Radio Frequency identification (RFID)

Radio and television are very different from magazines and newspapers when it comes to measuring the size of their audiences. Such media have no visible trace that they have been received. The program and the advertising message are often mixed, and it is difficult to divorce the two. There are four basic ways to measure the size of the audience for any radio and television program. Each of these is discussed briefly below.

Coincidental Method: This method is based on a sample of homes, using the telephone to solicit responses about what radio ad television programs are being listened to or viewed. Typically respondents are called and asked whether anyone in the home is listening to the radio or viewing television, and, if so, to what program and station they are tuned. The question is also asked: What is the name of the sponsor or product being advertised? Ratings are based on the percentage of radio or television homes tuned to a particular program. This method measures average audience on the assumption that calls are spread evenly throughout the time of the program.

This system has the advantage of speed and economy; nevertheless, it has severe limitations. First, the results may not be valid, since only homes with telephones are included. Even where network shows are concerned, it is usually not economically feasible to obtain a sample of rural homes. For these reasons, the total size of the audience cannot be estimated accurately.

A second difficulty is that such procedures do not produce any continuous information about the audience. One cannot tell how many homes are reached over a period of several programs that is, what the cumulative audience is. Nor can one tell what the total audience is for a given program at any one time, since no measure of tuning in or out is obtained.

A third major limitation is that calls must be limited to certain hours of the day and night, such as after 8:00 am and before 10:30 pm. Programs not included in this time span cannot usually be measured using the telephone coincidental method. There may also be a tendency on the part of some respondents to report they are viewing a more socially approved program than they are.

Radio Frequency Identification or RFID is fast transforming the way business is being conducted and monitored across the supply chain. In 1948, it was invented by Harry Stockman. Yet, it had to wait its turn before emerging onto the common market. The lack of infrastructure kept RFID quiet until the late 1990s. Market for RFID picked up due to the of the retail giant. Wal-Mart. Various retailers like Wal-Mart , metro etc. have made it mandatory for their suppliers to tag shipments and goods coming distribution centers and stores with RFID tags, within a fixed time frame. Others like Target, CVS and Home deport etc also have plans to roll out timelines and pilot projects for RFID implementation.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) can be described as a wireless bar code which provides wireless communication between objects and readers. RFID uses tags or transponders that collect data and manage it in a portable, changeable database. It has the ability to identify and track products and equipment in real time without contact or line of sight. These tags, unlike barcodes, offer the possibility of reading, writing, transmitting storing and updating information.

RFID chips come in wide range of packaging options that are reusable and can withstand harsh environment, RFID tags can operate effectively in temperatures ranging from — 400 to 2000C. These chips are also capable of performing under harsh, rugged conditions. Forrester Research predicts that by around 2007-2008 adoption of very cheap RFID tags could explode to over 20 to 40 billion RFID tags.

While there are a great deal of similarities between the barcode and the RFID tag, the chief differentiator is the level of technology used. Bar coding scans a printed label with either optical laser or imaging technology while RFID scans or interrogates a semiconductor tag using radio frequency (wireless) technology.

Apart from inventory tracking this technology enables the retailer to track the tasks being performed by the employees within the store and also enables them to be more productive and responsive to customers needs by enabling the tracking of customer profiles transaction histories levels of stock and other data which may affect the actual sale from taking place. For example, a customer selects the last of a particular item on the store shelf; a restock notice instantly appears on a sales associate work pad, a nearby digital display promotes a likely substitute purchase to the consumer; and the customer’s profile is updated to include the new purchase. The new data then impacts future actions and reactions.