Smart Jacket Accesses Gifts and Promos With NFC

Published March 7, 2017
By Claire Swedberg

Rochambeau's Bright Bmbr jacket is the first product to use the Janela solution from Avery Dennison RBIS, powered by the EVRYTHNG Smart Products Platform, to bring intelligence to products via RFID, NFC or bar-code labels.

A limited number of consumers in New York are wearing a Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smart jacket from clothing designer Rochambeau to access exclusive dining, art, nightlife and fashion experiences, as well as to receive gifts from participating retailers. The Bright Bmbr Internet of Things-based garment is the first of what is expected to be a series of products that employ the Janela solution, from Avery Dennison Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) and the IoT Smart Products Platform from IoT cloud software company EVRYTHNG (see Avery Dennison Aims to Deliver Product Info Via RFID, Bar Codes). Experiential retailer The New Stand is selling the jackets at three of its New York store fronts.

The limited-edition jacket, released last October, is being sold only during the fall and winter fashion months. Participating businesses in New York are using EVRYTHNG's software platform to provide services to jacket wearers based on NFC or QR code scans running on EVRYTHNG's platform.

The jacket comes with NFC and QR labels that enable those who read them to view content that includes product information, restaurant reservations, night-club access and more. The labels are hidden in a zipper pocket in the jacket's left sleeve. Each label has a built-in Avery Dennison NFC tag with a unique ID number linked to that jacket's corresponding digital identity in EVRYTHNG's cloud platform, and it is designed so that it won't detract from the garment's aesthetics. The label is removable and matches the artwork sewn onto the jacket itself.

Consumers who purchase the jacket do not need to download an app; rather, they can simply scan the NFC tag with an NFC-enabled Android phone, or scan a QR code, using a Web-based scanner (without requiring an app download) to be directed to a website where they can link that tagged jacket to themselves and their transactions at specific businesses. Several companies, including night clubs, galleries, restaurants, music and fashion venues, are participating in the limited deployment. The New Stand stores selling the jackets are located at New York's Union Square station, as well as Brookfield Place and Columbus Circle.

The first time an individual with the jacket arrives at one of the unnamed retail locations, that person can access a free gift by scanning his or her label to trigger a mobile ticket which is then scanned by employees at each location. They can then confirm that the jacket is authentic, and that the customer has not yet redeemed a gift.

At the end of the promotion, the jacket's users can utilize the garment as a ticket to Rochambeau's 2017 runway show. There, they can then view new fashion items being released by the brand.

The jacket is a limited release intended to trial the technology with the public. "We [EVRYTHNG and Avery Dennison RBIS] share a vision of products coming to life digitally," says Andy Hobsbawm, EVRYTHNG's co-founder and chief marketing officer. "The world has reached a new era of connectivity, and the smart jacket is a manifestation of that."

"An increasing number of brands are already using EPC RFID" to manage inventory or provide benefits to shoppers sin the store, says Francisco Melo, Avery Dennison's global RFID VP and general manager. The labels, which could accommodate Electronic Product Code (EPC) tags, as well as NFC and QR code-enabled technologies, "seems like a logical evolution," he adds.

Following the Bright Bmbr deployment, Hobsbawm says, Avery Dennison RBIS and EVRYTHNG hope to provide many connected products. "It's been helpful to see the possibilities this technology offers," he states, "and have that dramatized with the smart jacket." Rochambeau is next launching what it calls The Thinking Cap, aimed at bringing intelligence to those wearing the hat, wherever they go.

The Thinking Cap will be made of merino wool materials, the company reports, and will incorporate NFC and QR labels. When a user taps a phone or scans the QR code on the label, he or she will be able to view information from content partners on a mobile webpage. The experience is designed for major cultural centers and will be focused in cities like New York, Paris, London and Tokyo. As wearers stroll the streets of participating cities and tap their phones against the cap's label, the hat will provide content related to city walking tours, podcasts of city culture and music. Users could also receive local news updates.