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Mediamatic Lab Uses RFID to Make Events More Interactive

Customers like Renault get a chance to have their names posted on a large number of Facebook walls, and to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
By Rhea Wessel
Mar 26, 2012Amsterdam-based Mediamatic Lab, a new-media arts, events and technology company, is bringing together attendees at live events via radio frequency identification, helping them to share their opinions and connect their social-media personas with those of new acquaintances.

The idea behind many of the firm's activities is just that—to link the virtual and real worlds in creative, interactive ways that Mediamatic Lab's customers will be willing to pay for. According to Mediamatic Lab, customers include businesses that hold workshops and events, museums that want interactive installations and arts festivals, to name a few. The company generates approximately 25 percent of its revenues with RFID-based applications.

Mediamatic Lab has designed mobile hardware to be used for live voting, including a reader incorporated into an umbrella.

Some of Mediamatic Lab's applications work with Facebook's location-sharing feature, and allow members to sign in by touching a Near Field Communication (NFC) Mifare-based RFID card against a reader customized by Mediamatic Lab and set up at the event. When utilizing the NFC cards, users need not open a social-media application on their smartphones and search for their current location, paying telecommunications charges along the way. Once logged in, the smart card becomes a physical "like" button for use at other terminals at the event or installation. Each time that users want to "like" a particular program or segment, they scan their cards. Mediamatic Lab has creatively designed heart-shaped smart cards, which it calls ikTags, and has produced them in bright pink, green and other shades. According to the company, each ikTag contains a "generic Mifare tag that can easily be obtained from any vendor."

In addition, the system has been used for live polling, such as voting on the best business idea at a conference, as organizers did at the ICT Delta 2010 conference. It has also been employed by conference attendees to have photos taken of themselves and be posted on a user-specified social network, as was done at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2011. If several individuals log in to have a photo taken together, they automatically become connected on their social network, says Willem Velthoven, Mediamatic Lab's director and founder.

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