RFID Trends: What's Ahead in 2017, Part 2

Leading solution providers speak out on the business and technology issues that will impact adoption in the near future.
By Jennifer Zaino

Avery Dennison's Melo believes eyes should be on the food retail sector next year. "What would surprise me in 2017," he says, "is if we don't see broader and more visible adoption of RFID occur in the food retail business. It's still in its infancy, but there's a compelling case there. The benefits to the retailer are greater efficiency and profitability, but the benefit to the world is reducing food waste."

"NFC adoption for consumer use cases is still poised to explode," HID Global's Robinton predicts. "The lack of read-write support from iOS devices has still limited this market, but it has still grown despite that hurdle. If that hurdle is removed in 2017, we will see a very significant jump in NFC usage."

Impinj's Diorio says it's interesting that large companies began promoting RFID's benefits directly to consumers this past year. Delta Air Lines, for example, plans to make it possible for customers to track their bags during their journey via the Fly Delta mobile app. As impressive as the airline industry's use of RFID is becoming, Kodritsch says he'd be surprised if the International Air Transport Association (IATA) makes RFID mandatory for the airline industry in the coming year.

Several of our experts brought up the pace of consolidations during the past year, such as the announcement that Qualcomm was acquiring NXP. Additionally, the industry saw some interesting partnerships formed, such as Invengo acquiring a 10 percent stake in SML. As a leading RFID provider in ticketing and laundry, Invengo gained a way to tap into the retail RFID tag market, according to SML, which notes that its relationship with other reader providers won't be affected by the deal.

"There were several larger events taking place in vertical markets, as well as within the RFID industry," Uhl says. "We saw some remarkable M&As and consolidations—for example, on the chip manufacturer side. Software companies and systems integrators have forced through strategic acquisitions in the IoT sector, as they are looking to build more capabilities in the cloud and digital transformation."

For the upcoming year, Uhl says, it would be surprising if the number of RFID-based IoT solutions and use cases did not significantly increase. "RFID has come to stay," he says. "It is the key enabler to connect 'simple' things with the internet, and to bring the industrial internet to the next level."

RFID is the simplest and most cost-effective way to implement Internet of Things solutions, Omni-ID's Daddis says. "The IoT is a broad collection of technologies and not a strongly defined set of standards," he states. "However, the set of IoT technologies can be broadly broken down into three main categories: data and analytics, communication technologies, and tagging and sensor devices placed on 'things.' We feel that large companies, such as GE, IBM, Cisco and other strong IT backbone players traditionally found in industrial settings, are in a very strong position to set key standards to how data is stored, moved, secured, analyzed and presented. They have the reach, experience and depth to provide a stable ecosystem for end customers to buy into and feel secure in its stability, and for other vendors to design to and innovate upon."

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