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Microsoft

Microsoft Launches RFID Software Project 185

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-surprises-here dept.
securitas writes "RFID Journal reports on the first Microsoft RFID software pilot project. Microsoft launched the six-month pilot in December with KiMs, Denmark's largest snack food producer. Microsoft plans to bring the new RFID-enabled supply chain management software (Axapta Warehouse Management) to market next year, targeting small- to medium-sized businesses. The news comes after Microsoft announced its Smarter Retailing Initiative, tools based on RFID and .Net Web services. More on this latest development at CNet and InformationWeek."
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Microsoft Launches RFID Software Project

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @11:57AM (#8101013) Homepage Journal

    [Pilot-Project Test Warehouse in Denmark]

    PHB: OK, the new MS inventory system automatically ordered 15 semi-trailer loads of Kotex Ultra Thick & Fluffy With Wings. Make sure we have room for that shipment.

    GeekSlave: But.. Sir, we sell snack food, not..

    PHB: Don't question the system; do you know how much it cost?!
  • first walmart (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frymaster (171343) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @11:58AM (#8101022) Homepage Journal
    well, with walmart and microsoft onside it's pretty much inevitable now...

    microwave everything!

    • Re:first walmart (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cgranade (702534)

      well, with walmart and microsoft onside it's pretty much inevitable now...

      microwave everything!

      Sounds funny coming from Frymaster...
    • Re:first walmart (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:03PM (#8101075) Homepage Journal

      well, with walmart and microsoft onside it's pretty much inevitable now...

      It's only inevitable if you support the system.

      Buy from locally owned stores.

      Buy locally produced products.

      Support companies owned from within your country.

      Don't support the big multinationals. They view consumers as nothing more than cattle at the trough.

      It's no suprise that Levi Strauss closed its last US manufacturing plant after getting in bed with WalMart to make cheap jeans so consumers could save a couple of bucks while putting their neighbours out of work.

      • As nice of a plan that is, it's still inevitable... there's just a couple less people supporting the big corporations. There's still millions and millions supporting their own doom.

      • Re:first walmart (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cgranade (702534) <cgranade@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:09PM (#8101156) Homepage Journal

        They view consumers as nothing more than cattle at the trough.

        Strange thought: perhaps that's because many Americans are cattle at the trough... consider the inevitable stampeding over Friday-After-Thanksgiving sales. The sad thing about modern marketing? It actually works. People are, in general, so apathetic, that they are glad to be treated like cattle, insofar as they get shiny things.

        Now, before I get modded flamebait, please consider what I've said, and recall that I am not ranting against any one person, but against the state of the society as a generality. Thanks.

        • Calling the masses "stupid". You must love democracy.
          • Not stupid. Apathetic.
            Biiiig difference.
            • Not for democracy though - too stupid to vote (or at least make an informed choice), or too apathetic (ditto), what's the difference in the end? You still get people either not voting at all, or voting for the same party that they always have, or their parents voted for, etc.
              • End result is exactly the same, but the solution is very different. Stupid electorate? Educate. Apathetic electorate? Encourage & involve.
      • Actually, LEVIs was dying BEFORE Wal*Mart. They teamed up in a last ditch effort to save themselves. Wal*Mart is finishing them off by forcing cheaper wholesale prices on them.
      • Re:first walmart (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SheldonYoung (25077) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:40PM (#8101543)
        It's no suprise that Levi Strauss closed its last US manufacturing plant after getting in bed with WalMart to make cheap jeans so consumers could save a couple of bucks while putting their neighbours out of work.

        This is so much oversimplified crap. No matter how much money we save on an item it's just going to get spent on something else.

        Lower prices are great help to low income families.

        And who says that the person who gained a job because of the extra Wal-Mart business doesn't deserve it just as much as your neighbor?
      • Re:first walmart (Score:2, Informative)

        by ptelligence (685287)
        Buy everything from eBay. That's what I do. I haven't been to walmart in years. What I can't get from the grocery store, I usually get from eBay. You be suprised how much you save.

        1. You don't make as many impulse purchases. 2. You save quite a bit on what you do buy.

        • In my home town, WalMart IS the grocery store. It didn't used to be, but now it's the only place open 24 hours, while the other stores are open less and less each year.
        • Wait, you are saying you make less impulse purchases on an auction website? Ive read about people going bonkers and buying things they dont really need, just like the home shopping network.

          Also, eBay is really a seller's market. Ive often observed that closing bids are actually higher than if you just went to Best Buy or CompUSA and purchased the item there.

          Im all for Internet shopping, however, because it makes pricematching quick and easy. But eBay is definitely not (generally, anyway) a place for barg

      • Down with "the man"!!!! Only buy your clothes from hardware stores and second-hand shops!! Stop using deodorant!!!
      • " Don't support the big multinationals. They view consumers as nothing more than cattle at the trough."

        This is just empty rhetoric, completely meaningless. It seems to me a company that offers you a cheaper product because they are constantly streamlining the process to make things more efficient is a good thing. When I go buy something, I already know what I want. I don't need to fund an overpaid salesperson at a niche store to help me make my choice.
    • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06.email@com> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:13PM (#8101218)
      From www.spychips.com [spychips.com]:

      Q: Can I microwave products to kill any hidden RFID tags they might contain?

      A: While microwaving an RFID tag will destroy it (a microwave emits high frequency electromagnetic energy that overloads the antenna, eventually blowing out the chip), there is a good chance the the tag will burst into flames first. The difficulty of destroying a hidden RFID chip is one reason we need legislation making it illegal to hide a chip in an item in the first place.

  • Licensing (Score:4, Funny)

    by panxerox (575545) * on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @11:59AM (#8101031)
    hmmm lets see 2000000 rfd tags at $399.00 for each license comes too ....
  • Just wait until the system gets a virus. I can see it now... the systems orders truck loads of beans and toliot paper.
    • Yeah, Microsoft's security issues combined with RFID will lead to some craaazy shoplifting.
      • Or, will the system say you shoplifted even though you really didn't. And then you get busted for it, serve jail time. If microsoft had a back door to the system they could control it all themselves and get and trach whom ever they want.

        This is all part of their sceme to rule the world. I wonder if Pinky and the Brain are really behind it all at Microsoft. I mean bill kind of looks like the Brain.
    • The coup de gras would be beans and *cheap* toilet paper...ouch!
    • Well at least that's a combination that goes together. ;)
  • Okay, it was wierd when companies changed their names to titles that mean nothing (Altria) or just started naming them incomprehensibly (Zyprexa), but now we have SOFTWARE that has a name that is following the same trend. What's next?
  • by SpaceCadetTrav (641261) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:02PM (#8101053) Homepage
    Microsoft AND RFID bashing all in one thread. Woohoo!
    • Microsoft AND RFID bashing all in one thread. Woohoo!

      All we need now is someone to say SCO IS EVIL!!! and we have the perfect slashdot story.

  • Patents (Score:3, Funny)

    by reuben04 (740293) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:02PM (#8101054)
    news from the CNN today: Microsoft Patents the RFID supply chain management process!
  • by loserbert (697119) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:02PM (#8101056) Homepage
    You RFID the food itself, not the wrapper, that way you can track its journey through your system and beyond!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:04PM (#8101082)
    even if your not using bloatware
    pallet #245 has 300 items on it, how many bit is each rfid tag? 32 bits * 300 items (a bit over 1kB) per pallet (big items or small pallet) 64 bits? (over 2kB) what about the pallet of kazzos, 100000 * 64 bits (~800kB per pallet).

    how large will the tracking databases have to get?
    pallet #245 makes 3 stops before it gets to the final reseller, warehouse 1,2 and 3 then add 2kb per pallet of this product to each of their databases as they track it.

    oh well, hard drives are cheap, bandwidth is cheap, heck even privacy is cheap (at the rate we watch it being given up, you'd think we where giving away air)
    • That all may be true, but if you were the one worried about housing these databases, do you think you would have any doubts about doing it? This is the *in* thing now, these people stand to make pallet loads of cash.

    • Actually that's a valid concern.

      I have been looking at solutions for a small store to integrate their cash register with most likely a Microsoft system like C5 or Attain (comparable to Axapta but inteded for smaller companies).

