Monday, August 16, 2010

RFID Uses By Wall Mart Raises Controversy

RFID technology has been around for quite a while. But its full potential has not yet been shown out. Hence, within the last few years, the cost of such chips have fallen from 50 cents to 7 to 10 cents. This is the reason why Wall Mart plans to use ID tags to track clothing goods in order to better control inventory.

This technology will allow the retailer to keep a track of stocks, wherever it is located, either in a wharehouse, back storage, or on stores shelves. To go even further, it will be able to track goods while going through cash desks, and hence also have statistics about stealing. You can now easilly understand why Wall Mart is making such a move.

Now those smart tags are also raising some concerns. First of all, this tags can't be turned off. They may be easily removed, but will still be on. It may hence be dangerous and give some customers data that could be used against customers privacy.

"There are two things you really don't want to tag, clothing and identity documents, and ironically that's where we are seeing adoption," said Katherine Albrecht, founder of a group called Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering and author of a book called "Spychips" that argues against RFID technology.

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In 2007 American Apparel implemented a similar pilot program which resulted in +14% of sales due to optimized inventory management. To know more about how technologies might revolutionize the way retails are managed, you should check this out.