New mobile payment applications promise users the ability to make both online and in-store payments using a mobile device. Numerous mobile apps (RedLaser, pic2shop, SnapTell, and the aptly named Barcode Reader) allow users to scan bar codes on products and look up the best price online and at local stores.
In a post on the Wired Science blog, Lisa Grossman writes:
Researchers from Sunchon National University in Suncheon, South Korea, and Rice University in Houston have built a radio frequency identification tag that can be printed directly onto cereal boxes and potato chip bags. The tag uses ink laced with carbon nanotubes to print electronics on paper or plastic that could instantly transmit information about a cart full of groceries.
“You could run your cart by a detector and it tells you instantly what’s in the cart,” says James M. Tour of Rice University, whose research group invented the ink. “No more lines, you just walk out with your stuff.”
Soon, mobile devices will be RFID-enabled, which means consumers will be able to communicate with a retailer’s in-store RFID system and engage in a completely new shopping experience. Mobile devices will enable customers to access additional product information, interact with products, and verify payment transactions as they bypass all checkout lines.
For years, certain retailers have been testing prototype stores that utilize RFID technology to track inventory and enhance the customer experience. With the mass adoption of mobile devices and apps, retailers will now have an easier, more cost-effective way to implement these in-store systems. Setting up a customer with a store account can be easily accomplished with a mobile app.
Integration between the mobile app and the RFID system will be seamless and greatly enhance the customer’s overall shopping and transaction experience. Software designers and developers get to have fun creating and perfecting the systems that will make these RFID-enhanced apps possible.
Wired Magazine just ran this article on March 26, 2010 revealing a new printable RFID tag technology: