‘Price is no more an impediment to implementation of RFID



What are the major pain points in the implementation of RFID?
There is a lot of physics involved in the implementation of this technology
and the real learning would be through practical implementation. Practical
implementation of RFID governs its success greatly. There are no fixed rules for
the applications and implementation of RFID. There are many aspects to be
considered, like the product, environment, suitability, etc. For example, the
environment can differ from a hazardous one to the one with a lot of moisture,
and all this can affect RFID implementation.

Are high prices of tags hampering the implementation of RFID?
Initially, the cost of a tag was somewhere between $50-$60. Today, the cost
of tags has come down significantly, and is expected to be available at as low
as twenty cents a tag in bulk. With rates dropping, price is no more an
impediment to RFID implementation. Also, gradually, reusing tags would become
common. This means that a single tag can be used for multiple business
applications. However, I think it would still be early for itemized tagging.

Ravi Mathur, CEO, GS1 India

What is the main reason for the retail sector being an adopter of RFID?
RFID is going to come up in a big way. While many companies have adopted RFID,
many more are experimenting with it. RFID implementation is very exciting in the
retail sector due to its very nature of having a global supply chain. Also, the
formulation of EPC standards has been a major change in this field. The EPC or
Electronic Product Code is a unique identification of objects in the supply
chain. The EPC Gen 2 standards will be very instrumental in the growth of RFID
in India. Tags, readers, software, among others, come under the EPC Gen 2
standards.

How do you see the future of RFID in India in the retail sector?
Globally, RFID has benefited extensively, helping in better decision-making,
reducing shrinkage, inventory management, etc. And there is no doubt about its
future in India. However, the rate and speed at which it is adopted is to be
seen. India has been slow in adopting any new technology. It took almost 15-20
years to adopt the barcode completely. People were apprehensive about various
things; for example, rays would be injurious to health, cost, etc. Today, RFID
is being adopted at a faster rate when compared to barcodes, even though it is a
much more complicated technology. It is a far better situation when compared to
the situation ten years ago. RFID is a very powerful technology, and in the
future, we will increasingly see a mix of barcode and RFID in the retail sector.

Shikha Das
shikhad@cybermedia.co.in

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