RFID....A balanced View
The controversy over the utilization of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags and how they may or may not impact privacy concerns, is a speed bump that suppliers and retailers must navigate in order for the technology to achieve widespread, consumer based use.
ROI data for businesses is now coming to light and it is more than encouraging. From Wal-Mart to P&G, to the Pharmaceutical firms, RFID tags are tracking the movement of pallets and case shipments from warehouse to retailers. Interrogators (readers) are also dropping in price to allow for case tracking from inventory to sales floors, preventing out of stock situations and lost sales.
Just recently, one firm announced the cost of the low frequency retail tags at just 5 cents (in bulk), pushing acceptance even further along. The next step for retailers is to integrate RFID data into back-end systems for refined control.
All this must be tempered with the potential abuse at the consumer level and steps necessary to minimize it. It is an issue that will likely demand government regulation.
The benefit to the consumer can, however, be significant and boundless. Consider, for example, a RFID tag on an airline boarding pass. Checkpoints at the gate can assess whether the passenger is within range of the gate. Children's clothing can be tagged by parents while traveling or in school as a deterrent to abduction. No doubt there are enormous advantages to be had.
RFID is here to stay. But PLEASE, take a lesson from consumer concerns about PC cookies, and temper its introduction with the proper education concerning its use.

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