The global market for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies is expected to reach $38.0 billion (over €35 billion) by 2021, up from $16.2 billion (€15 billion) in 2016, according to Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy Emmanuel Mallia.
Addressing a national RFID conference, organised by HandsOn Systems, on Wednesday, 19 April, 2017, at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Floriana, Dr Mallia said this represented a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6%.
“RFID is fast emerging into ubiquitous computing systems. The applications are limited only by people’s imagination,” he said, adding that apparel, aerospace, defence, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical companies are looking to use RFID technology to track goods within their supply chains.
Healthcare providers, energy producers and construction companies are using active RFID to track large equipment tolls and vehicles. Most common are payment systems, access control, asset tracking, and verification of counterfeited products.
Dr Mallia said the RFID conference, titled The future is now…, coincides with the upcoming EU Digital Assembly, the European Commission’s flagship policy event in June. “Witnessing the developments on better access to digital goods and services, the provision of a better environment for digital services to flourish and the creation of a Digital Economy and Society, present an exciting future,” he said.
“Nevertheless, I have no doubt that in June the key European digital policy stakeholders will be profoundly analysing the challenges and opportunities arising from the revamped Internet of Things (IOT)”, with much work needing to be done to counter the possibility of impersonation, identity theft, hacking and cyber threats.
“The need for a comprehensive strategic approach will certainly be in order,” Dr Mallia affirmed. “This year’s theme, ‘Digital Europe – Investing in the Future’, will, by virtue of Malta EU’s Presidency, give us an even more effective role to focus on the global nature of the transformation towards a digital economy and society, whereby our pole position standing in the digital world will be strengthened as we offer a better Europe.”
Concluding. Dr Mallia said: “In this era of unprecedented technological innovation, the intensifying march of digitisation, the rapid advance of robotics and artificial intelligence systems – which intrinsically change how humans move and communicate – new limits are being explored. As we exploit the ensuing benefits in all realms of life, from science to education to economics to daily living, we are able to apply with success, satisfaction and pride our ‘dynamic can do society’ mantra.”
Two foreign guest speakers, Guido Kuhrmann, Sales Director, HID Identification Technologies, and Stephen Crocker, Director, Sales/Channels EMEA and India, Alien® Technology LLC, also addressed the conference.
Mr Kuhrmann outlined the plethora of RFID devices his company produces and how they are put to use in various industries. Mr Crocker, whose company has been in business for over 20 years and has over 1,500 corporate customers, spoke of the global open protocol that enables RFID products to communicate wherever they are around the world.
While HID has a focus on the higher end of the value chain, Alien® Technology goes for volume and, often, disposability.
HandsOn Systems CEO Geoffrey Farrugia then conducted an interesting Q&A session, inviting clients to present their experiences and act as testimonials to the wide use of RFID technology even in Malta.
He invited participants to visit the Demo Lab that has been set up at the HandsOn Systems offices and the conference came to a successful conclusion with a practical demonstration of the use of this cutting-edge technology, which is fully supported locally by the company.
HandsOn Systems Chairman Anthony De Bono expressed great satisfaction and pride in the way that the company, supported by its dynamic team led by Mr Farrugia, is evolving into the leading telematics company on the Maltese Islands. “Just as I, in my role as CEO of Malta’s telecommunications service provider, played a determining role in projecting Malta as a leading ICT nation in the European Union, I am confident that HandsOn Systems will be the nation’s flagbearer in the rapidly developing Internet of Things (IOT) virtual universe,” Mr De Bono said.