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Tiny chip may ease product management

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May 26,2004
Small electronic chips may make it easier to tag products in the future, potentially reducing theft while improving inventory control and distribution. Industry specialists worldwide gathered at the “e-Business International Forum” yesterday to present various case studies involving the use of radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips. The forum was hosted by the Korean Electronic Trade Association and Technical Association. The chips, about the size of a mustard seed, contain information about a product, similar to the functions of a barcode. Unlike a barcode, however, the chips can be read by wireless means, without direct contact with a scanner. Therefore, grocery products or books that are tagged with the chip can be detected more easily and consistently. “In Japan, these chips have greatly solved theft in the publishing industry,” said Koiwa Sigeki, an information system director at Kodansha, a publisher. Lee Chul-hee, a professor at the state-run Rural Development Administration, said that the chips are being tested to manage farm produce. “Beginning early this year, we tagged agricultural products with the chips. We are now able to trace the process of distribution,” he said. In grocery stores, a sensor can read the information on products piled in a cart without having to scan each one. Last month, eight Wal-mart stores in the United States introduced the chips. “RFID has recently been selected as an area of new growth potential,” said Lee Jae-woong, information technology research director at Shinsegae I&C. “We will begin using the chips in public facilities beginning sometime in the second half of the year.” Industry analysts forecast that the international RFID market will grow to $3 billion by 2008. by Kang Byung-chul


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