Tesco’s UHF RFID Troubles

Written by Evan Schuman
July 12th, 2006

Being one of the world’s leading advocates for RFID hasn’t shielded Tesco—nor Wal-Mart, for that matter—from feeling RFID’s growing pains.

While Tesco has been playing the typical chicken-and-egg game with suppliers on who will initially fund tagging all products, it’s had to quietly cut back its RFID efforts as it is trying to work with European UHF regulations, said Raghu Das, CEO of European RFID consulting firm IDTechEx.

Tesco has been enjoying a strong four percent revenue boost from RFID-enabled inventory improvements, but it’s been applying the tags by hand, which is not a tactic that can be continued indefinitely. Tesco, which ordered 2,000 RFID readers just two years ago, is in the RFID game for the longterm and is begging suppliers to take a more aggressive position. To read the full story, please click here.


One Comment | Read Tesco’s UHF RFID Troubles

  1. Richard Lucas Says:

    This analysis by Evan is accurate.

    RF ID is great for high value multiple use applications where there is a problem with bar code.
    Bar code is good enough for most applications, and much much cheaper.

    Bar code just requires almost free ink on paper, 2D barcodes like Aztec Datamatrix PDF417 or Qcode have vast datastorage capabilites, bar code scanners are cheap (and every web cam and camera phone has that capability).

    New technologies should be cheaper and better than the existing solution. RF ID is too big a cost hike to replace bar code. Most organisations have yet to exploit bar code fully.

    Also RFID technology is not stable. Who is going to invest billions in RF ID scanners that may not be the right ones for 3 years down the line?

    If I am wrong and RFID takes off, vendors of technology will take a lot of money off retailers and their suppliers. Those cost increases will pass through to consumers.

    Richard Lucas


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