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Combining communication means and tracking to enhance services variety and quality.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000018675D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jul-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jul-31
Document File: 2 page(s) / 40K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

One of the problems posed for the use wireless payment systems is the difficulty in distinguishing between several active wireless devices carried by people who are packed very close to each other. This is the packing problem. We solve the problem by combining a wireless technology (e.g. Bluetooth or 802.11b) with another technology which provides an alternate means for automated observation, infrared or visible wavelength cameras for example.

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Combining communication means and tracking to enhance services variety and quality .

  The solution we propose to the packing problem is described by combining wireless technology, e.g. Bluetooth, with a meta-technology called Footprint. In essence, Footprint is a view on using Information Technology (IT) and appropriate sensors in a retail environment to track customers. Retail chains have no means to know in a quantitative way where the customers are and how they interact with the shelves and other similar basic behavior issues.

Several instanciations of Footprint can be envisioned and some have been tested, that depend in particular on the type of sensors being used, and of course one could also think of using several sensors concretely. We find practical to distinguish:

    Unequipped subject sensors, such as heat detectors or cameras (that can capture any wavelength from infrared to visible or more) that do not require the subject being tracked to carry any tag,

Equipped sensors that require the individuals being tracked to carry a tag.

Equipped subject sensors are by far not as versatile than the other ones and seem inappropriate for our purpose: even if he customer accept to carry a tag, such as an RFID or radio frequency identification tag, in the case of a group such as a family, the tag be carried by the Bluetooth tool carrier. One solution is to tag the caddies or shopping baskets.

Cameras that can precisely capture a variety of electromagnetic wavelength ar...