Customised RFID Tags Provide an Innovative Way to Engage Visitors.
Our culture is, in part, defined by the images and sounds we share. To understand that culture better we need to understand those images and sounds and the impact that they have on us. Already there have been great cultural losses. For example less than 50% of the movies made in the USA before 1950 still survive. Museums preserve and present the archives of our culture. The challenge in collecting and communicating the cultural heritage of sound and vision is the sheer volume of material, and the multiplicity of channels through which we experience sounds and vision today.
The Institute for Sound & Vision (Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid) in Hilversum, is committed to meeting this challenge for the Netherlands. As part of their exhibition programme they are using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to provide visitors to their new exhibition with an interactive experience. CoreRFID is helping them to deliver this new experience for visitors by providing customised RFID tags.
A Museum Of Communications
The Institute for Sound & Vision keeps the largest collection of television and radio recordings, music, professional and amateur films, photographs and objects from the media history of the Netherlands. It holds material from the collections of the government, social and political organizations, businesses and individuals with some dating back to the end of the nineteenth century. Today, all streams broadcast by the Dutch public broadcasting radio and television programs are automatically included in the collections.
The list of programs held includes the national news, current affairs programs, games programs, documentaries, movies, talk shows, consumer programs, children’s programs and music recordings. To play the Institute’s collection would take 80 years of continuous viewing and listening. The Institute also has a very large collection of radio equipment and countless portraits of writers and artists, providing unique insights into the history of broadcast and pre-recorded media in the Netherlands.
An Interactive Exhibition Experience
The Institute has created fifteen themed “pavilions” in a comprehensive media experience that encourages visitors to wander through without any fixed route. Exploring the media experience takes visitors through such subjects as “The Lost Life” which uses archive material to show the everyday activities of Dutch people in the past or “The Enchantment” which confronts the challenges of reality and illusion. Other themed areas include exploring the ways in which messages are communicated in television programmes, the chance to step back to childhood through children’s programmes of the past and experiencing the overwhelming sensation of being right in the middle of the maelstrom of information flows that go to make up the news.
The Institute’s concept for helping visitors to get the most from the Media Experience depends on promoting interaction. The Institute for Sound and Vision worked with RFID technology specialists CoreRFID who supply the readers that provide the electronic link between the visitors and the exhibition and interactive media designers, Kiss The Frog. Visitors to the Media Experience register details such as their email address, age and name. In return they are given an RFID tag embedded in a ring to use as their key to the various exhibits. As visitors tour the Media Experience they show their ring to reader points.
This can trigger the presentation of relevant material including age-selected content appropriate for children. As the RFID ring identifies visitors at each point, the museum is able to record the various exhibits that have been visited, in what sequence and so on. The visitor’s email address is used to send the results of interaction with the exhibits, photographs and video material, providing the visitor with a reminder of the things learned. It also provides the museum with details about which exhibits appeal most to which age groups, whether exhibits are viewed in the order that the presenters of the exhibition expected and so on.
The results of the Institute’s use of customised RFID tags RFID have been positive. Visitors enjoy the opportunity to interact with exhibits and young people particularly find it easy to use the system. Older people have needed assistance to get used to the idea of interacting with exhibits but they too have found the improved interactivity valuable. With a subjects as wide ranging as those covered by the Media Experience and with the many different audience expectations and interests, the use of an interactive approach makes the work of the Institute more relevant and more useful to those that visit. Based on their experiences to date the Institute intends to continue with the use of RFID as a way to make the Media Experience memorable and to explore wider use of technology to keep exhibits up to date and interactive.
Customised RFID tags with exhibition systems can provide:
- Interaction between visitors and exhibits
- A personalised experience in which the exhibition is more relevant to the visitor.
- Information to communicate with visitors after their visit about future events; “You obviously enjoyed this so you might enjoy ….”
- Data to help improve future exhibitions
- Data on the collective views, experience or responses of groups.
- Information on the behaviour of visitors to help plan future exhibitions.