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RFID & Wireless IoT Global

Smart Processes at Sea | RFID on the AIDAprima

Use Cases | By PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global | 31 January 2017
Aida Cruises relies on RFID and BLE create sustainable organisational processes on board. Access and payment solutions as well as uniform and flat linen identification are the first steps. Aida Cruises relies on RFID and BLE create sustainable organisational processes on board. Access and payment solutions as well as uniform and flat linen identification are the first steps. Photo: Aida Cruises

Cruise company relies on NFC and UHF RFID for room access, payment on board, and uniform and linen tracking

RFID is used consistently in various processes for door lock applications, for staff uniform management, or for laundry tunnel systems on the AIDAprima - to secure its competitiveness for the future. For Gunnar Bock of Aida Cruises, the use of RFID and NFC technologies indicates potential growth for the future. He talks with ‘RFID im Blick Global’ about the comprehensive rollout of identification technology on the cruise ship as well as the migration to virtual keys.

Gunnar Bock, Director of On-board Applications, Aida Cruises, in an interview with ‘RFID im Blick Global’

From magnetic card to NFC card

“Aida Cruises relies completely on NFC-access cards instead of classic magnetic stripes on its cruise ship AIDAprima, which was christened in May 2016. The entire identification process during boarding is NFC-controlled. The passengers identify themselves with ID and photo at a terminal. After checking the passport, the NFC boarding card is personalised. For identification purposes, each guest is assigned to a number that is stored on an RFID chip. The system is able to match the passenger information stored in the central database with any booked services, in real time.

The customers identify themselves with their boarding card at so-called customer touch points to book additional services, such as shore excursions, and can also retrieve information. The information terminals allow direct access to the personal account of each passenger on board. Even the gangway access is controlled by boarding card. An additional photo check, which matches a face against the photo in the database, increases the certainty that that only authorised persons have access. Access permissions can be updated and expanded over the system,“ explains Gunnar Bock.

2,300 door locks equipped with NFC

2,300 door locks, 2,300 uses of NFC. Access to the cabin is also controlled by this card solution. Bock points out: “All 2,300 NFC door locks on AIDAprima are online and permanently connected to the server. The system stores information, for example, at what time each guest has used which door. This transparency increases safety on board. Another advantage is the power supply of the door locks by ‘Power over Internet’. A battery change is not necessary. A backup battery ensures the power supply during a power outage, for example.

Cashless payment works with the boarding card. Before the journey begins, the passenger indicates the means of payment for their account, from which all services will be debited. To visit the spa or theme parks, the passenger can sign in by boarding card and exchange it for a more comfortable NFC wristband which can be used for payment and for access to the lockers.”

Gunnar BockGunnar Bock “A modular door lock construction with RFID and BLE interfaces guarantees the future competitiveness of Aida Cruises. There is already a noticeable change taking place from physical to virtual keys that can be sent via smartphone.”

9,000 uniform pieces labelled with UHF textile tags

Also part of the integrated RFID solution on the cruise ship is crew uniform tagging. “9,000 uniform and 9,000 costume items are labelled with an UHF textile tag on the AIDAprima. Across two monorail systems there is space for a total of about 16,000 uniform pieces. The staff uniforms are issued by an automatic dispenser by using the staffboarding card which is RFID-capable, just like the passenger boarding cards, and connected to the crew management system. Each staff member is assigned to a certain set of uniforms.

The system recognizes the size, the current location and the amount of assigned garments, so that the employee only receives their assigned uniform after identification. Even choosing individual garments is possible. When a member of staff returns a jacket to the electronic self-service station, for example, the system records the return. At the same time, the machine enables the issue of the item “ jacket” from the dispenser so that the employee can immediately receive another jacket,” says Gunnar Bock.

Flat linen tagging facilitates inventory

Bock explains: “Before the RFID integration took place, the release and return of the uniform-sets took a lot of organisation and manual effort, and the cleaning of the clothes had to be recorded manually as well. UHF RFID increases transparency, provides a continuous history and 100 percent transparency for garment issue and return. When and which laundry item was taken and returned? How often has it been washed? Does it have to be replaced? This applies not only to staff clothing. For the first time, flat linen such as towels, sheets, and tablecloths are now tagged with UHF label on the AIDAprima.

Daily, several thousand dirty laundry items from each gangway are tossed in a shaft with integrated RFID antennas and fall through a tunnel directly to the laundry, where they are identified by sewn-in labels. RFID allows an overview of the wash-history including a usage summary. A stock review is easily and conveniently completed via handhelds in the warehouse. The time-consuming manual inventory is eliminated.“

This article was published in the magazine "RFID im Blick Global, Issue 03/2016". Download your own copy for free and continue reading at page 22.

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 10:09