Everything points to 2011 as being a momentous year for RFID technology. In a recent web cast hosted by Terso Solutions, Tracy Hillstrom, Senior Product Line Manager with Impinj, talked about the top five RFID technology trends for 2011.
1 – RFID made easy: Hillstrom compares the early days of RFID to attending a concert and sitting near the light boards with a million knobs and switches, and an engineer constantly monitoring and tweaking the control panel to match the show on stage. “In the past RFID was very much like that,” says Hillstrom. “You had to be tweaking constantly. But what we are seeing for 2011 is more of an easy button approach, with readers that monitor the environment they are in and change how they read the tags to support the environment they are operating in at the moment.”
Hillstrom also says to expect more all-in-one solutions to enter the market, making deployments much simpler, and to look for a greater ability to store more data on the tag. Users will also benefit from dynamic antenna switching that monitor RF environments to determine if you in high interference or low interference areas and assure peak performance at all times.
2 – Item level tagging will drive volumes: The apparel sector continues to embrace item level RFID tagging, with more than 100 projects on record. “Modest penetration will consume billions of tags per year,” says Hillstrom. “You are seeing incredible ramp-up with more and more retailers embedding tags.”
3 – Sensitivity surpasses speed as a primary differentiator: In the early days of RFID, everything was about speed and how fast you could read tags. “Speed isn’t the issue now,” says Hillstrom. “It’s more about hard-to-read tags and how can I get to those hard-to-read tags. There will be more conversations around sensitivity and you’ll see advances in RFID in the area of sensitivity in 2011.”
4 – Privacy and security: To date, most systems have been closed loop, but we’re starting to see more open loop systems installed around the world, which will call for closer attention to privacy matters. “You’ll see a standard this year around privacy and security, and then vendors will bring those solutions to market quickly and in a reliable fashion,” she says.
5 — Embedded RFID becomes ubiquitous: Most people walking up to a Coke vending machine and other applications don’t even know RFID is inside it. And the ability to share data through the cloud or other avenues is becoming huge. “Connecting to the Internet is a huge step forward.,” says Hillstrom. “It’s all in a sense executing on the vision that gets us to a point where the Internet of things is sharing information. A lot of the RFID solutions to date have been closed loop solutions but if you look at what’s happening in 2011, it’s a major step forward not only getting to critical mass with more tags being deployed but the [progression] of these systems from closed loop and into connected systems is major step forward.”