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Interactive Wine Kiosk Wows Customers

Bacaro, a wine retailer and delicatessen at Zurich Airport, says its sales have increased since installing the system, which uses passive RFID tags to provide information regarding each selection.
By Rhea Wessel
Oct 27, 2009Bàcaro, a wine retailer and delicatessen at Zurich Airport, is employing radio frequency identification to up-sell and cross-sell its merchandise. The system features passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tags attached to bottles of wine, as well as an information kiosk fitted with a computer screen and an RFID interrogator. When a customer picks up a tagged bottle and sets it on a small table next to the kiosk, pictures and wine-related information—such as its specific grape, winery and bouquet—pop up on the kiosk's screen.

The information, which also includes food, cigar and chocolate suggestions to complement that particular selection, is constantly updated by the store's wine supplier, Weinkellerei Aarau. If a person knows what he or she plans to eat, the system can also work the other way around, by suggesting an accompanying beverage. In addition, it offers recommendations on which wines should be drunk straight away, and which should be left to age longer before consumption. Once the system has offered its recommendations, users can print them in color.

Bàcaro's shop is located in Zurich Airport.

Bàcaro began using the kiosk when the store opened in 2008. Weinkellerei Aarau provided training for the retailer's employees. The store's manager, Ronny Deroisy, says the system is designed to supplement advice provided by the store's employees, rather than to replace manpower.

Not every bottle in the store is RFID-tagged. Instead, only a total of approximately 300 different bottles—each representing a specific selection—carries a passive HF tag glued to their underside. The RFID tags, which comply with the ISO 15692 standard and operate at 13.56 MHz, are encapsulated in plastic and were chosen because they fit nicely in the indentation on a bottle's bottom. The system and its Web-based software application—provided and implemented by Vistasys, on behalf of Weinkellerei Aarau—utilizes hardware provided by Brooks Automation, including the company's RFID HF20 USB reader, fitted with an antenna incorporated into a plastic pad 300 millimeters by 210 millimeters by 10 millimeters (12 inches by 8 inches by 0.4 inch) in size.

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