RFID Visits the Global Stage at the 2022 World Games

The World Games is an international, multi-sport event that is held every 4 years following the Summer Olympics and dates back to 1981. The 11th edition of the World Games was hosted this year in Birmingham, Alabama after being held in Wroclaw, Poland back in 2017. With sports like Roller Sports, Fistball, Kickboxing, Archery, Billiards, Powerlifting, Canoeing, Finswimming, and more - the World Games took over Birmingham for 11 days and featured over 3,500 athletes competing in 30 different sports. Not only did The World Games showcase the sports and the athletes, but it also showcased the state of Alabama itself - thanks to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA).

The Alabama Experience

The EDPA and Mike Oatridge (Strategic Workforce Solutions), a key stakeholder in the project, approached Atlas RFID Solutions to help create a unique and innovative experience to highlight the state of Alabama as an attractive place to ‘live, learn, and earn’. This experience was set to be featured at the World Games 2022.

The experience is called the Alabama Experience, or ALEX for short, and uses RFID-enabled kiosks to guide visitors through different career, education, and lifestyle paths while comparing data like cost of living and potential earnings to other states and regions. ALEX uses 189 different available career paths to show visitors real data like job listings, salary data, and information on the benefits of living in Alabama.

World Games Kiosk Setup

The Alabama Experience was setup right down the street from one of the main locations for the World Games, Protective Stadium. The large tent that housed ALEX was laid out in sections with the kiosks, large screens showing custom videos, a large robotic arm korfball demo, and a motion capture suit demonstration. The kiosks were setup in four stations, and each station educated visitors and then prompted them to continue to the next section in their journey.

Greeter Kiosk

When visitors first walked inside the tent, they were handed a UHF RFID badge that allowed them to interact with the first set of kiosks - the greeters. The greeter kiosks helped visitors register and setup their profile, with the option to start the experience anonymously. The software then associated the RFID tag read with an individual’s information so that whenever their badge was scanned, the kiosk automatically recognized their information and progress. After registering, the kiosk then guided visitors to the next station of awaiting kiosks - the career section.

Career Kiosk

When visitors scanned their badges at the career kiosk, they were free to choose the career path that interested them - or browse a few different available options. The career industries that ALEX featured included Advanced Manufacturing, Health Sciences, and Information Technology. The kiosk then presented available data for the selected career path, such as salary range, companies hiring, and job openings specific to each region in Alabama. In terms of workforce, the state has been divided up into 7 different regions, and ALEX uses this structure to ensure that visitors can get a more realistic idea of exact numbers and company offerings throughout the state. Visitors were able to compare the different regions in terms of offerings, salaries, and other data to help them get an idea of what’s available to them. After visitors browsed the career section kiosks and learned important data about their career path in Alabama, the career kiosks directed them to an Education kiosk.

Education Kiosks, above & below

Once visitors scanned their badges at one of the Education kiosks, the system recognized their chosen career path and advised them on the education options available to pursue that path in Alabama. If the chosen career path required a 4-year degree, the Education kiosk provided a cost breakdown between two Alabama schools. ALEX can compare 2-year and 4-year schools along with alternative HBCU’s. This breakdown presented users with a better idea of what monetarily it would take to complete this degree in the state of Alabama, along with any grants or scholarships available. For career paths that do not require a degree, the ALEX program described the necessary program or certification, and showed users how to obtain those in Alabama. Next in the ALEX journey were the Lifestyle kiosks.

Lifestyle Kiosk

The Lifestyle kiosks start by using previously entered information to display an average salary for a visitor’s selected career path. It then allows users to compare the lifestyle they could afford in Alabama, to other states based on that salary. For example, the average salary for a Software Programmer in Birmingham, Alabama is $93,184. If a user is also interested in jobs in Atlanta, Georgia, the lifestyle kiosk can provide a comparable lifestyle analysis which (in this example) concludes that, because the cost of living in Atlanta is 45.1% higher than Birmingham, that user would need to make an additional $42,026 a year - for a total of $135,210 to afford the same lifestyle. The kiosks also allow visitors to continue learning and analyzing Alabama’s offerings by directing visitors to the Alabama experience website - www.alabama-experience.com.

After finishing the lifestyle kiosks, visitors were then directed to choose between two walkways - one to learn more about regions 1 - 4, and the other to learn more about regions 5-7. Through these walkways, visitors learned about the regions attractions, landmarks, and even famous celebrities from the area of their choice. After completing the walkways, visitors completed their Alabama Experience, but are encouraged to learn more at www.alabama-experience.com .

ALEX’s debut was at the World Games, but that won’t be its last appearance - this unique experience will be featured at other events throughout the state.

The Technology

Atlas RFID Solutions was selected as the Technical User Experience Coordinator for the ALEX project, a role that encompasses the planning, services, and hardware implementation that made ALEX a reality. Atlas also developed the custom solution that integrated the software and the hardware.

In terms of hardware, 1,000 custom UHF RFID badges with Avery Dennison's AD-321r6 inlay were created along with 65 kiosk units, some with overhead monitors for an additional display. The kiosks are comprised of Microsoft Surface tablets and close proximity UHF RFID readers and integrated antennas, specifically the ThingMagic USB Pro UHF RFID Reader. When the UHF RFID badges are read by the USB Reader, the tag read prompts the custom software created by Atlas to start the ALEX journey. The USB Reader is powered by the Microsoft Surface Tablets via the dual power and data interface cable, while the Surface Tablets are each plugged in at the base of the kiosk to a power supply.

RFID-enabled badges equipped with Avery Dennison's AD-321r6

In order to make this experience interactive for each visitor, the Atlas RFID Solutions team chose UHF RFID badges to bring ALEX to life. Once a badge is scanned, the EPC number is read and then the visitor registers with his or her information. Once the registration is completed, the tag’s EPC number and the visitor’s information are associated in a database. As the visitor progresses through the experience, more detailed information is associated with their unique EPC number at each kiosk. Not only will keeping track of their information like career path and education preferences help each visitor complete their ALEX journey, but it also provides the EDPA with valuable information. Over 100,000 keepsake badges were also created for visitors to take home so they had a lasting memory of their ALEX experience.

2022 World Games ALEX keepsake badge

For more information about this project and the hardware used - contact the Atlas RFID Solutions team on their website via email or phone.