Now widely used in a variety of industries, RFID is a major economic concern.

$70 Bn over the next 5 years, $34 Bn of which will be in the healthcare industry alone

$70 Bn: that’s how much the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) market will be worth by 2017, according to estimations by ABI Research.

According to Transparency Market Research 50 % of this amount will be in the healthcare industry. The main uses in this sector are for tracking equipment in hospitals, tracking drugs between pharmacies and patients and monitoring blood donations, one of the fastest-growing markets.

According to IDTechEx, 4 billion RFID tags were used in the clothing industry alone in 2012, at an average cost of ten euro cents a tag. Each tag is fitted with a tiny antenna and a chip to transmit and receive information remotely.

From Airbus to dustbins

Cheap and used to feed vital information into databases, RFID tags can be found in all sorts of places:

  • On plane seats as from 2013, Airbus will be monitoring information such as maintenance history and part-life expiry dates of its life vests and seats.
  • In underground conduits: an RFID provider and a French construction company have joined forces to track underground conduits, regardless of the material (iron, steel, concrete), and up to 1m50 below ground.
  • In waste bins: In Canada low frequency RFID tags are being used to track plastic bins and containers. Specially designed to resist liquids, thermal fluctuation, vibration and shock, the tags can be used to track waste management and enable “pay-as-you-throw” incentive programs.

The economic impact of RFID

RFID: further reading on e-media