AFTER the massive hype over radio frequency identification (RFID) at the start of the year — when it was tipped to be the next big technology — things have gone rather quiet. Or have they?
Peter Stevens, GS1 NZ chief executive, says several pilot projects are currently underway, including a major retailer, meat processor and a port.
“It hasn’t actually gone quiet but those people testing the technology are keeping quiet about it because it’s a business advantage,” he says.
Stevens says it’s significant that New Zealand has only one signed-up member of the EPC (electronic product code) Global base as that step is only required once the system needs to join the network.
“That means a lot of these pilots are being run internally but once they get to the stage of needing to connect to the global network then you’ll be hearing more about it.”
Stevens stresses that RFID technology is nothing new and has been in use for the last 50 years and it’s the emergence of EPC as a standard that is driving the market.
Meanwhile, Printronix has been evaluating the New Zealand market for its range of thermal printers that print and encode smart tags.
Bruce Wong, ANZ business development manager, says his company has been selling its line matrix and laser printers into New Zealand for the last 20 years but is ready to make the big push into RFID once he signs a distributor.
“Barcode technology and RFID co-exist and our printers can be upgraded at any stage to encompass the technology,” he says.
Wong admits the uptake of RFID is slower than his company had hoped for and believes a lack of standards has been holding back progress.
He says international partnerships with Sun and IBM will see RFID gain traction as those companies begin to sell packages containing software, tags and a printer-in-one kit.