[LINK] RFID - Tiny Antennas to Keep Tabs on U.S. Drugs
rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Nov 16 10:05:13 EST 2004
Geoffrey - and since we're on the topic, note how easily the inventions of the PR side of the industry creep into the mainstream, and how hard they are to eradicate:
> In a supermarket,
> they might enable a scanner to read every item > in a shopping cart at once and
> spit out a bill in seconds, though the
> technology to do that is still some
> distance off.
So the NYT journalist has enough technology to absorb the PR, but not enough to ditch the dross. The problem, Geoffrey, is that some members of the RFID vendor side keep pushing this sort of bulldust, presumably because they think it's a good pitch to make consumers more amenable to RFID tagging.
If there's a "real" pitch, then why do the major vendors keep throwing up distractions like this one?
[Why do I say "balls" to "shopping cart theory"? (a) because passive tags don't go well with canned food; (b) because "instantly" or "at once" is drivel; (c) because any database error at the back end halts the process; (d) because it means an entire retail operation can be disabled by an attack on a very fragile infrastructure; and (e) because it follows a curiously American tech industry assumption that all people want to eliminate human interaction wherever possible, and prefer retailing without people.]
Further comments on the NYT story below.
> "Tiny Antennas to Keep Tabs on U.S. Drugs
> By GARDINER HARRIS
> The Food and Drug Administration and several major drug makers are expected to
> announce initiatives today that will put tiny radio antennas on the labels of
> millions of medicine bottles to combat counterfeiting and fraud.
Smoke and mirrors. It will create a black market for the theft of tags which correctly identify the drugs.
> Experts do not expect the technology to stop there. The adoption by the drug
> industry, they said in interviews, could be the leading edge of a change that
> will rid grocery stores of checkout lines, find lost luggage in airports,
> streamline warehousing and add a weapon in the battle against cargo theft.
Ahh, "experts said". No names, no responsibility; and no dissenting voices. Crap journalism of the first order, and in the NYT - because while "hard news" needs fact checkers, the tech stories only exist to fill the white space between vendor adverts.
> "It's basically a bar code that barks," said one expert, Robin Koh, director
> of applications research at the Auto-ID Labs of the Massachusetts Institute of
> Technology. The technology, Mr. Koh said, could "make supply chains more
> efficient and more secure."
Simplistic and inaccurate analogy developed along the "don't scare the horses" line. (Aside: am I the only person who feels that MIT is white-anting its own credibility by its relentless barrow-pushing?)
> For drug makers, radio labels hold the promise > of cleaning up the wholesale
> distribution system, where most counterfeit
> drugs enter the supply chain,
> often through unscrupulous employees at the
> small wholesale companies that
> have proliferated in some states.
The companies believe in "perfect control" over the RFID tags themselves? Morons... problems in the US supply chain still boil down to organised crime; tags will be stolen to legitimise fakes.
> Costs are still far too high for individual
> consumer goods, like the amber
> bottles that pharmacies use to dispense pills
> to individuals. But prices are
> expected to plunge once radio labels become
> popular, so drug makers represent
> an important set of early adopters.
And here we have the >real< problem in the supply chain: a "dispensary" model - which is mostly obsolete in Australia for eg - has been retained by America and helps promote fraud. And a tech fix, rather than a business process fix, is put forward as the solution.
At least one reason that people remain worried about the intentions of the industry is the barrage of bulldust like this.
"If you have to lie to us, what have you to hide?" may not be a 100-percent rational reaction, but it is understandable.
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