The expansion of the healthcare industry in itself will present an enormous growth opportunity for the global radiofrequency identification market, says Transparency Market Research in its latest report. The business intelligence firm's study, titled ''Radiofrequency Identification (RFID) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020," states that the market will log a healthy CAGR of 13.90% from 2014 through 2020. Growing at this rate, the market will rise from its 2013 valuation of US$1.9 bn to reach US$5.3 bn by 2020.
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One of the most commonly used wireless communication technologies today, RFID finds wide-ranging applications that are not limited to a particular industry. In the healthcare sector, specifically, the uses of RFID range from counterfeit drug tracking to equipment and patient identification to monitoring blood transfer and other critical functions in the supply chain.
The report segments the global RFID market in healthcare based on component type into RFID tags, RFID readers, RFID printers, RFID cabinets, and RFID middleware. By application, the market is segmented into: medicine tracking, supply chain, people identification and tracking, equipment tracking, and medical report, samples and blood transfer tracking. Likewise, by geography, the market is segmented into: Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World.
However, the adoption as RFID as a monitoring and tracking tool in the healthcare industry hasn't been especially encouraging in the recent past because barcodes have already established themselves as the preferred method for this very purpose. Companies offering RFID products and solutions to the healthcare sector, will, thus face tough competition from barcode technology in the coming years. The report's authors, however, state that despite these hurdles, there is now heightened awareness about the long term benefits of RFID, which include cost savings, improved accuracy, and enhanced automation. These factors will see entities in the healthcare sector adopt radiofrequency identification, more so in mature markets.
With a massive number of low-cost RFID component manufacturers in China, the country has been at the forefront of the UHF and HF tag supply, making it difficult for other suppliers in North America and Europe to compete aggressively. This situation is further compounded in regions such as Europe that are still reeling from a recent economic crisis, which has prompted hospitals to adopt cost-saving measures. The scenario in Asia Pacific is different in that there is a massive scope for the deployment of radiofrequency identification devices, but smaller hospitals in Asia Pacific and Rest of the World consider RFID as an excessive tool.
Nevertheless, TMR's report notes that the next few years will see an increased deployment of RFID in asset tracking applications in the healthcare sector. With a number of small and mid-size hospitals facing losses due to equipment theft, RFID tracking equipment will see increased adoption. The deployment of RFID modules will thus create demand largely from tier-1 and tier-2 hospitals.
The global RFID market is characterized by a high degree of fragmentation, but is now moving toward a more consolidated state as a result of several recent acquisitions and takeovers. Honeywell's takeover of Intermec and Zebra Technology's acquisition of Motorola Solutions are the most notable examples of consolidation changing the market's landscape.
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