Deloitte has predicted that 2005 will be the year that RFID makes it "out of the lab and into the commercial world".
The company's Technology, Media and Telecommunications Group has released a series of predictions for the global telecommunications industry in 2005.
Deloitte argued that the combined influence of organisations such as major retail chains, defence contractors and auto manufacturers, would prompt a massive increase in RFID adoption.
"By the end of the year, billions of RFID tags will have been commissioned," according to a statement from Deloitte. "RFID is not just a replacement for barcode; it is a transformational technology that can help reduce waste, curtail theft, manage inventory, streamline logistics and even increase productivity."
Deloitte anticipates that collecting, collating and presenting RFID data will become a sizeable industry. "RFID readers and other hardware will also represent a very healthy market. RFID applications will also be used in healthcare (for monitoring patients), construction (for managing projects and equipment), and even transportation (for monitoring baggage and passengers in airports)," it stated.
Among Deloitte's other predictions was that broadband would continue to proliferate, and that this would be fuelled by technology developments that drive demand for bandwidth. However, Grant Hyde, regional leader for telecommunications at Deloitte in Asia Pacific, also predicted that profitability would decline.
"Wireless technologies will exhibit a similar pattern, with Wi-Fi hotspots and WiMAX making more headlines than money," he said. "The industry’s future success will hinge on reinvigorating demand for fixed-line connectivity by providing bundles of converged services; making fixed-line handsets more powerful and convenient to use; and accelerating deployment of fibre-to-the-home.”
“Fixed operators will continue to reap the benefits of superior voice quality and reliability in 2005, generating billions of profitable voice minutes over the course of the year," Hyde said. "However, they will face increasing challenges from low-cost operators, mobile operators and Voice over IP."