RFID and Social Media

October 4, 2013 Joey McFarland

RFID and Social Media

From car shows to charity events to launch parties, we’ve been seeing more use cases where RFID technology is used to seamlessly connect people’s physical worlds to social media sites. At these fun and interactive events, participants are given RFID badges which they link to their social media accounts and RFID read-points are set up around the venue.  Guests can then easily “check-in”, update their status, or share a photo when they enter a certain read zone or tap their badge on an RFID reader. Nissan, Facebook, Vail Resorts, Lexus and Cadbury are among the companies that are connecting RFID and social media at events. Continue reading below to learn more about these exciting applications.


RFID Provide Progress Updates to Friends and Family

Susan G. Komen 3-Days, 60-mile charity walks use an RFID solution to link participants to their Facebook pages, allowing them to share their progress with friends and family members. Before the race, walkers can choose to take an RFID-enabled lanyard and connect it to their Facebook account.  At the start and finish line of the course each day, RFID readers and antennas register the lanyards and, if the user has opted-in, post a status to Facebook marking their progress.  The RFID reader infrastructure is portable and moves each day during the race (participants walk 20 miles each of three days for a total of 60 miles).

In the Caminha São Paulo walking tour in Brazil, RFID also enables participants to share their progress on social media. Before beginning the tour, walkers are given personalized RFID badges which can be associated to social networks. As walkers pass through the RFID portals on the trails, their badges are recognized and their Facebook and Twitter pages are updated so friends and family members can follow their status.

At Vail Resorts, RFID-powered lift tickets and gantries track skiers’ run speeds, number of lift rides, vertical feet skied and number of ski days. Participants can choose to automatically share these statistics with friends and followers on social media.

RFID Encourages Sharing of Branded Content

RFID not only provides a fun and interactive experience for event guests, but also helps the host of the event drive consumer interest through branding built into the social media posts.

At the Cadbury House during the 2012 London Olympics, RFID allowed users to “check-in” and instantly post photos to Facebook. Guests who opted in to the system received RFID-enabled ID badges connected to their accounts. RFID readers at Cadbury-branded photo spots captured all badge ID numbers in the area while software determined who was in the photo and posted it to the Facebook accounts linked to those ID badges. Thousands of people around the world were able to see and experience Cadbury’s event without even leaving home.

Nissan is regularly holding tradeshows and events that incorporate RFID and social media, because through this integration, the company can market to a very large audience.  At these events, the company offers various RFID-powered photo booths with Nissan-themed backgrounds as well as car-themed games. Guests are encouraged to share their experiences on Facebook or Twitter which greatly amplifies the brand’s reach and engagement.  At the Paris Motor Show alone it is estimated that Nissan’s branding reached a total of 400,000 people via social media.


In all of these RFID-enabled social media applications, once authentication for the participant’s social media account(s) is provided, updates to social media sites happen automatically when the RFID tag in the badge or lanyard comes within range of a read point.  The technology allows users to both enjoy the experience and commemorate their activities for themselves and their friends in real-time, without having to login on a mobile device.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2012 and has been revised and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

About Joey McFarland

Joey McFarland is Marketing Communications Generalist at Impinj. She has been with Impinj since 2010.

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