Source: John Biehler on Flickr, used under Creative Commons
By integrating RFID tags into wristbands, the technology is reshaping the way through which live events are planned and the way people are able to interact with them.
This is the first in a series of blog posts where we will examine how technology is influencing and changing the festival and event industry.
Paul Koziara, Ottawa Festivals
Every year, festival and event organizers look for innovative ways of making their live events more attractive and efficient. Bonnaroo, Coachella, RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest – Ottawa, and Lollapalooza – some of the world’s most renowned festivals, are using a new, high-tech tool called radio frequency identification (RFID), as a means of engaging and exciting event goers.
Through the use of radio waves, RFID is a non-contact system that works by wirelessly transmitting data contained on tags attached to bracelets. Readers capture and transmit the data to a computer system which identifies the tag and its stored information.
The primary function of RFID-enabled wristbands is secure, access control to festival grounds through the use of entrance portals and handheld readers that scan the ticket information stored on the chipped wristband. This system drastically reduces or eliminates queuing times for festival goers while eradicating the possibility of counterfeit tickets and unwanted reselling of passes.
Festival goers have the option of registering and personalizing their wristbands via a website in order to activate loss/theft protection and social media integration. By linking personal Facebook and Twitter accounts to a wristband and ‘checking-in’ at various stations throughout the grounds, users can automatically update their status or tweet to show which stage they’re at and who is performing.
RFID wristbands not only store ticket and social media information, but also incorporate a cashless payment system into its slew of features. No more fumbling for cash or waiting in long lines to use an ATM. By transferring credit onto the wristband, on-site food, beverages and merchandise can be purchased with the swipe of a wrist.
Without a doubt, RFID is a game-changing technology for live events. For organizers, unprecedented amounts of audience insight, new revenue streams, and control over the event allows for tweaking for future improvements. For attendees, reduced lineups and novel ways of engaging in the experience is sure to attract attention.
RFID is quickly proving itself to be a win-win technology. With an increasing amount of live events adopting its use, it is exciting to observe how the evolution of festivals will play out.