How do wireless and dry cleaning converge?

February 28, 2007 - 0 Comments

Despite the fact that my co-workers joke about my wrinkled clothes – I *do* go to the cleaners. In fact, this morning I went to the one up the street from where I live to drop off some of my wrinkled clothes. “You work at Cisco Systems Matt?” Ahmed, my dry cleaner, asked me. I have been using him for a long time and we call each other by first name. “Yeah. How’d you know?””I found a business card in one of your shirts. What do you know about RFID?”I paused for a second… I was truly taken aback. Then it dawned on me that you know that something is going to become pervasive when your dry cleaner asks about it.I didn’t want to give up what I know about RFID too easily. Everyone always asks a ‘lawyer’ friend for legal advise. This was my big moment to be a domain expert and give up free advise, and I didn’t want to just give up what I know to easily. “What else do you know about me from my shirts?” I asked him. “You are a pretty normal guy,” he said, “but you should see some of my other customers. Check this out.”He came from behind the counter and hit the switch that made all of the finished dry cleaning circulate throughout his little shop and then he made it stop. “Feel this shirt,” he said. I did and it was a very coarse white shirt with a button down collar. “… and this one,” he added.In the same bundle of finished dry cleaning there was another coarse shirt, but this one was blue. “Look at these buttons.”I looked and the buttons on the arms were mismatched.”The guy that owns these shirts drives a Porsche Carrera and I’ve been cleaning these same shirts for the last two years. He clearly has his priorities in the wrong place…. Now look at this shirt…”He hit the switch again, stopped it, and pulled out another bundle of shirts. He asked me to feel all of the shirts, which I did and once again they were coarse.”Now look at the end of the sleeves.”I looked and the buttons were perfectly matched, but there were stains at the very end of the sleeves. “This man is a doctor Matt and he has to get new shirts constantly. Its the finish of things that you need to look at… “The world through the eyes of a dry cleaner was truly a different place. “What do you want to know about RFID?” I asked. “When can I get it? I want to be able to find my customers shirts and give them better service. I’d like to tell you that my service is perfect, but I send my shirts out to get them done and periodically the company I send them to loses a shirt, and shortly after I lose a customer. So I want to put RFID on people’s shirts. Then I want to track them when they go out.”I told him about passive RFID and how cheap the tags are going to become, and how he can pass the cost of the tags on to his customers. I then asked for a discount because I’m a subject matter expert. He then told me he was going to charge me double because I’m one of the guys making it happen so I should be able to afford it. He then added that the extra money he is going to charge me is going to help him overcome the guilt he feels for not having it right now. “One more question???” I asked. “Go ahead.””Any advise for me?””You always ask for medium starch, that’s too much. You should have light starch – its more comfortable and looks better.””Thanks dude.”

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