Consumer Application Innovations
Consumer enthusiasm is a critical factor for the ultimate ubiquity of many technologies. The driving force behind creating such enthusiasm is application innovation that captures the consumer's interest and imagination.
In Chapter 1, "A Better Way of Doing Things," we described a number of RFID-enabled applications that directly benefit consumers. They include access control, people monitoring, electronic toll collection, payment and loyalty, patient care, sports timing, and many others. RFID and its applications are all around us, and innovations frequently occur. In April of 2004, VIP patrons of the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain, received syringe-injected RFID tag implants. This enabled them to pay for their drinks automatically, without reaching for their walletsthey also enjoyed free access to the VIP area and became permanently "cool."
Elsewhere, a company called RadarGolf has introduced tagged golf balls that can be easily located using a lightweight handheld RFID reader around the golf course.
Expect vendors to continue to capture our imagination and get us hooked on RFID by introducing interesting, creative, and original applications.
Why subcutaneous tagging?
Subcutaneous tagging, which involves injecting an RFID tag under the skin for identification and/or tracking purposes, is not a new concept. It has been used for identification of fish and domestic animals for more than a decade. However, innovative applications such as tagging club goers, and even tagging personnel to control access to sensitive offices or documents, leads to more consumer interest and enthusiasm, which in and itself will lead to a more receptive consumer psychology. You can only wonder how quickly subcutaneous tagging would take off if Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake decided to use it at their concerts as a means for purchasing memorabilia at a discount or for gaining backstage admission.