Category Archives: RFID products

Wristbands in the news

Re-thinking RFID for Events in 2016

RFID has been a funny thing in Australia.

For years, pretty much all of us in the event industry were sure it would be ‘the next big thing’. With a large US-based RFID systems provider launching in Australia a few years ago it was assumed that many music festivals would moving to RFID for patron identification and cashless bars. All the momentum was in the favour of RFID and many of us were saying “I told you so”.

But, after some notable events initially trialed the technology, the majority decided to go back to their usual methods of accreditation, identification and payment systems. It seemed that the technology just wasn’t returning on it’s investment. The US-based company has since floundered and another notable expert in RFID also recently left the events space all together. Two more victims of the fickle Australian events market, which sees big music festivals come and go at an alarming rate.

After that, RFID got very quiet, with mentions of it few and far between. RFID for Events seemed like an idea that had come and gone with barely a whisper.

2016 is shaping up to be a very different proposition.

RFID for Events in 2016

Whilst the RFID wristbands and RFID cards have been cost effective for years, it has been cumbersome RFID systems and solutions that have prevented the technology from really taking off.

Fortunately Australia now boasts several knowledgeable businesses who have entered the fray and who are finally offering systems that make sense. These systems are modeled on successful international systems that offer several key benefits that had been missing before:

  • The ability to operate offline in case of a network loss
  • The ability to operate via apps and smartphones, increasing the accessibility of such a system
  • Far greater POS integration, allowing for intelligent cashless bars and easy to use “top up” stations that minimise the number of transactions taking place.
  • Much lower costs associated with the set-up
  • More advanced metrics and data to analyse after the event, with genuine benefits derived from the data that will improve profits at the next event.
  • Additional avenues to generate revenue, more often than not paying for the entire system itself, and then some.

The emphasis in 2016 will be less on access control, and more on managing connected crowds, social media integration, crowd management, brand activation and cashless payments.

Because of the above, and the continued cost effectiveness of RFID wristbands and RFID Cards, RFID for events is poised for a dramatic return to relevance.

Stay tuned, and for more information on systems, wristbands and cards, contact AAC ID Solutions in Australia at 1300 797 478 or sales@aacidsolutions.com.

RFID Cards for Hotels and Aquatic Centres

RFID Cards & Tags – Compatible with All Systems

In recent months, AAC ID Solutions has been inundated with enquiries from aquatic centres and hotels asking how to save money on their RFID cards and tags.The suppliers they have used for their scanning systems, turnstiles and doors, it seems, have been charging exorbitant rates for RFID consumables.

This is done on the pretense that only their RFID Cards are compatible with their systems. This is not true. The reality is that it is done to generate an ongoing cash cow for these suppliers, because the margins used are quite extraordinary. As insult to injury, often these suppliers supply RFID Cards and consumables actually branded to themselves, thus using their products as additional advertising exposure for their own companies!

Cost savings with AAC RFID Cards

Both the aquatic and hotel industries need to seek better pricing for RFID Cards and consumables. As a recent example, AAC reduced the costs to one aquatic centre by approximately $15,000 per year, and the same for a hotel group by over $50,000 per year! Simply by offering fairly priced RFID Cards for their access control systems. As an additional benefit – the cards were also branded to their venue, not to us.

The secret is this… RFID Cards for 99% of access control uses are incredibly simple and should not cost an arm and a leg. AAC’s RFID Cards are compatible with Links and VingCard systems.

If you feel that your hotel, resort, aquatic centre, event, festival, cruise line or gym is paying too much for RFID cards, contact AAC today to discuss how we can save you thousands of dollars starting now. Talk to AAC at 1300 797 478 or email sales@aacidsolutions.com.

RFID Cards

RFID Cards On The Rise

RFID cards are everywhere.

From your local aquatic centre and gym to the next music festival or University Open Day, RFID cards are growing in popularity and prevalence. For good reason too!

As RFID technology has become more cost effective so have the accompanying RFID wristbands and RFID cards. Use of the cards has also grown to encompass not just access control, but engagement and social media integration.

More and more, events and venues using RFID technology are focusing on ways to add value to the user experience. On the flip side, the goal is also to obtain valuable data from users such as their activity patterns, likes, social media reach and more. Data is king in the new digital age, and this is no different when it comes to marketing.

Key uses of RFID cards in 2015

  • Hotel access systems – guest access to rooms and facilities often use simple RFID Cards that can be scanned at close proximity.
  • Aquatic centre or fitness centre access – simply used to scan for access to facilities, but also set-up to within their membership structure i.e. the visitor may have access to the pool but not the sauna due to their lower membership status.
  • University Open Days – for quick registration and information dissemination, visitors scan their card at each faculty and are sent information on their chosen course automatically.
  • Business events and conferences – engagement of participants and attendees with treasure hunts, but also information gathering with regards what parts of an event the attendee visited, breakout sessions etc
  • Music festival VIP areas – in conjunction with their identification wristbands, RFID cards can be used by VIP’s for special experiences offered by sponsors of the event itself. This might entail access to a VIP lounge for instance.

