No more manual counting of the inventory. Significantly reduced product theft. Knowing what’s out-of-stock immediately and automatically. Sound good? These are all benefits of RFID tags, Radio-Frequency Identification, a technology that is being widely adopted by manufacturers and retailers around the world.
The possibilities seem only to be limited by our own imagination.
- Levi Strauss & Co. in Mexico City has tagged every item in the store, allowing them to take full inventory in just 30 minutes.
- Chase bank has used RFID in credit cards that will enable users to just "wave" the card in front of the reader to make a payment.
- RFID will be used in many of the new keyless entry systems for automobiles.
- Hospitals are using it to positively ID patients. The benefit over a bar code is that the RFID can be read through sheets & clothing, eliminating the need to come in direct contact with the patient’s bracelet.
- Gillette recently utilized the technology to determine the execution success of a promotional campaign, checking if the distributors received the product on time and if it was placed on the shelf before the promotion began.
- DHL plans to have every package RFID’ed by 2015.
As always, there are many groups concerned with privacy issues, and there are endless mentions of Big Brother, but it seems like this time-saving technology is here to stay.