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Illinois Water Resort Becomes RFID-Activated

Guests at the resort, which opens next year, will use RFID wristbands to do just about everything, including entering rooms, accessing lockers, buying food and arcade tokens, and even taking pictures.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Nov 16, 2007KeyLime Cove Water Resort is an indoor, year-round water-park vacation resort being built in Gurnee, Ill. When the resort opens next year, guests won't need to worry about wet wallets or lost keys putting a damper on their vacation—it plans to issue RFID-enabled wristbands that they can use to make purchases at the resort, and also as electronic keys to access guestrooms.

Such applications are becoming increasingly common at large resorts, especially those catering to families. In addition to not having to carry wallets and purses, many parents appreciate the ability to outfit children with wristbands they can use to buy snacks (see Two Ohio Water Parks Become RFID-Enabled). KeyLime Cove, however, wants to employ its wristbands for other applications as well, such as tracking action photos taken on the resort's water rides, or using the bracelets to purchase tokens in its arcade.

To that end, KeyLime Cove has selected Precision Dynamics Corp. (PDC), a provider of cashless-payment and identification systems, as its lead supplier and consultant in implementing these applications. PDC will provide the resort with its Smart Band RFID system, consisting of a wristband containing a passive ISO 15693-compliant, high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz inlay, along with a kiosk guests can use to load value onto an account associated with their wristbands. The company will also provide and maintain a back-end database of unique identifiers encoded to the inlays, along with the software used to authenticate each wristband transaction. Parents will be able to set up and load value to sub-accounts, linked to the unique IDs encoded to the wristbands issued to their children.

KeyLime Cove believes the wristband system will provide added convenience to its guests, and is working to enable every financial transaction in the resort—from paying for locker access to purchasing a soda from a vending machine or buying arcade tokens—through the wristband system. According to PDC, the adoption of RFID wristband payment systems often increases spending inside a resort.

Guests needn't worry about the security of their financial data or personal identity, says Tom Foster, regional sales manager for PDC's leisure and entertainment segment, because all such data will be secured. The RFID inlay within the wristband (issued to each guest upon checking into the hotel) will be encoded with only a unique identifier. That number will be encrypted, he assures, so that even if someone were to get close enough to a guest to use a handheld interrogator to read a wristband's inlay, the device would access only an encrypted number. According to Foster, all financial and personal data stored in the back-end databases will also be encrypted.

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