Well, I checked my crystal ball, but it was a bit cloudy.
It is difficult to predict what the demand will be. Certainly, deployments of active and real-time location systems are increasing at a steady clip. These tend to utilize fewer tags than passive systems, because they are used on larger assets, and the tags are more expensive. So we won’t see billions of tags, but I do think demand will continue to grow at an annual rate of 15 percent to 20 percent, and perhaps accelerate as more companies come to understand the benefits of these systems.
The demand for passive tags remains steady, with new applications in many industries being deployed each year. I think we could see demand begin to ramp up if apparel retailers figure out that RFID can deliver a spectacular return on investment for them. I don’t expect that to happen over night, however. It will take a market leader deploying RFID across all of its stores before other retailers adopt en masse. But when that happens, I would expect to see tag volumes soaring. The timeframe is probably two to three years.
If apparel retailers adopt RFID, I predict you will see overall adoption rates begin to rise as well, because most business people buy clothes, and if they see apparel retailers using RFID, they will realize the technology is mature and, thus, start considering it for their own businesses. In five years, I would expect to see the demand for tags rising at an accelerated clip.
—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal
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