Interview about the RFID Industry with RFID Canada
1. Brief Company Profile
RFID Canada is a leading Canadian high tech company with 15 plus years of experience in the RFID industry and with 24 plus years in the AIDC – automatic identification data capture industry.
The success of RFID Canada has been in its ability to identify and develop solutions in partnership with some of the most innovative cross-sector companies that provide solutions to specific vertical markets.
RFID Canada is a technology provider. Products include all Passive frequencies – Low (LF), High (HF) and Ultra High (UHF) as well as Active frequency. RFID Canada is the Canadian distributor for Texas Instruments, Feig Electronic and Agrident.
We provide the RFID components to companies such as software providers, engineering firms, automation companies and system integrators.
In essence, RFID Canada provides the vital foundation to any RFID-based system due to its fundamental understanding of the physics of RFID and as such, has successfully provided and implemented over 200 systems globally. An RFID system is only as successful as how well the tags and readers consistently communicate. RFID Canada provides the knowledge, experience and the product that will best suit the application and the environment. Whether the product is off the shelf, custom or a combination of the two, a solution that performs consistently is always the target and hitting the bulls-eye is what RFID Canada does best.
Successful application implementations have been in animal identification, document tracking, traceability, asset tracking, work-in-progress, stock replenishment, personal identification and sporting events in a wide range of industries including Agriculture, Manufacturing, Transportation, Supply Chain and Distribution, Retail, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Libraries, Government and many others.
Providing the right technology by working with key business partners to ensure the end-user achieves a competitive advantage within an ever-changing, demanding global economy is what RFID Canada prides itself in.
2. When was your company founded and what is the approximate employee size?
Founded in 1987, RFID Canada is a Canadian company and has its corporate offices in Markham, ON, known as Canada’s high tech capital. The company is comprised of the following key areas: R & D, Engineering, Distribution, Business Development, Service and Support.
3. What are some major challenges that RFID technology will be able to address in the near future?
As any technology that continues to move forward within the marketplace, we are seeing challenges as well as incremental strides taking place where RFID is concerned. These strides have now begun to translate into consumer mainstream usage. The challenges of understanding the technology are still somewhat present in certain industries and in certain geographic areas of the world. As an example, North America is still somewhat considered a barcode based tracking market however there are certain industries within North America that have and are adopting RFID simply because there is a better understanding of the offerings of the technology and thus a better understanding of the associated ROI. Challenges have not totally disappeared, are still somewhat present, however they are being addressed and resolved. With international standards now playing a more prominent role and being a criterion for adoption, this will help stimulate interest and adoption. At present, at least in North America, a knowledgeable, experienced workforce with RFID understanding and experience is still lagging behind compared to other global areas such as Europe in which adoption and implementation is at least 5+ years ahead of North America. The features of the technology continue to improve, be more powerful and as a result, are also a little more competitively priced. In addition, with the introduction of cellular-based RFID phones and sensor-based technology, this will fuel the development of applications and solutions. In the near future, RFID will be a key component to all programs and systems being developed and implemented.
4. Where are we in the life cycle of RFID investing and development?
There is a sense of optimism with the future of RFID in Canada within the next few years. With the deployment of the technology in key sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, retail and with RFID-based personal identification, the potential is limitless and everyone will be touching the technology on a daily basis. The continued implementation of international standards, improved tag data yields and memory, better conversion of labels, as well as a better prepared workforce, especially in North America, will translate into a better understanding of the technology and thus, increased implementations. Currently, across Canada, there are post-secondary institutions that have adopted RFID technology into their course studies and curriculum in certain disciplines and if Canada is to be a leader in RFID and RFID solutions, Canada needs to be involved, innovative and needs to invest in the technology. Taking the innovation leap is the driving force. The market and business studies, analysis and reports indicate the industry to have good growth potential in the next few years. Perhaps the projected timelines expectations of certain markets and global geographical implementations may or may not meet the expert market analysts’ forecasts, one thing is certain and that is that RFID will in due course, be part of our everyday life.
5. Do you see any specific industries or geographic markets that will propel demand in RFID technology over the next 3 years?
In terms of industries, we envision attractive growth in sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, retail. These sectors indicate a continued commitment in areas such as stock replenishment, asset management, inventory control, personal identification, work-in-progress, item level identification, payment transactions, etc. Europe will continue to be at the forefront however Asia will not be far behind and North America will continue to make strides in adopting the technology.
6. How do you see the entire RFID market shaking out over the next few years? How big is the market opportunity?
Sensor-based RFID and RFID technology in mobile phones will be the next “game changer” or evolution in RFID.
The demand of RFID in a multitude of industries and applications will continue to grow significantly with the latest deployment of an RFID technology-based system called NFC – Near Field Communication, which can be considered as a next evolution to RFID. NFC has its roots from RFID. NFC is designed for simple transactions, data exchange and wireless connection between two devices in very close proximity to each other of no more than a few centimetres, thus the name “near field communication”. We are seeing NFC being piloted and in some cases, implemented globally in applications such as personal identification, payment by smart phone, field service, ticketing, public transportation, loyalty programs, national health insurance card, access control, smart poster, mobile payment, cross border services, etc. Financial institutions and credit card companies are working with mobile phone manufacturers to incorporate NFC capabilities to its product offerings for their customers. NFC trials as well as full deployments are taking place in a multitude of geographic markets, from Europe, to Asia, to North America and more.
The integration of sensor-based technology and RFID will fuel a whole new market…will create new developments that will generate new applications for new industries, especially in healthcare, transportation, automotive, logistics and retail sectors.