The SAP Future Retail Center researches usage scenarios with RFID tags. I had the chance to visit it thanks to the Alumni Wirtschaftsinformatik of the University of Zurich.
The technology is already used in closed systems, e.g. during the supply chain on palettes. But there are still some technical issues that prevent RFID tags from being used on every product in retail stores:
A lot of the demonstrations did not work at all.
When scanning a shopping cart, the scanner only recognized 98% of all products.
RFID tags are still too expensive.
There are scanning-problems when the shopping cart contains certain materials. For example:
water (orange juice etc.)
metal (also Tetra Paks)
The market for RFID tags is still fragmented. Most vendors only sell scanners, or tags, but just a few vendors sell everything.
Having in mind that RFID retail stores are a hot topic for years, it was astonishing to see that the prototypes are more a proof-of-concept than really ready for the market.
I tried to find some information about the coming installment of wi-fi in my hometown Zug.
So I searched for "WLAN Stadt Zug", but only found the official postulate of the local party FDP. I was more than suprised to see no news-article from the local newspaper "Zuger Zeitung".
My parents said that they read something about wi-fi in the newspaper, so the article was in the newspaper but can not be found via Google. If they would publish a title and a teaser in the internet, maybe people below 40 would also get interested in reading local news.
Only those who pay $50 per year additionally to their yearly subscription can access the newspaper-archive by internet. But why should I pay if I don't get informed about interesting news-articles via a Google-Search?
Some time ago I received a parcel from Taiwan. A company called Mobile Action asked me if I wanted to write a blog-review about their new GPS-Logging solution.
They do not only sell the GPS-receiver (called i-gotU), they also provide a software (called @trip PC) to combine the pictures with the GPS-data and an online-platform (called @trip) to upload your GPS-tracks and pictures.
Here the advantages and drawbacks that I found using the i-gotU:
The software automatically detects the i-gotU and you can import the GPS-data. The import of the photos from the camera also is a smooth process. The software automatically connects the GPS-data and the pictures and presents them on a Map. The whole process of importing GPS-Data, connecting it to the pictures and uploading it to the web is as easy as possible.
You can directly upload photos to flickr or picasaweb while uploading your trip, which is great!
It's cheap at about $60.
The software only runs on Windows, so you need a PC or a virtual machine like VMWare or parallels. I used VMWare Fusion.
There are only 2 LED-Lights to communicate the current status of the i-gotU, which is not really user-friendly. ("What is the meaning again of the red light on an d the blue light blinking?") Check out this short video: