Even Santa Uses RFID

Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 2:25:28 PM

The Santa Clause office in Finland may be the closest you can get to the real North Pole. Boys and girls can visit Santa in his office, which looks exactly the way you would imagine Santa's office to look. Santa's office of course is located in a Christmas village where families can partake in all the traditional Christmas activities. 

After taking a reindeer sleigh ride through the woods kids can meet Santa and get a picture together as a souvenir of the experience. Yet even Santa has to do deal with the drudgery of organizing photos. The initial system used for photo organization was to simply put all the photos on a wall and families could search through them and identify their child's photo to take down and pay for. 

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Obviously this process was disorganized and frustrating particularly during the busy Christmas season. So Santa wised up and decided to invest in an RFID solution. Now all the kids that visit receive an EPC Gen 2 tag on a lanyard badge. With the new system families RFID badges are quickly read by a RFID interrogator installed underneath a wooden counter. 

RFID Journal Describes the Santa experience: santa.jpg

Entry into Santa's office is free. Individuals and groups can register at the front desk and receive a plastic souvenir card, about the size of a business card, which hangs by a ribbon around a person's neck. At this point, a multilingual elf collects information on whether Laura has been naughty or nice, and what Wolfgang wants for Christmas. This data is then stored in middleware and linked to the unique ID contained in the EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tagvisitors attach to their cards.

Three RFID-enabled printers are set up in the entryway. Visitors serve themselves at the printers, taking an adhesive label already separated from its backing and sticking it on the back of the souvenir card. Initially, visitors were given an RFID label that slipped into a plastic sleeve on the card's back, but the system designers switched to adhesive labels to keep costs down. The goal was to deploy a system employing an RFID tag that costs less than 15 euro cents ($0.22) and allows visitors to decline the tag if they choose. Visitors are informed about the tags before entering.


In the entranceway to Santa's office, an RFID interrogator reads the card's tag for the first time. The information collected allows security officials to ensure a steady flow of visitors, without overcrowding. Visitors browse through Santa's library and other rooms, then move on to one of two offices at a predetermined appointment time, printed on the RFID label. (Two Santas work simultaneously to fulfill as many wishes as possible.)

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In the entranceway to Santa's office, an RFID interrogator reads the card's tag for the first time. The information collected allows security officials to ensure a steady flow of visitors, without overcrowding. Visitors browse through Santa's library and other rooms, then move on to one of two offices at a predetermined appointment time, printed on the RFID label. (Two Santas work simultaneously to fulfill as many wishes as possible.)

Each office is outfitted with an RFID portal reader and antennas to interrogate the tags of incoming visitors. Once a party enters the room, data provided voluntarily about each visitor pops up on a screen inside a big golden book that Santa keeps on his lap. In this way, he knows if Cynthia brushed her teeth this morning, or if Paul was a good boy, allowing St. Nick to personalize the experience for the children. A camera system installed in the room is in sync with the RFID reader, so photographs and videos are taken automatically and linked to the unique ID on each card via a timestamp.

 

This particular RFID enabled system is created by Finnish imaging and video company Herlot in a partnership with German RFID systems developer Microplex Printware. To read more about this implementation take a look at the original case study on RFID Journal

If there's anyone in need of extensive RFID enabled solutions it's Santa. With all those assets he may be looking into asset tracking solutions soon. Do you think he's read our 20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Implementing RFID Whitepaper?

20 questions to ask yourself before implementing RFID

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