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College Football Hall of Fame to Kick Off With RFID

When the museum opens its doors in August, visitors will receive RFID-tagged 'credentials,' allowing the facility to tailor content to each individual, and to better manage its operations by knowing how many people are located at each exhibit, and for how long.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 20, 2014

When Atlanta's new College Football Hall of Fame opens its doors in late August, visitors will be able to enjoy a personalized experience at exhibits located throughout the facility. The ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID system, provided by Stark RFID, includes RFID-tagged "credentials" that visitors can use to receive content tailored specifically for them, as well as 100 readers installed at entrances, exhibits and other parts of the facility, and software residing on six servers that manage the collected data—not only to present information to visitors, but also to track details for the purpose of analytics, such as how long guests remain at each exhibit, and where bottlenecks occur. The solution also enables visitors to collect videos and photographs related to their visit, and to share that content with friends via social media.

The College Football Hall of Fame is owned by Atlanta Hall Management (AHM), a nonprofit corporation that will operate the facility via a license from the National Football Foundation (NFF), an educational organization that aims to foster student athletes who play amateur football. The museum will be housed in a $66.5 million, 94,000-square-foot structure designed to bring entertainment and information related to American college football to its fans—an expected 1 million or more annually. It will represent, in some way, all 767 college football teams throughout the United States, providing information, videos and pictures about those teams, according to Marcus Margerum, the College Football Hall of Fame's VP of marketing and communications.

The Hall of Fame is installing Alien RFID readers at its various exhibits, enabling it to offer an interactive and personalized experience to visitors, as well as determine which exhibits are popular, and where bottlenecks occur.
The Hall of Fame intends to be more than a museum, Margerum explains—its goal is to provide an interactive experience connecting a visitor to his or her favorite team, as well as providing a broad view of the college football scene in its entirety.

For instance, the museum has a 52-foot-long wall consisting of screens for viewing videos of major college football teams, including specific moments during games, interviews with players and coaches, and still photos and statistics. On another wall, the facility displays the football helmets of every major college team. The Hall of Fame is intended to allow individuals not only to experience the world of college ball as a whole, but also to focus on their favorite teams.

Enabling this has required nearly two years of development of an RFID solution, says Lance Burnett, Stark RFID's president. AHM first began working with Stark RFID to create an RFID-based solution after its management viewed an example of the company's work at the Georgia Aquarium, where RFID readers captured the movements of visitors carrying UHF tags, prompting exhibits to display information customized for each individual. The Hall of Fame's organizers sought to use the technology to bring personalization to the new museum.

Once the facility's doors open, the system will include a souvenir credential that each visitor purchases to gain access to the Hall of Fame (the credential's price includes museum admission) and then wears around his or her neck on a lanyard. Each credential contains an Alien Technology ALN-9654 "G" RFID inlay encoded with an ID number corresponding with the eight-digit number printed on the credential's back side. The user is then given the chance to personalize the credential.

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