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RFID Delivers Location-Based Data at Helsinki Mall

The mall operator and 15 retailers are using an RFID-based system called Physical Cookie, instead of Bluetooth beacons, to identify shoppers' locations and deliver personalized marketing messages on digital signs.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Retail

With the system, TBWA handed out about 14,000 VIP Keys, which are made of pink plastic, measure approximately 4 inches in length and 1 inch in width, and are designed to be attached to an individual's key chain. They come with a passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag built in, though Arhio declines to name the make and model of either the tags or readers being used. The company is not partnering with a specific hardware provider for their solutions, he says.

Users need not provide any personal data, since the solution only tracks the unique ID number transmitted by each VIP Key's RFID tag. About 2,100 of the 14,000 VIP Keys have been appearing at the mall on a regular basis, implying that individuals have attached them to their key rings for use while shopping at Citycenter.

Retailers can access the hosted Physical Cookie software to identify the interests of VIP Key users as they enter the store, as well as provide analytical information.
Like many malls, Citycenter has digital signs that display advertising information to shoppers. These signs are being used in conjunction with the Physical Cookie system, in order to display data.

TBWA installed about two dozen UHF RFID readers around Citycenter, including at entrances to the mall and to the 15 participating stores. As a shopper walks through Citycenter, the readers capture that person's tag ID and forward that data to the Physical Cookie software, provided by TBWA on a cloud-based server. The collected information is then stored and analyzed according to the movements of each individual shopper.

For instance, if a consumer frequently stops at a specific store or spends a great deal of time there, the Physical Cookie system determines that he or she may be interested in rewards, coupons, or promotional content about that store or the types of products it sells.

As the shopper passes a digital sign, an RFID reader in the vicinity detects that person's presence. The system then prompts specific content to be displayed for him or her, based on that behavior.


Pavithra Babu 2016-02-22 01:05:57 AM
Very interesting application of RFID technology. Both RFID and iBeacon provide powerful proximity solutions. Important considerations like cost, range, accuracy among others need to be kept in mind before deploying a proximity solution. Here is an interesting comparison of both iBeacon and RFID technologies - http://blog.beaconstac.com/2015/10/rfid-vs-ibeacon-ble-technology/

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