Despite big initiatives by the likes of Wal-Mart, Target and the Department of Defense, and a good bit of hype, tracking goods with RFID tags isn’t going to become commonplace anytime soon, said Sal Iannuzzi, president and CEO of Symbol Technologies.
In time, it will be a very significant market, but whether that happens in ’07 or ’08, I don’t know that, said Iannuzzi.
It’s such an embryonic market that it’s not about revenue yet… in some ways you can view it as a startup.
RFID uses radio frequency waves to transfer data between a reader and a tag to identify, track or find a tagged item. (The tracking capability is what has spawned privacy concerns.) Symbol markets both readers and tags.
Technology consultancy Gartner estimates that new license revenues for RFID will total $751 million worldwide by the end of 2006. By 2010, Gartner forecasts worldwide RFID spending to surpass $3 billion. Success will depend on finding popular applications beyond retail distribution centers, analysts say.
Just because bar codes are used extensively in distribution centers does not mean RFID will be, said Jeff Woods, research vice president at Gartner, in a December 2005 report.
Businesses are beginning to discover business value in places where they cannot use bar coding, which will be the force that moves RFID forward.