Wireless Sensor Networks and RFID in Asia
Governments in Asia have been strongly advocating RFID in all its forms—from passive RFID tags to tags with a battery or energy harvester that can be used to create Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), including mesh networks.
China will eventually become the biggest market for RFID. Indicators of this are as follows: In the last two years most new RFID manufacture capacity has been installed in China; the Chinese Government is a strong advocate for RFID, and has the power to mandate companies to use it. China has already executed the largest RFID order by value (over one billion national identification cards for adults—six billion US dollars including systems) and has a policy of making its own requirements throughout the RFID value chain. Most products will be source tagged, and because China is one of the largest exporters the tags will be supplied there. Many companies in the West are manufacturing passive tags in Asia today. In addition, Chinese companies such as Invengo are now successful global providers of RFID hardware.
Tags with batteries—known as Active RFID—are used for longer read range applications and where more functionality is required, such as multiple sensor inputs. The fastest areas of growth are Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). The US is most active, followed by Korea. Only Korea has a nationally coordinated program directed at the future of WSN. East Asia will become a more important territory for WSN in the years to come, with Japan and Hong Kong using wireless sensors today to monitor pollution from traffic.
For mesh (self-organizing, self-healing) networks alone, applications have started with killer applications such as meter reading in buildings, growing to include automatically anticipating and monitoring forest fires, avalanches, hurricanes, failure of country wide utility equipment, traffic, hospitals and much more over wide areas. The market for this alone will grow rapidly from $0.48 B in 2010 to $2.75 B in 2020. Companies such as EnOcean and Dust Networks will present case studies and the huge savings that have been made by deploying wireless sensors.