AAC ID Solutions offers RFID Cards with all major chip types, including Mifare 1k and Ultralight, as well as others. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Wristbands for the summer

Aquatic centres use of promotional products and wristbands

No matter what business you are in, there is always the potential to use promotional products to help expand your business. This is especially true in aquatic centres where there are a number of uses for wristbands, lanyards and personalised merchandise.

Aquatic Centres tend to cater to a large target market. The target market includes families, tourists, professionals, seniors to name a few. It can often be challenging to produce marketing collateral that appeals to this wide audience. However one thing they all have in common is they enjoy being active and take pleasure from attending the aquatic centre.

Based on this reasoning, it would be safe to say that the marketing approach an Aquatic Centre takes should be broad and varied. Any promotional products and merchandise produced should reflect this wide audience and more importantly, appeal to them.

In this article, we’ll explain how wristbands and merchandise can be profitable for a business such as Aquatic Centre. In addition we’ll explain how the products can help take your business into the 21st century by improving technology and overall efficiency.

First, let’s look at wristbands.

Wristbands at Aquatic Centres

The number of businesses using wristbands has increased quickly over the last few years.  Their main function in the context of an aquatic centre is for quick and easy identification for the large variety of customers they attract.

Having a clearly visible wristband helps staff to identify which visitors are allowed access to the different areas.  It could be that members can’t access certain areas such as the gym, sauna or steam rooms without a wristband that identifies you as a fully paying member.

Similarly, different coloured wristbands could identify non-paying members.  The patron can be ID quickly, with minimal fuss and from a distance.  Children and teenagers could have patterned wristbands.  This is especially useful to stop under-aged customers using equipment and facilities that they are not legally allowed to use, like a sauna or gym.

Wristbands are a very cost effective solution to help your staff, but they can also be used in conjunction with technology such as RFID. RFID is growing in popularity at aquatic centres all over Australia. With the appropriate systems and technology, a patron can scan their wristband to gain entrance to the centre. They can also be used for something as simple as scanning the wristband to use a locker. AAC ID Solution’s RFID wristbands are silicone with an RFID chip embedded within.

These wristbands add ease to accessing facilities because the visitor would not need a member of staff to grant them admittance.  They will not need to fumble around looking for a coin to use a locker.  Through this, you will free up staff to help other customers.  In addition, having the latest technology in wristbands will position your centre at the forefront of new technologies.

Another benefit is staffing levels, with potentially fewer staff required at reception and gate to control entrance, check ID, receive admission money etc.

Lanyards and ID cards at Aquatic Centres

Lanyards are a convenient and popular method of carrying an ID card.  They come in a multitude of colours, materials and styles to suit tastes and company branding.  Lanyards can even come with custom printed texts and images, which is very handy for promoting your business.  There are various material options including eco-friendly options.

Operating along the same principles as a wristband, ID cards will grant access where ever it is needed. There are many ID-related options available including overprinting individual names and details, including photos, magnetic strips, unique barcodes or even RFID chips. They would probably most benefit staff, as they can be used to gain entrance to restricted areas. Staff can also use them for till transactions, or for clocking in and out to record their working hours.  Holding the ID card on a lanyard stops people misplacing the card; it can sit around your neck all day (or be tied to a bag) and you don’t have to worry about losing it!

Merchandise at Aquatic Centres

Using merchandise is a great way to create  additional revenue.  Items such as water bottles, towels, T-shirts, swimming caps, draw-string bags, are all available to buy and customise.  Additionally, they promote your business, and people will soon start to recognise your brand and premises.  You could even give away an item to someone when they first sign up, or to win in a monthly competition.  If they are desirable enough, people will want them and buy them.

At AAC ID solutions, the full-colour beach towels have been creating 300% mark up for our clients. A great boost to income, especially during a low or off season.  Other items, like water bottles or custom bags, are popular as they can be used time and time again and are suitable in the context of an aquatic centre.

It’s important to make the items relevant when purchasing merchandise to sell. So, in your aquatic centre, consider if customers are more likely to purchase a swimming cap or a USB data pen? Also they need to be designed and branded in a way that is appealing to the prospective buyers.

Recent international studies have found that through clever use of merchandise, and promotional products, they can raise the recognition of your brand by up to 80%.  What this means for your business is that  you firstly receive the profit from selling the shirt/ water bottle/ beach towel (etc) and also gain recognition throughout the buyer’s friends and family networks.

Getting your brand recognised is one of the steps to a successful business.  Even a successful aquatic centre must have a noted and positive brand image.  Through using high-tech wristbands and quality merchandise, you provide your clients with a unique experience. This makes them more likely to come back for repeat business as well as recommending you to other potential clients.  Though wristbands and merchandise may seem like just another product, it is the little things that help a business thrive.

For access to more great articles, check back regularly!

RFID Wristbands

Cool Uses of RFID Wristbands

RFID Wristbands are popping up everywhere. As the wristbands become cheaper, there are a growing number of creative minds brainstorming for cool things to do with it. Which is great because, used correctly, RFID technology has the potential to generate a level of mass personal and social engagement and interactivity that simply could not exist before.

20 years ago, to engage a prospective customer and have them advocate or promote your brand  would be a mammoth task; now it can all be done with the swipe of a wristband. Likewise, collecting data was a painstaking task, and now it is achieved simply by offering a prize and then watching the data person walk in and swipe their wristband. It’s incredible.

