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RFID Identified as Next Growth Area for Singapore ICT Industry

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has devised a three-year, S$10 million plan to develop Radio Frequency Identification or RFID technology as an engine of growth for Singapore's ICT industry.

Singapore, 5 May 2004 | For Immediate Release

Use of RFID to Make Logistics, Manufacturing and Retail Sectors More Globally Competitive

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has devised a three-year, S$10 million plan to develop Radio Frequency Identification or RFID technology as an engine of growth for Singapore's ICT industry. Under this plan, IDA aims to build five RFID-enabled supply chain clusters by 2006. It will achieve this by bringing together manufacturers, logistics service providers, retailers, infrastructure providers and solutions providers in the high-tech, pharmaceutical and fast moving consumer goods sectors. The adoption of RFID technologies is expected to make these sectors more competitive globally. Announcing this today at a conference on RFID was IDA Chairman Mr Lam Chuan Leong.

"RFID is a process technology that adds strategic value to the manufacturing, logistics, distribution and retail supply chain. Driven by the powerful retail sector's search for efficiency and cost savings, RFID offers competitive advantages in inventory management. It is vital that Singapore positions itself to play a role in developing this technology to maintain our global competitiveness as a key trading hub. If not, we run the risk of being excluded in this market space.", said Mr Lam Chuan Leong.

To help kick-start RFID deployment by companies, IDA has started talks with research institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Auto-ID Labs, who is the pioneer of the Electronic Product Code (ePC) standard, to set up joint research facilities in Singapore. To ensure that there is a ready pool of qualified manpower to work on deployment projects, IDA will be working with education institutes and training providers to develop courses in RFID. Companies that wish to deploy RFID can rely on several world-class technology and solution providers including Stratech, Savi Technology, ST Electronics, UPM Rafsec, Smartag, Infineon and Philips Electronics. IDA will continue to grow this base of solution providers to meet the anticipated demand of user industries. To ensure that our local companies can reap the full benefits of cross-border RFID implementation, IDA will align our radio frequency spectrum and power output limits with international standards to ensure global interoperability.

RFID allows data to be captured remotely via radio waves and stored on electronic tags embedded in products. A reader is then used to retrieve the information. This enables accurate and real-time tracking of inventory by companies throughout an entire supply chain. Unlike barcode scanning, data can be retrieved from the RFID tag without establishing line of sight between the tag and the reader. Typically, information from RFID-tagged cases on a pallet can be read simultaneously using fixed, mobile or handheld readers rather than requiring the scanning of individual bar codes. Better supply chain visibility with the use of RFID also means that loss of inventory will be minimized during shipment. Businesses can also use RFID for better inventory control which reduces excess inventories and frees up capital for other activities.

In recent years, RFID usage has been on the rise due to mounting security concerns. There have even been regulatory actions to mandate the use of RFID. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration has proposed that all drugs that are prone to be counterfeited have to be tracked using RFID by 2007. Suppliers are also facing pressure from customers to use RFID. In the US, Wal-Mart and the Department of Defence have made it mandatory for their top suppliers, who are mainly in Asia, to tag all shipments using RFID by January 2005. Being a key logistics and transshipment hub, Singapore needs to respond swiftly to these developments.

A Singapore RFID Alliance comprising industry and academic representatives will be formed to facilitate dialogue and sharing of best practices in RFID development. IDA has plans to eventually develop this into a regional forum which will initiate cross-border projects. For a start, the local alliance will look into aligning RFID standards used in Singapore with those adopted by other countries. Presentation slides by Mr Lam Chuan Leong and more information on the characteristics of RFID can be found in the Annex.


About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) develops, promotes and regulates info-communications in Singapore, with the aim of establishing Singapore as one of the world's premier infocomm capitals. To nurture an internationally competitive infocomm industry, IDA offers a comprehensive range of programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more information, visit

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Chia Sher Ling (Ms)
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