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RFID For Amusement Parks
[November 04, 2005]

RFID For Amusement Parks

By DAVID SIMS
TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist

Precision Dynamics Corporation, a vendor of automatic wristband identification, is announcing its newest products, Smart Kiosk and Smart Reader, which use radio frequency identification for cashless payment at amusement parks.

PDC's RFID Point-of-Sale Cashless Payment System consists of Smart Kiosk, Smart Band RFID Wristbands, and Smart Readers, all located throughout a venue for purchases.

Smart Kiosk is a free-standing booth with touch-screen that allows patrons to load money using cash, credit or debit cards onto Smart Band RFID Wristbands which are typically provided to patrons at admissions. Smart Reader is a free-standing combination POS system and reader that replaces the need for stand-alone POS systems and readers.


Most of the time spent waiting in lines is attributed to the financial transactions of handling and counting cash or processing credit cards. "The system helps increase throughput at concession stands, reducing long lines that often deter patrons from making additional purchases. Also, it is practical for water and amusement parks where patrons don't like to carry wallets, and loose cash can get wet or lost," commented Robin Barber, VP Advanced Marketing & Technology at PDC.

Smart Band RFID Wristbands are used for a variety of functions, including cashless payment, tracking of purchases, and access control. They provide nontransferable positive patron ID while helping to increase per capita spending, enable cashless transactions at the point-of-sale, and eliminate the need for tickets at events.


PDC's Smart Bands are currently being used at Hyland Hills Water World in Denver as part of its new cashless POS System.

According to some estimates, the worldwide market for RFID technology was $1.49 billion in 2004. The demand for RFID systems is certainly increasing. Some estimates are that the industry will be worth $1.95 billion in 2005 and as much as $26.9 billion in 2015, with a lot of the profits coming from the sale of RFID hardware components.
RFID applications are used for such functions as security/access control, toll collection, animal tracking and automobile immobilization as well as stocking Wal-Mart, Metro AG, Target, Tesco shelves and for "other uses" by the US Department of Defense.
 
However, people are increasingly worried about the loss of privacy in widespread RFID usage, given the ability to easily track RFID-tagged products. And such fears, if not addressed, could hobble the RFID industry.
 
"[RFID] will make objects -- and the people wearing and carrying them -- remotely trackable," charges Katherine Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the consumer group. "We have rock-solid evidence that they are already devising ways to exploit that potential," she tells the AP.
 
Industry observer Evan Schuman has written that the book, Spychips, while indulging in hyperbole on occasion constructs "a stunningly powerful argument against plans for RFID being mapped out by government agencies, retail and manufacturing companies. Sources and evidence for their arguments come from patent applications, interviews and confidential documents carelessly left on vendors' Web sites."
 
Among other examples the book's authors, Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, use vendors' own patent filings to bolster their case, such as the infelicitously-titled IBM filing "Identification and Tracking of Persons Using RFID-Tagged Items," and a Phillips Electronics 2003 patent application advocating placing RFID tags in shoes so they can be detected by RFID scanners embedded in floors.
 

David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles by David Sims, please visit:

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