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RFID Helps Keep Nick on the Go

CR Media uses active RFID tags to track entertainment players loaded with Nickelodeon programming and provided to Hertz customers at locations across the United States.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 10, 2008Miami-based startup company CR Media, in partnership with children's media company Nickelodeon and the the Hertz rental-car company is renting RFID-tagged entertainment players for kids known as Nick on the Go.

The system, launched in December 2007, now provides portable preloaded media players with children's programming from Nickelodeon as well as video games to be rented along with Hertz rental vehicles. For a price of $16.95 per day, travelers can rent the brightly colored, rugged devices that can be mounted on the back of the headrest of the front seat, as well as carried outside of the vehicle to be played at the pool, in restaurants or hotel rooms.

CR Media's Joshua Wallack
Tracking the $700 devices requires an automated system, says Joshua Wallack, president of CR Media. They are being rented from 43 different Hertz locations at airports throughout the United States. In the future, CR Media intends to provide the system in more U.S. airports, as well as throughout the world. Because they are being handled and serviced by Hertz employees across the country, says Wallack, CR Media needed a system that would provide visibility at every rental location of just what devices were in stock, and when and where the others had been rented. They also needed a system that required no added labor by Hertz employees.

The solution, with software and integration services , provided by NCR, accomplishes both tasks, Wallack says-making the devices visible to CR Media without any effort by Hertz employees. Each media player, of which there are currently about 1,000 in use, comes with an RF Code 433 MHz active RF Code RFID tag that beacons every five seconds, says NCR director of marketing Terry Massey. The use a proprietary air-interface protocol and have a 1,000 foot read range. Each Hertz rental outlet has an RF Code RFID reader. When someone rents a player and removes it from the premises, the reader stops receiving transmissions from the tag.

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