NFC/RFID Enhancing Events

NFC-bracelet-wristband-events-festivals-mobile-payment-rfid-blogBringing a bulging wallet for cash and credit cards, fishing through pocket for some change, waiting in extremely long lines for beer, or simply lacking the accessibility to check-in or upload to Facebook — all these could destroy an originally pleasant event. Consequently, event organizers have been looking for ways to enhance events and strive to offer attendees with convenience, simplicity and interaction. Now all of these can be simply achieved via the implementation of NFC technology.

The integration of NFC into mobile devices, wristbands and smart cards allows users to easily make a contactless payment, share content and gain access to social media, which has greatly sparked the interest of event organizers everywhere. A number of events such as sports, entertainment and leisure realms have commenced to use NFC technology as a catalyst.

Today, a host of event vendors are now accepting contactless payments via NFC stickers affixed to the back of mobile devices or through means of an NFC-enabled wristband. At popular, highly-visited music festivals, ticketholders are now being given the unprecedented option of loading up “cash” on their wrist, which is later deactivated at completion of the festival, with the remaining unused amount reloaded to the owner’s credit/debit card account. All in all, NFC is appearing more frequently in all kinds of events, festivals and theme parks.

GALA EVENTS

The opening night Gala at the New York Public Library offered nearly 30,000 different cocktails, created by over 150 different bartenders, which made it difficult for attendees to “like” a particular cocktail on social media.

In order to solve this problem, guests were issued NFC-enabled bracelets, and then instructed to tap the NFC readers positioned atop each bar. From here, guests had the ability to check-in on Facebook or Twitter accounts, automatically upload pictures at the party’s web-connected photo booths, post a real-time message by merely tapping touch-point on the library walls, and “like” for the cocktails they were consuming.

Furthermore, smartposters were strategically positioned throughout the event, offering guests the unprecedented opportunity to enter raffles via a simple tap of their NFC-enabled wristband.

THEME PARKS

Disney World, one of the most renowned tourist locations in the world, wants to bring guests more happiness. It has unveiled plans to roll out a FastPass system employing RFID technology and iPads to accelerate the ticketing queues.

Guests will select and receive a list of the FastPass attractions they’ve chosen. They will then be granted an RFID wristband to wave by the specifically-designed-for-FastPass scanners in order to check-in upon arrival to the ride. The wristbands are embedded with RFID chips, which have been rumored to include the names, credit card information and favorite attraction data ahead of your arrivals, allowing for your identity and data to be encrypted directly on it, thus acting as your park ticket.

According to Disney Projects, when the guests arrive at their reserved time, they will wave their RFID band by a sensor, which sends their reservation information to a nearby cast member’s iPad. The RFID-based system is expected to replace the existing system of distributing paper FastPass tickets with a digital format that lets people bypass long queues and indicates when they can enter a ride or a show.

Additionally, the RFID capabilities of the wristband would communicate with sensors deployed throughout the parks and resorts, which can then trigger interactive features. Envision yourself walking up to Space Mountain, where you are then greeted by name. One of the interactive places ever may soon become even more interactive.

MUSIC FESTIVALS

In a large-scale festival, all kinds of problems could appear — from losing wallets in the mud, trying to locate ATM machines, having trouble exchanging or uploading social media data, tracking people and possessions, etc. Thus, events like Barclays Wireless Festival, Coachella Music Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Bonnaroo Festival, Electric Zoo, Lollapalooza and Glastonbury Festival have deployed or considered RFID technology. Besides solving all the problems above, using RFID, organizers can expedite fast-track entry, VIP upgrades and offer access to various perks and accommodations.

In the UK’s first cashless event, the Wireless Festival provided event-goers with NFC-enabled wristbands to “wave and pay” for goods, significantly downsizing line times for food, memorabilia and most of all, alcohol. This is not the only British music festival rolling out NFC wristbands this summer, as an emerging number of organizers have developed an acquired taste in the convenience and ease of this contactless technology.

At the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, 30,000 fans signed up to “live click” throughout the event, commencing a new era and digital age in social media. Using RFID-enabled bands, registered ticketholders were able to check-in, update their status on Facebook, as well as have the availability to a collection of other individualized options tailored to each respective guest, thus enhancing their event experience. Registered guests can automatically “check-in” upon arrival on various “touch points” located throughout the grounds.

All these wristbands provide enhanced e-ticketing, cashless payment and access control, subsequently reducing lines and eliminating fraudsters, providing secure and speedy payments, and boosting the overall fan experience.

In terms of tracking guests, checkpoint zones are set up to track what zone an attendee has just exited and entered, theoretically placing them in a zone at a specific time and place. This allows for event organizers to track traffic flows to improve planning for succeeding festivals. It also provides means of assistance when it comes to theft and other forms of crime.

SPORTING EVENTS

Olympic Games is the sporting world’s largest global competition, with hundreds of millions of visitors from different nations flooding into the host city. An advanced technology like contactless payment can alleviate many problems.

Samsung and Visa have worked together to install over 3,000 terminals on the 2012 London Olympic grounds to coincide with its official payment app, “payWave”.

Visitors were granted the option to use NFC to purchase snacks and memorabilia. Consumers throughout London were granted the opportunity to experience NFC and become educated on it, which helped facilitate the speedy universal adoption of the technology in the near future.