One area First Coffee's
going to start keeping more of an eye on in 2008 is RFID, radio frequency
identification. Why? Oh, it's predicted to grow 20 percent between now and 2016 and we all know all tech analysts' predictions always come true. And that it can't grow at that ridiculous pace without some heavy CRM buy-in, either.
The CRM industry is slavering for exactly one thing -- more information on their customers. And that's exactly what RFID gives.
In the CIO "Hot Jobs"
feature last month listing "RFID Engineer," it's noted that "applications for tracking technology are limitless, and more uses for RFID will be developed as chip prices decrease and standards are introduced." Interestingly, the "Desired Skills" include "in a retail environment, ERP, CRM, distribution and supply chain management experience strengthen candidates."
But mainly we're going to be keeping more of an eye on RFID because, friends, RFID is going to be keeping more of an eye on you.
As The Washington Post
has reported, the American government will soon offer "passport cards" equipped with electronic data chips to US citizens who travel frequently between the United States and Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. The cards are $45 and can't be used for air travel.
No, it's not exactly an RFID passport -- those cost $97 and contain a radio frequency chip that can only be read at a distance of three inches, the Post says. Plan opponent Ari Schwartz, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology and a guy who knows how to turn an eye-catching soundbite, told the Post the problem with the card is that it uses a standard that wasn't meant to track people: "It's not made as an identity document. The technology they're using was designed to track goods -- pallets of toilet paper at Wal-Mart."
CRM baby, all the way.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.