RFID Talk Blog

Lexus Orlando gains $45K/month in additional sales from RFID

For those that missed our lead story in RFID 24-7 last week, we’ve posted it here.

Retailers like Walmart and JCPenney are aggressively adopting RFID to increase supply chain visibility and increase sales. Now, RFID is driving sales gains at auto dealers.

An RFID-based customer service system at Lexus of Orlando in Florida is directly responsible for the sale of 15 cars per month, representing about $45,000 in additional revenue for the dealership. Those numbers add up fast, especially in an uncertain economy.

The other cool application we examine this week is the use of RFID in European soccer matches for everything from giving coaches new animated game footage for game preparation to reviewing plays and confirming ball position on the field. Will RFID mark the death knell for the instant replay? Time will tell.

The Lexus of Orlando solution is provided by Atlanta-based MyDealerLot, which supplies various RFID solutions to the auto industry. By affixing an RFID tag to the rearview mirror of the cars it sells, the MyDealerLot solution allows auto dealers to identify customers instantaneously as they return to the dealership for service. The system messages their arrival to anyone in the facility. Eight RFID readers located on the Lexus Orlando property interrogate the RFID tags from various locations through the facility, including the service department.

George Cresto, the president and founder of MyDealerLot, says that the dealerships running the solution average a 5 to 8 percent sales gain each month by connecting the service department to the sales team. The solutions are installed at 50 dealerships in 13 states, including its latest installation at Mercedes-Benz Manhattan.

“When you walk into just about any dealership, the sales staff is on one side and service is on the other,” says Cresto. “Sales may know when customers make an appointment, but in many cases 50 percent of the traffic comes in without an appointment. We send a text message to the salesperson that sold the car the minute the customer pulls into the dealership. That allows them to connect with the customer and gives them the ability to see if there is an opportunity to put the customer into a different car. That’s the magic formula.”

The recent grand opening of the Mercedes location in Manhattan represents one of the most technologically advanced auto dealerships in the country with widespread use of MyDealerLot’s RFID technology for personalized greeting and recognition, vehicle location tracking using MyDealerLot’s Location Concierge, vehicle dispatch management, and tracking of loaners.

MyDealerLot worked closely with the executive team at Mercedes-Benz to create the world’s first vehicle dispatching solution using RFID tags on plastic cone hats for location tracking of any incoming vehicle into the facility.

The solution includes nine RFID readers working in tandem with 13 antennas for client welcoming, car wash tracking, and zonal location identification. Two 55-inch flat screens deployed in the service lane identify customers and wait times.

Switching gears somewhat, RFID is also serving as a tracking device during athletic events. While the trend of issuing paperless tickets for spectators continues to gain steam, the technology is also being used to track players and balls during sporting events, notably European soccer.

German research company Fraunhofer has developed a system that will be piloted duringFIFA soccer matches. The first soccer game featuring the technology will be played this fall at easyCredit Stadium in Nuremberg, Germany. Players will wear active RFID tags in each of their shin pads, or on their shirts, which will allow for improved decision-making when it comes to judging offsides calls and other infractions. In addition, a specially made Adidas soccer ball containing RFID tags will also be tracked during the game, providing officials with information about whether a ball crossed the goal line or not. Messages can be sent an official’s watch instantaneously. Twelve readers have been installed at strategic locations around the stadium.

The technology enables real-time analysis of a soccer team’s match and training performance. RFID captures data, compresses it and stores it in a database for further use, such as for display in the form of animated graphics. The system determines the positions and movement patterns of players and the ball. It is designed for use in any environment, including fog, heavy rain, snow and poor lighting conditions, and can cope with the most complex game situations.

FIFA has not endorsed the product yet, but has agreed to test the technology at games played in Nuremberg this fall. The technology has also been piloted at rugby games in Ireland. Rene Dunkler, a spokesperson for Fraunhofer, says that the system is also ideal for American football, especially since a line of sight is not required to obtain data. This makes it an ideal solution for goal line situations when a pile up of players makes if difficult for game officials to determine if the ball crossed the goal line.

Aside from game situations, the technology can be used as a tool for analyzing performance in team sports, making it possible to objectively analyze matches and training sessions and to assess players against a consistent set of criteria.

Rather than wade through hours of footage themselves, sports team management  and broadcasters often obtain football data from service companies that maintain large player databases. However, club managers require individualized information: they want to analyze a certain player’s potential, test new players, use them in virtual matches and ideally simulate tactics or even entire games. Combining RFID with camera images creates the basis for meaningful automated real time data analysis and makes it easier for coaches to conduct effective drills, as well as team briefings and debriefings.

 

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