      There aren't any limits in the system itself - but a lot of software limits have been placed. Among those are the size of the database. First of all if you move beyond a certain size you will have to pay an amount (starting at $3000 if I remember correctly) to get an MSSQL instead o
    • The solution is in how you organise the data. One design uses local databases at each physical location. When an item is in transit between locations, an ITV (in transit visibility) server picks up the data while it's on the move. These indpendent databases are small(er) and archive data after something has left the facility (and the paperwork for its leaving is approved).

      Larger environmental databases record the whole life of an item, but with less detail. If detail is needed the archive on each local
  • by TopShelf (92521) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:04PM (#8101090) Homepage Journal
    This is good news for the small and medium-size businesses that might not otherwise spring for a more expensive, market-leading solution from a provider like Manhattan Associates. If a smaller biz can jump on the RFID-enabled supply chain bandwagon early in the game, it offers an opportunity to develop their relationship with the big boys like Walmart.

    That said, it's definitely not an easy thing to implement and realize savings from. It requires a real white-board redesign of how your product flows from supplier all the way through to customer. I'm sure there will be many examples of companies falling on thier faces doing this, spending resources on capabilities that they never end up fully utilizing.
  • Good news (Score:2, Funny)

    by djupedal (584558)
    Microsoft launched the six-month pilot in December

    Great...good news that. I was worried that a capable outfit would get involved and RFID might gain traction. Now I can relax.
  • RFID + Palladium = ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:05PM (#8101098) Homepage Journal
    The title says it all. These various... ahem... projects by Microsoft are getting creepier and creepier every day.

    I still think Palladium will fail, simply because Linux and the BSDs have now attained critical mass, and that most Linux users simply won't accept a closed hardware platform like it. Therefore, someone will step up to the plate and provide a non-Palladium hardware platform -- simply because there is money to be made in such a platform.

    Now, for a serious question: has anybody got any idea on how to quickly disable RFIDs? I don't want to be followed around, whether it is by Microsoft, a retailer or anybody else. Please don't say: "Just microwave it", because some things with embedded RFIDs cannot be microwaved...
    • Could magnetic fields damage it? or could you shield it with something?
    • Critical mass is slightly more than the .2-.3% desktop share Linux enjoys. [macworld.com]

      • Except, of course, that I was not talking about desktop computers (even though I use Linux on my desktop), but about servers, where Linux enjoys solid growth and market share. Don't believe me? Check out Netcraft.

        Desktop computers are not really profitable for most PC makers anyway. Servers are.
    • by reuben04 (740293)
      Here is an interesting idea for blocking them:
      MIT BLOCKER TAG [mit.edu]
    • Yeah, well...don't just think it's Microsoft you need to worry about. In this story [yahoo.com] (which I submitted yesterday, incidentally, but got rejected), it states that IBM and Philips are also collaborating on a system. From the article:

      IBM and Dutch electronics maker Philips also announced on Monday that they are working together on an RFID solution. Philips' semiconductor unit will make the radio chips that can be stuck on items, while IBM will provide the computer services and systems.

      I assume this is the
    • I still think Palladium will fail, simply because Linux and the BSDs have now attained critical mass, and that most Linux users simply won't accept a closed hardware platform like it. Therefore, someone will step up to the plate and provide a non-Palladium hardware platform -- simply because there is money to be made in such a platform.

      You misunderstand what Palladium is for. And, really, if Linux/BSD have reached "critical mass", there will be a Palladium layer written for them.

      AFAIK, Palladium will be
    • "I still think Palladium will fail, simply because Linux and the BSDs have now attained critical mass, and that most Linux users simply won't accept a closed hardware platform like it."

      Now I'm no MBA, but something tells me that Linux and *BSD users aren't really Palladium's target market.