But as of October 2014, what are some of the coolest uses of RFID wristbands that we have seen? First of all, let’s cross off the basics, but with a few interesting twists:

Use RFID Wristbands to Like Stuff

The bread and butter of RFID at events is the ability to “like” stuff via your social media account, whether it is Facebook or whatever is awesome right now! By swiping your wristband at a booth or similar, your status is automatically updated. But how can this be applied in more interesting ways?

Two different events stand out to us. The first was an event that had scanners near a range of cocktails at the bar. As attendees tried the cocktails, they could scan their RFID wristbands at the appropriate scanner to say they liked it, but this also triggered the recipe to be sent to their email address. This is great because a) we just love cocktails, b) you love cocktails and c) cocktails are the best! But really, this is a cool use of the “like” function.

A fashion event had male models walking around holding/presenting dresses. Attendees could swipe their RFID wristbands at the passes dresses (or models, whatever they liked!) and automatically be sent information on the dress. Not only is this cool for the attendees, but the fashion company’s collected great data about current fashion trends, at least on a small scale.

The key really is this – make it super simple for guests to like stuff, and make it fun.

RFID tags on sexy half-naked people

This may go hand in hand with the cocktail idea we just mentioned! The Baja Beach Club in Barcelona is a pretty exclusive hangout. They’ve started grafting tags to patrons as they enter the club, allowing for fast access but also fast payment, as the tag also acts as a debit card. Many patrons party there in their swimsuits, so having to carry around a bag or wallet can be awkward. We only wonder whether a guest gets to choose exactly where their RFID tag is grafted to! Not sure I’d want guests swiping and swinging certain things around the venue!

RFID Tags at Races

Quite a few races have started using RFID transponders as part of their timing systems. Competitors have the tag attached to their shoe, bike etc and as they run through certain points, or over special mats, the signal is received. When a photo finish won’t quite do the trick, this method of RFID tracking just might!

Use RFID to find your balls. Ahem. Golf balls.

If your losing your balls often (not a reference to the Baha Beach Club!) on the golf course, then you have no doubt screamed to the heavens, knee deep in scrub “when will someone develop an RFID ball tracking system!”. The problem with this has always been two things; firstly, it’s quite expensive to have long read RFID chips implanted in golf balls and most importantly, why would golf ball manufacturers want you to keep the same 12 balls all year when you could be buying 100?

Prazza RFID golf balls

Prazza RFID golf balls

Nonetheless, Prazza has entered the market with a system they claim allows golfers to track and recover their balls. The balls are equipped with chips and the golfer also receives a hand held scanning/detection unit.

It hasn’t really caught on much yet, but still, as someone who loses A LOT of golf balls, this is interesting, and pretty cool.

Our favourite use – just brilliant

Now THIS we really like. At the New York Marathon, competitors used RFID tags as per the above to monitor their performance. What the organisers did next though, took it to another level. They allowed friends and family to record video messages for the competitor, which were activated on large screens at various points on the race as the scanning mats received the signal from the runner!

RFID running message

RFID running message

What a great motivator seeing your partner, child or parent urging you on just as you’re starting to hit that wall! More than 7,000 runners had messages recorded for them, originating from 17 countries. Love it!

Oh wait, this might be our favourite! Wine reviews with a tap!

It can be great wandering the aisles at your favourite wine cellar or supermarket and just taking your time to look at what is available, trying your best to pretend that you MIGHT buy that $50 wine before you settle on something ‘a little’ cheaper. But perusing the labels, reading the descriptions “a hint of wistful vanilla!”, is just a great way to consume 30 minutes. The problem comes when you see something you want to try but you really don’t know if it’s any good.

Of course, the old way was to simply buy the wine, drink it and make up your own mind, but not anymore. Not with technology here to help! NFC tags (RFID’s cousin) are being installed at some cellars that allow you to tap them with your phone, bringing up reviews and notes of the wine. No more drinking something that could peel paint off the walls!

The final word

There are some great uses of RFID wristbands and NFC technology being developed and explored all over the world. Keep your eye out for new uses and let us know! And if you think of one for yourself, let us know too – we’ll give you a free plug on this blog!

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RFID wristbands

RFID wristbands for cashless events

For years, events have been enamored with the idea of cashless RFID wristbands and cashless environments at music festivals, parties and other events.

  • Patrons will spend more money!
  • Queuing time will be reduced!
  • We’ll need fewer staff!
  • We’ll collect data about peoples preferences and spending levels!

It’s an attractive proposition no doubt. Used correctly, all of the above statements are true. But they come at a monetary cost and it is up to events to determine how much value they are really receiving from going cashless, or how much extra value they can generate.

How does a cashless environment work with RFID Wristbands?

Right now, the majority of events operate either a cash bar, where patrons simply use cash to buy food and drinks on the day, or a system of paper tickets. Paper tickets, or roll tickets, may be printed with a value or a specific item i.e. LIGHT BEER, SOFT DRINK etc. Patrons buy their tickets/coupons at specific booths and then redeem their vouchers at the bar. Whilst this does require queuing and time to obtain the tickets themselves, the order processing time at the bar is far more efficient because no change needs to be given.

