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Liquid Lemon Links South Africans to Social Media

The company offers RFID-based solutions in South Africa that enable users to share photos and "likes" via Facebook, Twitter and similar sites; clients include Sunglass Hut.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 12, 2013South African company Liquid Lemon is using cameras, RFID readers and wristbands to connect consumers to social media sites, marketing a product or brand as they do so. The solutions include "like" and photo stations at kiosks in malls and beaches for Sunglass Hut in November 2012 and for the nation's primary power company, Eskom. In newly opened Sunglass Hut pop-up stores in several South African malls, visitors used RFID wristbands to post pictures of themselves wearing sunglasses. Elsewhere in South Africa, kiosks are being used a variety of locations by the power company's 49M energy-conservation campaign by linking individuals' Facebook and Twitter accounts to their pledge to reduce power consumption.

Liquid Lemon's Michael Rogers
Suzanne Rogers and her husband, Michael, launched the digital-marketing and Web-design firm in 2007. The Johannesburg-based couple was inspired to adopt RFID after they met the owners of RealLifeConnect, an Austrian company that uses RFID technology to link individuals with social media. Michael Rogers says there wasn't an equivalent solution provider in South Africa, so in 2011 he and wife opted to offer Liquid Lemon's version for the South African market.

The technology consists of wristbands containing high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags made with Semiconductors Mifare 1-kilobyte chips and complying with the ISO 14443 standard, an SCM Microsystems (Identive) reader built into a kiosk that can serve as a photo booth or "like" station, and a software application that links a wristband's tag unique ID number with an individual's Facebook page or Twitter account. The app also can share data with Foursquare, LinkedIn and Chinese social networking site Weibo.

In March 2011, Eskom launched its 49M initiative to encourage all South Africans to cut their energy consumption by 10 percent. At the time of the launching, the population of South Africa was 49 million (49M), although it is more than that now. According to the 49M Web site, 8,600 of the nation's residents have signed up. One of the ways it gains the pledges is through appearances in public places, where the utility company sets up kiosks that use Liquid Lemon's RFID technology in "swipe stations" (which participants use to "like" 49M and pledge to reduce their power consumption), as well as photo booths.

South African utility company Eskom uses Liquid Lemon's RFID technology in "swipe stations," where participants can "like" 49M and pledge to reduce their power consumption.

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