In the future, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) and AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technologies are expected to continue to see widespread adoption and growth in various industries such as retail, logistics, FMCG, fashion retail, healthcare, utility, etc. with a wide range of applications, including inventory management, supply chain tracking, and asset management.
RFID as an AIDC technology is increasingly being integrated with other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to create more advanced and efficient systems as well.
Another important factor that has put RFID on an upward trajectory is the decreased global cost of RFID tags, RFID readers, and software systems.
To put things into perspective, the cost of RFID tags was 40-50 US cents per tag not so long ago, which has come down to 4-5 US cents in 2023. This decreasing cost of RFID and AIDC technology is making it more accessible to smaller businesses and organizations. Overall, the future of RFID and AIDC technologies looks promising as they are expected to play a significant role in improving efficiency and automation in various industries such as healthcare, retail, supply chain, and manufacturing.
The future of RFID will also be defined by the emergence of RFID sensor applications and chipless RFID. As an AIDC technology, RFID will successfully replace the UPC-12 and EAN-13 barcodes for good and RFID sensors applications including temperature sensing, humidity sensing, proximity and fill-level sensors, toxic gas sensing, CO2 gas sensing, etc. will help cement its original Internet of Things (IoT) position.
Future of RFID: Trends
The future of RFID is defined by various RFID trends that will dominate the retail, supply chain logistics, manufacturing, and smart home automation segments. As businesses adopt low-cost chipless RFID labels and chipless RFID sensors, RFID will successfully grow to become the market leader in IoT technologies.
As a report by Markets and Markets, the global RFID market is expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9% between 2023 and 2030, reaching 35.6B USD in 2030, from 18.45B USD in 2023.
The chipless RFID market alone is seeing unprecedented growth and as more developing countries realize the AIDC benefits of RFID, RFID will become ubiquitous.
As an AIDC technology, RFID is known for automatic data collection. As companies look to make sense of the vast amount of data collected in day-to-day business operations, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning will become the future trend, providing business owners with deep analytics and insights, helping them with better decision-making.
Predictive analytics, with the help of RFID, will also ensure predictive maintenance, ensuring better efficiency and workplace safety.
RFID Implementation in Businesses: Costs
The initial implementation cost of RFID can be high, particularly for larger systems or for those that require a large number of tags. However, the cost of RFID tags has been decreasing over time, making the technology more accessible and affordable for many businesses and organizations.
For example, the cost of UHF (ultra-high-frequency) RFID tags has dropped significantly in recent years. According to a study by RFID Journal, the average cost of a UHF RFID tag dropped from $1.00 in 2005 to around $0.20 in 2020. Another study suggests that the average price of UHF RFID tags dropped from $0.38 in 2018 to $0.27 in 2020.
In addition, the cost of RFID readers and other hardware has also decreased over time. Thus cost reduction has played a significant role, making it more affordable for businesses and organizations of all sizes to implement RFID technology.
It's worth noting that, the cost of implementation of RFID systems also depends on the scope of the project and the specific needs of the organization. A small company with a simple inventory tracking system will have a much lower implementation cost than a large company with a complex supply chain tracking system.
For example, the global retail giant Walmart started a full RFID project that involved implementing RFID tags on supply packages for its various stores, way back in January 2005 (it had done some pilot projects in Dallas distribution centers before). It started with 100 suppliers that tagged goods with RFID tags and sent them to some 500 Walmart stores. By 2007, Walmart was looking at 600 suppliers tagging their supply packages with RFID, supplying to 1000 Walmart retail stores.
The project was later discontinued as the RFID costs were significantly higher at that time and Walmart was not sharing many details about RFID benefits with the suppliers.
RFID is considered a versatile technology that can be used as an alternative to other AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technologies like barcodes, QR codes, smart cards, BLE, etc. in many modern business scenarios as follows:
RFID-based Inventory Management
RFID can be used to automate inventory tracking and management. RFID tags can be attached to products or assets, allowing for real-time tracking and monitoring of inventory levels. RFID as an AIDC technology can help businesses improve inventory accuracy, reduce stockouts, and increase efficiency. According to a study by RFID Journal, RFID technology can help businesses achieve inventory accuracy rates of over 98% which is not possible with other technologies.
RFID can be used to track products and assets throughout the entire supply chain, from production to delivery to the customer. RFID tagging of products can help businesses improve visibility, increase efficiency, and reduce costs as it provides high accuracy and eliminates human errors.
Various reports suggest that RFID technology can help businesses improve supply chain efficiency by up to 25%.
RFID and Asset Management
Another application of RFID technology is asset management. RFID technology can be used to track and manage a wide range of assets, including equipment, vehicles, and tools helping businesses improve asset utilization, reduce downtime, and increase efficiency.
RFID technology, if implemented correctly, can help businesses improve asset utilization by up to 30%.
Retail businesses share the biggest percentage of RFID tags by volume and market size. In Retail, RFID technology can be used to improve customer experience in retail stores and track inventory levels in real-time, allowing retailers to ensure that products are always in stock. RFID can also be used to track customer behavior, allowing retailers to better understand their customers and improve the shopping experience.
Another prominent use of RFID that will define the future is RFID in healthcare. In healthcare, RFID technology can be used to improve patient safety and care by automating the tracking of medical equipment and patient information.
RFID technology can also be used to improve the efficiency of hospital supply chains by automating the tracking of medical supplies and equipment. Besides, chipless RFID and RFID sensing applications will further streamline the healthcare supply chain, sensing the temperature and humidity of vaccine and medicine storage facilities, etc.
RFID technology has a wide range of applications in modern business scenarios, and it is expected to continue to play a significant role in improving efficiency, reducing costs, and increasing automation in various industries. RFID as an AIDC technology is bound to witness new advancements in chipless RFID sensors and cost-effective item-level tagging in the near future, cementing its role as a prominent IoT technology.
- Last updated on Aug 29, 2023