A cashless environment is normally implemented via the use of RFID wristbands. This has become pretty popular in the US and Europe, but has yet to really make a dent in Australia. Several Australian events, small and large, have trialed RFID for access control, social media integration and brand activation strategies, but the ‘cashless’ possibilities are really yet to be explored.

RFID wristbands work in conjunction with RFID compatible event management or POS systems. The RFID wristband is basically saying, every time it is scanned, “Hey! I’m patron #12345678”. The system, having been set-up correctly in advance, recognises that any received scan from wristband #12345678 is John Smith. All this requires is that the RFID number (often called the UID) is linked to the patron within the system, which is basically just another field of data.

The patron may be provided the option of loading credit to their account in advance. Alternatively, if they have received their RFID wristbands on the day, there will be various top up booths available where the patron can load credit on to their profile.

To make a purchase, the patron simply swipes their wristbands at a POS station, and the money is deducted from their profile. Easy.

Pros of the cashless environment

Cashless environments and RFID Wristbands do simplify the logistics and processes of many elements of the event scene. Access becomes automated too assuming your event chooses that option in the system set-up.

For those events where patrons can pre-load value to their profile / RFID wristbands, the barriers to spending are removed. No queuing for tickets. No waiting for change. No queuing for drinks. Just walk up, swipe, walk away, drink, repeat. It stands to reason, and is a key selling point of the system, that this results in more spending. At the very least, it makes for a better consumer experience.

Events will have access to much more data. All transactions and activities are recorded allowing planners to know when peak times are which in turn allows them to plan staffing levels accordingly. Buying preferences can also be recorded allowing future discussion on supply, costing, prices etc.

The use of RFID wristbands opens up a world of other possibilities. We’ve addressed the opportunities that exist within the worlds of social media integration and brand activation in other articles, but they are important to discuss here also. To alleviate the cost of RFID systems, an event should look to gain every possible advantage from the technology.

Social media integration is a big one. Allowing users to scan at certain spots to update social media profiles, or to take photos and tag people by simply swiping a wristband, is a great tool. Suddenly, many event managers are measuring things like “social media reach” in their event wrap-ups, something that would have sounded crazy a few years ago.

Brand activation is providing opportunities for sponsors or other partners to set-up booths, challenges, treasure hunts, or other ways to engage with patrons and doing so via RFID. Scan here to enter a competition. Scan at these 6 points to win a prize. The possibilities are vast.

Cons of the cashless environment

For most, it’s the cost. The major cost is that of the implementation of the system itself, scanners etc. Some company’s operate on a model whereby the system is very cost effective but then they take a percentage of all spending at the event. The second additional cost is that of the wristbands. Whilst this is not a major increase, it is still something that needs to be considered within the budget.

Of course, the big argument to the cost is that people will spend more. Strangely there are not many solid statistics that support this position, but the theory makes sense. Following a long day of fun where you may have spent $92 of your $100 uploaded to the system, what percentage of people would then queue up for 15 minutes to get that $8 back, knowing that they are also facing a walk to the carpark or bus and then a one hour sit in traffic to leave the event site? Even if half the people at a 5,000 person event said ‘forget it’, that is 2,500 people gifting $8 each to the event ($20,000!). Interesting.

The other con to using RFID is that it still makes some people uncomfortable. They don’t want their activities tracked, they don’t trust the technology with their personal and bank details etc. Many of these fears are actually unfounded. Nothing at all is actually stored on the RFID wristband itself – it is literally just announcing it’s unique number remember. All the personal data is still within the systems, as it is at any other event. Also, RFID wristbands are not GPS tracking devices; you cannot be tracked by your RFID wristband unless you scan it somewhere. Only then does the system say, “John Smith is in location X”.

The final word

RFID and RFID Wristbands have been ‘the next big thing’ for years, but are only now starting to really make in-roads. In Australia, it has been used for access control and some social media and brand activation strategies. As yet, cashless environments are not common at events. In the coming months and years, this will certainly change.

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Brand Activation and RFID Wristbands

RFID Wristbands and Brand Activation

Brand activation, also known as brand engagement, is whereby you try to create an emotional attachment or relationship between the consumer and a brand. It’s a lofty goal for any company. The real cherry on the cake is then driving that consumer to take an action, especially if that action involves a sale.

New methods of measurement have been devised to calculate the effectiveness of brand activation, with event planners boasting of “social media reach” and “blog engagement” as measuring sticks. More on this later.

More and more RFID technology and specifically, RFID Wristbands, are being used within brand activation strategies. Music festivals are one particular industry that has really taken the lead in this regard, with sponsors continually coming up with new and exciting ways to interact and engage with consumers at the live events in order to elicit an action.

RFID Wristbands allow company’s to devise clever ways to engaging with consumers, either directly or via their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. With social media being the preferred means of communication amongst those under 30, you can understand why tapping in to this is such an attractive proposition for a company.

The benefit of using a music festival as a base for brand activation strategies is that the patrons are familiar with the wristband concept of identification, and are wearing one anyway. So, the adjustment of moving to a slightly different wristband with RFID technology is not a large one.

