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RFID Walks the Red Carpet at The Hobbit's European Film Premiere

A solution from Dwinq let attendees automatically post pictures taken of them with friends, and with the movie's stars.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 23, 2013

When 500 recipients of VIP passes showed up at the European premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, their priority was to obtain photographs showing them at the event, in costume and standing next to the movie's stars, and to share the pictures with friends. To make that possible, Facebook and the film's distributor, Warner Bros., opted for an RFID-based solution from Dwinq. As a result, the attendees' VIP passes came with passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC RFID tags, photographers carried RFID readers to interrogate those tags, and Dwinq's Social Media Operating System software linked each picture with that person's ID number, and then posted those pictures, along with The Hobbit logo, on his or her Facebook page.

During the single-evening event, the system connected the branded photos to nearly 100,000 individuals, based on an average of 240 friends for each of the 500 participants, with 132 percent sharing. This meant that the pictures not only reached 100 percent of the users' own friends, but also any friends of their friends who may have liked or responded to the pictures.

The event itself, which took place on Monday, Dec. 16, was pandemonium when it came to picture-taking, says Patrick Sweeney, Dwinq's president and CEO. The company has provided the Facebook-based solution at a variety of events, including the U.S. Olympics and Formula One races, he says, but this event stands out in terms of the high demand for pictures. "We've never had so many photographers for such a small group of people," he states.

In fact, five photographers wandered through the premiere event taking pictures.

For the event, 500 people won the VIP passes through Facebook. Upon receiving the pass, each winner could either download a Dwinq app onto a mobile phone and then use it to register the pass or, upon arriving at the premiere, register via laptops located in the "Fan Cave." In either case, the user input the ID number on the VIP pass, and then provided his or her Facebook user name and password, along with permission to link pictures to that Facebook page.

Every guest wore his or her VIP pass on a lanyard around the neck, each consisting of an RFID plastic ID card from Vanguard ID, containing an EPC Gen 2 UHF tag encoded with a unique ID number that was also printed on the pass. Photographers each carried an IDBlue pen-shaped RFID reader, as well as a Wi-Fi-enabled camera with an SD card loaded with Dwinq software, and a tablet or phone that received the tag ID read by IDBlue via Bluetooth technology, and then forwarded that data via a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Photographers took pictures of the attendees (who were dressed up for the occasion, many in costumes based on characters from The Hobbit), either as groups of friends, or together with one or more of the movie's stars.

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