Nike Korea, Nestlé Philippines Like U-Like

A number of companies have been using UbiU's U-Like solution to enable consumers to share information and photos with friends via Facebook and Twitter, in real time, even when not connected to the Internet.
Published: August 17, 2012

Users of social-networking sites can now share information, “like” a product or event, and upload photographs while offline, all with the wave of a hand, thanks to radio frequency identification technology.

The latest example of this application comes from Korean firm UbiU Holdings, which developed its U-Like system to enable people to share information with friends online in real time, even when they are not connected to the Internet. The technology has been embraced by such companies as Hyundai, Nike Korea, Nestlé Philippines and Manila Ocean Park.

At Nestea Beach, staff members use a mobile phone to photograph a participant, and then tap that individual’s wristband to upload the photos to his or her Facebook page.

UbiU Holdings’ president, Charles Park, says U-Like allows individuals to quickly and easily share their experiences with friends via social-networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, when at an event, show or exhibition, while providing organizers with valuable publicity and marketing information.

“Previously, marketing your company through social-networking services was limited to when a customer was online,” Park explains, “but U-Like allows them to ‘like’ your product, share your fan page with friends, or upload photos of your product or event, even when offline. RFID is the latest in social-networking services marketing technology.”

Visitors to an event are assigned an e-wrist tag containing a passive RFID tag, and can then register their Facebook, Twitter or other social-networking site username and password, using an RFID reader and writer. The readers are located at each exhibit or place of interest, and a visitor can simply tap his or her e-wrist tag on the device. That person’s information is then transmitted to the U-Like database, which automatically updates the attendee’s social-networking sites by registering the visitor as a fan of the company, and “liking” the exhibit or place of interest. Attendees can also have their photo taken at the event, and can simply tap the e-wrist tag to have that picture instantly uploaded to their social-networking site.

In order to ensure security, the e-wrist tag contains only the social-networking sites’ cookie values, and not identification or password information. When the tag is read, the user’s information is transmitted to a data center, and is then matched to that individual’s social-networking sites, which are automatically updated.
Park says U-Like primarily employs Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tags, which are high-frequency (HF) and operate at 13.56 MHz via the ISO 18000-3 air-interface protocol, though the e-wristbands are customizable for both HF and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF). The U-Like reader also operates at 13.56 MHz according to the ISO 14443 1-4 standards, and customer information is forwarded to the server via a Wi-Fi connection.

All information collected, such as the number of “likes” on social-networking sites, as well as user demographics, is collected in real time by UbiU’s customer-relationship management software. That data is then provided for analysis via an easy-to-use online manager system.

At Nike Korea’s The Chance events, soccer players scanned their wristbands via U-Like RFID readers.

“U-Like allows companies to measure the success of promotions, determine customer preferences, promote their company to potential new customers and improve their overall reputation,” Park states.

Hyundai was among the first companies to demonstrate U-Like’s potential, when it adopted the technology last year for the AutoRAI motor show, in Amsterdam. At each car exhibit, a U-Like reader enabled visitors to swipe a tag and “like” their favorite cars, thereby involving friends in their live experience.

During the event, more than 10,000 “likes” were posted on Facebook, reaching approximately two million people online, while Hyundai’s Dutch division added 1,000 new friends to its newly created Facebook fan page. Park says that U-Like helped make Hyundai the most “liked” brand, and the company’s Veloster model the most liked car at the show.
Since then, Nike Korea implemented U-Like for the Korean leg of its event known as The Chance, a soccer talent hunt held around the world. Each participant was issued a wristband so that game records and photos could easily be posted on that person’s social-networking sites, even when he or she was competing, by means of RFID terminals and kiosks set up at preliminary events.

In April 2012, Nestlé Philippines utilized the U-Like system at its Nestea Beach volleyball finals, held on the Philippine island of Boracay, which included competitions, concerts and a beach party. Guests were issued a wristband containing the Nestea logo, enabling them to upload competition data and photos in real time.

In addition, Manila Ocean Park, a major theme park and aquarium located in the Philippines, adopted the U-Like technology to enable visitors to “like” exhibits and places of interest, and to share photos of their experiences with friends in real time. Attendees can use one of the park’s photo booths to take pictures, and then tap the booth’s RFID reader to upload the photographs instantly to their social-networking accounts. The park’s employees, who have been issued smartphones with built-in cameras and readers, offer to take photos of visitors, who can then tap their wristbands to the phone in order to have the photos posted to their Facebook and Twitter pages

According to Park, the possibilities for this technology are endless. U-Like, he says, can be implemented at events, festivals, conferences, cultural performances, museums, amusement parks, department stores and more.

UbiU Holdings, Park adds, is currently working with companies around the world that are keen to attract publicity online, even when their customers are offline.