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Next Up: A Passive UHF Reader in Your Phone
Apple's embrace of NFC means all new phones will have an RFID reader—but they also need to be able to read Electronic Product Codes.
Sep 22, 2014—
The addition of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to Apple's new iPhone is a big deal, because it will move NFC a step closer to being the de facto standard for electronic payments (see An iPhone With NFC—at Last!). I believe consumers also will need a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification reader in their mobile phones, in order to be able to read tags on products and obtain pricing and other information.
This will not happen quickly—but I believe it will happen. It's difficult for me to believe that billions of items would be tagged with passive UHF RFID transponders based on the Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard, and yet smartphones wouldn't be able to read those tags.
So in the future, a consumer will be able to enter a store, read a garment's EPC via his or her phone, obtain information about that item and try it on. It might be possible to pay via a website or a retailer's custom application right there in front of the dressing room mirror, or to use NFC to pay at the point of sale.
If a customer pays via the Web or using a retailer's app, the system would know the item's EPC (since he or she had read the EPC using the phone). Therefore, after payment has been made, the retailer's database would be updated to indicate that, for instance, a dress with serial number E80R293MN00032 has been purchased. The consumer would then be able to walk out of the store carrying the item, because the RFID reader at the exit would know it had been paid for.
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