AutoID & Data Capture Blog

Barcode and RFID Come Together in 2011

2010 turned out to be a banner year for both technologies. Barcode rebounded strongly from a very challenging 2009, exhibiting double-digit growth in 2010 in what is perceived to be a restocking year, although it is expected to return to historical growth rates (5-10%) rapidly. And although barcode is a mature and deeply penetrated technology, it still has significant potential as it continues to migrate from compliance applications to processes at the core of an enterprise, leveraging imaging and mobility to extend its value propositions along the way.

We confirmed what most of you expected—RFID grew at an unprecedented rate in 2010. Item-level tracking in retail, limited use ticketing in mass transit, contactless payment, asset tracking, AVI...the list of high growth applications is long. And it appears that this is only the beginning. 2011 looks like it will be another decent year, with continued scaling, solution expansion, deeper integration and further penetration throughout the value chain. In addition, we expect an increase in adoption among new accounts starting in 2012 as RFID's value proposition becomes more justifiable to a broader market.

As we discussed these two technologies, an underlying theme kept emerging: convergence.

Barcode is, without question, the dominant track and trace technology on the planet. RFID on the other hand, is an emerging solution that, when paired with barcode technologies, can provide the end user with significant incremental benefits. Together, these two technologies allow for enhanced supply chain visibility, enabling deploying enterprises to maximize the value derived from their legacy AIDC investments. We expect this convergence to continue, driven by the following factors:

  • The need to capture more information about materials, their location, condition and use
  • The desire to capture and convey this information faster
  • The ability to aggregate this information with other data to create business intelligence, and ultimately device competitive advantage