On Tour With RFID

Posted by Anna Zauner on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 @ 08:36 AM

Tags: RFID, RFID Wristbands, Social Media

Outdoor Concert VenueThe emergence of RFID on the concert scene should really come as no surprise.  As music festivals of all kinds are gaining popularity, organizers want their audiences to have one less thing to think about when it comes to getting in the door. RFID enabled wristbands do just that. In addition, they offer all kinds of added benefits - such as combatting ticket counterfeiting, supporting cashless payment, and even integrating with the fans' preferred social networks.

RFID was initially used as a ticketing solution for large outdoor music festivals, starting in 2004 with its adoption at SXSW in Austin, TX. It emerged in the form of wristbands and cut down significantly on gate crashing and lost tickets. It also introduced a cash-free payment system, which is undeniably popular since it can be risky to carry around large amounts of money.  Though mainstream use of RFID spans nearly a decade, it wasn’t until its much publicized implementation at popular music festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo did people really begin to take notice.

According to a recent article published on Hypebot.com, RFID adoption at concerts has been steadily increasing; this year was no exception.  The main focus of attention, though, was focused on concert goers ability to “Check-In” via their Facebook account.  Companies such as Intellitix are contributing to the success of RFID and social media at the concert scene.  At both Bonnaroo and Coachella this year, Intellitix powered Facebook check-ins via their “Live Click Stations” where fans could upload a picture of themselves to Facebook at their favorite band’s concert, surely becoming the envy of their friends!

It doesn't stop there. Fans are also able to go beyond Facebook status updates and include various tie-ins with sponsors and off-site partners.  At Roger Waters-The Wall tour this year, more than 70,000 fans had their RFID enabled wristband linked to their Facebook account. This process allowed them to post messages from Amnesty International during the concert aimed at spreading awareness about Amnesty’s 50-year battle for human rights.

The statistics in this market are getting pretty interesting.  At Coachella, more than 30,000 people registered to use the Live Click stations to update their status on Facebook.  Bonnaroo took it to a whole new level with over 74,000 registrations for check-ins at the “largest Live Click Stations ever made.”

RFID offers proven benefits when it comes to streamlining concert admittance and combating ticket counterfeiting, but with the continued popularity of social media platforms, it is probably safe to say it hasn’t reached its peak!

dwinQ RFID Social Media Platform Wins Gold at London Olympics

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, Aug 06, 2012 @ 05:04 PM

Tags: RFID, Smart Displays, Social Media, Social Networks

dwinq LondonIt’s hard to say which event has been the most thrilling to watch; men’s swimming knowing that this may be Michael Phelps’ last Olympic hurrah, Usain Bolt setting an Olympic record in the 100-meter dash, or the fierce competitions in sports that we usually don’t get to see like fencing and water polo.

In the middle of ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat’, of the London Olympics, we are also excited to hear of RFID-enabled social media’s place on the medal stand.

As the Official Treat Provider to the London 2012 Olympics, Cadbury has created Cadbury House – inflatable purple domes in Hyde Park where guests can easily share their experiences with friends and family. With a passive UHF RFID system created by dwinQ, guests at the Cadbury House can immediately link photos of their Olympic visit via their Facebook pages – creating a seamless (or as dwinQ calls it – frictionless) social media experience.  

Here’s how it works: RFID Journal explains that guests are given badges that contain EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID tags. They then register their Facebook account information which is linked to the unique identification number encoded in the badge's RFID tag. When guests enter one of the Cadbury Houses, they can check in, simply by having the badge near a check-in kiosk, each outfitted with ThingMagic readers.  

Once the first reader has checked-in a guest, he or she can simply go to any pre-determined location throughout the park, such as a photo area. The RFID reader in that area captures the tag's unique ID number in the badge, communicates the information to Dwinq's social-media platform, which then links the appropriate badge ID with the right Facebook account, and posts an update on the person's page.

Since the 2012 Games began, Cadbury House has been receiving approximately 3,500 visitors daily. The Company expects 50,000 guests to check-in over two weeks, which means that the Cadbury House Olympic experience will reach a huge number of people through social media channels. According to the press release, “The solution creates fun for guests while simultaneously amplifying Cadbury's brand messaging to hundreds of thousands of people beyond the event attendees.”

Once again we see that RFID + Social Media = Reach.

This is reminiscent of a similar experience offered at RFID Journal LIVE! a couple of years ago where attendees could extend their event experience over social media. Our case study, “Building Brand Loyalty and Reach through RFID and Social Media” can be downloaded here.  

For more information, check out dwinQ’s blog post on their Olympic experience. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to “Like” ThingMagic and dwinQ on Facebook!

Will NRF’s ‘The Big Show’ Be a Good Barometer of RFID in Retail?

Posted by Ken Lynch on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 @ 04:34 PM

Tags: RFID, Retail, Item Level RFID, Social Media

NRFAlready in its 101st year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is gearing up for its Annual Convention & EXPO in New York next month. It looks like there is a lot of excitement in store for us (no pun intended) including a keynote speech from Bill Clinton!

