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Why RFID Is Poised for Growth in India

If user concerns are adequately addressed, RFID adoption can show a significant increase.
By Faisal Kawoosa, with contributions from Vishaal Bhatnagar
Dec 12, 2011Radio frequency identification is a technology that has evolved for the tracking of objects or individuals. Whether controlling the entry of people or record inventories being ported through different value chain touch points, RFID has effectively resolved many complex issues that those managing such systems face on a daily basis.

India is no exception to this rule. Here, as well, we have complex systems, volumes of objects moving in these systems and a large population that needs to be tracked for various reasons—simply for timesheet calculations, or for security concerns.

RFID in India is driven by the RFID Association of India (RFIDAI), a not-for-profit organization that promotes the technology's use. The association has not yet been able to make a remarkable push, for a number of reasons, mostly market-driven, but it is committed to helping the industry to achieve a respectable size in this country.

Many IT software firms in India have forayed into RFID technology, offering solutions mainly for time and attendance for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). There is also a fragmented vendor community from China supplying tags and readers to the market. But at the same time, respectable industry names, like Siemens, Wipro, Infosys and Honeywell, have established a fair base in the market.


Infrastructure—Energy, Logistics, Roads and Railways
Since the 1991 inception of economic liberalization in India, the national government's Planning Commission has been working to bring the country's infrastructure on par with global standards so that India can become a viable industrial/manufacturing destination, as well as raise the living standards for ordinary citizens.

Infrastructure is also turning smart, with the implementation of specialized IT solutions—such as automatic fare collection (AFC), intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and intelligent building systems (IBS)—that have not only improved user experience, but also resulted in higher rates of technology penetration. As a reference, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways adopted RFID technology in order to implement electronic-tolling systems for national highways.

Similarly, with regard to energy and power utilities, a shift is occurring toward smart metering, and the concept of a smart grid is being actively debated in such groups as the India Smart Grid Forum, an advisory body formed by India's Ministry of Power. A consensus is expected to emerge in the near future regarding the most optimal energy-grid architecture in the country, and RFID will play a critical role in this arena as well.

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