LONDON The DTI is encouraging the establishment of a network of specialist Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology centres to be set up around the country and the national co-ordinating centre will be created and sponsored by Yorkshire Forward.
The DTI has invited AIM UK, the independent industry association representing RFID, bar coding and other automatic identification technologies to lead the initiative, develop the overall strategic plan for the development of the centres and determine the centralised services and deliverables that will be provided by the lead centre.
According to a DTI spokesman, “RFID is the single fastest vendor application sector we have identified by our Innovation and Growth Team. These technologies represent a main chance for UK suppliers and to the whole business community who will use it. We are delighted to see Yorkshire Forward seize and support this key initiative, drawing on the expertise and in collaboration with the automatic identification industry association AIM UK.”
Jim Farmery, Yorkshire Forward's Head of Technology Infrastructure, said, “We are obviously delighted that the DTI have agreed that this 'lead' centre will be located in our region and believe it will offer great add-value opportunities to many of our businesses.”
This centre will initially be housed at the AIM headquarters in Halifax, West Yorkshire and provide advice to companies on next generation technology for real time data tracking.
Plans are also progressing for the establishment of the European Centre of Excellence for AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) which will also be sponsored by Yorkshire Forward and AIM and ultimately house the National RFID Centre.
Main applications for RFID include supply chain logistics; track and traceability; security, ticketing and access control; lifetime item identification; transient carrier labelling; animal and specimen identification; airline baggage handling. It is part of the digital revolution providing a vital platform for identifying and managing items and capturing data.
The global annual market for RFID systems was approximately $1billionn in 2002 with Europe accounting for around 40% of the market and the UK around 25% of the European figure.
However plans by Wal-Mart, owners of Leeds-based Asda, Metro AG and Target along with the US Department of Defense are likely to drive the market growth to more than 30% annually.