Santa’s little helpers adopt NFC technology

ELF SERVICE: Santa’s helpers are handing out NFC wristbands at Blarney Woollen Mills

PARTNER NEWS: Children visiting Santa’s Grotto in Blarney Woollen Mills, Ireland, are being given NFC wristbands that are pre-encoded with information provided by their parents. As a child approaches the grotto, the wristband gets scanned by an elf and Santa’s “naughty or nice” book is automatically updated with the information so that he can talk to the children on a personal level.

The solution has been installed by technology company Aptriva in partnership with bespoke NFC tag supplier and manufacturer RapidNFC.

“Essentially what they’ve done is created an NFC-based software solution so when parents sign up online to take their children to the grotto, they also include quite personal information that nobody else would know, such as favourite teachers, favourite bands, favourite football teams, things like that,” RapidNFC’s Jack Sage explained to NFC World.

Talking points

“There are different stages and when they get towards Santa’s grotto, they come up to an elf and the elf scans the tag with a magic wand, essentially an NFC reader,” Sage continued. “Once that’s scanned, it updates an iPad or another tablet in front of Santa so when the child comes in he has all the talking points in front of him and he is able to have a conversation.”

“This could presumably be done with other forms of RFID or even QR codes or something like that but the experience is just not as good. You can imagine them trying to scan a QR code, for instance — it wouldn’t have the same effect.

“It’s been very positive — it’s quite unique in comparison to other grottos, for instance, when the child goes in and speaks to Santa about what they want, rather than Santa already knowing that and speaking to them about what they want. I think the experience is really good.”

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