Gillette Orders 500 Million RFID Tags

Purchase could move the tags into mainstream commercial use.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

January 6, 2003

1 Min Read

Gillette Co. said Monday that it has ordered 500 million radio-frequency identification tags from manufacturer Alien Technology Corp. The purchase is the first major order of low-priced RFID chips based on technology developed by the Auto-ID Center at MIT and could help propel the tags to mainstream commercial use.

Gillette will attach the chips to grooming products such as razors and razor blades that ship to Wal-Mart stores, a spokesman says. The tagged products then will be used in a large-scale trial program run by the Auto-ID Center to track inventory on the shelves and send managers automatic alerts when stocks are low. Based on the success of those tests, Gillette could start tagging all its products within a few years.

"RFID needed a break like this," says Deepak Shetty, a Frost and Sullivan analyst. Many businesses have been waiting for innovators like Gillette and Wal-Mart to prove that the technology works before adopting it themselves, he says. "They're going to drag RFID to the mainstream."

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