RFID chips are here

Friday, 27 June 2003, 12:18 PM EST

Bar codes are something most of us never think about. We go to the grocery store to buy dog food, the checkout person runs our selection over the scanner, there's an audible beep or boop, and then we're told how much money we owe. Bar codes in that sense are an invisible technology that we see all the time, but without thinking about what's in front of our eyes.

Bar codes have been with us so long, and they're so ubiquitous, that its hard to remember that they're a relatively new technology that took a while to catch on. The patent for bar codes was issued in 1952. It took twenty years before a standard for bar codes was approved, but they still didn't catch on. Ten years later, only 15,000 suppliers were using bar codes. That changed in 1984. By 1987 - only three years later! - 75,000 suppliers were using bar codes. That's one heck of a growth curve.

So what changed in 1984? Who, or what, caused the change?

Wal-Mart.

[ Read more ]




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