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RFID Helps Make Friends for Israeli Teens

Coca-Cola Village is using an RFID system to link teenage visitors to their Facebook pages, giving them a way to automatically share details of their fun.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 25, 2010This summer, a total of 6,500 Israeli teenagers attended a series of 10 festivals known as Coca-Cola Village, and all of them used RFID technology to share a large percentage of their experiences with friends and family through social networking site Facebook. Digital marketing group E-dologic developed and installed the system for Coca-Cola Israel, and managed the entire event through what became the most popular Facebook page in that country, with 80,000 users and 652,700 daily post views.

Each year, says Enon Landenberg, E-dologic's cofounder and managing partner, the company attempts to outdo itself with new innovative ideas using technology to market Coca-Cola's products. This year, the firm looked to Coca-Cola Village, an event that Coca-Cola Israel had already sponsored for the past two years. The event lasts three days and two nights, during which teens can play in an environment with no alcohol, but plenty of Coke products. The activities and entertainment include swimming, music, stand-up comedians, a spa and soccer.

Enon Landenberg
Coca-Cola Village had already become popular, but Landenberg had an idea to amplify that popularity by utilizing a combination of RFID technology and Facebook access, in order to enable users to share the details of their visit with friends and family members. Each attendee was provided with a wristband containing a passive RFID tag that could be read at various attractions, as well as by staff members with portable readers, and the resulting information or pictures would then automatically be pasted on that user's Facebook page. At the end of their visit, the teens returned the wristbands so that subsequent attendees could reuse them.

The 10 festivals, each lasting three days and two nights, were held sequentially throughout the six-week period at a hotel and park area in the Netanya region of Israel, and were completely organized on Facebook. The company set up a Coca-Cola Village Facebook page, inviting teenagers between ages 15 and 18 who are Facebook members to complete three requirements—obtaining 10 Coca-Cola can codes (which required consuming 10 cans of Coke), getting signed permission from parents and gathering a group of eight friends. The event cost $50 per person. When the 650 hotel reservations per event were made available on Facebook, they were all filled within 1.5 seconds, Landenberg says, with a total of 25,000 responses to the offer received from Israeli teens. A total of 6,500 teens attended throughout the six-week period, with 1,500 RFID-enabled wristbands put into service.

Visitors were given wristbands containing a passive 125 kHz RFID tag.

Once at the event, the teenagers checked into their rooms and were given a plastic bracelet adorned with what resembled a Coke bottle cap. Embedded within that bottle cap was a 125 kHz passive RFID tag complying with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards, and encoded with a unique ID number that had been input into E-dologic's software system, residing on its own server and linked to the wristband wearer's Facebook account.

Installed across the site were 40 wooden boxes, known as "Like Machines," approximately 18 inches in length and painted with the image of a hand giving the thumbs-up sign. The Like Machines, designed and built by Israeli RFID provider Ofer Leshem Ltd., each contained an RFID reader to capture the unique ID number of a user's tag when that individual presented it within 35 centimeters (14 inches) of the box. The readers then forwarded the ID, number along with a date and time stamp, to the server (via a cellular connection), where E-dologic software linked the wristband's ID number with the user's Facebook page and posted information related to that specific attraction.

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