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Wednesday, July 05, 2006 makes of RFID and Internet-Telco synergy a reality

Amazon, as far as I know, is the first blue-chip Internet company to launch a sound e-commerce mobile service.

Briefly speaking, Amazon´s "Scan Search" service boils down to:
* having users downloading onto their cellphone a free application;
* Whenever a user goes to a brick-and-mortar shop, she/he has the possibility to scan its barcode and send it instantaneously to Amazon´s system;
* if the product´s also in Amazon catalog, then the user accesses its page and: i) may consult user reviews and opinions about the product; ii) most importantly, check out price which price is best: the actual shop or Amazon.

Amazing, isn´t it? This is the sort of eBusiness service that will give Amazon Japan an advantage over the competition (we have talked in the past on this very blog about Rakuten), for four main reasons:

1) Amazon will be able to track market trends better and see which products Amazon doesn´t have consumers ask for (hence allowing them to better react);

2) Amazon will all the more competing with Japan´s offline retail stores. The fact that it happens in Japan is extremely interesting provided that the distribution system is extremely opaque there;

3) Thanks to the information gathered, Amazon will be able to devise a better pricing strategy (they´ll get to know better about the competitors´ prices);

4) Consumers will be curious to understand what their neighbour´s doing taking a picture of everything she/he plans to buy and, terribly jalous of their ability to make better purchasing decisions, will also take to Amazon´s new RFID solution.

What Amazon started in Japan really adds value to the consumer experience. Not only does it require little capital to get going, it also generates business!


  • Jerem,

    As you know, RFID is a kind of chip that produces radio-frequencies readable by the appropriate device.

    RFID is much better than a mere barcode:

    1) A Barcode is, by definition, not infinite for the size of a bar code is limited. Whereas, combinaison of frequencies aren't (in theory).

    2) Imagine yourself in a big truck with hundred of blue sweaters, yellow sweaters (tasty!) and white sweaters. How long will it takes if you are willing to scan the barcodes of all those sweaters? Probably a lot. With the RFID, you'll just have to introduce inside the truck the appropriate device and it will collect in no time all the radio frequencies produced by the sweaters. You will know exactly how many blue, yellow, white sweaters...

    I could go on forever... How many (a lot!)applications like that that could derive from RFID? Only time (and brillant minds) will tell.

    By Blogger Jedi, at 7/12/2006 11:54:00 AM  

  • Thanks for your very interesting explanations Jedi.

    By Blogger Jeremy Fain, at 7/12/2006 11:59:00 AM  

  • Hello guys,

    I don't know if you guys heard but HP designed what they call a Memory Spot. And this may be a challenger of RFID. This Memory Spot is a tiny chip, the size of a button, with a built-in antenna (in RFID the antenna is added, not built-in) in which one can stock (so far) up to 4MB of info. The goal of such a chip is to make a connection between the physical and the virtual worlds: the chip could be glued to your paper picture and, with a proper reader, could provide some info about the picture or even an additional picture. Same for an hospital patient: a chip on their bracelet would allow to update their info (the operations they went through, their status etc.). Like the RFID, the Memory Spot produce waves to a reader but one big difference is that, besides being much cheaper, the Memory Spots allow re-writting.


    By Blogger Jedi, at 7/17/2006 02:47:00 PM  

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