A new report by AMR Research claims that this year major consumer goods producers have invested more than $250 million in radio frequency identification devices and related equipment. Wal Mart is spurring the investment with a set of goals and deadlines for up to 140 of its suppliers. However, the omnipresent retailer is not alone. The author of the report notes,
that several other major retailers, including Albertsons, Best Buy, Target and Britain's Tesco, are also launching RFID projects with their merchandise suppliers.News.com has the story and Technology Daily also features the study. The Wall Street Journal also reports on the adoption of RFID by three NFL franchises for concession sales to high-end ticket holders.
Funny thing, just this morning I took the opportunity to read an October 2004 study by Rob Atkinson and Julie Hutto on RFID. Their description of the issues and the false alarm created by self-anointed privacy advocates is similar to work done by PFF adjunct Jim Harper.
Why does this matter? Many analysts see 2004 as the proverbial tip of the iceberg in RFID deployment. It is a digital technology that promises tremendous consumer savings across a wide segment of the economy. In addition, the Defense Department, the FDA and the Homeland Security Department are at the forefront of public sector RFID deployment with an eye toward improved safety. These players - through regulatory edict or buying power - could significantly shape the market. Second, several states - notably California and Utah - toyed with prohibitions, limitations or moratoriums in 2004 and it is an issue sure to spark the interest of state legislators in the coming year.