Aside from a former U.S. President being in attendance, digital retail and mobility are dominating the buzz this year. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise because retailers are marketing to the consumer in ways that align with their behaviors – which is largely dominated by using mobile devices to consume digital information. 

According to Susan Newman, NRF’s Senior Vice President of Conferences, “Right now, it’s all about how you reach customers, engage with them, and help them engage with you.”

If you walk into any mall or store, or even just observe people walking down the street, EVERYONE is carrying a mobile device. If that’s an accurate representation of the consumer market today, retailers must recognize that they can reach a very large portion of their target audience via digital media and the smart phone. As a proof point to that theory, Shop.org’s First Look Track at NRF will be two days that focus on all things digital, related to topics such as The Future Shopper and Buying Behaviors.

A while back we experimented with mobility and social media, having RFID play the integral role. We determined that RFID + Social Media = Reach. Meaning that by adding the two together, it was easier and more effective to reach the intended audience, customize to their preferences and build brand loyalty. How can RFID help get us closer to that Holy Grail (in a simple, easy way) in retail?

One way to get to get a better understanding of your customers’ preferences is through item-level tagging. It may actually be on its way to being considered a best practice in retail. The Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association started the VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative for that very purpose. Its goal is to foster innovation, improve business processes and enhance consumer experiences by developing business applications and best practices around standards-based RFID. This is the kind of support the industry needs to effectively sell, and sell in such a way that is embraced by consumers. Using mobile devices and digital/social media will undoubtedly be widely accepted because it aligns with their current behavior.

We can’t wait to see some of these session tracks at NRF to learn more. Congratulations, NRF on 101 years and a sold out expo floor!

The Engine in RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, May 25, 2011 @ 11:09 AM

Tags: RFID, Retail, Social Media, Social Networks

ThingMagicIts been a few weeks since the close of RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, and the reviews are in.  By all measures this year’s event provided a solid platform for end users, technology vendors and solution providers to meet to discuss the latest in RFID and its many applications across industries.  Overall, the sessions seemed well attended - especially the standing room only keynotes.  Like in years past, the exhibit floor was home to many exciting demonstrations, but this year included a demo area highlighting the use of RFID in retail - from product manufacturing to the retail store (more on this later).

Among the highlights for ThingMagic were the following:

RFID’s Best Powered by ThingMagic

Gerry Weber International received the Best RFID Implementation Award for a solution that integrates RFID tags into its clothing labels so items can be tracked from the point of manufacture to over 200 store locations.  As detailed in a recent ThingMagic announcement titled Trimble Embedded RFID Readers Power International Retail Inventory Management Solution, several elements of Gerry Weber’s solution include ThingMagic readers, including Nordic ID PL3000 UHF RFID Cross Dipole handhelds, and point of sale (PoS) and electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems designed by RAKO Security-Label GmbH. 

If two makes a trend, then game on.  ThingMagic readers also powered the solution deployed by RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 Most Innovative Use of RFID award winner The Disney Family Cancer Center for their use of RFID to enhance the patient’s experience and increase efficiency.  See ThingMagic’s case study on this innovative, first-of-its-kind solution.

ThingMagic Powers Retail Supply Chain Pavilion

In a demonstration sponsored by GS1 US and coordinated by former colleague Ken Traub of Ken Traub Consulting, several technology providers showed how apparel items can be tagged at the point of manufacture and then tracked through distribution centers, store receiving and on the retail sales floor.  Four of the eight vendors demonstrating their products - including Avery Dennison RBIS, Tagsys RFID, Seeonic, and Zebra Technologies - offer retail solutions Powered by ThingMagic. See RFID Journal’s video of the GS1 US Apparel Demo for an overview of the solutions demonstrated.

Rounding out our retail market activity, ThingMagic partnered with Truecount Corporation - an innovator of RFID software solutions for the retail industry, to demonstrate item-level RFID capabilities and benefits for the retail industry end-to-end supply chain - focusing on the critical functions that can help retailers achieve greater efficiencies in their operations.

RFID + Social Networking = Reach

A hands down crowd favorite at RFID Journal LIVE! were several Facebook ‘Like’ and ‘Check-In’ kiosks developed by ODIN.  Each kiosk included ODIN’s Facebook-ready software known as EasyConnect (which is integrated into Facebook’s RFID presence modules) and ThingMagic ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID readers. Check-in stations were strategically placed throughout the conference areas, allowing attendees to update their Facebook profiles by checking in via Facebook Places. Similarly, ‘Like’ kiosks located on the exhibit floor and in major speaking sessions helped build Facebook audiences for RFID Journal, ODIN, ThingMagic and other event sponsors.

These kiosks allowed attendees to extend their personal experiences from the physical world to the online world in real-time, expanding reach and influence well beyond the boundaries of the conference.  A recent blog post from ODIN includes some very interesting statistics about this social media and RFID solution.  A full case study of the solution has also been published by ThingMagic and can be found here.

Now fast forward and consider the future of RFID integrated into the retail supply chain, mobile devices, smart signage, kiosks and other elements of the physical environment combined with the reach of Social Media - and the possibilities seem limitless.

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