  • For anyone who doesn't have a currency converter in their brain (like me), 17,500 Euros is US$22,125. Great way to convert: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
    • Great point, but I think you missed the thread you wanted by a few inches.
    • Some quick rules of thumb (not intended to be accurate to the day's range but get you in the right range)
      Euro=about a buck (it's at $1.25ish now, but was as low as $0.80 last year. Yen=about a penny (ranged from about 1 USD=JPY60 ($0.02) to 1 USD=JPY200 ($0.005) Pound about $2.00 (it's been closer to $1.50 in the past (and it might have enven aproached parity pretty recently). Go check something accurate before you make a transaction, but those generally work for reading a news story and trying to place cu
  • RFID and Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by millahtime (710421) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:06PM (#8101119) Homepage Journal
    RFID tags can be a very useful tool in some industries. In the field I work it has the potential to save millions of dollars. But, here comes Microsoft. To have them involved usually means some proprietary standard pushed and all kinds of licensing costs. This I don't like. The licensing fees alone could negate the profits the technology is even good for.
    • IBM and Philips are also getting into the action [memigo.com].
    • by charliedog (688216)

      My company does a lot of work for the US Department of Defense in this area. The biggest problem in that we face is that there are no standards yet. One vendor's tags can't be read by another vendor's interogators. So in order to set up an end-to-end supply chain system, DoD has had to stick with one company, Savi and his proprietary,expensive, and closed system.

      Supply chain management within DoD would realize huge improvements with something like a universally readable active tag. With Microsoft and Wa

  • by Inflatable Hippo (202606) <inflatable_hippo AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:06PM (#8101121) Journal
    ... That they were going to embed RFIDs into the software CDs.

    Having a key in the chip that's required to decode the CD would be an interesting variation of the dongle concept.

    If there was a cheap USB RFID reader that shipped with the S/W it might even be practical.
    • Having spent most of my time in the UNIX world, I'm surprised that PC's haven't taken to using the HostID or like you said, the use of dongles.

      On the topic of RFID, how long till the stores start tracking the movement paterns of items through the store. Wouldn't sensors be able to group items in the cart to predict shopping patterns which analyst could then use to drive advertising, product placement, etc...?
      br Jim
    • Actually, this is something I would support. This means I could leave my disks safely in their case next to my computer and they could still be authenticated as legit, leaving both me and the publisher happy.

      No more worrying about how much SafeDisk craps on my game preformance.

      I just need to know what the lifespan on the tags are and what happens when it's up.
    • I was half expecting that Microsoft would want to put an RFID tag into either my right hand or my forehead.
    • That's a cool idea, though I think it'd only be practical if CD-ROM drives began to implement integrated RFID readers. After all, if the software publisher would need to ship its own USB RFID reader, why not just make it a USB dongle instead of going through all the trouble to use RFIDs?

    • You better patent this idea right away! :)
  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06.email@com> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:09PM (#8101163)
    the privacy implications of RFIDs now that I know that Microsoft will be running the software that tracks them. And I look forward to my secure computing/Palladium/RFID implant. I know that my unimatrix team can help assimilate unique biological species to enhance the collective. I'm Five of Twenty Six Adjunct. Welcome!
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:09PM (#8101165) Homepage Journal
    Since the biggest retailer on the planet is mandating RFID, it only makes sense that the largest software company will get on board too..

    Just good business sence in this case.. noting much to see..move along.
  • by gspr (602968)
    DAMNIT! First, we all hear how Scandinavia's other large snack producer is owned by the devil itself - Kraft Foods, and now KiMs is cooperating with the other devil?
    It's like some big conspiracy to make us all eat healthy stuff...
  • by 10101001011 (744876) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:17PM (#8101258) Homepage
    I am looking at this story and thinking: "they never learn".

    While I understand Microsoft is a well known brand name that people trust, I must ask the inevitable question: "Why do they trust Microsoft?"

    Surely the people ordering these products must know the poor reputation MS has for quality control. Think back to Windows 95 Revision A. Type a password that is 99 characters or more and it skips the authentication. Or perhaps the numerous bugs that fill Outlook, MS IE and so many of their other vital products. Yes they can make computing easier and I wouldn't hesitate to point someone who is new to computers to Windows due to the simplicity you must also ask yourself if it is that simple then it probably shouldn't be used on critical systems and frankly ordering is fairly critical.

    I remember when a bank used MS software on some of their ATMS and the machine began shooting out money. I am not sure what was the root cause but surely it is tied to the fact that MS's OS was installed.

