Global RFID in the Cold Chain Part 2: Active vs. Passive Technology & 3 Year Predictions
In the 2nd part of this exclusive interview Nandini Bhattacharya, Senior Research Analyst , Frost & Sullivan, speaks to Cold Chain IQ about the segementation of the global radio frequency identification (RFID) cold chain market, the rise of battery-assisted passive (BAP) technology and her predictions for the next 3 -5 years.
Cold Chain IQ: Your analysis showed that the active RFID segment of the market has the larger share in terms of percentage of sales, but what are your thoughts in terms of how the market will change with regards to active versus passive RFID technology?
N Bhattacharya: Cold chain monitoring is a particular and complex process, so active RFID has been the most preferred technology over the years. In fact it contributes to more than 50% of the total RFID and cold chain market. So that's because active RFID has its own advantages but then the disadvantage of active RFID is it's an extensive technology, and users have always opted for different technological solutions. RTLS is again a good solution for a cold chain, but then RTLS is even more expensive than active RFID.
In cold chain operations in pharmaceutical and healthcare wherein the users, the hospitals, the diagnostic laboratories and the pharmaceutical manufacturers, are actually handling and supporting really critical drugs and vaccines, they are still preferring active RFID and RTLS even though this costs more. But they're actually using this because of the benefits and advantages that active RFID has over passive and battery-assisted passive RFID.
Recently battery-assisted passive, BAP, technology has actually become quite popular. And because of the technological advantages it has over passive RFID and it costs lower than active RFID, so it's, kind of, best of both the worlds. It has better performance than passive RFID and it has a lower cost than active RFID, and that's why people, the end users are preferring it more.
And the BAP technology providers have been able to provide tags and readers that have higher memory, higher read range, faster read rate and better performances in the presence of liquid, metal and concrete, which we all know are being used in cold chain applications. And these tags, the BAP tags also perform extremely well in extreme temperature conditions. So battery-assisted passive is definitely becoming popular and it's going to be a preferred choice for cold chain RFID in the long run. And as more and more technological advances in this field happen, it's forecasted that battery-asset passive is going to be the most preferred technology for cold chain in five to seven years time.
Cold Chain IQ: What are your predictions for the cold chain market in the next three to four years?
N Bhattacharya: Battery-assisted passive technology is going to be a bigger market and although active technology will also be used, battery-assisted passive will dominate. And there is a lot of good potential in Europe and Asia Pacific. In fact emerging economies will increase adoption in the medium. So emerging economies like the BRIC countries and parts of Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, even in the Middle East, parts of Africa, there will be more adoption of RFID in the cold chain.
Government mandates will also keep on driving the market., and food and drug safety will continue to be a primary concerns. Also consumers are getting more aware of the food and drug safety and technological innovations will drive the market.
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