Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Microsoft RFID Browser

I have received a number of emails on my Microsoft RFID browser post and felt I better explain my thoughts/reasoning. I could be way off base, but this is what I see happening.

Don’t be afraid to tell me if you think I’m full of bunk.

There are a few things you have to accept to come to my conclusion.

Every RFID tag will have its own URL (website) some day.

Symbol Technologies is THE pioneer of scanning the current dominant machine readable identifier (barcode).

Microsoft wants to dominate the mobile device and search space.

When Microsoft announced they were teaming up with Symbol Technologies for RFID, I immediately saw a mobile device with MSFT OS that would be able to scan an RFID tag.

Every physical object will now be interactive. Think about that for a second. Every physical object is a website, what will it tell you?

I saw the mobile phone side of this venture. There will be plenty of supply-chain applications, but my thinking is consumer/advertising and the effects it has with a cell phone.

What makes Google so successful? They offer an easy way to search a huge database. One site offers info from many. The Google site is the focal point that allows info retrieval from a vast database. Advertisers have recognized this and are spending their dollars accordingly.

What happens when you turn the equation around?

Replace Google’s database of websites with physical products and replace one site on your PC (Google) with your mobile phone. Not only do the results change, but they grow exponentially.

Take the physical world (enormous) , add 180 million browsers (cell phone users) and add the mobile variability and you have one mind boggling industry taking shape .

Where Google was your search engine for the digital world, a mobile phone w/ the ability to read an RFID tag becomes your search engine for the physical world. The same thing works if a cell phone can read a barcode. An RFID tag, a barcode will really be just physical world URLs soon. How will Google penetrate the physical world database then?

So what I see is Microsoft providing a “browser” for the mobile phone that can read an RFID tag and direct the user to the corresponding site. THAT, is what will get the advertising dollar. When every can of Coke, CD, bottle of Tylenol is Internet accessable by their identifier (barcode, RFID tag), that is when Microsoft owns mobile search by being able to "turn on and browse" every physical world object.


Anonymous said...

I think you're on the right track...but the question remains about it's usages...I mean is it worth scanning the cheaper stuff, looking for a few extra cents discount...what about the higher priced stuff that really makes a difference for your wallet like a bycicle, car, boat, house...that's gonna be (or made) harder to "scan"...also what about services and online software, music, video's? Content on a medium like cd and dvd will disapppear in favour of online selling (no pressing, distribution, wharehousing)


Scott Shaffer said...

So many think of scanning a product just for price comparison. This is a way to interact w/ the brand, not just for price comparison.

Personally, I don't think price comparison will be that big.

Advertising campaigns that get consumers to scan your product will be bigger than the keyword industry.

Anonymous said...

this is not really something new. Microsoft has been working on Project Aura for several years. This is based on giving physical products a "digital Aura", essentially a web based connection about the product. They are experimenting with barcodes and with RFID. However, it has not really gotten out of the lab and into the product.

Scott Shaffer said...

"it has not really gotten out of the lab and into the product"

I seem to recall this same language was used describing their search engine application too.

Then a couple guys named Brin and Page came out of the "lab".

Incidentally, Marc Smith is a very smart guy that sees the future. I just don't think Microsoft has had a good track record of being the first on the block to implement them lately.