RFID’s any Future in Real Estate?

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About: Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID) are miniscule tags that can be as small as a grain of sand – can store varying degrees of data on them and then transmit to reading devices. They have been called “Barcodes on Steroids”.

Americas largest retail chain, Wal-Mart has made it compulsory for all of its suppliers to fit these tags to all goods by 2005. This means that when Wal-Mart receives a shipment they only need a scanner to determine the type and quantity of the product being delivered. Stocktaking is completed in seconds and Wal-Mart can automatically let their staff know when they are running low with on the shelf products for re-stocking/ordering.

This also goes through to the store itself. A shopper fills their trolley (fitted with a reader) with goods that updates all the goods and prices contained in it. (The shopper can also get information on products on the shelf through the reader) and in Europe they actually talk to youand tell you where products are located in the store.

Once finished shopping, the buyer simply walks the trolley through the checkout and has the data read into the computerised checkout and pays by cash or credit card (can be automatically withdrawn from your account) . How brilliant! How fast!

How can this be used in the Real Estate Industry?
Imagine a person looking in your window display. They would be able to download all properties onto their mobile phone/pda and go on their way, the information could give reminders to the person on when and where open homes or auctions are being performed. These tags could also be used on location (your signage) giving potential buyers the ability to download all data about the property onto their device.

This may be a few years away – but it is all possible.

Privacy Concerns
There have been some rumbling (justified) about privacy concerns, simply put, if you purchased a sweater from a sports store and returned wearing it at a later date, the store potentially could identify you as a previous buyer, because the tag would remain in your sweater. Privacy advocates have asked that all RFID tags be de-activated on the sale of items, which makes sense and should placate concerns, but how would be be sure?

It will be some time before this comes in but it is a very interesting piece of technology that is used alot more than you would think even today. The US Army uses RFID tags to track equipment across the world. This post is fairly general but its use is to give you an idea of what is happening technology wise in the world today. RFID a term you will hear alot more of in the future. The Tollways your drive your car through also has similar type devices.

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