While 2020 will be remembered as the year we all worked from home, 2021 promises a return to productivity with workplaces reopening and authentication technologies shifting to meet new demands.

Throughout 2020, emerging trends in technology have ranged from the increasing cost of data breaches to the explosive growth in multi-factor authentication in healthcare, enterprise, education and manufacturing. Last year, for example, IBM Security reported that the global average total cost of a data breach was $3.86 million (USD). In healthcare, the average cost of a breach was particularly steep at $7.13 million.1

In 2021, a few new topics are also relevant. Here are five key office technology trends of particular interest to professionals in the RFID industry.

Trend #1: Biometric Security is Everywhere

As multi-factor authentication becomes ubiquitous (including smartphone-based biometrics), biometric readers will continue to impact business, too. In the retail industry alone, Visa reports biometric security will be used for more than 18 billion transactions by the end of 2021, a growth rate of 83.7% since 2016.2 In fact, smartphone payment transactions worldwide that incorporate a biometric verification will exceed $210 billion.3

In the business world, a recent study suggests that 90% of organizations are already using some form of biometrics.3 The reasons are clear.
Biometric authentication offers a higher level of security because it eliminates PINs and passwords that are easy to steal or hack. And biometric authentication is more user friendly because there’s no need to remember any passwords or, in some cases, carry a physical card.

Biometric technologies also allow companies to deliver the same authentication process across all secure devices, with employee biometric data stored securely in the cloud. It’s yet another way IT security teams can prevent costly breaches while maintaining centralized control of data.

Trend #2: Focus on Post-Pandemic Productivity

As employees head back to the workplace after 2020, new hygienic protocols await. Contactless authentication solutions allow users to maintain their productivity—and health—in the post-pandemic environment. Mobile solutions that integrate Bluetooth® technology, for example, enable users to use their own smartphone for secure access with less touch.

For network-connected
multifunction printers, secure, touch-free readers enable smart cards and mobile devices to protect printer and network data while reducing the spread of germs. In fact, many organizations will use contactless printing technologies as an integral part of their contact tracing processes. Understanding who uses the on-premise printers is a big step forward in protecting employees, vendors and visitors.

Trend #3: Customized Credentials

As healthcare organizations and enterprises worldwide move away from PINs and passwords, they are shifting to emerging Identity Access Management (IAM) solutions including passwordless authentication through FIDO2® (Fast Identity Online ) and highly secure smartcard such as MIFARE® DESFire EV1/EV2/EV3 and LEGIC®. These types of solutions are at the forefront of RFID future trends and reduce the potential of data breaches while saving countless hours in productivity by eliminating manual password entry.

To incorporate these new customized capabilities, OEMs are turning to WAVE ID® readers by rf IDEAS® that are compatible with these new secure credential types. These state-of-the-art readers are designed in a wide array of form factors, and they all afford simple setup and the most advanced level of card-to-reader security.

Trend #4: Mobility Has Momentum

According to estimates, more than 93% of Americans rely on smartphones every day. Gartner notes that one in five organizations now implement mobile credentials in the workplace. The flexibility, accessibility and scalability of these devices—not to mention the contactless authentication they offer—mean smartphones will continue to thrive as the tool of choice for secure access worldwide.

As users grow more comfortable using smartphones for secure productivity, organizations are more interested in tailoring technologies to fit their unique needs. This includes mobile credentials and  
smartphone biometric authentication, as we’ve seen. These companies are increasingly relying on technology providers like rf IDEAS who deliver one-stop simplicity along with a high degree of consultative support to keep them on top of the changing mobility demands of their workforce.

Trend #5: RFID Grows

With workplaces coming back to life and mobility at the heart of secure authentication, the overall RFID market is poised for ongoing growth. In fact, a recent market study by Technavio projects the global RFID market to grow at $15.84 billion (USD) in 2021. And rf IDEAS data shows that the global contactless smart card market is expected to grow at a compound growth rate of 18% through 2027.

While this is great news for the industry at large, this explosive growth may lead to new and untested technology providers entering the RFID market. As organizations make secure, contactless technology a key priority for 2021, it’s critical that they know who they’re doing business with.

A proven track record of innovation, service and customer support is critical when upgrading the user authentication processes that literally unlock productivity in the new year.


At rf IDEAS, we are excited to be at the forefront of this growing industry, even after 25 years. We welcome your questions and comments. Let us know what RFID future trends you see in your industry. Get in touch with an rf IDEAS expert today.




1 IBM Security “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020” https://www.ibm.com/security/digital-assets/cost-data-breach-report

2 Juniper Research Study. https://usa.visa.com/visa-everywhere/security/new-report-on-biometric-authentication.html

3 Three Critical Trends in Biometric Authentication in 2019. https://auth0.com/blog/3-critical-trends-in-biometric-authentication-in-2019/


Contact us Today