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RFID supply chain: what makes a vendor ready?



     The well established RFID technology and supply chain automation vendors that are ready for the large-scale implementations mandated by Wal-Mart, the US Department of Defense, and the UK supermarket chain Tesco, are well positioned in the market. But others are still catching up, according to ABI Research.

     ABI''s latest assessment of the state of the RFID supply chain industry refers to ''game theory'', which uses the term "The winner''s curse" to describe a winner''s remorse after a favourable outcome. ABI says that a similar fate may lie ahead for many RFID vendors after the retailer-driven push for widespread RFID adoption. This is a clear driver of demand for RFID systems. This article is copyright 2003 UsingRFID.com.

     The firm''s recent findings are that the rewards are high, with annual revenues set to break the US$3 billion mark in very few years. The three major mandates seen in recent months seem to confirm that RFID technology is not just a passing fad. But, even with such high-profile organisations boosting primary demand, the battle for secondary demand has yet to begin, according to ABI.

Customer needs
     "Only companies that have the right blend of continued innovation and proven implementation will thrive in this market," explained Edward Rerisi, director of research for ABI. "RFID vendors must understand the technology and the unique demands of each customer, which can take years to develop."

     But not all RFID vendors will be ready to meet Wal-Mart''s mandate of system accuracy, performance, and scale in the short timeframe allotted. The firm''s research also indicates a slight dichotomy in the RFID space: companies that are champions of innovation, and those that are established implementers. "Intermec, Texas Instruments, Tagsys, and EM Micro have tens of millions of RFID tags in the field, serving to establish their presence in the market," explained ABI''s senior analyst, Erik Michielsen. "Recently, however, companies like Alien Technologies and Matrics are more synonymous with innovation, cementing their foundation in high-growth market segments."

The report
     ABI''s report, ''RFID: Emerging Applications Driving R&D Investment and End-User Demand'', follows the technology for applications including asset management, supply chain management, and point-of-sale. The study breaks down RFID standards, applications, and vertical markets, and provides marketplace forecasts through 2008. Reader shipments and revenue are provided, as well as data on different RFID transponder and component markets. In addition, selected RFID vendors, integrators, developers, and IC manufacturers are analysed, along with their various technologies and product offerings.





                                                                                                                Extract From Using RFID