RFID in India

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is here to stay. The bulk of the RFID applications are in the area of Supply Chain Management (SCM); Wal-Mart is driving the adoption of this technology in Retail. Other current applications include Passports (USA, Pakistan, and New Zealand), pet animals, automobile keys (Toyota Piris), and drugs. The standards are still emerging. Infosys & Wipro have Centers of Excellence in RFID. Prof Sanjay Sharma of MIT Auto ID Center, who spearheaded the drive to reduce costs of “RFID tag” from $ 2.50 to $ 0.05 (expected by 2007 when the adoption reaches 33 Billion a year from the current 1.5 Billion), has been visiting Indian IT companies.

It was heartening to find professionals from IBM, HP, Microsoft, Rockwell, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, Bartronics, Gemini Communications, PCS, Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors, and Professors from IIMB & IIIT-B making presentations and participants from Amara Raja, Audco, Britannia Industries, Cognizant, Excel India, Geo Logistics, Infosys, ITC, Kurl-on, L & T, MICO, Ramco, Reliance Logistics, Satyam, Shoppers Stop, STPI, Southern Railway, Sundaram Clayton, TAFE, TNPL, Visteon, Wipro Peripherals and Wheels India attending the 2-day conference.

It is time we get a working group to address the standards issues (participating in evolving standards), seeding of national level projects, documentation of Indian success stories, engaging with the governments (particularly on standards issues) and evangelization of this technology for the benefit of Indian industries.

May be CII can take the lead; Infosys & Wipro in IT Services, Ashok Leyland & Tata Motors in Auto industry and Stoppers Shop in retail could be the initial anchor companies. Any takers?

(Keynote Address at CII National Conference on RFID Technology, Chennai, January 23-24, 2006)

One Response to “RFID in India”

  1. shashank shekhar Says:


    RFID has been the touted as the panacea of supply chain, inventory management and tracking woes for quite some time now. Large retailers like Wal-Mart claim to have achieved higher levels of efficiency post RFID implementation. New solutions and integration with ERP are being offered by IT Majors, while the cost of equipment continues downhill. However the acceptance of RFID technology has not spread like the wildfire it was predicted to be. Different standards, Privacy issues, Equipment costs and ROI are some of the divides yet to be bridged.

    How do we build a framework to measure ROI ? Would operational efficiency in the back-end supply chain be enough to level off the costs of IT spend?

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