April 15, 2005, 12:00 AM

Art gallery has designs on increased sales through RFID

The focus on RFID has been at the case and pallet level so far, but a small application at a New Hampshire art gallery is taking it to the product level.

The focus on RFID has been at the case and pallet level so far, but a small application in New Hampshire is taking it to the product level.

Littleton, NH-based Granite State MetalWorks art gallery is installing radio frequency i.d. tags next to artworks. Shoppers borrow a handheld computer and a wireless, pen-shaped device to scan the tag. The Sapago Inc. Art-FID system displays detailed information on the artwork and the artist as well as links to similar pieces. An Internet-enabled version of the Art-FID system integrates with the gallery’s web site and allows shoppers to send pictures and a summary of the artwork to an e-mail address.

“This takes RFID out of the warehouse and puts its power in the hands of the consumer,” says Michael Zammuto, president of Sapago and former CTO with e-commerce systems developer Ecometry Inc.

Granite State MetalWorks owner Lorene Albert says she expects the system to increase sales. “I am always trying to find ways to make people feel comfortable. Most people find art too intimidating to ask questions,” says Albert. “One extra sale could pay for the system many times over and the system sets us apart as an innovator.”

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Albertson’s Inc. have been promoting RFID for use in their supply chains. Supply chain managers can use the Internet to track the movements of goods tagged with RFID devices.

Sapago says it expects to complete a round of venture funding this year and plans to roll out other versions of the system targeted to a range of retail segments.



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