08. 29. 2004
E-ZPass Checkout by Avery
If Avery has its way, someday pretty soon everything you shop for will have "smart" labels with RFID (radio frequency identification) so you won't have to check out, you'll just whiz by like the cars in the E-Z Pass lane.
RFID is all the rage; there's a rice grain-sized chip inside of Mexico's Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha. Expect them soon to be available for tagging everything and everyone. Avery is aggressively pursuing this emerging market and expects to spend more than $20 million on research this year alone.
RFID already has some fierce opponents, including those who fear that people's privacy will be encroached or that hackers will make the technology unsafe. Very real concerns, of course, and I wouldn't be too keen to get myself injected with a chip, but I think an easy shopping experience without dealing with a checkout queue might well be worth a box of macaroni that knows who I am.
Read more in the LA Times (free subscription required.)