Could festivals be key to unlocking an RFID boom?

Festival crowd

Festival crowd

The festival industry is booming, and have proved to be an attractive marketing campaign for countries, regions and brands. A report from VisitBritain and UK Music has said that, in 2013, music tourism – people travelling specifically for festivals and gigs – boosted the UK economy by over £2bn, providing 24,000 jobs in the process. As such it’s no wonder that great strides in technology are being made when it comes to festivals and events.

Along with the upward trend in festivals, so have we seen the growth and progression of technology in this space. Changing the way brands engage with their audience from basic entry all the way to post event communication and data mining.

For those who thought wearable tech was futuristic and something far off in the future think again.

Festivals are generally renowned for being quite grungy and not necessarily a luxurious or tech savvy experience. This is all changing and festivals are getting smart with the introduction on wearable tech.

With the introduction of RFID wristbands, these devices act as tickets – from guests, audience members, staff, press and crew – where they allow access to designated areas.
RFID technology made its first appearance in 2013 and like any other digital platform is constantly evolving. RFID wristbands are being used more over In festival environments as they are proving to offer far more than just access.

Through the RFID technology festival goers are able engage with social media applications and platforms during events which is already a proven way to connect with, and grow online audiences.
In 2013, RFID technology helped Osheaga Festival reach 7.8 million people online, with over 24,000 interactions made during the event’s three days.

Cashless payment systems enabled
Generally RFID systems need to link to a mobile application which becomes the interface and forefront for engagement. Users first need to download the app and then pair it with their RFID festival wristband, which in turn provides them with quick access to the venues and faster service at the bars – as payment can be made just by tapping the wristband on the app reader.

As customers are beginning to shy away from physical cash in favour of electronic wallets the RFID solution is a great one for live events and delights the tech savvy, mobile first customer.

So how do e RFID wristbands actually work?

  • Download the event / festival app from the Google Play or Apple App Store.
  • User to register credit/debit card details
  • Pair the festival / event app account with the wristband that they receive on arrival.
  • Once paired, the user can utilize the wristband at any spot that signals the app can be used to pay.
  • The user just has to tap their wristband on the app NFC reader and payment is made.

The great benefit of RFID enabled payment systems is that the customer has numerous options and choices as to how they want to pay. Whether that be by using an RFID wristband, mobile device, an eWallet or just their existing debit or credit card, the more options they have the more receptive they’ll be to making the transition and will choose to spend more whilst they are on-site.
Cashless payment systems also encourage customers to spend more, so providing novel, innovative ways for them to do so is a sure way to increase sales.

It all comes down to data

What’s more is that RFID wristbands are not limited to payments. Often what’s even more valuable than the actual technology is that data that is able to be extracted. RFID technology allows for post-festival analysis, helping brands segment audience profiles – enabling the personalisation of festival experiences in the future as well as ongoing communication.

The tiny chip that these wristbands contain has the potential to store ticket information, data management such as loyalty rewards, and even access to social media, as enthusiastic users share their status and look to brag as they ‘check in’.

Some of the benefits of RFID wristband technology include:

  • Unlimited numbers of ‘virtual tickets’ for fans to purchase so they can experience live events.
  • For fans who were unable travel, RFID Wristbands give them a chance to view the event live on their internet or smartphone via user generated content as well as the companion app.
  • Fans can see and experience exciting live sets and share these experiences immediately online through their mobile device
  • These wristbands function as live online pay-per-view systems that include online video players
  • This enables them to engage as well as control a live social stream, multiple live cameras with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr & Instagram.
  • Encore performances and artist re-broadcast, are also made possible

Traffic control
RFID micro-chipped wristbands also enable festival or event organizers identify the exact number of guests within any area at any given time.

Besides being able to manage the traffic and foot flow during the event, this also allows insight into how guests have experienced and move around the venue, which can then be analyzed for future events and optimization.

No more queues
Possibily one of the best benefits tha RFID wristbands have to offer is that there is zero queuing. Users are able to use the app synced to thrir wristband to pre book or make quick easy payments which eliminates the necessity to exchange cash or wait in line.

Go Green
Eliminating the need for printed tickets, pamphlets, posters or wristbands, festival and event organizers are able to offer customers festivals that are greener and more paper free than ever before.

All the information that any festival goer might need can be accessed on the app and all of their information is linked to their personal profile where they can customise and tailor make their experience.

Image: Chris Zielecki via Flickr.

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