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Rfid- beyond the grocery store

March 17, 2006

Most people are aware of the push towards RFID as a technology to track products along their lifecycle from production through to the store shelf to help better inventory management. Wal-Mart has been one of the most aggressive proponents of the technology.

However, it appears that RFID could play a bigger role than just tracking products.

In Japan, Sushi bars are using RFID tags to track plates. Also, in Japan, RFID as house keys, or helping in airports by guiding people to gates or to them get information about offers from duty-free stores.

In Korea, there’s the development of “Mobile RFID” This is linking RFID tags to cellphones, so taxi passengers to notify family members that they are on their way home, or people waiting for a bus can get information. Korea’s cellphone operators will start introducing these services in 2007.

Then there’s the strange phenomenon of human RFID implants. There are few 100 people worldwide who are getting implants, including Mexican attorneys who are doing it to get secure access to restricted areas, an Ohio firm who has tagged two of its employees for the same reason, night clubbers in Spain who have VIP status and the CIO of the Harvard Medical School.

Make Magazine has an interesting video podcast of interviews with some human RFID implanters who are using it as a way to interact with technology projects that they’ve developed. They even have film of a chip injection (not for this who don’t like long needles).

It looks as if this technology is going to play a bigger role in our lives than we first thought.

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