From The Poker Table To Greeting Cards? The RFID Future

The story of the technologist who crafted an elaborate RFID poker table, complete with an HD camera to stream real-time games globally, is interesting mostly in how he attached ultra-thin and extra-flexible RFID tags to each playing card in such a way as to make it not interfere with the way the cards felt. The details of how he did it (nicely described in this story in RFID Weblog) aside, the concept is interesting in potential future retail uses, assuming that the per-tag price can be brought down low enough. For a grocery store's greeting card section, what if the store—and its suppliers—could know which cards were picked up and which ones were opened? Today, they typically only know which were purchased. But how much would the Hallmark folk pay to know that detail? Maybe one of its cards is attracting consumers with the cover but turning them away with the punchline? Or consider a Barnes & Noble location. How much would it pay to know the same thing about books? Which are opened and, critically, how many pages are flipped? Which pages? Which was the last page examined? If the book isn't purchased, the reason is likely on that last glanced-at page. The consumer had enough interest to pick it up and flip through. On its own, it means little. But what if the browsing habits of thousands of consumers across many stores could be analyzed?