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by Ben Piper September 20, 2006 - 3:48pm, 1 Comment

An RFID-equipped label

The world’s largest retailer announced last week that it will use RFID-equipped labels in more than 1000 stores by January 2007 in an attempt to keep track on all of its products.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) has been a topic of debate over the past year, but Wal-Mart has taken some large strides in making the “service” commonplace in the business world. The boost in RFID usage will mean that 1,000 retail locations are online with the new initiative, roughly one-fourth of Wal-Mart’s 3,900 locations nationally.

Rollin Ford, executive vice president and CIO said he believes the RFID effort Reinforces the value of this technology for Wal-Mart, our suppliers and ultimately our customers. As we’ve seen before, however, not everyone necessarily hops on the Wal-Mart bandwagon.

While the obvious benefits of the RFID technology allow Wal-Mart to keep tabs on where and when their products are being used, the privacy issue does not seem to be an immediate concern. The biggest roadblock seems to be the fact that the consumer is in the dark as to whether or not a product’s location is being traced.

This issue is an important one to the business world as Wal-Mart, the preeminent American retail chain, tends to set the curve in the retail market. As they continue to adopt RFID technology, it’s likely that the competition will follow suit.