RFID and the Future of Local Inventory

RFID tags have long held the promise of changing everything with closer monitoring and tracking of product inventories (and user behavior). But RFID hasn’t really arrived — because of cost. The WSJ reports today that may be about to change:

Closely held Mojix Inc. says its enhancements to a technology known as RFID — for radio frequency identification — sharply reduce the cost of setting up wireless networks that can cover entire warehouses, stores, distribution centers and yards where heavy equipment is stored . . .

RFID, a more-sophisticated successor to bar codes, is used for applications such as preventing shoplifting of garments in stores and handling payments at bridge toll gates. Applying identification tags to pallets and boxes of goods has been touted as a better way to track inventories at retailers, manufacturers and other companies. But adoption has been slower than some companies expected, because of conversion costs and other issues.

If the company’s technology performs as reported it could accelerate RFID rollouts, which will make product inventories much more accessible online (and in mobile) to consumers.

I won’t go into my standard rant about what consumers really want is local product information . . . you can fill in the blank.

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Related: I stumbled upon this WashPO integration of shopping (powered by Become). TheFind is also presenting itself as a “powered by” turnkey option. Both engines offer some local store inventory information. (TheFind also recently did a deal with Krillion.)

WashPO shopping

Products are a natural, if neglected, part of the local search product mix. Accordingly, we’ll see much more integration of shopping (via third parties like this) across newspaper sites and yellow pages in the future.

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2 Responses to “RFID and the Future of Local Inventory”

  1. Steve Cissel Says:

    The Lawn and Garden Industry needs RFID in a big way.

    In my opinion, the RFID manufacturers need to deploy a performance-based model to gain broad adoption.

    The RFID manufacturer needs to give away the RFID tags on the front end so that ALL products have RFID tags.

    Then, it would make sense for a business location to buy the software and hardware needed to manage inventory.

    Then, the RFID manufacturer recoup’s the cost of the tag from the overhead savings as the products goes out the door.

    I know is sounds easier-than-done, but to put a cost burden of a nickel per RFID tag per item at the expense of the manufacturer is too high a barrier-to-entry for broad adoption.

    Steve

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Once the infrastructure is enabled, lots of possibilities open up.

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