The value of sales of active radio frequency identification (RFID) systems will grow rapidly to $6.78 billion in 2016, according to a report from analysts IDTechEx, titled Active RFID 2006–2016. The primary factors creating this growth will be real-time locating systems (RTLS) and disposable RFID sensor systems, including ones in the form of smart active labels. The IDTechEx forecast states this rapid growth is due to four major factors.

The first is the much stronger market demand for tracking, locating and monitoring people and things. This is driven by security, safety, cost and customer satisfaction. Important factors are increased competition in consumer goods, the new terrorism, threatened epidemics of disease, coping with increasing numbers of elderly people and consumers demanding better service.

The second driver is the reduction of cost and size of the tags and systems. With lower power circuits, button batteries are now adequate for most applications and even printed batteries are gaining a place. In the future, miniature fuel cells, printed photovoltaics—including the new power source photocapacitors—and other sources will have a place.

Third, open standards are becoming available—notably the new ISO 18000 EPC Types 3 and 4, and IEEE 802.15.4. IDTechEx has seen development of companies leveraging many newly popular forms of short-range wireless communication, particularly Wi-Fi and ZigBee.