Joe Pleshek reports:
The Item Level RFID Initiative held its latest meeting in early January during the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York. The Item Level RFID Initiative consists of major retailers, suppliers, and technology providers who have banned together to accelerate the use of item level RFID tagging in the apparel supply chain.
During the meeting, the group outlined its goals for 2011, which include serialization issues, tag standardization, finding ways to decipher tons of new data made available from RFID, and exposing ROI use cases for apparel manufacturers.
It’s interesting to note that privacy concerns were not high on the list for 2011. That’s an important development, given that just a few years ago retailers shied away from any mention of item level RFID because they feared adverse reactions from customers. Many retailers operated RFID pilots in secrecy in order to avoid publicity over the technology.
The retail industry should be commended for pursuing RFID technology, especially when it seemed like prolonged privacy issues might severely hinder deployment. But the battle isn’t over, which is why it’s crucial to monitor privacy issues and to work on educating consumers and politicians about the benefits of RFID. A large group of students opposed the use of RFID at Northern Arizona University last year, with over 1,600 signing up for a Facebook page to protest the deployment of RFID to aid professors in taking attendance.
The recent unveiling of RFID at Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone also resulted in an adverse reaction from skiers who think the system is an invasion of privacy. The RFID-enabled Epic pass system allows skiers to record the terrain they ski and share their data with friends on Facebook.
Read more on WTN News.