The 10 Most Important Stories of 2005

By Andrew Price

RFID made many headlines this year. Which ones were the most significant?

EPC Reduces Out-of-Stocks at Wal-Mart (October)

An independent study by the University of Arkansas finds that, on average, the use of Electronic Product Code technologies at 10 Wal-Mart stores reduces out-of-stocks by 16 percent—proving for the first time that RFID could have an impact on this long-standing bane of retailers.

Boeing Wants Dreamliner Parts Tagged (October)

Boeing announces that suppliers of many parts used in its 787 Dreamliners—a new family of high-capacity, low-emissions passenger planes—will be required to place RFID tags on the parts before shipping them to Boeing.

RFID made a lot of headlines this year. Which ones had the most impact?

Avery Dennison Sells Gen 2 Tags for 7.9 Cents (September)

Avery Dennison offers its AD-220 Gen 2 inlays—just the transponders with no labels—for 7.9 cents each in quantities of 1 million. It also says it is selling its EPC Gen 1 Class 1 tags for the same price, lowering one barrier to adoption.

Target, Wal-Mart Share EPC Data (September)

The two retailers launch a pilot with 13 manufacturers to share data in a standardized format, paving the way for greater collaboration over the EPCglobal Network.

EPCglobal Ratifies ALE Software Standard (September)

EPCglobal ratifies an Application-Level Events software standard for managing EPC data. ALE-based software can process tag data from Gen 1 or Gen 2 EPC tags and provide an interface for filtering and consolidating EPC data from interrogators.

Intermec, Symbol Reach Major Agreement (September)

Intermec Technologies and Symbol Technologies settle one lawsuit and adopt a plan to resolve four additional suits between the two companies. The agreement reassures end users that adoption won't be slowed by lawsuits. Several vendors also form a patent pool to manage IP.

Chase Offers Contactless Cards (May)

Chase's credit card division becomes the first credit card issuer to offer MasterCard and Visa credit cards embedded with RFID tags, which consumers can use to make cashless payments at RFID-enabled terminals.

FAA Approves Use of Passive Tags on Planes (April)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announces that it will allow passive tags to be used on airplanes, paving the way for parts, baggage and cargo tagging.

Marks & Spencer Expands Item-Level Tagging (February)

Marks & Spencer, a leading retailer in the United Kingdom, announces plans to expand its RFID trial to 53 stores starting in the spring of 2006. The move is based on the success of a year-long RFID trial in which the retailer tracked men's suits at nine of its stores to ensure availability.

Gen 2 Finds a Path to ISO Approval (January)

An EPCglobal committee resolves an issue in the EPC UHF Gen 2 standard's numbering scheme that enables the EPC protocol to be submitted to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for approval as an international standard.