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D7.7: RFID, Profiling, and AmI

Introduction  Title:
 Case-study: Usage of RFID Technology in Educational Settings


Case study: the Metro Future Store in Rheinberg

Martin Meints (ICPP) 


In Rheinberg, Germany, the Metro group as the third largest retailer in the world runs the so-called “Future Store”, in which the use of RFID is being tested. The testing exceeds the use of RFID tags* in the supply chain, as the tags are used directly in the shop at least with a selected number of products. Functions and services that use (or plan to use) RFID are:

  • Smart shelves within the store for automated positioning of products and automated orders in case a certain number of products of a certain type falls short of the predefined number  

  • Smart weighting machines which automatically detect the product and calculate the price 

  • Electronic price tags at the shelves 

  • Info terminals, similar to those using barcodes 

  • Advertisement screens showing videos to advertise products 

  • Intelligent shopping trolleys (integrating the so-called personal shopping assistants; this assistant works together with the customer loyalty card and allows to check the bonus account, displays information about products and advertisements received via WLAN)  

  • Automated teller systems 


In addition to the improvements of the logistic chain and better services within the shop also customer loyalty cards with hidden RFID tags* were issued to the customers until April 2004. In combination with hidden readers* in the store they were used to do personalised profiling on the customers, using the loyalty card. In addition, adjustment of offers to the wishes and needs of the customers is a defined purpose for which this card is used. While this additional purpose was part of the declaration of consent within the contract of the customer loyalty card, the users were not informed about the use of RFID tags* in the cards and corresponding readers* issued at the “Future Store”.

Other interesting aspects of this pilot project are technical abilities of the shopping assistant, a tablet PC integrated into the shopping trolley manufactured by Wincor Nixdorf International. They enable multi-channel retail, including the following functions: “The shopping assistant tracks the shoppers’ movement using wireless LAN software from Saratoga, Calif.-based Ekahau and displays location-specific personalized shopping lists, favorites and special offers. The system can offer discounts on items related to those put in the cart. It can also trigger in-store signs. So if the shopper puts Pringles in the cart, an ad for Coca-Cola might be displayed. Shoppers who scan all their items can have the information communicated to a cash register wirelessly and checkout quickly.”

While it is documented that hidden RFID tags* in the customer loyalty cards were used to activate advertisement displays showing video clips, it is not clear whether this was used in the way described above. After the RFIDs in the customer loyalty cards were uncovered by the consumer protection organisations CASPIAN and FoeBuD,, the Metro group withdrew these cards and issued traditional ones. Given the ability of the shopping assistant to read traditional customer loyalty cards (via magnetic stripes or barcodes), profiling of customers is still done and adopting advertisements on displays is technically and legally possible.



Introduction  fidis-wp7-del7.7.RFID_Profiling_AMI_02.sxw  Case-study: Usage of RFID Technology in Educational Settings
Denis Royer 13 / 43