So what is RFID and RFID Wristbands?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification. An RFID chip basically provides a unique identification number (UID). “Wait, that sounds just like a barcode!” I hear you scream. Which is right, the main difference being the ease with which an RFID wristband can be scanned, from several cm away, vs a barcode, and the potential damage that can be inflicted upon a barcode that can render it unusable.

How does it work at events?

With the right RFID software, patrons register their details as they enter an event or venue and the resulting profile is then linked to the wristband specifically. As the patron then walks around the event they are wearing a wristband that can tell other systems and scanning devices exactly who they are, what their email address is and what their social media profiles are. The clever part is the systems and strategies that are then developed to utilise this situation. It really is a marketers dream come true; so much data and opportunities walking around.

Great Brand Activation Strategies

Toyota utilised RFID Wristbands within their brand activation strategy to great effect at the Jamboree in the Hills Music Festival, with the goal being to not only engage patrons but reward them also. This was driven by a redemption booth which provided prizes and awards for patrons who had scanned their RFID at various checkpoints around the Toyota promotional area. The more places they had been, the greater the prize. Not only did this engage the patrons but it also ensured that they experienced everything Toyota had on offer at the event.

The idea of scanning the wristband at a particular point is the most common method of brand activation. The key is determining how to attract people and reward them accordingly. Other strategies have included entering a patron in a competition if they scan at a particular point, but the real benefits come when social media is involved.

One fantastic way of incorporating social media, and obtaining the sexy ‘social media reach’ results (often upwards of 2 million likes/shares etc), is to integrate Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the engagement activity. This can be done as follows:

1. Assuming that the registration process has collected social media profiles, automatic status updates can be added to Facebook etc that are driven by the simple swipe of the RFID wristbands, effectively “checking in” the patron at a particular spot, but with the added benefit of the sponsor being able to determine the content of the update itself i.e. “Having a blast at Festival XYZ”. Chevy did this at the Hangout Music festival, with a variety of live check-in stations.

2. Even more effective that status updates are photo’s. According to some studies, photos make up 93% of the most engaging content on social media and are far more likely to be shared or passed on compared to a text update, no matter how interesting. With RFID Wristbands linked to social media profiles, a sponsor can take a photograph of a group of friends, scan their wristbands, and the photos will be automatically posted to each of the patrons facebook profiles, and can even be branded to the sponsor i.e. with their logo super imposed on part of the photo, and with a predetermined caption “Hanging with my mates at Festival XYZ”.

As mentioned previously, the ideal brand activation strategy is not just one that elicits a response and social media reach, but one that results in a sale. This has been achieved by several drinks companies at music festivals. With an attractive and funky ABC Drink Party Tent, patrons are invited to scan their wristband to check in. A moment later they receive an email or SMS saying thanks for hanging out, going along with their Facebook profile update, and inviting them to enjoy a 20% discount off Drink ABC in the next 30 minutes.

Why Else Are Sponsors Doing This?

Put simply, data! Every scan allows them to collect contact names, emails and social media profiles for future promotional opportunities and advertising. The main benefits are reported as social media reach, which in itself is exciting enough, but this is more about brand awareness. The data that the sponsors are left with allows them to plan out more targeted promotions post-event that increase the likelihood of a sale down the track.

It’s an exciting new realm of market for a lot of people. While traditional marketers may struggle with some of the new concepts, especially social media reach and RFID Wristbands, it’s all about the same thing. Promoting your product to as many relevant prospects as possible and associating the brand with positive vibes in the hope of winning custom. As always, marketing and branding will evolve, and the current iteration is a thrilling one.

For more information on RFID Wristbands and Brand Activation, contact AAC ID Solutions.

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Wristbands

Wristbands: The Future Proof Guide

Choosing between Tyvek, Plastic, Woven, and RFID Wristbands has never been harder. We know because we assist customers as they wrestle with this decision on a daily basis; and as with any decision, there are several factors to consider. Trends will change, technology will change and the needs of your event or venue will change, but the key factors that influence your decision will remain the same. As such, we present our Future Proof (don’t hold us to that!) guide to wristbands.

What do your wristbands need to achieve?

Identification only? Wristbands can achieve a lot for your venue or event now, but that doesn’t mean you need all the bells and whistles. Sure, most of us would LOVE to own the latest BMW, but really a pretty standard Hyundai might just do the trick, especially if all we’re doing is a bit of shopping on a Sunday morning. Likewise with wristbands, if all you want your wristband to do is identify that 1,200 people are allowed access to your food and wine event, then you don’t need anything more functional that tyvek wristbands.

You may not have heard of Tyvek wristbands, but there is a very good chance that you have worn one. Commonly referred to as paper wristbands due to the papery nature and feel of the material, Tyvek is actually a synthetic substrate that is non-tear, waterproof and textured, which makes it ideal as a security wristband. This is the right option for you if you are on a budget and require identification of people for a single day only; simple as that. You should not be looking at tyvek wristbands as an option for any event runs for multiple days; this is a common mistake that we’ve seen repeated by several events.

