Facebook check-in kiosk using RFIDEnlarge Photo
RFID is fairly new technology, but it's full of promise. Small enough to be attached to ants, the tags can be placed almost anywhere. Depending on the type of chip that's used, RFID tags can be read from a distance of at least several feet, if not further. (Zipcar members rely on RFID technology to gain access to rental vehicles, and in some countries, RFID is even being used for toll tags.)
Mercedes' application involves the placement of RFID chips on VIP passes at this week's PGA Championship. After a very quick set-up linking their RFID tags to their Facebook account, VIP visitors can use their ID badges to check in at various kiosks throughout the event and "like" certain vehicles. There are even kiosks that take the hassle out of pic-taking and pic-posting: visitors scan their badge, fix their hair, and let the kiosk take the photo and post it to Facebook.
There's no word about what incentives Mercedes is offering in exchange for these check-ins, so at the moment, the campaign seems driven purely by the prestige factor of being a VIP at a golf tournament. Now that the genie is out of the bottle though, we expect to see more companies -- automakers and others, too -- using RFID to enable check-ins and ultimately round up new customers. The only question is: will RDIF be about to beat near-field communication (NFC) in the upcoming battle for cashless payments?
For the curious, here's a video showing how the RFID check-ins work: