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Cadbury Offers RFID-enabled Treats During Summer Olympics

The candy company is using a UHF solution from Dwinq at Cadbury House, its temporary exhibit in London's Hyde Park, to allow visitors to share pictures with their Facebook friends.
By Claire Swedberg
From that point on, the visitor no longer needs to tap the badge near any of the other fixed readers (made by Impinj or Thing Magic) that have been installed throughout Cadbury House. Instead, that individual can simply go to specific locations, such as a photo area where he or she can have a picture taken with a backdrop—a desert with camels in the background, for example, or a stadium area, to receive a medal on a podium, with what appears to be a large crowd seated in the background. A reader installed in each area captures the tag's unique ID number, forwarding that information to Dwinq's social-media platform, which then determines whether that ID is actually located immediately in the photo area as the picture is taken. It then links the appropriate badge ID with that user's Facebook account, and posts an update on the person's page with the picture just taken.

In addition, a roving photographer carrying a UHF handheld reader supplied by IDBlue asks guests if they would like to share a picture. For those who agree to do so, the reporter places the reader near that person's badge, enabling it to capture the badge ID number and transmit that data, along with the picture, to Dwinq's social-media platform software, via a Wi-Fi connection.

When visitors have their photographs taken at Cadbury House, RFID readers identify who they are, and Dwinq software forwards their images to their Facebook pages.

Dwinq began developing the system about a year ago, says Sweeney, who launched the company while he was the CEO and president of RFID software and solutions provider ODIN, where he still serves as chairman. "Our goal was to make the social media as frictionless as possible," he states. To accomplish this goal, the company opted to utilize passive EPC Gen 2 UHF tags, with a longer read range than passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tags. He adds, however, that Dwinq's solution could function with HF tags and readers, though the challenge would be to ensure that with so many people crowded near a reader, the software would be able to screen out stray reads from badges not positioned directly in front of the camera.

The Dwinq software, Sweeney says, is what makes it possible to identify valid reads, versus strays. The software receives the ID numbers from all badges within its read range of several meters, and is then able to differentiate which badge is the one located in front of the digital camera, using algorithms that he declines to explain. He notes, however, that the interrogators deployed within Cadbury House capture hundreds of thousands of reads daily, which the software then must screen in order to determine which reads are relevant. "I can't tell you how proud I am of our engineering team," he says.

According to Carter, approximately 75 percent of Cadbury House's visitors opt to use the RFID solution to post pictures on their Facebook pages. "The system has been working brilliantly, and has been even more popular with visitors than we had hoped," she says. "Many have also been surprised about how easy it is to use the technology."

During the first two and half days of the system's use, Carter says, Cadbury House experienced 5,824 check-ins of new RFID badge users entering the exhibit, as well as 8,958 photo shares. Visitors can tour Cadbury House and use the Dwinq system at no charge.

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