Researcher: RFID market to hit US$9.7 billion by 2013

With backing of giants like Airbus and Wal-Mart, sales are expected to grow 15 per cent yearly

The Radio Frequency Identification business should see double-digit growth over the next several years, leading to a US$9.7 billion market by 2013, according to an analyst firm.

ABI Research, based in the US, predicts that the RFID market will experience a 15 per cent compound annual growth rate for the five-year period.

"These figures highlight an RFID market that is growing robustly," said ABI analyst Michael Liard in a statement. "Across all product categories and flavors of RFID technology, market trends continue to be positive. We saw a strong finish to 2007, which continued into a healthy first quarter 2008."

Just last month, Airbus SAS signed a multimillion-dollar, multiyear deal to use RFID technology to streamline its supply chain and manufacturing operations. IBM and OatSystems are providing RFID technology for the project, which has been in a pilot phase for more than a year.

And Airbus isn't alone. Wal-Mart, which had backed off of a once sweeping mandate that its suppliers to adopt RFID technology, says that it is now looking to get back on track with the program. The retail giant noted in a recent interview that many of its 600 top suppliers, which account for some three-fourths of the company's sales volume, today use RFID technology to "some degree." And the company is looking now to increase that number.

On top of that, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced in February that they were hoping to use RFID technology to create a way to better track blood supplies around the world. Better tracking could lead to better handling and fewer instances of patients receiving the wrong blood.

"Future RFID market growth will come from many sources and applications," said Liard. He cited unique vertical market applications "as well as those, such as asset tracking, security/access control, and supply chain management, that are common to a range of verticals."

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