    There is also the question of interoperability. If you have a computer that runs Windows XP, a bank machine, a cash regsiter, an ordering system and a security system that run Windows .Net architecture and a virus is released it means that while they aren't all the same, the virus can be easily altered to fit that system, especially with the number of systems that are being networked.

    On a similar note some of you may have seen the newer cash registers that use some very simple operating system I have noticed a significant number of lockups on these machines whereas when I used to work at a coffee store we used a simple electronic cash with LED number display and I think we had a total of two lockups, one was caused by a paper jam.

    It was that diversity of operating systems and the lack of availability of some of the more commercial ones that gave them a sense of security. Not to mention most of the "OSes" were so simple (because they needn't be any more complex than a calculator to work) that it was very hard to cause problems save for a few isolated cases.

    Do we really need this many systems running computer software when a calculator can work just as efficiently? I have no problem with people who want to put an OS on something to say "we can!" but perhaps we ought to ask ourselves: "should we? Do we really need it?" before touting the benefits of something like this.

    I don't want this to sound like I am just bashing MS, quite the opposite, I praise them on their marketing ability and their general ingenuity but perhaps we ought to think:

    Do we really need Norton AntiVirus on our cash regiters?
    • While I understand Microsoft is a well known brand name that people trust, I must ask the inevitable question: "Why do they trust Microsoft?"

      A good guess is that this pilot project was started between Kim's and Navision (also a Danish company). Navision was the biggest (European) provider of ERP systems for midsize enterprises. Microsoft aquired Navision a few years back, so now of course the pilot project gets slapped the MS label all over it.

      Besides that, this project is aimed at Supply-chain managme

    • I'm not sure about the ATM urban legend. But I have seen a few BSOD's on Windows-based ATM's posted on Internet sites. What Microsoft provides on the server level, the desktop level, the embedded device level, etc. is **hopefully** different versions of what has been so maligned. I thought I read somewhere that Windows versions that run on ATM's are stripped down and minus some of the more exploit-riddled components. Same with Windows-based equipment used at hospitals, utility companies, etc.

      Of course som

    • It's simple. It's the concept of the Big Lie, which I was reminded of lately by something I heard or read. I don't remember the exact quote or who came up with it, but it goes something like this:

      If you tell a big enough lie, loudly enough, and long enough, people will start to accept it as true, no matter how unlikely it is.

      This has been Microsoft's primary defense of itself in every unethical and illegal action it has ever committed, and it has been largely successful.
    • "Do we really need this many systems running computer software when a calculator can work just as efficiently?"

      Would you have also questioned the motives of the calculator's inventor, since the slide rule could obviously do math computations just as well?

  • I just have to link to these RFID boneheads [smartcodecorp.com] because their web site's terms of use contain the following absurd little nugget:
    You may not link this site with any other site without the prior written consent of SMARTCODE Corp.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How will they make such a teeny-tiny blue screen?
  • by peacefinder (469349) <alan...dewitt@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:28PM (#8101398) Journal
    Publishing warehouse management software with support for RFID is not exactly a big deal. The software presumably had a barcode module before, and now they've added an RFID module. So what? It's just another way to do the same thing. Warehousing is where RFID makes sense. The trouble with RFID has never been in the supply-chain side.

    RFID only becomes a problem when active tags escape the market and remain with the end user. Escaped tags are a hardware problem, not a software problem, and trying to bash Microsoft for supporting RFID in warehousing software is just silly.

    There are so many good reasons ro bash Microsoft that there exists no need to conjure up bad ones.
    • RFID will last about as long as the counterfitting of it does not get wide spread. I expect that as RFID Tags get going the spoofing of them will get going as well

      Even if the RFID tag has authentication coding with all sorts of other tricks, it can and rapidly will be counterfitted. The counterfitting will include such things as people attaching counterfit tags to reduce the price of items as well as spoofing quantities

      RFID will be subject to all sorts of other problems such as false charging of account

  • by Gumber (17306) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:29PM (#8101411) Homepage
    Microsoft is doing this because there is already a Java based implementation of many of the key infrastructure services needed to create a large-scale RFID-based supply-chain management system. As a result, all the early trials are going to Sun/IBM.

