Vail shows that Consumer RFID delivers a better experience
Coverage of the RFID industry is dominated by business to business (B2B) applications. Supply chains from Airbus to Walmart are chock full of RFID tags. RFID is delivering B2B visibility, operational efficiency and enhanced security that cuts costs, inventory and lead times.
Vail’s RFID for Consumers is just the beginning
When it comes to consumer RFID applications there isn’t as much action. Sure we take for granted automated toll collection, pay at the pump and security card access. These are applications that demonstrate how everyday tasks can be automated with RFID. They become less of a hassle.
Our friends at Vail Resorts are now showing us that RFID can do more than just reduce hassle, it can improve consumer experience. Vacations, recreation, sports are all social activities. As more people have moved their social lives online it is only natural that consumer experience innovators such as Vail Resorts would fuse the physical and digital social worlds.
RFID makes Facebook, EpicMix and Other Updates Automatic
Vail Resorts is more than just Vail. It includes premium ski destinations Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Heavenly and Keystone. For several years Vail has embedded RFID tags into season passes to make lift lines less of a hassle. This was innovative in the way EZPass makes life better for commuters.
However, the Vail team saw a bigger opportunity: leveraging RFID data to truly transform the social aspects of the skiing experience. The EpicMix program integrates RFID tagged season passes and RFID readers on the mountain with Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites as well as updates the new EpicMix skiing website. EpicMix tracks vertical feet across all five resorts, allows friends to compete and share their experience (see more here). It all can be accessed via a computer or even a smart phone right from the mountain. Friends can track your epic mountain escapades and you don’t even have to make the updates. Your EpicMix settings and RFID enabled ski pass do it for you.
When you are already operating world premier ski resorts, how do you make the experience even better? The answer from Vail is to make it more personal and do it automatically with RFID. Don’t require people to update the Facebook page or do their own calculations on runs and vertical feet on their iPhone. Fuse the physical and digital socialsphere by leveraging RFID to experience true real-time social media.
RFID Consumer Experience Get Scalable
At ODIN we see Vail’s EpicMix as the beginning of a trend for RFID enabled consumer experiences and are proud to be a part of making it happen. Whereas Coke experimented with RFID and Facebook updates at its Amusement Village this summer, Vail is taking it several steps further. To succeed they are leveraging scalable RFID software and highly accurate, durable and innovative reader configurations (more on this in a future post).
Consumers have more choice than ever before and companies like Vail are embedding true differentiation into consumer experience. I am happy to see RFID move beyond the supply chain and into some serious fun. See you on the mountain. If not, you can see me on EpicMix and Facebook and FourSquare, and Twitter, and…you get the picture.
Enter your comment below. Are you going to try out EpicMix this year?