Reflections on RFID’s Accelerated Adoption and Anticipation for a Transformative 2024

Michael Fein

Director of Product Management, RFID, and Advanced Location Technology, Zebra Technologies Corporation

2023 was not just another year of RFID growth. In our view it marks the begging of a new, accelerating phase of adoption. We saw milestone deployments from several blue-chip organizations in key verticals. With tag silicon supply challenges squarely in the rear-view mirror, use-case expansion and innovation returned. A major T&L carrier deployed RFID across their full network for package-level visibility. In retail, adoption of RFID for apparel inventory continued to expand and a major retailer expanded source tagging to include general merchandise. In food and restaurant, a major chain began requiring suppliers to source tag fresh foods and we’re seeing initial adoption of the new GS1 DSGTIN+ that includes important date and lot traceability data within the tag data. As demand for visibility grows – for items, packages, cases, pallets, containers, assets, etc. – it will take all of us in AIDC to continue to partner and collaborate.

It’s hard to believe that 2024 will mark 20 years since GS1’s first publication of the EPC “Gen2” protocol. While no longer a “new” technology, there’s so much innovation in use cases, readers, tags, data standards, software solutions, etc. — that RFID is entering a modern era. A new stage of growth lies ahead of us where RFID will become even more ubiquitous and impactful to the world than was envisioned nearly 20 years ago. I hope that all AIM members share Zebra’s excitement about the opportunity ahead!