Monday, December 18, 2006

Practical RFID

I remember proposing to the Chief Architect at my company that we should be looking into how RFID might help our sales teams in our branch network.

How so?

Well... Picture the scene. A customer goes to their Bank's branch to lodge a cheque. While standing in the queue, they lift a brochure detailing the benefits of taking out an insurance policy or investing in the latest "fund".

If the brochure is tagged using the latest RFID technology, when the customer finally arrives at the teller position, the teller will now be armed with some vital information: the customer's details and their interest in other products. What a powerful position to be in! The teller could either log the information (or it could be logged automatically) or the teller could broach the subject of the product in question with the customer.

At the time, the Chief Architect was very interested although I'm not sure he was convinced that the technology would actually work. In short... it was not a visionary at all.

And therein lies the question. Is the role of IT within the enterprise solely to deliver on business requirements or is it there to help define opportunities for the business. Personally, I believe the guys in IT wouldn't be doing their job properly if they weren't spending some of their time investigating new opportunites. Unfortunately, the Cost Centre approach to enterprises doesn't really allow for this type of research.

Does anybody remember the days when we used to be called "Research & Development"? (Google employees need not answer that question - I'm really quite jealous of you!)

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