Radio Frequency ID Standard Too Expensive?
by Bill Glover
Related link: http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/1269/1/1/
The latest edition of RFID Journal includes an article on the much anticipated Generation 2 standard of the Electronic Product Code specification. This specification may influence the way we build applications as diverse as tracking pallets for Wal*Mart, and how we monitor the location of Alzheimer's patients in the hospital.
One of the things driving interest in RFID in recent months is the reduction in cost of tags. RFID has been around since World War II, but, until recently, the cost of the tags was too great to use for anything much less expensive than a train car or automobile (think express toll tags). Recent advances have produced tags for as little as $0.08 USD each and has opened up a huge number of applications. Now, an organization which represents the same partners who manage barcode standards has proposed a new Electronic Product Code standard which may possibly be encumbered by patent licensing fees. Will this drive up the cost of tags? Could this delay or even stall adoption of RFID in the field?
What do you think?
Competing Patents and Standards
EPC will only be accepted as a standard, in the long run, if it is price-competitive against alternatives. The whole world will be going to RFID in time, and if patent revenues exceed the cost of a patent-avoiding redesign for a given region, then companies serving that region will seek alternatives. Those alternatives represent a major competitive threat to the patent-gouging companies; low price units eventually replace high price units.