While electronic tags might help manufacturers create their own "smart packaging," it looks like this capability might be far off according to an ABI Research study entitled, "Printed Electronics in the RFID Tag Industry".
"Printed electronics -- antennas, transistors and batteries -- could eventually change the dynamics of the RFID industry," says industry analyst Sara Shah. "Applied directly to materials such as corrugated cardboard, they would allow manufacturers and distributors to create their own 'smart packaging' and bypass the whole long RFID tag production chain."
Presently, printed antennas that operate in the HF and UHF bands are available but their ideal market, UHF supply-chain management, is itself growing more slowly than originally expected reports ABI Research.
Printed transistors on the other hand, which only operate with quite low performance in the LF band and conform to no standard, aren't available yet. "When printed transistors arrive in 2008 they won't be able to compete with silicon transistors," says Shah. "With their low frequency operation and incompatibility with existing readers, they will not be suitable for open loop supply chains, until standards emerge for item-level LF tagging."
Looking into the RFID market in 2015, ABI Research says that printed batteries will eventually become part of the market as well, enabling the addition of temperature, humidity and light sensors to RFID tags.
For a copy of the study visit: http://www.abiresearch.com/products/market_research/Printed_Electronics_in_the_RFID_Tag_Industry
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