Identification and a VIP experience? Your event or venue may want to achieve something a little grander in terms of their style and design. In this case, Tyvek wristbands may be less relevant and you should start considering plastic wristbands, especially those that have special effects within the material such as sparkle or holographic effects. A plastic wristband is durable and again, non transferable. The difference between plastic and Tyvek is that plastic wristbands can be used for multiple days, which makes them popular at music festivals and events where patrons return the following day, like weekend-long exhibitions or conferences.

Identification for long periods of time; with many events now lasting several days such as Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, Woodford Folk Festival, Falls Festival etc, the main requirement is durability and security over a longer period of time. This is where the “festival special” wristband comes in to play, commonly called woven wristbands. Woven wristbands are made from polyester with the artwork on the wristband physically embroidered in to the material for added security. The nature of polyester, woven in such a way, is that it does not stretch and expand, making it ideal as a multiday wristband. The key though, is how the wristband remains non transferable, and this comes down to a smartly designed slide lock (or closure) that, due to a series of angled internal “teeth” can only slide up the band… it cannot slide back down the wristband. This means that once it is on, it is staying on!

The added benefit of woven wristbands, and the reason that they are also used for single day events as well as week-long festivals, is that they actually do become a collectors item. I am sure you’ve seen the collectors, as they’ll often be wearing a dozen or more, some dating back several years. They’re worn with a mark of pride by the wearer, but for us as a wristband manufacturer, it’s a mark of pride that the wristband remains securely fastened to the wearer after 1,000 showers and daily activities!

How secure do you want your wristband?

The key to maximising the security of your wristband is to customise it either via printing or embroidery, depending on the wristband of course. Custom wristbands allow you to personalise wristbands to a specific purpose (ACCESS TO SWIMMING POOL ONLY), or a particular day (FRIDAY ONLY), to a particular area (FRIDAY CAMPING) or for a specific category of customer/patron (FRIDAY ADULT). Combined with a logo, website, phone number or even a Facebook profile, a wristband can become far more than just a wristband. See below to read how barcodes and RFID chips allow even more functionality.

Do you want your wristbands to be smarter when it comes to Access Control?

Whether you’re buying wristbands for an aquatic centre, a nightclub, a party or a music festival, the key to a security wristband is it’s effectiveness in managing access control. Firstly, at the gate (or other entry point) itself and then on an ongoing basis.

Security at the gate itself; whilst staff can be trained to recognise to know what colour wristbands they should be looking for, the integration of barcodes or RFID chips provides a far greater means to manage access at any venue or event. A unique barcode, or RFID chip, can be placed on a wristband, which basically assigns a unique identification number to the person wearing it. The access control system, armed with details of each guests profile, knows who is allowed to what area and when. Simply scanning RFID wristbands will alert staff to whether a patron is allows access to a VIP area, for instance. At an aquatic centre, the same wristband may prevent unauthorised access to a specific facility such as a members lounge or spa facility.

When should you look at Barcoded or RFID Wristbands?

To enjoy the benefits of automated access control, your main expense is not going to be wristbands, it will be the scanners and system to manage the wristbands. Barcoded wristbands actually don’t have to cost that much more than standard custom printed wristbands. The key to benefiting from such technology though is whether a) you’re reducing ongoing costs or staffing levels that then justify the expenditure and/or b) the use of the technology so greatly enhances your product offering that it becomes a marketing tool in itself. This question is what has driven many gyms and aquatic centres to implement smarter wristband technology.

For more information about choosing the best type of wristbands for your venue or event, contact AAC ID Solutions at sales@aacidsolutions.com

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Wristbands in the news

Wristbands & Technology News – June 2014

There is a lot of wristband news to report on from the past few weeks, including a leading UK bank launching a wristband that allows users to spend money, the latest wristbands from E3 (the Electronics Entertainment Expo), a wristband designed to assist people with Parkinson’s and wristbands that track and rescue at-risk people with dementia or children with autism. What a broad and eclectic mix of news and events!

New Banking Wristband: Are Barclays barking mad or barking up the right tree?

Let’s start in the UK, where Barclays Bank have developed a new wristband that allows users to purchase a train ticket or coffee with a simple swipe. Whilst we have seen this type of technology in wristband form at some major music festivals, these are isolated geographic locations that are also limited in terms of length of time at the event. The same technology does exist in day to day life with pay-wave bank cards, or similar, but will this demand for fast transactions extend to wearing a wristband 24 hours a day?

Barclays intend to use silicone wristbands for this purpose, and are calling the wristband the bPay band. The idea is that the user can spend up to 20 pounds in one transaction, which does limit the potential for fraud, but what would stop someone with the right portable payment terminal scanning your wrist while you’re not looking. A wristband sitting on your desk at work is also probably also much easier to steal than a bank card safely hidden away in your wallet, but does this wristband idea have legs in the real world? How important is it for us to pay for a cup of coffee in 5 seconds instead of 30 seconds? How often will the wristband need to be replaced? Additionally, how feasible is it that someone will want to wear a wristband all day for the purpose of simply making small transactions?

Here at AAC, we’re not sure about the bPay wristband, but we’ll keep an eye on it as it develops. Let us know your thoughts too! Would you wear a wristband that allowed you to make small transactions?

E3 Wristbands: The Battle of the Bands!

