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‘Selling’ RFID

This silicon.com article is actually about the introduction of fingerpint technology for payment in a Washington supermarket, but it makes an interesting point about the controversial introduction of RFID tagging, the backlash against which I commented on last week.

John Davison, VP and research director at analyst house Gartner, said that customers were generally willing to accept technologies, such as RFID, that could infringe their privacy if the benefits of such technology could be ‘sold’ to them.

“Will customers object to RFID? Yes, if you don’t sell it to them,” he said. “Over two-thirds of customers will accept RFID if you sell them the basic utilities.”

However, he added that certain areas of retail were still technology sacred. “The nearer you get RFID to the payment process, consumers get less keen. When you start linking… to their personal information, they’re even less keen.”

This is something I strongly agree with. You cannot sell this kind of new technology to the public by trying to sell the technology to the public: You have to tell them about all the benefits. Telling customers that their shopping will be embedded with microchips (already dubbed ‘spy chips’ by the anti-RFID lobby groups) will be a big turn-off, but telling customers that they’ll save time at the checkout by not having to unload everything from their trolley will be a big turn-on.

Tesco are particularly good at marketing to the public, and I’m sure they’ll do this right, which is another reason why any attempted resistance against RFID by paranoid consumer groups will, surely, fail.

This post was filed under: Technology.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Robert


    16.23, 03/08/2007

Support the boycott against Tesco – http://www.boycotttesco.com and say NO to spychips.

We don’t want them. Stop lying to the customers there is no benefit to them whatsoever. The only benefits are for the retailers that can monitor items people buy.

Save an extra two minutes at the the check out? Big deal, a big price to pay for such a small saving.

Say NO!




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