Drents Museum Uses RFID to Create a Personalized Visitor Experience
By issuing entrance tickets with EPC passive tags, the Dutch history and art museum can track its visitors' interests, and eventually deliver content tailored to each individual.
Approximately 15 kiosks produced by media content and software companies Di Colore and Jowerd Vooruit were also installed throughout the museum. Each kiosk contains a touch screen and an MTI USB RFID reader. A visitor can use the touch screen to select a subject of interest, such as pottery, and view details about the pottery displayed within the museum. To gain additional information to read later at his or her leisure, the patron would place the ticket in front of the built-in reader, as instructed by kiosk, and the device would then forward the ID number to the software, to be linked to data related to pottery, which the ticket-holder could later access via the Web site.
By the end of this year, the museum plans to begin trialing a new RFID application within another new section, where visitors will have a choice of objects they could pick up, while entering, that reflects their interests. For example, the same guest with an interest in pottery could pick up a piece of pottery, while one interested in fabric might pick up a wool sock. Attached to each item will be a Ferm RFID tag encoded with a unique ID number linked to data about that particular subject area. While walking through the room, the individual will be able to visit the kiosks, place the item in front of the reader and learn more about that object specific to the exhibit area—such as the Middle Ages (the guest could then view data regarding pottery or fabrics from that specified era).
Eventually, Birnie says, the museum hopes to enable this functionality throughout the facility, with just the RFID tickets. In that case, visitors would input their interests at a kiosk upon entrance, and use the same ticket to learn more throughout the museum, in the same way representative items will be utilized within the soon-to-be-opened new portion of the museum.
In the future, the system may also be used to enhance a user's experience, by storing that visitor's interests on his or her RFID ticket, based on the locations where that person pauses (for example, in front of pottery exhibits), and personalize the video data displayed at kiosks according to the visitor's interests. For example, if a patron spends a large amount of time viewing medieval weapons, the video may describe war history. If another guest spent more time looking at medieval households, that individual may then be presented with video content pertinent to kitchens or household items.
The challenge for the museum, Birnie says, has been the preparation of vast amounts of text, pictures and video that will be presented to users of the system as RFID tickets are increasingly employed to personalize the data visitors view. Birnie expects there will be about 30 different subject offerings for visitors based on their interests. Installing the readers in such a way that they would not be overly visible was also challenging within the sections of the museum dating back to the mid-19th century. Therefore, she says, readers were installed on walls and ceilings in a manner that they could be seen but would not be perceived as unattractive.
Since the wing's opening in November 2011, as many as 300,000 RFID-enabled tickets have been issued to visitors.
In the future, the system could also provide the museum with data regarding visitors' locations in the event of a fire or other emergency.
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