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T-Mobile Austria Updates Prices Wirelessly

Thanks to RFID-based electronic shelf displays, the company can change product information across all of its retail stores in an instant.
By Claire Swedberg
Software integration firm MmiT installed the system, with store size determining the number of displays deployed at a particular location. Typically, each store has about a dozen ZBD epop 500 e-paper displays, as well as at least one interrogator, known as a Bounce Communicator. Each epop 500 device measures 103 millimeters (4 inches) in width and 82 millimeters (3.2 inches) in height, with a visible screen area measuring 83 millimeters by 62 millimeters (3.3 inches by 2.4 inches). The screen is bistable, meaning that it requires no power to retain an image indefinitely.

ZBD Solutions' software consists of Bounce Architect (to manage data related to pricing and product details) and Bounce Processor (to prompt the changes to epop labels via RFID). To update prices or other information, explains David Morgan, ZBD's senior VP of global sales, T-Mobile Austria's managers—working at the company's central location—make the necessary changes in the Bounce Architect software. The new data is then transmitted via the Bounce Processor to the Bounce Communicator software, running on a computer located at each store. The Bounce Communicator then forwards appropriate pricing and product data to each epop 500 unit, based on that unit's unique ID number, via an 868 MHz transmission, using a proprietary air-interface protocol. The epop 500 device, powered with a coin-cell battery, receives that data, updates its details and displays the new information on its e-paper screen, while simultaneously sending an 868 MHz transmission back to the Bounce Communicator, thus verifying that the transmission has been received.

With the system in place, Morgan says, "staff are free to spend more time with customers, and T-Mobile can ensure that call or handset pricing information is always up-to-date and 100 percent accurate."

By using the technology, Morgan reports, T-Mobile Austria has seen a 40 percent savings on material and employee costs, based on eliminating the manual printing, cutting and applying of labels, as well as a reduction in the need for paper and toner. The system also provides T-Mobile Austria's managers with confirmation that pricing and product information remains up-to-date at every store.

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