Guest Column: Item-level RFID - A Prosperous Market 2006-2016

New study from IDTechEx forecasts key markets that will apply item-level tagging and drive technology advances, mass adoption





Relatively problem free







Unique requirements



  • Suitable for electronic product code (EPC) coding/mass serialization and open systems;

  • Small;

  • Made in millions to trillions yearly;

  • Need to read items individually but also many at a time;

  • Proximate metal and/or water;

  • Potential paybacks rarely worth more than a few percent of the value of the item tagged;

  • Tags need to be disposable or fitted for life;

  • Unquantifiable safety and security benefits are often sought and achieved.






Evolution of item-level RFID by tag price showing earliest date of mass adoption of leading application in each price band. Source: IDTechEx.


Projected value of item-level RFID tag sales by application in 2016 is as follows. Source: IDTechEx.

Change in technology













About the Author: Dr. Peter Harrop is chairman of IDTechEx, a consulting and research firm specializing in RFID smart labels, smart packaging and printed electronics. He was previously chief executive of Mars Electronics.

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