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RFID Hot Topic At CeBIT

At CeBIT, the world's largest tech and telecoms fair, held this past week in Germany, RFID was a hot topic. Firms from around the world exhibiting at the fair showed how they have been using RFID to increase efficiency.

Metro, Germany's biggest retailer, said it saved 8.5 million euros (US$10.1 million) in its German operations last year by using the technology to track inventory from suppliers and at its flagship Future Store in the town of Rheinberg.

But Gerd Wolfram, head of technology at Metro, admitted mass take-up was still not imminent. "RFID has a long way to go," he said. "This technology will not be introduced today or tomorrow but sometime in the next 10 to 15 years."

In a March 10 Reuters news report, Ian Furlong, manager of Intel's division for Central Europe, said the price of RFID tags was "rapidly falling toward the 5 euro cent mark. As a result, demand from a variety of industries will increase."

Part of the hesitation in Europe is the same as it in the U.S. -- the cost. In Europe it's at the 14 euro cents mark, but needs to move to the 5 euro mark to be attractive to most companies."

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