RFID gathering pace

But even among those industries that have the most to gain from RFID, most firms haven't started rolling out the tracking technology

Western Europe is still cool on the deployment of RFID but the technology is gathering pace in many vertical industries, analysts have found.

According to a report by research firm IDC, some 12 percent of manufacturing, retail/wholesale and logistics companies in western Europe are rolling out the tracking technology, while another five percent are piloting it.

While the usual suspects are putting people off — a third of companies are citing the thorny issue of ROI as a reason not to get involved — analysts are predicting RFID rollouts will continue to grow in a number of vertical markets.

One industry likely to be at the forefront of RFID adoption is healthcare, where traceability can be facilitated by RFID tags. Spending on RFID in the healthcare sector is expected to reach $2.3bn (£1.3bn) by 2011.

Opinions evidently remain divided on the technology's short-term future. Another recent study by analyst house Regan, Jacob and Stanley, however, described the global RFID market as mature and likely to see the emergence of item-level tagging this year.