Singapore’s S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade, announced the launch of the new National RFID Innovation Platform, a multi-agency initiative to encourage the public and private sectors in Singapore to embark on innovative projects using RFID as a key enabling technology. To spur RFID adoption further, Mr. Iswaran announced that a sum of US$4.5 million has been set aside to co-fund 30 RFID pilot projects in the public and private sectors. This will be administered through the National RFID Innovation Platform between 2008 and 2012. The speech referenced the Chinese investment in RFID when it spent US$1.9 billion on 300 million contactless national identification cards, encouraging singaporeans that the same could be done in Singapore.
Launch of the National RFID platform in Singapore, a speech given by MR S Iswaran, Minister for Trade
1 It gives me great pleasure to launch the National RFID Innovation Platform, a multi-agency initiative to encourage the public and private sectors in Singapore to embark on innovative projects using RFID as a key enabling technology.
Global Adoption of RFID Technology
2 This initiative is apposite, given that the global RFID market is projected to exceed US$6 billion by 2009, a six-fold increase from US$1.1 billion in 2005. Many leading innovative countries in the world are also pressing ahead with the adoption of RFID technology, recognising that it presents opportunities for cost reduction, process innovation, efficiency improvement, and service excellence.
3 In fact, RFID technology is already deployed globally. China became the world’s largest market for RFID by value in 2007 when it spent US$1.9 billion on 300 million contactless national identification cards prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the US, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recommends the adoption of RFID in the pharmaceuticals sector as a strategy to counter drugs counterfeiting.
4 Large-scale retailers around the world are also RFID adopters, with Wal-Mart leading the way. German retailer, METRO Group, is close behind – having equipped close to 200 locations with RFID infrastructure and expecting 650 of its top suppliers to comply and start shipping RFID-tagged products. Another German retailer, Karstadt, is conducting a pilot trial of a large-scale item-level RFID tagging for its 86 department stores and 32 sporting goods stores.
5 Apart from the retail industry, the aviation industry is also embracing RFID technology. There continues to be strong demand for RFID technology by aircraft manufacturers and airlines for a variety of needs. These include parts tracking and maintenance management applications. Boeing, for instance, has identified over 700 maintenance-significant parts of its 787 Dreamliner to be tagged with RFID. This will help to reduce maintenance and inventory costs. Japan’s Fujistu has also announced plans to develop the world’s first 64 kilobtye ultra-high frequency RFID tag for aircraft maintenance applications.
RFID Adoption in Singapore
6 Singapore is staying abreast of these global trends in RFID adoption. With regard to infrastructure, IDA announced the new spectrum allocation and power limits for RFID usage in Singapore in the Ultra High Frequency band in 2004, making Singapore the first country in Asia to do so then.
7 On research and development, ASTAR research institutes have been spurring the further adoption of RFID technology. For instance, ASTAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and SmartID, a local SME, successfully developed an RFID reader module that made the readers much smaller and cheaper. IME has since spun off a company called FeRmi to market the reader chip and support its global reader module partners in the marketplace today.
8 With the establishment of the National RFID Centre in 2006, companies are now able to exploit the full potential of RFID technology and drive nation-wide adoption. Indeed, I am happy to note that both the public and private sectors have made inroads across a range of industries. Let me cite some successful examples.
9 In the public sector, the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority has introduced RFID-enabled passports so that Singaporeans can enjoy faster processing time at the automated passport scanning machines when they travel. The Urban Renewal Authority has introduced RFID-enabled season car park coupons to bring greater convenience to the car owners by removing the need for manual renewal of season parking. The Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force will be using RFID for asset tracking and inventory management. In times of national emergencies, the data contained in the RFID tags will provide crucial information in deciding the use of our critical assets.
10 RFID technology is also gaining broader acceptance in the private sector. In the tourism industry, Underwater World Singapore has started fish tagging to improve visitor experience through an RFID-enabled interactive display system. In the healthcare industry, Tan Tock Seng Hospital has used the technology to track patients for efficient bed management. In manufacturing, Mitsubishi Electric Asia has applied RFID for enhancing warehouse inventory management. In the retail industry, Cold Storage has reported the successful completion of a major RFID pilot trial with its suppliers.
RFID Innovation Platform and New Adoptions
11 These are significant achievements. To spur RFID adoption further, I am pleased to announce that a sum of $4.5 million has been set aside to co-fund 30 RFID pilot projects in the public and private sectors. This will be administered through the National RFID Innovation Platform between 2008 and 2012.
12 I am confident that this platform will stimulate greater applications in advanced RFID technologies through collaboration between industry, A*STAR research institutes and Singapore universities. It is part of our larger objective to expand the RFID industry cluster by growing existing and new home-grown RFID companies, as well as attracting MNCs to be based in Singapore.
13 I am also happy to note that the Singapore Airshow and Exploit Technologies of A*STAR will be signing an agreement on using RFID at the Singapore Airshow today. RFID technology will be able to capture the visitorship pattern of some 40,000 trade visitors during the upcoming Airshow. It is an excellent example of how RFID technology can be adopted by the MICE industry to provide business intelligence to enhance the organisation and operations of conferences and exhibitions.
14As we can all well appreciate, the potential applications for RFID are limited only by our imagination. With the launch of the RFID Innovation Platform today, I am confident that the RFID adoption rate will intensify. With the stage set, I encourage all public and private sector organisations to participate actively in this programme and benefit from the first-mover advantage. Let me close by wishing you all success in your adoption and use of RFID technology. Thank you.