Be on the wave or under it
The News – 10/29/03
RFID Gathers Momentum
There has been a lot of press recently about RFID (Radio Frequency
Identification), a technology that allows items to be identified
wirelessly via a special radio transceiver tag attached to them.
It’s a trend that built slowly since the ‘60s but which has recently
been goosed by 800 lb. Gorilla Wal-Mart and various other Consumer
Packaged Goods (CPG, AKA FMCG – Fast Moving Consumer Goods) retailers
and manufacturers. Additionally, a related effort, Electronic
Product Codes (EPC), which assigns a unique number to every doggone
item sold, has benefited from press surrounding the September
Electronic Product Code Symposium in Chicago.
RFID is such a significant technology, I’ve had it on the TrendSpot
list since the list's inception back in May of 2000, and it now
ranks as the second hottest trend on the list. In addition, I’ve
nattered on about RFID in several previous SNSes (here,
here, here, here).
Because of all the recent news and the complexity of the subject,
I’m taking the extraordinary step of including a compendium of
links below that you can use to get up to speed. Don’t worry;
I’ve got plenty to say about RFID below and next issue.
People like to steal Gillette Mach3 razors....... a lot.
Theft prevention is one of the most important uses of RFID. Three
of the top ten highest shrink (a euphemism for stolen) products
in CPG are razor blades, batteries, toothbrushes. OK, who’s stealing
the toothbrushes? Mossy-toothed crackheads? Other positives for
retailers include increased revenue due to reduced stock outs,
cost reductions in supply chain labor, and reduction in unauthorized
customer discounts (including the ever-popular five-finger discount).
Big RFID booster Gillette
smart-shelf technology, possibly in response to privacy concerns.
Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in Britain ended a
controversial RFID field trial that shoppers claimed violated
If Wal-Mart put an RFID tag on every item in every store
and tracked every change in presence information, it would generate
7.5 million terabytes of data daily.
UnWired Tires: Siemens and Goodyear have developed a tire
monitoring system that goes beyond government mandates and makes
tires an integral part of a vehicle's electronic network.
Rftracker assembles tracking database
IBM jumps in with RFID service
Venture Development Corporation predicts the RFID IC market
will grow by slightly more than 27% (compounded annually) in terms
of revenues and by more than 36% annually in terms of units.
EPC Network debuted at the Electronic Product Code Symposium
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says RFIDs embedded
in everything from currencies to human bodies and will boost the
global anti-terror war (yes, that’s the same Jew-hater
in the news recently; would you trust this man with any
RFID Will Stop Terrorists Facing increasing resistance
and concerns about privacy, the United States' largest food companies
and retailers will try to win consumer approval for radio identification
devices by portraying the technology as an essential tool for
keeping the nation's food supply safe from terrorists. I wonder
how the food companies feel about being in bed with Mahathir Mohamad?
RFID to Track Building Occupants, Aid in Evacuations (remember
what Ben Franklin said: “They that can give up essential liberty
to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor
RFID Microchip Implants for Humans. I love the subhead
of this article: “First it was cattle. Then it was pets. Now it's
Mexicans. Will Americans be next?” So let’s just not worry about
the Mexicans, then, as long as we’re not next . . . Nonetheless,
it brings a new dimension to the RFID “Kill” command, which deactivates
FDA Says It Won't Regulate Implanted ID Chip
Instruments Announces 13.56 MHz RFID Tag for Textile Rental
And Dry Cleaning Applications
California Lawmakers to probe RFID technology
The British Home Office announced a £5.5million 'Chipping of Goods’
Initiative to show how property crime can be reduced throughout
the retail supply chain using RFID.
According to a memo from General Tommie Franks, CINC, CENTCOM
to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US Central Command requires
all air pallets, containers, and commercial sustainment moving
to/from the theater [that would be Iraq] to be tagged with RFID
So that ought to get you started on the subject of RFID, which
will change your lives in some way in the next five years. (Hey,
another prediction! Track my hits and misses at the Prediction
The basic thing to understand about RFID technology is that it
doesn’t really need to compromise our privacy, but it could. If
you trust big corporations and big governments implicitly to protect
your privacy, then you’ll have little trouble with the possibility
that your whereabouts and your purchasing habits can be made available
to a wider group of people than currently. I say currently because
Master Card already knows a whole heck of a lot about what you
buy, and Sprint knows where you are and where you’ve been.
