The eighth IDTechEx RFID Europe event broke all previous records with over 350 delegates from 19 countries who heard major corporations sharing their RFID success and needs. Opening the conference, IDTechEx examined the need for consolidation and truly global experienced integrators, still demanded by users, but with the industry still avoiding that need. According to IDTechEx, the four biggest RFID sectors by tag value in 2007 are contactless cards (the Chinese national ID card project shipping 350 million cards alone), animal tagging (due to government pressures in Asia-Pacific and South America), then passport tagging and finally item level tagging, such as clothing and books. Presenter, Marks & Spencer, confirmed that they have already used 100 million RFID tags on clothing - the biggest order placed by any retailer for RFID, and it's not EPC.
IDTechEx holds premium content events - run by analysts - that examine the profit centers, hot emerging sectors and genuine disruptive technology developments for selection in the conference. For example, a section on RFID in the postal sector covered the huge work being done there, including the world's largest RFID network operating in 50 countries by the International Postal Corporation. City Link spoke of the largest Wi-Fi RFID deployment in the world, allowing them to track cages cost effectively.
Royal Ahold, a Dutch retailer, described how they are using temperature sensing RFID within their cold supply chain. The data obtained allows them to ensure compliance with regulations and increase the shelf life for their products.
Many new technology and product developments were covered, some exclusively at the event. For example, Cambridge Resonant Technologies spoke of a massively improved HF interface preventing the need for careful tuning while improving performance at HF. Additive Process Technologies covered their metal plating technology which can plate copper onto paper. From active RFID to printed RFID, it was all here with over 60 presentations and a sold-out exhibition.
The Printed Electronics/Sensors Session included presentations from InkSure who will be introducing a sub-one-cent chipless RFID tag by the middle of 2008 and ChipSensors who described their single chip wireless sensors for temperature, humidity, light, gas and pathogen detection.
The RFID Investment Summit held a day before IDTechEx RFID Europe featured 20 company CEOs and an inquisitive audience of venture capitalists and other investors. A number of speakers gave the view that RFID growth had not met expectations due to factors such as:
- The infrastructure required did not "suddenly appear", making the foreseen expectations unrealistic to begin with.
- The "hype" that surrounded RFID led to jumping to conclusions that were not valid.
- The cost of RFID is still prohibitive when compared to barcodes and companies are reluctant to adopt it.
Growth is still expected because savvy investors were there scouting for investments in hot RFID sectors such as real time locating systems and printed electronics.
The event was a resounding success and drew praise from the wide range of delegates. Paul McMaster from Bombardier Aerospace, a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative aviation products, found the conference "a useful event with a wide variety of topics covered. The best speakers were both entertaining and thought provoking."
The emphasis on future development appealed to Erik Wood from HiGTek, a developer of Active RFID platforms, who described it as an "excellent forum discussing the next generation of applications for RFID."
Oystein Pedersen from Nordic Semiconductor appreciated the "new opportunities" that the conference provided and Senthilkumar Chandramohan from the University of Edinburgh summed up the event as "a one stop event to learn, network and ponder".
With the great interest in Active RFID at the European conference the industry's sights are now set on the Active RFID & RTLS Summit to be held in Dallas, USA on December 5 & 6, 2007. For further information on this conference please contact Sarah Lee on email@example.com . There is an early bird discount running until November 10 so register now and save at www.idtechex.com/active.