IDTechEx keeps a close eye on which countries are eagerly adopting RFID and which are not. Our sources include intensive travelling, conferences, literature searches and our IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase of over 2300 case studies covering over 2500 organisations and 85 countries. The results are rather surprising.
Firstly, the US is the greatest adopter, with by far the largest number of cases of RFID in action and orders that are often the world's largest by value. It has even pulled ahead in the last year, with over 840 recorded projects. More surprising is the UK holding second place by number of cases, though not the money spent, where China has more claim to fame and Korea and Japan are strong rivals.
The top ten countries by number of case studies are shown below but it did not look like this only one year ago. China and Korea have jumped up a notch and, remarkably, Australia has jumped from number ten to number seven. When we saw the unusual activity in Australia we focussed research onto the region for a new report RFID in Australasia 2007-2017 www.idtechex.com and we reveal some of the results here. New Zealand is a follower, with the exception of the work of Fonterra, the world's largest milk cooperative.
What is going on in Australia? The rapid advance of Australia in RFID is on a broad front, from books in libraries to tagging of humans in hospitals, but one could say that about many countries. What sets Australia apart from most of its peers are aspects such as the legal requirement to tag cattle and racehorses, and the trials and rollouts of tagging fish, tomatoes and other foods by its vibrant food industry. Australia will not stop there. It is likely to introduce legislation to tag all four legged livestock ahead of most other countries. With the major trading blocs finding reasons to protect their food industries, external suppliers such as Australia, with the world's largest population of sheep, must be beyond suspicion. RFID is a part of that.
In the Books, Libraries and Archiving sector, Australia is doing more than its size would indicate. The same is true of the Financial, Security, Safety sector which exhibits considerable innovation. For example, we have RFID being used to track police vehicles, criminals in correctional facilities, paedophiles and even forensic samples. That breadth of approach is not seen elsewhere. RFID is used in passports and payment cards and many mass transport card schemes in Australia. One interesting result is that, although Australia mimics the world as a whole in having HF read-write passive RFID dominate its markets, low frequency use comes next not, as so often elsewhere, UHF. LF tags are used on marathon runners' shoes and bicycles etc in other races, on a wide variety of animals and on conveyances in Australia.
Number of case studies in the IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase for the top ten of 85 countries.
Applications of RFID in Australia
A contrast to Australia is given by another country of similar population and economic size - the Netherlands, which is also unusually active in applying RFID. Primarily, this is based on use of RFID cards and other RFID in the leisure sector, such as in football matches. The Financial, Security, Safety and the Logistics and Postal sectors are also big users of RFID in the Netherlands, with item level tagging by RFID labels an important way of applying RFID there. One thing is common to Australia and the Netherlands: both use High Frequency (HF) far more than any other frequency for their RFID. That is also true of the world as a whole.