Key to the growth is the falling price of RFID chips, of course. Now that the 1 cent tag is getting close to reality, new applications are already springing up. It might be a year or two before the chips actually hit the 1 cent level but there are already higher-value consumer goods that can benefit from tracking and monitoring. An example is today’s news that British American Tobacco, Gallaher and Imperial Tobacco are to put chips in every packet of cigarettes manufactured in Britain and pay to provide hand-held readers to Customs officers. They reckon that this will cut down on the 2 billion "fake" cigarettes imported into the UK every year.
I’m not against this at all: I think it’s a good thing, provided that I can read the chips on my stuff. More than that, I’d like the more of stuff to have chips in it. As consumer goods become part of the "internet of things", there ought to be significant opportunities for value-added services. As an example, look at the RFID patent granted to Apple. They propose to make setting up wireless networks easier by putting RFID tags into base stations and readers into devices: so instead of messing around trying to figure out what settings you are supposed to be using, you just touch your laptop to the base station and, hey presto, it automagically knows that right configuration. This the kind of thinking I like, and not just because I am inside the Jobs reality distortion field (ie, have an Apple).
These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]