2009—The biggest RFID industry news this week came from Europe, where the European Commission issued RFID privacy guidelines after years of discussion. Boston-based VDC Research predicted 11 percent worldwide RFID growth for this year, the same rate forecast last week by ABI Research, another industry research and analyst firm (see last week's roundup for those details). The full roundup of weekly RFID and RTLS news is below.
  • The European Commission issued an official Recommendation on data protection and privacy with respect to RFID. Key recommendations include consumer control over whether the products they buy include chips or not, deactivation at the point of sale unless specified by the consumer, and clear labeling and notification that chips are in use. The EC also called for impact assessments on RFID use and for retail organizations to promote consumer awareness of RFID product tagging. See the announcement for more details.
  • Market intelligence firm VDC Research said this week the worldwide RFID market will grow 11 percent this year and top $4 billion for the first time. However, the Boston-area company said RFID business conditions are tough and growth will come from low-volume sales.

    "Nearly 75 percent of end users responding to our survey this year indicated a 60 percent or more reduction in RFID spending for 2009," Drew Nathanson, VDC's RFID practice director said in the press release. "In addition, more than 80 percent of the new adopters in 2008/2009 anticipate using less than 50,000 transponders and expect to attain their ROI in less than nine months -- both of these values are down more than 30 percent as compared to last year."

    VDC valued 2008 RFID sales at $3.97 billion worldwide, and predicts $4.41 billion in sales this year and $5.08 billion for 2010.
  • ODIN technologies has been granted a schedule by the U.S. government's General Services Administration, or GSA. The GSA schedule is a purchasing vehicle by which U.S government buyers can easily acquire supplies, products, and services from pre-screened commercial suppliers. See more details in the announcement.
  • Ekahau, a WiFi RTLS provider, introduced the addition of spectrum analysis capabilities to its wireless site survey software. The new spectrum analyzer detects transmissions from WiFi, Bluetooth, cordless phones, cameras and other electronic devices and alerts system planners to potential interference issues.
  • Ubisense has integrated 2.4 GHz RFID into its ultra-wideband (UWB) RTLS tags to provide dual-mode tracking capabilities. The 2.4 GHz portion provides long-range reading while UWB provides high precision. See the announcement for more details.
  • TagMaster, a Swedish RFID firm that is focused on vehicle identification and access control, announced the MarkTag Mem duo, a long-range RFID tag that can be fitted with sensors or short-range tags.
  • The Dayton RFID Convergence Center (DRCC) was unveiled this week in Dayton, Ohio, reports the Dayton Daily News. The DRCC is a business incubator for RFID and sensor startups that will officially open in July.
  • RFID hardware and solution provider Sirit reported positive financial news, having seen its first-quarter revenues grow by 29 percent over the same quarter last year. The growth was due largely to strong sales volumes of toll tags for automatic vehicle identification applications, a niche the company has pursued aggressively.
  • RFID tag manufacturer SMARTRAC also had positive financial news, reporting first-quarter sales growth of 8 percent over the same quarter last year (though actual profits declined).
  • Four high school freshman in Oregon won a national science competition by proposing RFID-enabled intelligent paint that could be applied to a myriad of surfaces and objects to serve as a sensor and warning system. See a newspaper profile of the winners here.
  • Thailand's The Nation reported that the Thai government is funding an RFID trial to track empty crates from the SUN108 company's 700 retail outlets back to its warehouses. The 3.8 million baht trial reportedly involves active RFID tags on crates and GPS vehicle tracking.
Previously this week, RFID covered:
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