There was the full range of wristband items on display at this years E3, the video game industry’s premier event. Both Microsoft/Xbox and Ubisoft, used similar wristband to the light-up versions Coldplay made famous; these proved popular with bloggers and the like enjoying the way the lights changed with the presentation and music . Whether these bands have much more of a shelf-life, we’re not sure, but for now they seem to be making people smile! Perhaps not the guys from Coldplay though, who reportedly spent far more on the wristbands than they originally intended, though this was possibly countered by the publicity garnered from the use of the bands themselves. As someone who attended a Coldplay concert in Australia that featured the wristbands, I can attest to the fact that they really did create an incredible experience.

EA went with simple Tyvek wristbands, which as we all know, is cheap and cheerful and gets the job done. One complaint people had was that this particular kind of  wristband needed to be worn for more than one day, when really it is designed to be a single day wristband. Sony went with an elasticated fabric that was transferable.

Parkinson’s Kinetigraph: A wristband assisting those with Parkinson’s

Global Kinetics, a Melbourne based company, has launched the latest version of their wristband, which is designed to collect movement data that are symptomatic of Parkinson’s. The key is that Global kinetics have developed two software algorithms that turn this raw data in to information that is useful to doctors. Doctors use the information to finely tune the levels of medication given to patients. The benefit of this is that sufferers could have more time in what is referred to as the ‘near to normal’ stage at the beginning of the symptoms, which is a fantastic improvement to the quality of life of patients. It also allows patients to be treated with less invasive oral therapies rather than the more invasive therapies used in the later stages of the disease.

These wristband items are currently used in 50 hospitals in 9 countries, with Global Kinetics now seeking to develop the product further in the US and Euro markets. They are also working on new versions of the band that will record more data from all over the body, thus providing yet more information for doctors that will assist with medication. Great work all round we say! The more technology, wristband or otherwise, that is used to assist people suffering from Parkinson’s, the better.

Project Lifesaver Wristbands: Keeping people safe

Another fantastic initiative is that of the Project Lifesaver Wristband. Project Lifesaver’s primary mission is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, and other related conditions and disorders. As part of this special wristbands can be obtained that container a small transmitter that emits an individual tracking signal. Some small communities, like Upper Arlington, have invested in a number of these wristband products and provide them to residents to use as a community service. If the wearer goes missing, a trained emergency team is notified and collects the individual. The average recover time for clients is 30 minutes.

This is a fantastic initiative and again, a great example of how wristbands and other devices can be used to assist people in the community suffering with disorders.

And that’s a wrap for wristband news from June 2014 folks

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the wristband technologies used above, and any ideas you have that might lend themselves to wristbands in day to day life, whether at events, venues or as a community service. Have you seen anything else in the news that is worth us reporting on? Touch base and let us know.

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Woven Wristbands

RFID Wristbands for Concerts

Back in prehistoric times, there were few things man feared more than the agonising but nonetheless unavoidable lineup queue to a major event, such as a music concert. The lineup was one of the inescapable hardships that all attendees were condemned to suffer. Thankfully however, salvation has since been granted to us and the wonders of modern technology have had a profound impact on the entire event experience, all but eliminating long queues and banishing fraudulent ticket replication.

The technological demi-god responsible for curing our insanity, comes to us in the form of Radio-frequency identification, or RFID as it is commonly known, which utilises the wireless transmission of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer important data from one source to another. At major festivals and other entertainment venues, RFID wristbands are now used to identify patrons entering an event, ruling out the need for event staff to laboriously verify the tickets of each guest.

Unlike barcoded wristbands, RFID chips don’t have to be within the line of sight of the reader and

RFID Wristbands for Concerts

RFID Wristbands for Concerts

have a theoretical operating range of several metres (ideally though a few centimetres works best and is most cost effective) for the electromagnetic induction variant, right through to hundreds of metres for a battery powered tag. It should be noted that, while RFID tags can be readily attached to any object or personnel for tracking purposes, without their knowledge or consent, this is never the case at an event where people have consciously agreed to wear the device with complete understanding of its usage and purpose. Entry into an authorised area is conditional and the wearing of a wristband is effectively the equivalent of a patron’s signature; an electronic agreement to the terms and conditions set by the venue.

RFID WRISTBANDS FEATURES

Sure, RFID has greatly improved the ID process for festivals and helped abolish ticket duplication, but what else can it do? This is where RFID really shines. Practically every person on the planet who has access to a computer or smartphone these days, now uses Social Media to communicate with friends, family and co-workers. It’s an integral part of everyday life. The developers of RFID wristbands have recognised the importance and value that Social Media interaction provides us and have now sought to integrate the technology into the RFID chips.

Festivals are now allowing patrons to link their social media accounts to their RFID wristband, enabling them to access a variety of unique functions throughout the venue. For example, if a festival goer happens to come across a band that they really enjoy, they can simply scan their wristband at an adjacent kiosk and immediately have a range of important information about the band downloaded directly to their device and hence, their social media account. This downloaded data could include info about the band, as well free music tracks that only guests of the musical festival are privy to.

