German Grocers Tagging Workers To Limit Time In Freezers

While U.S. retailers—including Macy's and JCPenney—are just starting to get comfortable with item-level RFID, a pair of German supermarket chains is already taking the next step—tagging associates, too. By using active tags, the chains are able to not only handle access to sensitive areas but flag when an employee has been in a freezer too long and may need help.

The grocers, ALDI and Lidl, wanted to offer hands-free access to security areas, said this report from RFID Journal. "Lidl installed a reader inside the freezer near its entrance. When a person with a transponder arrives, the ID number is recognized, unlocks the door and allows him entrance," the story said. "As he remains in the freezer, the reader continues to read the tag once each second. If it is still reading the tag in 15 minutes, it triggers a loud siren that can be heard outside the freezer." It's long been argued that RFID can deliver retail ROI, but only if retailers forget what vendors have promised and start getting creative about discovering their own ways to profitably use the tags to do what can't easily be done any other way. Looks like ALDI and Lidl have already started thinking outside the box—and inside the freezer.