Can I Search For Champagne To Have With That Fish?

ChampagneiViu Technologies has created a location-based mobile app that talks to an intelligent identification tag similar to radio frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC) technologies -- but this tag relies on Wi-Fi. The person downloads the app, opts in, and the platform sends a digital signature to the app on the their phone.

The app's dashboard allows consumers to access multiple retail stores. For example, the Hi-Time Wine Cellars, a 24,000-square-foot retail store in Costa Mesa, Calif., became one of the first clients to adopt this new application.

Supporting the mobile app are Wi-Fi-powered iDTags located around the retail store that push information to the app on the phone as consumers walk around the store. The hard plastic housing and circuit board are both made in the United States. iViu's engineers create the circuit board. It's very simple to those who understand how short-wave radio signals work.



The app will also send notifications to consumers walking through the store, as well as passersby within a pre-set geo-fence, spanning several feet to several miles, according to Wendy Burden, who leads Tustin, Calif.-based iViu's brand and business development.

At the Hi-Time Wine Cellar, customers bring in smartphones and tablets to walk the aisles and sit in the wine bar tweeting on Twitter and sharing pictures of wine on Facebook. So, the company's Creative Director Tobin Sharp decided to work with a company that could develop an app allowing customers to not only find the perfect champagnes and wines in the store, but pair the tastes with foods.

"If I'm standing there I can tell them about the fantastic wines that taste like you're licking a glazer, but what if I'm not?" Sharp said. "What if they're driving by the store and we have a special on their favorite wine, but they don't know it until they get the notification on their phone?"

The app had not launched yet when I viewed the demo version, but it will be interesting to follow up to see if the geo-fence technology convinced passersby to make a detour and stop in the store. That was the promise of RFID and NFC technologies. This app will use push technology to alert consumers who have downloaded the app.

Making this app work will require mass adoption, so that may be why the app runs off a dashboard, allowing users to access multiple apps from the dashboard.   

Coupons and newsletters provide additional information, but there are a few things missing from the application, such as voice search and a link tying the Hi-Times product database to the app. "I'm having fish, but I don't want Sovereign, what should I get?" Sharp said, suggesting the app could return a selection of wines, complete with prices and history or origin. 

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