Despite the warnings issued by privacy groups alarmed by the escalating use of RFID tags, most consumers are embracing the technology —that is, once they understand just what it is and what it can do for them.
A recent study conducted for the National Retail Federation reveals that most consumers, 77 percent, aren't really aware of RFID technology yet. Among those who have heard of it, 42 percent view RFID favorably, while another 31 percent profess to have no opinion. Consulting firm Capgemini conducted the research, whose findings were presented in June at a workshop hosted by the Federal Trade Commission.
"The study clearly speaks to the need for consumer education," says Brad Callahan, vice president and leader of Capgemini's North American Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution practice. "To fully realize the benefits and potential of RFID, companies must gain the trust of the consumer before RFID tags appear in their shopping carts."
Respondents to the RFID survey did rate those benefits and applications that they liked best. They included faster recovery of stolen items (71 percent), consumer savings resulting from lower operating costs (66 percent), improved security on prescription drugs (65 percent), faster and more reliable product recalls (62 percent), and improved food safety and quality (62 percent).