And if you happen to live in one of those benighted states that
have toll roads and “EasyPass” or some other automated toll paying
scheme, your state knows when you’ve been bad and good, so be
good for goodness sake.
There’ll be more on RFID in the next SNS.
- Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.:
It’s here: A new company from StratVantage – The WiMAX Guys.
Our service has two parts. The first is targeted at consumers
and small businesses who buy the wireless networking gear, but
can’t get it to work. We visit and get it up and running fast.
The second part of the business is new installs for people who
want to set up wireless hotspots. Check out the Website at www.TheWiMAXGuys.com.
My second article for Fawcette Technical Publications’ Enterprise
Architect magazine, Companies
Collaborate on IT Practices, reports on a best practices
sharing effort called Project Avalanche. It’s available online
now, and the magazine will be published later this month. My
feature article, Grid
Computing Takes Off in the Enterprise, was published in
the magazine’s inaugural issue last May. (Registration required
My article, “Innovative Marketers Target Unwired Customers”
was published in the NetSuds
Coming Soon: A new eBook, Be On the Wave Or Under It™
will collect the best of SNS’ insights over the last couple
of years, along with additional material from CTOMentor white
papers and new material. It will make a great gift (Halloween?)
for associates and friends in need of a guide to the latest
and greatest technology. Watch for more information in upcoming
Several issues ago I debuted SNS Begware, an opportunity for
you, gentle reader, to express your appreciation by tipping
your server via PayPal. See the sidebar for more info. Total
in the kitty so far: $86.48. Thanks twice, Dave!
I repurposed and adapted an article about the wireless service
known as Short Messaging Service (SMS) for the Reside newsletter.
It’s entitled, Wherever
they go, there you are and it points out how marketers
can use – carefully – this new way to contact their customers.
StratVantage has been accepted as a member of the World Wide
Web Chamber of Commerce and now displays their logo on our Websites.
In addition, I’m featured in Manyworlds’ Thought
Leader Showcase, which lists a few of the white papers I’ve
- Windows OS Joke Redux:
Last issue, Alert SNS Reader Andy
Stevko sent along an hilarious parody of a Microsoft security
advisory. Unfortunately, I mangled the URL you need to use to
read it. I’ve rectified the situation below. Sorry.
- VoWLAN on PDAs: My candidate
for the most awkward recent acronym is VoWLAN – Voice over Wireless
LAN. Despite being one of the few SLAs (that’s Six Letter Acronyms)
around, just try saying it a few times. Of course, VoWLAN’s
wired cousin, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) just sounds
silly when pronounced.
Pocket PC will be bundled with VLI's
Gphone software, which allows users to make and receive phone
calls over a Wi-Fi LAN. Of course, a subscription to VLI's service
is needed to make VoIP calls.
- Spam Filtering
Makes Online Newslettering Hell: I’ve written before on the perils
of running a subscription email newsletter in this age of rampant
spam and ubiquitous spam filters. Well, I’m obviously not along.
Here’s venerable online newsletter TidBits’ take on the problem.
- It Still
Makes Me Laugh: Despite my concern with all the privacy invasions
inherent in modern society, this cartoon is hilarious.
Luddites Single Out Educational Wi-Fi: A group of Oak Park, IL elementary
school parents filed a lawsuit in an attempt to halt the use
of Wi-Fi networks in the schools of their sons and daughters.
The parents are worried about the health consequences of the
Radio Frequency (RF) radiation generated by Wi-Fi, despite the
fact that I’ll bet every one of these parents has a cordless
phone and/or a cell phone. Nonetheless, this is not likely to
be the last we hear of this issue.
- Believe It
Or Not: Kabul Cyber Cafés Flourish Since the
Taleban banned Internet use for all except the government 2
years ago, it’s amazing to think that there’s a growing cyber
café culture in Kabul. And like many third world companies,
they’re skipping the wired infrastructure and going wireless
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