Why Are RFID Wristbands an Ideal Tool for Festivals Compared to NFC Smartphones?

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Modern festivals and events are featured by RFID wristbands which simplify the way you pay for drinks and share the experience on social networks.

Most RFID wristbands contain short-range — typically 3-5cm — passive tags which require no batteries. They are powered when placed near or “tapped” against an RFID reader. When a reader detects an RFID wristband, it activates the magnetic field created by a coiled antenna within the tag which then uses this kinetic energy to power up and send data stored within the tags’ memory back to the reader.

The tags in RFID wristbands can either be written with data directly on the chip itself, or they can be used as an access key to a secure database of personal data.

More than 40 festivals around the world have used RFID wristband technology to offer fast-track entry, cashless payments and interaction with social media — after buying a ticket online, you can choose to link your RFID wristband to your Facebook or Twitter account, enabling you to post, tweet, share, and like all your favorite parts of the festival.

In the UK, wristbands were used at some festivals last summer including the Isle of Wight Festival. An estimated 3.5 million festival-goers around the world have now used them.

Although NFC smartphones can be a substitution, the problem with them is that not everyone has one. This alienates ticket-holders and brings contactless participation down from an achievable 100% if you issue every attendee with an RFID wristband.

Another problem is that phones run on batteries and, unlike RFID wristbands, could run out at some point during a multi-day festival. With limited ways to re-charge your phone in a field, you may not use your e-wallet, e-ticket and social media on the phone.

But it’s not true to say that there’s no place for NFC at festivals. The Samsung Galaxy S4, for example, has been used as an RFID reading device and it is a perfect handheld scanner for smaller events.

With statistics showing that RFID wristbands have already made 3 million Facebook likes and a billion cashless transactions, it won’t be long until they’re everywhere.