    This isn't something MS would want to loose out on. RFID-enabled supply chains are expected to generate 4-10x more tracking data. That could be a lot of SQL-Enterprise licenses, for just one example.
  • by stephenisu (580105) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:30PM (#8101428)
    Well it seems that one of SCO's only decent markets (Retail POS systems) is going down the pooper. If Microsoft convinces the large retail chains that having a Microsoft managed inventory and POS system will be benificial, SCO is further screwed (but who do I root for?) My apologies to any red headed step-children.
  • Jenny Craig cheaters, beware!
  • ....trust their business to anything from the Convicted Monopolist, considering their truly abysmal track record of stability, reliability and security?

    Company directors have a liability to their shareholders, if this goes horribly wrong (guaranteed!) it can destroy entire businesses, the directors may then be held personally liable, having installed this trash.

    Of course it will be designed to interoperate badly, or not at all, with anyone else's systems. It will simply be another intolerable burden, a Bill

  • But aren't the "Smarter Retailers" moving to Linux POS systems and back ends? ;-)

    Maybe the internal name is more descriptive. Something like "Locked-in Retailing Initiative".

    It does look more and more like Microsoft is attempting to become an services company. You can look at IBM's work in RFID and it makes sense but when you look at Microsoft getting into it I have to ask, "Is it such a good thing and do they really have the customer in mind?" I mean, EVERYTHING they have every done has been done to prot
  • by lemonylimey (745130) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:21PM (#8102057)
    People seem to have got it in their heads that these tiny grain-of-rice sized RFID tags will let CIA satellites track your every movement and interaction via your underpants, which is just crazy. The detection range of an RFID tag that you can comfortably include in an item of clothing is about 20-30cms, depending on the model and the size of the antenna. For the ones that are enclosed completely in glass capsules, it can be as little as 10cm - and if retailers want cheaper tags, this range is going to go down.

    Since the range that a passive RFID tag can be read at is proportional to the amount of power that the reader puts out, anyone who wanted to read one of those tiny tags from 100m away would have to fire so much microwave radiation at you that you'd be too busy bursting into flames to care about the invasion of privacy. All an RFID tag really does is identify an item of clothing that you buy, not you. That item of clothing could be given as a gift, shared between partners or sold in a thrift store - the information you can get from tracking it is so abstract in it's focus and massive in it's volume as to be nearly useless.

    Besides, stores already have a way of tracking you. They're called 'Credit Cards'.
  • RFID for Consumers (Score:3, Informative)

    by slagdogg (549983) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:22PM (#8102066)
    The last RFID project I saw at Microsoft was their "Kitchen of the Future" on the Food Network. They had an interactive recipe that knew when each ingredient was placed onto the counter and automatically checked it off.

    It was actually very cool. RFID itself is an extremely useful technology for retailers and consumers -- it just needs to be used responsibly. And consumers have to have the ability to not use it.
  • The first question that came to my mind (after wondering how Microsoft will screw this up for themselves) was who is the competition for this?

    This is likely a high growth sector, as all industries are looking to make their distribution systems more efficient, and anyone who gets an early leed could have a large advantage, since interoperability between difference companies systems would be a big selling point.

    Particularly, I wondered where was IBM, who once lost control of a large industry to microsoft.

  • RFIDs killer app (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @03:53PM (#8103969) Homepage
    So, here's my idea (patent pending). Get RFIDs cheap enough for consumers to buy decent amounts of them (Walmart will do this once they force their suppliers to use them, they WILL get the lowest margins, yay for Walmart for once).

    Next, there needs to be a cheap piece of hardware that lets you program/read the RFIDs. THe final step is to have open-source software developed that enables you to search for RFIDs in your house, and displays on a map of your house where the item is. And it could also keep stock of how many groceries were in your fridge and order things ahead of time if it needs to. It could also keep track of where people are in the house (useful for parents with little kids) and could be very useful for automating your house. Think "i put the coffee cup with its chip inside the coffee machine with its reader, it does the rest". Think "pull car into garage, have RFID reader automatically start dinner/announce your arrival."

    And these are just some of the more obvious uses, I'm sure people would think things up that would be a lot more useful.

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