We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Inevitability of RFID Tags

From this weekend, the adoption of RFID tags in the retailing industry has become a matter of time. At a recent conference, organised by the RFID non profit standards organisation, EPCglobal, both Walmart and Tesco warned their suppliers that they expected takeup of this technology. By forcing the adoption of RFID technology through their purchasing power, RFID will soon become ubiquitous in retail, over the next two years.

Colin Cobain, UK IT director for Tesco, advised suppliers to get involved and take a considered view of the new technology. “Some manufacturers are going down the route of slap-and-ship – I urge you not to do that… If you start of slapping-and-shipping, you’ll get a bad name in your organisation.” He added that the question about RFID was not “whether or not it will make a huge difference in the world: the question is, will you be ready?”

Simon Langford, manager of RFID strategy for Wal-Mart and Asda, said “start engaging in RFID today… don’t sit back and wait for it to happen.” Wal-Mart, remember, were so enthusiastic about the technology that they issued a mandate telling their top suppliers to get the tags in their supply chain by 1 January, 2005, or else.

WalMart began their testing of RFID tags in the supply chain on Friday in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Their links with EPCglobal are also clear:

EPCglobal is a joint venture of EAN International and the Uniform Code Council. It is the organisation chosen by industry to develop standards for RFID technology in the global supply chain based on user needs and business requirements.

As a charter member of EPCglobal, Wal-Mart fully adheres to its core principles related to privacy issues, including consumer notice, consumer education and consumer choice. Wal-Mart’s Linda Dillman and HP’s Dick Lampman serve on the board of directors of EPCglobal.

To follow the work of EPCglobal, the website setting standards for electronic product codes can be found here, including details of their membership and policies.

2 comments to The Inevitability of RFID Tags

  • It’s pretty much always been a matter of time for RFIDs. Even if they cost, say, 3p each to stick on a 50p tin of beans, they will still save retailers so much in terms of time and supply chain management that their widespread use is inevitable. What matters now is vigilance in holding retailers to a high standard of ethics in their use.

  • I’m not one for the internet’s many conspiracy theories, but I did smile when I noticed this, apparently “What sets Matrics’ tags apart from all others is innovation. Only Matrics tags are orientation-insensitive. Matrics’ patented dual-dipole tag is the only tag that can be read at different orientations – a key factor in achieving near 100% read rates. ”

    source: http://www.matrics.com/products/tags.shtml

    It also makes them look like a certain infamous political symbol worn on the lapels of the Gestapo.