The potential and dangers of advertising with RFID

The technology of RFID will change the advertising market of the future.

(I-Newswire) August 12, 2009 - Nuremberg, Germany, August 5, 2009 - Imagine walking to the shopping mall and already receiving all the information concerning the discounts and new products that might interest you by the entrance according to the information you have loaded into your personal RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag through a computer.

The tag can be placed anywhere: your RFID chipped mobile phone (for example working with the NFC, Near Field Communication), keychain, accessory (ring, necklace, watch) or even under your skin. Electronic placards or speakers are changing their advertisements or announcements when people with different kinds of interests are passing them and their RFID tags are transmitting information to the readers inside the advertisement spaces. In the big entrance hall, the reader connected to the big screen above everybody is reading all the tags in the room and calculating what would be the best product or service to advertise to this group of people with their individual interests. Shops can easily change their electronic advertisements according to what product has to be sold away quickly (something is getting old; inventory is too full, etc.) or to advertise a new product (season sale, etc.). The RFID system is also telling them that it is possible to combine other technology to the RFID tag, for example a thermometer to measure whether the product is kept in the right temperature. It will then forward an alarm to the reader which sends the signal to the computer if the product is stored in the wrong temperature or not save to use or eat anymore. People will be able to walk past their favourite coffee shop and get a text message telling them that they will get a 20 % discount on their cappuccino if they walk in now.

The RFID tag we are speaking about will not include any personal information that could harm customers if someone would be able to read the signal from it and hack it. This tag can be compared to a bonus/loyalty card, but without the possibility to track what exactly customers are buying from certain stores and how often. It will only be used in advertising matters to enable consumers to obtain information and offers they are really interested in.
In the future, (already in use in Japan) customers will be able to pay almost everything with their RFID-based mobile phone and obtain information about things they are interested in, for example if getting lost, their mobile phone can tell them their exact location and what is nearby etc.

This next generation's advertising medium raises various questions concerning its unlimited potential and possibilities, as well as its threats to individual privacy if personal data is not protected well enough.

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August 12, 2009

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