Ever stayed in a hotel where they provide a $1 bottle of water but charge your room $3 if you drink it? One of the tricks that works in most hotels is that if you drink it you just have to replace it with an identical fresh bottle before housekeeping notices. But the Wynn has that one covered. I was recently in Encore, the new Wynn tower, and they provide a big tray full of expensive snacks and drinks in each room. But these items are rigged so that the hotel computer knows the moment they are removed from the tray.
Actually, they give you a little grace. You have 60 seconds to inspect the item – after that your room is automatically charged for it. This applies to theÂ refrigeratorÂ too, which is fully stocked to the brim so that you can’t fit your own drinks in there. The instructions make it clear that adding or removing items from their fridge will charge your account. However, theyÂ subtlyÂ offer to bring in another refrigerator for personal items, you just have to know to ask for it.
I’m not sure about the technology behind the snack-removal-system or exactly how it works. Googling did not uncover exactly how the system works but only that others speculate that it’s based on weight. Inspecting the tray you’ll find a sensor bar underneath each row of items. There appears to be aÂ separateÂ sensor for each item.
While I suspect the snack tray might work on a technology like RFID, I didn’t opt to purchase any items, and wasn’t able to see if there is an RFID tag in the bottom of the item. 30 seconds was all I risked to take a picture of the sensor. Â The fridge, however, might work on weight as the instructions imply that adding items could cause a room charge.
Check out these prices…
Makes me wonder… We already check ourselves out of grocery stores, home depot, and other trusting establishments. They currently mostly use the weight of the item to make sure we don’t put extra unchecked items in our bags. Of course they also have that watchful eye – a human who looks after several self checkout stands. But could they someday use RFID tags to know what items we’ve taken out of the store? It’s possible that someday we could swipe our credit card when we ENTER the store, take the items we want, and be automatically charged when we leave. Bagging could be completely optional and you could even stuff items in your pockets if you wanted. As you exited the RFID tags on the items would trigger your purchases.
It would make the shopping experience different. Faster. Sort of what WaMu did for banking. You wouldn’t need traditional checkout lanes or the people than man them. It frees up that area of the store for more merch. Although you would need some place to box up your purchases, it could be free form. You could bag items as you go. It would also cut down on shoplifting. Stores wouldn’t need to allow anyone in unless they’ve pre-swipe their payment options. Â What do you think? Should I get aÂ patent on my view of the future?