The RFID Barometer

By Mark Roberti

More end users attended RFID Journal LIVE! this year, and many intend to deploy the technology within the next 12 months.

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As the world's largest radio frequency identification conference and exhibition, RFID Journal LIVE! has always been a barometer of the state of the industry. Its growth from 300 attendees in year one to 1,600 attendees in year three reflected the early hype around RFID. The relatively stable attendance from 2009 to 2012 reflected the industry's static situation as companies cut investments in new technology after the financial meltdown of 2008. What does this year's event tell us about the state of RFID?

Several trends are clear. For the second year in a row, the number of end users attending the event has risen by more than 10 percent, indicating that more companies believe RFID can help solve their business problems. More end users indicated they planned to invest in RFID within 12 months, and they attended the event to purchase RFID solutions. This supports other RFID Journal data suggesting the investment cycle is shortening. Companies no longer need to conduct endless testing and trials to prove the technology works and can deliver business value.

Attendees came from 53 countries this year, more than ever before, which means adoption is growing worldwide. In particular, there was a large increase in attendees from Latin America—it jumped 4 percent from last year.

These trends will continue to accelerate during the next few years as more people learn that RFID can improve the way they do business. The tables below provide a snapshot of this year's LIVE! event, as well as insights into the RFID industry.

Click here to view a larger version of the above table.

Attendees by Job Function

A greater percentage of attendees came from manufacturing and operations this year. There was also a noticeable increase in attendees who said they are part of a dedicated RFID team. This indicates more companies are looking at larger RFID projects that require the support of a group rather than a single individual.

Total Attendance Breakdown

The overall mix of attendees changed significantly this year. A greater portion of total attendance was end users.

Left: There was an increase in attendees from large companies and a corresponding decline in smaller companies. Middle: The percentage of attendees who said they planned to purchase RFID products within 12 months jumped significantly. Right: The percentage of those with the authority to purchase RFID products also rose. Click here to view a larger version of the above table.