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Category: RFID, Automated Data Collection, and oInternet of Things

RFID, AIDC and IoT New Round Up for July 1, 2020

 

Michigan Latest State to Seek Ban Mandatory on RFID Implants at Work; Mall Owners Should Seek Retailers Using RFID? No One is Tracking Your Movements Using RFID Tags in Car Tires

 

July 1, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are three of the top stories in automated data collection, RFID and the Internet of Things in recent weeks.

Michigan Latest State to Seek Ban Mandatory on RFID Implants at Work

We're not sure a law is really needed, but a new bill passed by the Michigan House of Representatives would make it illegal for companies to force workers to be implanted with RFID microchips.

The legislation, called the Microchip Protection Act, or House Bill 5672, would still allow employees to volunteer for microchip implants but making implants mandatory would be against the law.

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Big Brother may indeed be watching you, but not through chips in your tires.

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The bill now also needs to be approved by the state Senate and signed by the governor to become law.

SCDigest has written many times on the topic of RFID implants, sometimes lumped under the terms “bio-hacking” or "transhumanism."

In addition to individuals receiving having chips, a few companies in the US and Europe have offered such programs to employees.

For example, in 2017, Wisconsin company 32M made the option available to its workers on a voluntary basis.

Around 50 employees, or half the company's workforce, opted to be implanted with RFID tags that are about the size of a grain of rice.

The implants were embedded under the skin in their hands and used for relatively simple functions like paying for snacks from vending machines in the company break room or getting access to copiers simply by the wave of a hand.

But the worry that companies would actually force employees to have tags implanted seems rather outlandish.

Nevertheless, if signed into law Michigan would 10 other states that have passed similar legislation, including Arkansas, California, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Mall Owners Should Seek Retailers Using RFID?

Mall owners across the US are in trouble, with many tenants struggling and closing stores if not going bankrupt, and significant changes in consumer behavior away from mall shopping.

That means that to survive, many mall owners will need to rethink their properties, reducing the amount of space devoted to retail and convert it to entertainment and experience-focused offerings.

With a smaller retail footprint, maybe mall owners can be more selective on what retailers they lease space to – and one criteria they should consider is if the retailer uses RFID.

That according to technology writer Marshall Kay, in a recent column for Forbes.com

(See More Below)

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While obviously traditional attributes such as sales volumes, financial strength, brand power and more will be the key factors, use of RFID should be part of the equation in picking tenants, Kay says, arguing that that retailers that use RFID are more valuable than those that don't.

That's because RFID has proven its ability to improve inventory management and thus drive higher sales, Kay says, noting item-level RFID adopters Target, Lululemon and Zara.

Since the retailers that have or are investing in RFID are more likely to be successful, mall owners should make this an important evaluation criterion when deciding who to let into the new shopping malls of the future, Kay concludes.

No One is Tracking Your Movements Using RFID Tags in Car Tires

We're not sure how it started, but an article in USAToday last week said there are rampant rumors that governments are tracking the movement of citizens' cars using RFID tags embedded in the tires.

In fact, some web postings say the tags are embedded in the valve stems, and recommend people snip the stems off to stop the tracking – not a smart move.

Here's the truth:

Yes, tire makers for some time – but far from universally – have put RFID tags into the walls of car or especially truck tires to specifically identify each tire through its lifecycle.

That allows car makers to gather data on how and when each tire went through various production processes.

Identifying individual tires is especially useful for commercial tire users, allowing, for example, trucking companies to track use and wear on tires, link tires to road conditions, and track how many times a tire has gone through a retredding process.

What' more, the RFID tags in tires use what is called passive technology, in which the tag can only transmit its data (typically just a serial number) when energized by a reader less than a few feet away.

To track tires on the road would require active tags with large batteries that need to be frequently replaced (impossible) and some external network of readers on roads and highways to capture the data being broadcast – equally preposterous.

Big Brother may indeed be watching you, but not through chips in your tires.


Any reaction to the stories in this week's roundup? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

 

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