Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

RFID:: New “Killer Application” in the ICT World, New Big Brother, or Both?

Franklin Dehousse
Tania Zgajewski
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2009
Published by: Egmont Institute
Pages: 47
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-4)
    Franklin Dehousse and Tania Zgajewski

    RFID (“Radio-Frequency Identification”) is a new telecommunications service that has received a lot of attention in the last years, due to its growing use¹. Though it is based on a rather old technology (the Radar), a progressive rise in quality and decrease in price seem to have opened a lot of new opportunities. It has been estimated that this market could reach the world value of 30 billion euro in 2015. In 2007, its value was already estimated at 5 billion dollars. Worldwide sales of RFID tags reached approximately 2.16 billion in 2008, a substantial increase from the year before....

  2. (pp. 5-12)

    The acronym “RFID” stands for “Radio-Frequency Identification” (in French “identification par radio fréquence (IRF)”). This technology, thanks to radio waves, allows without physical or visual contact to identify everything (objects or animals or persons) in order to track, trace and locate it anywhere. Basically, RFID is a system based on chips that communicate through radiofrequencies.

    This technology is not new and is partly linked to the development of radar. 0riginally, it was used for military purposes. It allowed during the Second World War to distinguish friendly ships and planes from enemy ships and planes. This system was called “Identify friend...

  3. (pp. 13-20)

    Though RFID systems are already deployed in various areas, recent trends indicate that the market of RFID technology will be booming in the next decade. The RFID technology offers a huge potential. It can radically change the way in which business processes are designed and executed. This means that it is potentially a very disruptive technology – probably as disruptive as the barcode was 30 years ago. Introducing a disruptive change into any organization is challenging. The larger that organization is, the harder that change is likely to be. This said, a wider take-up of RFID technology in the mass...

  4. (pp. 21-26)

    RFID technology can provide useful services and can offer through them a lot of benefits to economic operators but also to citizens. However, it also raises worries. This was clearly indicated by the reactions to the European Commission 2006 consultation document. As a first step in this consultation, the Commission organised five workshops. They were based on five background papers28 and covered an overview of the technological state of RFID development, the economic and societal rationale for different RFID applications, RFID security, data protection and privacy, health and safety issues, RFID interoperability, standardisation, governance and Intellectual Property Rights, and frequency...

  5. (pp. 27-40)

    The European legislation remains in line with international rules or standards. The latter are mentioned here when it seems necessary to understand the EU legislation.

    The widespread adoption of RFID technologies depends on timely availability of Radio Spectrum in adequate quantity, suitable frequencies and bandwidth, and harmonization at global and European levels.

    High frequencies, and especially UHF, are very important for the RFID development. Though they are more easily interrupted, such communications allow an extended read range, and this is essential for many applications in logistics and distribution. The band 840-960 MHz is essential for the development of logistical applications....

  6. (pp. 41-42)

    The European RFID regulatory environment supporting European companies in their investment efforts to deploy RFID technology as well as the general public in its call for protection of personal data and privacy, health and so on is not very consistent as we have seen. For that reason, the Commission has established an ambitious calendar for the creation of a regulatory environment that encourages the use of the RFID technology in Europe, guaranteeing at the same time the protection of personal data, effective safeguards for health and fundamental values.

    In a first phase, the Commission has organized five workshops to evaluate...

  7. (pp. 43-43)

    Is RFID the new ICT “killer application” or the new “big brother” (though maybe the too small brother could seem more accurate?). RFID is in any case an old technology, which, thanks to its rising efficiency and diminishing costs, offers now many new perspectives. Its deployment during the last years has been impressive, though it has also revealed the existence of substantial technical and regulatory problems. Its deployment during the next years should be impressive, though probably not as much as various stakeholders have promised.

    Enterprises must be careful to assess correctly and reasonably the productivity potential, the required technologies,...