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EPCglobal Launches Consumer Web Site

Its mission is to educate the general public about how RFID and EPC technologies can be used to better their lives.
By Beth Bacheldor
Discover RFID includes an FAQ section that answers a range of questions, including: How do I know if RFID is being used? Can products that have EPC tags be tracked and identified once I have brought them home? Can personal data/consumer data be linked to the EPC? Can I remove or deactivate the tag if I want to? Is RFID harmful?

In addition, the site features a section enabling visitors to submit their own questions. So far, there have been comments left by visitors but not questions, Thibault says, adding that he expects this to change.

"We think people will be curious about applications they've heard about," he says. "We may also get some that have questions about the technology that haven't been answered on the site. And we wanted a feedback mechanism to make the site more dynamic and more interactive. We will answer the questions, but the questions might also lead us to incorporate new information and content on the site. Down the road, we fully expect consumer reaction to help drive the site."

Since the site went live late last month, visitor traffic has steadily increased. At first, the site received only about 100 hits per day, Thibault says, but that has since increased to 1,000 or more. EPCglobal plans to craft a marketing strategy in early 2008 designed to promote the site and increase awareness, but Thibault says no firm plans have yet been made as to what that strategy will include.

Meanwhile, Jimenez says, several industry sites have included direct links from their Web pages to the Discover RFID site, including RFID Platform Nederland in the Netherlands and Informationsforum RFID in Germany, which launched a similar site, RFIDABC, in October 2006 (see Web Site Teaches German Consumers About RFID). Furthermore, she adds, officials at both the EU and the European Parliament have voiced their support of the new site.

Other RFID proponents are stepping up their efforts to educate consumers as well. Last month, for instance, AIM Global, a worldwide industry association for auto-ID and mobility technologies, kicked off "RFID: Making the World a Better Place." This outreach program is intended to provide relevant, timely examples of consumer-oriented RFID applications, as well as dispel myths about the technology and correct inaccuracies and misperceptions about RFID's use in society (see RFID News Roundup: AIM Global Kicks Off Campaign to Educate Public About RFID's Benefits).

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