Rigene posts personalised announcements on large advertising screens in public transport or shopping areas by using an RFID chip carried by the consumer, which sends data on his/her preferences.


Targeted advertising doesn’t have to be restricted to Internet and mobile channels, reckon the founders of Rigene. This project, which is currently under development as one of the Epitech Innovative Projects by students at the European Institute of Technology, will enable advertisements broadcast on publicity screens in public areas – on public transport, in the street, shopping malls, etc - to be customised. The Rigene system consists of the Rigene Box, which is installed on the screens, plus an RFID card about the size of a bank card, which is carried by the consumer. When the person passes close to a screen, the card sends information on his/her profile to the Rigene Box. The Box then chooses the most appropriate advertising clip from its database, suited to both the preferences of the person concerned and the physical location. “Our boxes use geolocation, so we can highlight services in the vicinity of the customer,” Project Leader Arnaud Dupuy told L’Atelier. So it will be possible to post advertisements on a subject to which the person is receptive, depending on the shops in the locality, and to point to promotions available at that very moment.

Linking an account to a Facebook profile

To build up a profile of the consumer, s/he will be asked to fill out questionnaires on certain topics, which can be updated every month. A second option is for the user to link his/her account to a Facebook profile, and then indicate topics on which s/he would prefer - or not wish - to be approached. And the technology won’t only be used for screens in public places. The Rigene team also hope to offer their system to retail brands, which could load an RFID chip on to their loyalty cards. That would mean the system could be used for personalised advertising not only while shopping but also for promotions, and in addition the consumer could also view his/her shopping list posted on smaller screens throughout the store. Long term, the project team intend to implement a smartphone application functioning with Bluetooth, which would make it unnecessary to use any other device, including the RFID card.

Encroaching too far on privacy?

However, it remains to be seen whether advertising screens are really the best way to make a personalised approach to the consumer. There is likely to be a large number of people passing in front of the screen and therefore exposure time to a given advertising clip will be rather short. “It’s a fact that some people wouldn’t necessarily like others to see an advertising clip which could reveal some aspect of their character,” concedes Arnaud Dupuy, adding: “However, a large percentage of people we’ve asked have expressed great interest, mainly because they’ve had enough of large screen advertisements that have nothing whatsoever to do with them.” When several people carrying RFID cards are in the same area at the same time, the software will work out a synthesis of the various individual tastes and come up with advertising best suited to the tastes of each RFID carrier present.