RFID Tracking via Dutch Umbrella

Dutch Umbrella is selling advertising spots on umbrellas in the Fairmount, Philadelphia and using trialling using RFID to track consumer movement and location.

The RF-ID Weblog says RFID umbrellas are a hot property in Philadelphia. It’s an experiment in mobile advertising. Dutch Umbrella is selling advertising spots on umbrellas to shopkeepers and restaurateurs in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia. RFID tracks their movement and location.

t’s the brainchild of Joe Carlson, a bartender who wanted to help rain-drenched patrons and business partner Karen Rostmeyer.

People can borrow an umbrella or leave it at a “RainDrop” located at participating businesses. Dutch Umbrella was inspired by the bicycle-sharing program in Amsterdam, and has signed up eight merchants as sponsors.

A Motorola RFID tag is inlaid in the handle. Dutch Umbrella periodically dispatches an employee with a handheld reader to visit business sites and identify each umbrella. This information is later loaded into software developed by Concept2 Solution. Merchants can then pinpoint the areas from where the customers came and target those particular areas for advertising and promotion.

RFID umbrellas might help the merchants and patrons, but it needs rain. Perfect for cities like Portland or Seattle.

Perhaps municipal WiFi networks (like Portland’s) might utilize WiFi/RFID tags — they can be “read” with using ordinary WiFi hot spots and a central Cisco 2700 Wireless Location Appliance. That could reduce theft, lower costs, and increase the total number of data points. Many object to that sort of tracking, of course.

Identec Solutions has an RFID tag that incorporates GPS to track movement of items. It is said to have a read/write range in excess of 500 meters.

Glenn Fleishman thinks the City of Seattle doesn’t need municipal WiFi…”Much as I’d love at least an outdoor, mobility-oriented Wi-Fi network across my home city, we have so much bloody access, it’s hard to make the case.”

Written by: Luke Pensworth

Luke is the managing editor and site manager of Dailywireless. As a wireless enthusiast/consumer, he reviews a lot of services based on his own experience. Disgruntled as he may be, he tries to keep his articles as honest as possible.

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