Of course, one could argue that this same task could be completed simply by using a smartphone and manually looking up the band’s presence on the web, but with RFID technology, you don’t have to. It does the hard yards for you – and besides, how many festival patrons are actually going to do all this on their phone while at the venue, in this very moment? Not many. With RFID, you can scan it and conveniently retrieve the information through your social media account, once you’ve arrived home. It’s a far more practical solution.

Besides identification and social media integration, I’d like to bring your attention to another glorious feature of RFID wristbands, cashless transactions. It’s now possible to load credit onto your wristband at a festival, allowing it to become a digital currency throughout the venue. Forget about cash or cards, while you’re at the festival, you can make all of your purchases with your wristband, without ever needing to open your wallet and once again, the use of this technololgy over traditional methods greatly reduces congestion.

TYPES OF RFID WRISTBANDS

There are three major RFID wristband categories: Photo Image RFID Wristbands, Woven RFID Wristbands and Silicone RFID Wristbands.

Photo Image RFID Wristbands – imbued with advanced RFID technology, these wristband items are totally customisable, allowing consumers to display their logo or event along the outside of the band thanks to glorious, full-colour digital printing technology. Ideally suited for single day use.

Woven RFID Wristbands – utilised by major music festivals right around the globe, Woven RFID Wristbands are a highly effective security solution, offering a range of features that make them an ideal choice for multi day events. Tailored to the consumer’s exact requirements, these woven wristbands ensure maximum security against wristband replication and can even be used as a momento.

Silicone RFID Wristbands – this wristbands is used extensively in indoor recreational facilities such as leisure centres, aquatic centres and gyms. Silicone RFID wristbands are designed with repeat use in mind and are available in any PMS colour.

ADVANTAGES OF RFID

Although a more expensive solution compared to other alternative wristband types, RFID provides a number of distinct advantages:

RFID Reader Efficiency – unlike barcoded solutions where signal reception is extremely limited in difficult conditions, an RFID reader will still be able to precisely track an RFID tag, even if the chip is embedded within environmental obstructions such as snow, dirt, ice and more.

Signal Reception Speed – RFID tags offer superior signal transmission speeds and readers can often receive these transmissions in less than 100 milliseconds, even under less desirable conditions.

Mass Detection RFID systems operating at High Frequency (HF) or Ultra High Frequency (UHF) are capable of detecting multiple RFID tags simultaneously.

OTHER USES FOR RFID

Besides patron identification, social media integration and cashless transactions at entertainment venues, the sheer versatility of RFID technology has enabled it to revolutionise many modern industries and is used extensively in Commerce, Transportation and Logistics, Public Transport, Passports and throughout major institutions such as Hospitals, Libraries and more. It also has an impressive range of sporting applications, as well.

THE FINAL WORD

Technology is created for a reason. It’s created with a purpose. RFID has been engineered to heighten the experience of ticket holders, organisers and entertainers alike. Once upon a time, your ticket or wristband was merely a means of entry; now it’s a proverbial gateway to your favourite musicians, an alternate currency and a digital extension of your thoughts and feelings. RFID is here to stay and we’re better off because of it.

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University Open Days going RFID in 2014

RFID technology is expanding rapidly in Australia, and one of the key drivers for this growth has been University Open Days. Bond University on the Gold Coast were one of the first to make this leap, and have utilised RFID technology for the past two years at their Open Days.

The beauty of an RFID-driven Open Day is that registrations are processed quickly, vast amount of data are collected, prospective students can register their interest in a course with the swipe of a wristband or card, and there can be a whole new level of social media experiences and interaction at the event.

How does the AAC Open Day RFID package work?

The entire system runs through smartphones that are NFC enabled. AAC will work with our development partners at Centryc to set-up the Open Day system to your specifications. On the day you will be able to:

  • Register all visitors via smartphone and assign them a unique RFID wristband or barcode, that is linked to their profile
  • Allow visitors to swipe their RFID wristband or card at various faculties to express their interest – this may send them an automated email and/or goes in to your database for later use
  • Allow your team to take photos of visitors, swipe the wristbands of those in the photo, and have these photo’s posted automatically to Facebook, Twitter etc. Great interaction.

For more information about how to get rid of your clipboards, pens, pencils and paper at your next Open Day, talk to AAC. We’ll automate the entire event for you, incredibly cost effectively too!

 

Splendour goes RFID

In July 2013, Splendour in the Grass used RFID Wristbands from AAC in an Australian first.

Never before had a large music festival in Australia chosen RFID wristbands and their accompanying systems and technology. AAC, as a long term friend and supplier of Splendour, was proud to supply our cutting edge mifare Woven RFID Wristbands and Photo Image RFID Wristbands for the event.

Splendour in the Grass is one of Australia’s biggest and most popular music festivals. Whilst others have wilted in recent years, Splendour stands strong thanks to a great location in Byron Bay, a consistently strong lineup, and a management team that strives to maintain the ‘essence’ of the festival.

RFID wristbands were used to identify multiday and single day patrons, as well as campers, VIPs, and many other ticketing categories. With a simple swipe of the wristband, patrons passed through gates seamlessly, highlighting the benefits of the RFID technology.

AAC is Australia’s leading supplier of wristbands for music festivals, and RFID wristbands.