From its booth at RFID World trade show in the US, Symbol Technologies, Inc. is promoting the fact its radio frequency identification chips are used in bikes produced by Pacific Cycle. These bikes are so tagged because of the wishes of Wal-Mart. It's useful to big retailers and suppliers but RFID technology is not universally welcomed...

Is your bike spying on you?

Symbol Technologies said Pacific Cycle has successfully deployed Symbol RFID (radio frequency identification) mobile computers and tags to "track its bicycles as they move from its distribution centers to the backrooms of the nation’s leading retailers."

See earlier stories on about Pacific Cycle’s use of RFID chips.

"Pacific Cycle will use the Symbol MC9000-G with RFID, a versatile, rugged mobile computer that combines RFID capabilities, bar code reading, imaging, and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as Symbol’s fixed RFID readers (Symbol AR400 series) and EPC Class 0 read/write tags," says the tech release.

"The Symbol RFID solution gives us unparalleled visibility for our products throughout the supply chain," said Ed Matthews, information systems director of Pacific Cycle.

"We have experienced near-perfect read rates with Symbol’s RFID readers and tags, far surpassing the results of other equipment we tried. And Symbol’s ability to go beyond our needs has made our experience with RFID one that we’re looking forward to building on as the technology matures."

Phil Lazo, general manager and vice president of RFID marketing, Symbol Technologies, Inc.,. said:

"RFID technology is clearly the future of retail supply chain tracking and Pacific Cycle has clearly taken a lead in this application. As major retailers begin to employ the speed, reliability and efficiency of RFID, suppliers are realizing benefits that the technology can bring to the bottom line."

Pacific Cycle’s Matthews said: "We anticipate that RFID will not only enable us to monitor our bikes in real time as they move from manufacturing to retail inventory, but will give us an accurate picture of what’s out there on the floor at any given moment. That will mean higher shipment accuracy, a reduction in our inventory and lower labor costs — it will revolutionize the way we do business."

A release from Symbol says "users are just beginning to assess the impact of tagging individual items on the retail sales floor."

Indeed they are. There have been many media scare stories about chipped products, such as those on shaver and baby-wipe packs. warns: "[A] tracking system uses sensors hidden under Gillette shelves to detect when products are picked up. Whenever a shopper picks up a packet of razor blades from a spy shelf, SNAP! A hidden camera secretly takes a closeup photo of the shopper’s face. Gillette’s spy shelves have been uncovered in England and we suspect they have been tested at various locations around the United States and other countries."

Consumer concerns about RFID chips:…/4247275.stm…/tc2004035_8506_tc073.htm

What will the supermarket of the future look like?…/index.html

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