Benetton backs off RFID deployment

Alexander Gantman agantman at
Tue Apr 8 14:59:30 EDT 2003
Benetton backs off RFID deployment

By EE Times Staff
EE Times

April 5, 2003 (11:28 a.m. EST)
SAN FRANCISCO≈The use of RFID chips in clothing to discourage theft took it 
on the chin Friday (April 4) when a major international clothing chain said 
it is not using the devices in its products.

The Italian company Benetton said in a release that it "is currently 
analyzing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to evaluate its 
technical characteristics and ... no feasibility studies have yet been 
undertaken with a view to the possible industrial introduction of this 

The surprise announcement came just two weeks after Philips announced that 
it would embed its RFID chips into the labels of every new garment bearing 
Benetton's Sisley brand name. The semiconductor maker estimated it would 
ship 15 million RFID chips, based on its I.Code integrated circuits, for 
that application.

Philips' I.Code technology includes a CMOS-based SLI line, which operates 
at 13.56 MHz and offers read distances of up to about five feet, and an HSL 
line that operates at 2.46 GHz and has a read distance of almost 10 feet.

Philips said in a March 11 announcement that Benetton is using the 
I.Code-based labels to track its garments throughout its supply chain. As 
part of the initiative, all garment boxes are also to be fitted with 
I.Code-based labels. They are then tracked using I.Code- compatible readers 
and wireless-LAN netpads.

Benetton is apparently bowing to customer concerns that the embedded ags 
could be used to track the movements of people other than thieves. It said 
it "reserves the right" to use the technology in the future.

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