It appears that item-level tagging is about to explode. Once considered too expensive to gain widespread acceptance, item-level tagging—the practice of attaching RFID tags to individual items like books, sweaters or machine parts—is on track to become the largest sector within the world RFID market, according to a new report from global research firm IDTechEx.
The report predicts that item-level RFID tagging will expand from a $160 million market this year to $13 billion in 2016 for systems and tags. In 2006, 200 million items will be tagged worldwide. By 2016, 550 billion items may carry RFID tags, according to the report.
While both RF and UHF technology are used for item-level tagging today, near field UHF will become dominant within five years, the report predicts. By 2016, a significant amount of item-level RFID tagging will be done by direct printing as opposed to a silicon chip.
Though the average price per tag in 2016 is expected to be just under one cent, prices will range from 0.1 cent for primitive ink stripes and thin film transistor circuits, to $8 or more for tags used for aircraft parts and other high specification military applications.