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Set of Standards Drive Chipless Tag Technology

Consistently high prices of RFID tags are acting as a strong barrier to their large-scale implementation

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Chipless Tag Technology for RFID

Although relatively new, Chipless tag technology is attracting considerable attention as an emerging technology offering similar functionalities to those of RFID but at potentially lower costs, a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

The ability to provide key features of RFID such as track and trace without the line of sight and real-time information delivery, if required, indicates great promise for this technology.

Consistently high prices of RFID tags are acting as a strong barrier to their large-scale implementation, despite the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) and Wal-mart’s mandate that all key suppliers should be RFID-compliant by the beginning of 2006. Although some initiatives are being taken to reduce RFID prices, a majority of suppliers believe that it is still too expensive to make mass deployment a feasible proposition. This, more than anything else, is responsible for the rising interest in Chipless tag technology.

However, current limited awareness levels have led to a certain amount of confusion amongst end users between Chipless tags and RFID. End users need to know the application potential of both technologies and what they can bring to their businesses.

"Many users are still unsure about the potential of Chipless technology and tend to think it is the same as RFID but a cheaper version," remarks Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Richard Sebastian. "Since this lack of clarity will eventually impede the potential growth of both technologies, there is a need to increase market awareness of their capabilities and features so that users are able to make more informed decisions when selecting the appropriate type for specific applications."

While both these technologies share similarities in terms of functionality, they also have distinct differences that set them apart and hence, it is unlikely that Chipless tags will ever fully replace RFID. Instead, they are likely to be viewed more as a complementary technology that can be used along with RFID to offer end users the best possible solution.

In fact, based on their similarities and differences, both Chipless tag and RFID technology are likely to have their own areas of dominance, application-wise. For instance, the lower costs of Chipless tags and less memory capacity compared to RFID tags will drive their usage in areas where product value is low and reduced functionality is required. They are likely to be suitable for applications requiring a basic track and trace function. These tags will also find opportunities in small- and medium-sized business operations, where cost is a critical concern and standards not as important as the need to offer more than UPC barcodes or other legacy tracking systems.

On the other hand, RFID tags will continue to prevail in areas such as supply chain management where the product value is high and that need greater functionality. The higher memory capacity offered by RFID is essential in such an environment particularly since organizations are eventually planning to migrate from pallet to case or item level tagging.

The lack of proper standards is another challenge that could hamper the growth of Chipless tag technology. There is no single set of standards governing this technology, largely because there are more than 20 different types of Chipless tags with different working operations and principles.

"All parties involved in the development of Chipless tags need to work towards a strong set of standards," says Sebastian. ‘Only when strong and globally accepted standards are in place will this technology start to be deployed in mainstream applications such as supply chain management, where global interoperability is a key requirement."

Asia Pacific Chipless Tags, is part of the Auto ID and Security Growth partnership Service, examines this emerging technology to provide a broad understanding and discusses several Chipless tag type technologies that show potential. It analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of each type and looks at the key and emerging applications that Chipless tags can support. This research service also examines the distinct similarities and differences between Chipless tags and RFID. Interviews with the press are available.

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| RFID | Security | manufacturing |


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