Speakers debate RFID benefits, challenges

Analysts are commenting on what is currently being a hit in usage for department stores, aubway stations, and even fast food restaurants world wide. However companies in the US still seem to be waiting for a clear usage of the technology.

EPCglobal, which focuses on industry-driven standards for the Electronic Product Code to support RFID, trotted out several speakers who talked about how RFID tagging can help companies track their products, cut down on theft and reduce supply chain costs. Scott McNealy, chairman and CEO of Sun Microsystems Inc., spoke to attendees of the Baltimore conference on video, saying the concept of an EPCglobal network that securely connects products to manufacturers and retailers throughout the supply chain has graduated from a futuristic concept to a reality.

"We are able to go into the supply chain and do some very interesting things," McNealy said, as executives of EPCglobal and member companies demonstrated a Web-based product-tracking system that allows manufacturers to ensure that enough of their products are on the shelves at retail stores.

Procter & Gamble Co. CIO Steve David said the company is using RFID to distinguish genuine products from counterfeit products, including fragrances and even shampoo. The company also uses RFID to identify and recall outdated products -- an important use, since customer attitudes about products can decline if their toothpaste doesn't taste fresh or their laundry soap has lost its scent, he said.

RFID, short for Radio Frequency Identification, is a new technology whose applicative areas will replace the traditional "coupons" or credit cards systems. It uses chip equipped with wireless radio technology that could be used by their readers for identification with more convenience.

View: ComputerWorld

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