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RFID applications, impacts and country initiatives, Verena Weber, Graham Vickery

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is currently one of the most promising and discussed auto-identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies. Although it is not a new technology, the range of applications is broadening rapidly and new applications which integrate other technologies such as sensors are developing. Eight major fields of application are analysed in this study, comprising: i) asset utilisation, where mobile assets are tagged for their use along the supply chain; ii) asset monitoring and maintenance, where mostly fixed and high value assets are tagged to store information, e.g. for maintenance purposes; iii) item flow control in processes, where RFID tags are attached to items which are moving along the supply chain; iv) inventory audit, for example in warehouses where pallets are tagged to improve the speed and efficiency of stock taking; v) theft control; vi) authentication to provide secure identification mechanisms for persons and objects; vii) payment systems to secure transactions; viii) automatic display of information where items are tagged to provide additional information on products and services when read. It is difficult to quantify the impact of the technology, in part because most RFID applications are recent. Market analysis shows rapidly growing markets for RFID systems and, apart from very detailed mainly qualitative evaluations of particular applications, there are few aggregate impact studies. Available aggregate studies show large impacts in terms of benefit/cost ratios and productivity gains; however calculations are based largely on current good practice case studies, leading to a potential overestimation of aggregate benefits. Country initiatives are divided into three main categories: i) the use of RFID by the public sector; ii) information, awareness and education programmes; and iii) incentives for business R&D and public funding of projects. The review of initiatives draws largely on replies to the Information Technology Outlook 2008 policy questionnaire. This review suggests that government support for RFID technologies is focused on government applications for own use, often with a large demonstration component, and supporting multi-stakeholder projects to meet technological and industry needs, often to develop new technologies or applications. There are potentially large gains in innovation and efficiency from more widespread applications. Due to technological and business uncertainties education and awareness activities could be further emphasised, particularly for small businesses and more advanced applications where potential impacts are high, for example, those involving sensors
Literary Form
non fiction
This report was presented to the Working Party on the Information Economy at its meeting in December 2007 as part of its work for the 2008 Seoul Ministerial on The Future of the Internet Economy. It was recommended to be made public by the Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy in March 2008. The report was prepared by Verena Weber, consultant, in conjunction with Graham Vickery, OECD Secretariat, as part of work on the economic and social impacts of ICTs and new technologies. It is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD
Physical Description
1 online resource (27 p)

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