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RFID, barcode tech to see rapid growth

An iPad is used to scan and pay using a cell phone to transfer Bitcoins for purchase on Jan. 2014.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Radio frequency identification (RFID), GPS, and other wireless technologies are growing in demand because of their ability to provide a more accurate and efficient asset management system, according to the CEO of Saleem Technologies. The Perth, Australia-based company provides high-end enterprise solutions for material control, quality control, progress control and time control systems.

"Asset tracking and control is a rapidly changing field with new technology and innovations being utilized in the last decade," says Kashif Saleem in a recent interview. "Previously, projects utilized labor-intensive manual processed to track assets, which ultimately were susceptible to higher supply chain costs due to inefficient techniques and potential for human error."

Resource Management

These tracking technologies are used along with sophisticated software and mobile apps that enable businesses to accurately and efficiently manage their resources. These resources include work teams, fixed assets, inventory, and shipped goods in transit.

The RFID market is expected to triple in size by 2020, growing to $23.4 billion from a $7.88 billion market in 2013, according to IDTechEx Research, a market research firm.

Smart tags are also resulting in integration between asset tracking and material control. Material control is the function responsible for providing the right amount and quality of material at the right time.

"The demand is definitely increasing," says Saleem. "Previously asset tracking and material control were segregated functions but now there is greater emphasis on the interaction and integration between asset tracking and asset control."

There are different RFID systems and each has different rates of growth. As a whole, the RFID market is expected to reach $9.2 billion in 2014.

Growing Demand for Tracking Tech

Managers want to improve visibilities of assets in the supply chain, and reduce loss of goods. That results in growing demand for RFID and GPS tech.

Secondly, the cost for such hardware and software is reducing and becoming more affordable.

"We are entering a period of very strong growth in RFID overall," said Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, in a March 2014 interview with Modern Materials Handling. "By the beginning of 2014, 26 billion RFID tags had been sold and of that six billion alone were sold in 2013."

Streamline Processes

Companies want to "streamline business processes having to do with assets," says Saleem, which results in simpler activities and reduced operating costs. Additionally, advanced wireless technologies are easier to integrate with ERP software and mobile apps.

In particular, RFID and GPS tech are the fastest growing, and the industry might see some advances in Bluetooth technology for asset tracking.

As the cost of such technologies continue to decrease, more industries are likely to adopt newer applications of tracking devices.

"New areas are consumer goods and appliances," says Saleem, such as foods (pre-packed meals), clothing, airline, currency, people tracking, and healthcare. According to IDTechEx, RFID has penetrated only 7 percent of the addressable apparel market.

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