Long checkout lines at the grocery store are one of the biggest complaints about the shopping experience Soon these lines could disappear when the ubiquitous Universal Product Code UPC bar code is replaced by smart labels, also called radio frequency identification RFID tags. RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can talk to a networked system to track every product that you put in your shopping cart. Imagine going to the grocery store, filling up your cart and walking right out the door. No longer will you have to wait as someone rings up each item in your cart one at a time. Instead these RFID tags will communicate with an electronic reader that will detect every item in the cart and ring each up almost instantly. The reader will be connected to a large network that will send information on your products to the retailer and product manufacturers. Your bank will then be notified and the amount of the bill will be deducted from your account. No lines no waiting.
Almost everything that you buy from retailers has a UPC Bar Code printed on it. These bar codes help manufacturers and retailers keep track of inventory. They also give valuable information about the quantity of products being bought and to some extent by whom the products are being bought. These codes serve as product fingerprint made of machine-readable parallel bars that store binary code. Created in the early 1970s to speed up the check out process, bar codes have a few disadvantages:
In order to keep up with inventories companies must scan each bar code on every box of a particular product.
Going through the checkout line involves the same process of scanning each bar code on each item.
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