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LifeSynk Lets Consumers Use RFID to 'Like' Products, Stores and Events

The system employs RFID cards and readers to link shoppers' activities with their Facebook accounts, enabling the marketing of events, businesses or products, and providing users with discounts and other offers.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Retail
Mar 07, 2012British startup LifeSynk Ltd. is launching an RFID solution intended to bring brick-and-mortar stores, the products they sell, and events such as conferences to the Internet, via consumers and their Facebook accounts. The system, which includes low-frequency (LF) or high-frequency (HF) RFID cards and readers, as well as a cloud-based server to manage read data, aims to serve retailers, product suppliers and organizers of conferences or other events. Retailers can offer promotions to customers who use the technology to "share" their store visits with Facebook friends. For product marketers, a consumer can tap his or her card near a reader while buying a particular product, thereby gaining a discount or other benefit, while also updating his or her Facebook status to indicate what was purchased. In the case of a conference, festival or concert, the technology can be used similarly, enabling ticket holders to "like" a band or speaker, or to simply share what they are doing with friends, thereby obtaining discounts, credits or contest eligibility.

LifeSynk Ltd. is currently in discussions with several firms—primarily marketers of brand-name companies—about how to utilize the technology to promote their products. What's more, the company is providing the technology to a conference in London, to be held later this month.

Consumers can tap their LifeSynk cards near a reader as they purchase a particular product, thereby updating their Facebook status to indicate what they bought.
Late last year, LifeSynk Ltd. spun off from Gamaroff Digital, a British firm launched in 2008 to provide social-media marketing software platforms. Gamaroff Digital, which provides marketing software via Facebook, identified the value of RFID technology for granting businesses greater prominence on Facebook via their customers' "likes" at physical locations. As a result, says Mike Gamaroff, the president and CEO of both Gamaroff Digital and LifeSynk, the latter firm was developed to provide the RFID solutions. LifeSynk can use RFID technology from a variety of vendors, Gamaroff says, and is currently evaluating several companies' products. Initially, the LifeSynk system will operate with LF RFID cards, though the company plans to offer a version that employs HF RFID technology complying with the Near Field Communication (NFC) standards. The long-term goal, he says, is to allow consumers to use their NFC-enabled mobile phone to access promotional information, coupons and loyalty points, while sharing their "likes" on Facebook, by tapping the phone against reader stations.

At present, the LifeSynk solution consists of the RFID cards, as well as terminals with a built-in RFID reader, a computer and a Wi-Fi connection to LifeSynk's cloud-based server, using its software platform to link a read event with the specific user's Facebook or other social-media account. The system also manages data, such as the number of times that a particular retailer or product was "liked," and the number of friends of those Facebook users who then clicked on Web sites to learn more.

The solution, Gamaroff explains, is intended to link physical locations with the Internet connections available on Facebook or Twitter. The company worked for several months to develop the NFC-enabled solution, he says, before LifeSynk was officially launched in October 2011.

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