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Minnesota Vikings Take Fans on an RFID-enabled Voyage
The football team is using interactive technology that allows game attendees to participate in the same kind of fitness tests that the players must undertake, and to record their scores via NFC-tagged wristbands.
Jul 25, 2016—
This year, NFL team Minnesota Vikings will be playing at their new home, the U.S. Bank Stadium, located in downtown Minneapolis, and the franchise has been using that opportunity to find new ways in which to excite fans with high-tech entertainment designed to make them feel like they're part of the team. The result of that mission is Vikings Voyage, a 10,000-square-foot interactive exhibition space where fans can catch passes while wearing a virtual reality Vikings helmet, run shuttle drills against a current Vikings player's pace, and hit a tackling sled that measures impact. The space allows fans to track scores and compete against other visitors by means of bracelets containing passive Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tags.
"The spirit of the new stadium is getting fans as close to the action as we can," says Tanya Dreesen, the Minnesota Vikings' partnership activation and special projects VP. "It's a way to feel like you're in the huddle, even if you're not in the huddle."
Vikings Voyage was designed by Dimensional Innovations, based in Overland Park, Kan. The 23-year-old company began as a signage firm for movie theaters, and expanded to a variety of technology solutions over time, DI reports, including interactive electronics and touchscreens.
The resulting system is expected to be up and running for the first preseason game in late August. Upon arriving at the stadium, the ticket holder can first proceed to a touchscreen, to receive a purple wristband containing an NXP Semiconductors NTAG 213 chip compliant with the ISO 14443 standard. The ID number encoded on the wristband's chip is then linked to that individual's name in the DI software, which resides locally on a stadium server.
The system was designed to collect only a name and no other details, Walker explains, so that fans can quickly obtain their wristband and free up the touchscreen for the next user. They can then don the wristband and begin walking through the Vikings Voyage. There are a variety of tests and activities inside for them to complete, including four activities for which they can use their RFID bracelets to track their scores automatically and then share those scores with friends and family members via social media.
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