The Shape of the RFID Market

A quick scan of the number of companies in different categories of our 2007 Buyer's Guide to RFID Resources reveals something important about the market.
Published: March 19, 2007

A quick scan of the number of companies in different categories of our 2007 Buyer’s Guide to RFID Resources reveals something important about the market.

I’ve spent the past few weeks working on RFID Journal’s 2007 Buyer’s Guide to RFID Resources. It’s a massive undertaking. We received more than 350 submissions, from A.C.C. Systems to Zebra Technologies, and chose 235 to go into the guide. All of these were edited, copy-edited, proofed and sent back to companies for final checking.

It’s an interesting exercise for me because it forces me to look at the RFID market from a 40,000-foot perspective, and to make choices reflecting the overall changes in the market. We’ve chosen to increase the size of the guide this year because the market is growing, and trying to select only 160 companies, as we did last year, would have been impossible.

We’ve also added several new categories this year: Label-Making Equipment, Smart Cards/Payment Systems, Training/Recruiting and a Miscellaneous category for companies offering products and services that don’t fit into conventional categories, such as legal services.

This year, there are fewer companies providing both tags and interrogators (25) than there were last year (32), indicating some companies are either getting out of the market for interrogators or focusing on other aspects. There was a significant increase in the number of companies providing active and real-time locating systems (we included 19 this year, up from 12). That doesn’t surprise me. Companies consistently tell me they achieve a quick return on investment from tracking vehicles and large assets with active tags.

The number of companies in the middleware section this year is about the same as last year. Some companies have dropped out of the RFID middleware market, finding it too competitive. Others have moved up the value chain and are providing enterprise applications.

The number of companies offering RFID enterprise applications rose from 14 to 19, but frankly, it needs to increase more. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the day when RFID adoption takes off, but how can it take off if there aren’t new software applications, or upgrades of existing applications, that take advantage of RFID data in new ways? Data standards for sharing RFID data are starting to emerge, so perhaps we will soon see software companies investing in new applications that leverage the data. This is going to be critical.

The guide will be published on May 1 and will be given to all attendees of RFID Journal LIVE! 2007. The companies not chosen for the print edition will be included in a searchable version of the guide, which will be available on our Web site. Vendors that haven’t submitted can still be included in the latter by filling out our online form. We hope that providing this guide for RFID professionals will help grease the wheels of commerce and hasten RFID adoption.