Tag Archives: Wristbands

Wristbands

Wristbands – The 3 Mistakes you are Making

If you’re reading this then you are involved in the purchasing of wristbands. You may manage an event, a night club, an aquatic centre, or be involved in running an attraction, a school or a resort. Whatever your role in the procurement of wristbands is, this article will be an important read.

Top 3 Mistakes made with Wristbands

First of all, we’ll go through some of the key mistakes make with wristbands. Finally, we will present the way to solve these problems.

You are purchasing the wrong type of wristband

This can happen perhaps when you are involved for the first time, or if your wristband supplier did not provide you with enough information. There are many different types of wristbands available, and they all have different features and benefits. They also have their own limitations, which are equally important. The first mistake is therefore not taking the time to understand the wristbands available.

You are getting the artwork wrong

Styles such as Tyvek, woven, photo image etc all offer different printing capabilities. It is important, therefore, that you take full advantage of these capabilities. The security of your event can be greatly enhanced by doing so. For example, when purchasing woven wristbands there are numerous additional features that can be incorporated such as metallic threads and sequential numbering. Firstly, these features do not cost a lot more and secondly, they enhance the security of the wristband. On Tyvek, important artwork often gets moved to the far right of the wristband. This is the area that is covered when the wristband is applied. As such there is no point in placing artwork there.

You are ordering wristbands too late

Even if the two mistakes above have been addressed, it is important to order on time. You may have done your homework and are fully aware of all the benefits of woven bands, but if you have left your order too late, it will be all for nothing. As a general rule, Tyvek bands should take less than 1 week, as should plastic and vinyl bands. Woven or fabric bands take 3 weeks, no more though.

Addressing the top 3 mistakes

Now that we have gone through these mistakes, how can they be addressed? There really is one very simple solution – work with an experienced wristband supplier. of course we are going to say that, but it is true. Talk to us here at AAC ID Solutions. We have been manufacturing, printing and supplying wristbands for almost 20 years, right here in Australia. There is no other supplier with the experience, service and capabilities that match AAC, and that is why the big events and venues only use us.

Stick with the experts, with the genuine Wristband Factory. Call AAC today at 1300 797 478 or email us here.

 

Wristbands Australia

Wristbands in the news August 2016

Once again, AAC keeps its finger on the pulse with its roundup of wristbands – news and innovations from around the world. As always, we have a mix of interesting and unusual in this round-up, and we’ll be leading with an idea that we’re not too confident about. After all, they are always the most fun to look at!

The wristband that traces GPS directions on your skin

‘Huh?’ I hear you say. Huh indeed we reply. Somatic Labs have launched their “Moment” wristband, with the key feature being that it communicates to its wearer via touch. It vibrates and traces patterns in your skin to communicate information. It has four motors (and nothing else); no screen, no watch.

The rather odd example given is with regards GPS tracking, where instead of using your phone – which is apparently too hard – you would receive alerts through the device, which would be like having an arrow traced on your wrist saying “turn right”. As you get closer to imminent death at the next junction because you haven’t felt the initial ‘tracing’ of the arrow, the tracing becomes more intense. How this accounts for your hands and arms being in constant motion I can’t imagine, but this does not sound easier than using the GPS in a phone – especially when the GPS literally tells us when to turn.

No, we are not keen on this one! But it will be just (!) USD$159, so there is that.

Peach Music Festival Wristband theft

It’s every festival managers nightmare. The wristbands have been produced after months of designs and samples; they’re delivered and on site at the festivals in the days before the gates open. But then, they’re gone. The managers of the Peach Music Festival in Pennsylvania experienced just that, when a scene was started at a VIP registration tables the night before the event and some suspicious individuals were photographed then entering an employees only area. Cue missing wristbands. Gulp. The wristbands were then recovered following an arrest by police the following day. Phew!

Guys, lock up your wristbands when they’re on site!

Inspiring wristbands changing company culture

It has been proven time and again that writing something down greatly enhances the chances of something taking place. Talks about something and you might do it. Write something down and the chances are greater that you’ll do it. Write is down AND share it with others and the chances increase even further.

This has been nicely demonstrated by Purity Life Health Products, a 115- employee distributor of natural health products founded 32 years ago. By embracing a culture of being “Easy to do business with/path of least resistance” the company focused on providing the fastest, and best, service to its customers. The message was printed on to wristbands and given to the team. They talked about it, wrote it down and then shared the vision. Everyone became invested in the idea and profits have since risen 31%.

See, this is why we love wristbands! It was all about the wristbands. Mostly. Some of it.

Clever wristbands detecting chemicals in the air

Researchers from Oregon State University have developed simple silicone wristbands that act like sponges to absorb chemicals in the surround air or water. Key to their research was the detection of flame retardant chemicals in children’s environments, of which the wristband is capable of detecting more than 40 of them! The study of 72 preschool age children over the course of a week detecting 20 flame retardant chemicals in their environments. In small doses, this poses no great danger, but this initial study is perhaps the start of further useful research.

Keep a close eye on the AAC blog for more wristbands news and commentary. And of course, for all your wristband need, contact AAC ID Solutions on 07 5665 9333 or sales@aacidsolutions.com.au

Wristbands in the news

Wristbands and News From Around the World

AAC once again presents the latest and greatest wristband-related news from across the globe. And you know how much we love our wristbands!

We are always impressed by the amount of new products being launched in the arena of wristbands, especially those designed to assist with medical conditions or social issues. The low cost, easy to wear nature of wristbands makes them non-invasive and very adaptable to different uses. Here are the news and events that have caught our attention over the past few weeks.

Medical-quality consumer wristband monitors body signals

Empatica, co-founded but MIT Professor Rosalind Picard, has launched a wristband called Embrace. Embrace aims to monitor signals from the body, specifically to pre-warn caregivers of potentially deadly seizures in Epilepsy patients. Sensors underneath the wristband face track pulse, body motion, temperature, and EDA, which involves subtle electrical changes across the skin. Boosts in EDA, without accompanying changes in motion, can signal stress. In people with epilepsy, a sharp rise in both signals could indicate a severe, potentially life-threatening seizure. The wristband sends a message to the caregiver, via an app, that alerts them to the danger.

Wristband to save women’s lives

A software engineer in Cameron, Arreytambe Tabot, is working on an RFID-wristband with the goal of reducing maternal sepsis in Africa, where more women die in childbirth than anywhere else. The wristband holds data on vital signs of the expectant mother, allowing them to scan in during check-ups and to have all data update to the cloud. The key selling point is that the system does not rely on the literacy of the wearer, which is a challenge in rural areas.

Wristbands to assist disabled bus passengers

We like this one. 18 year old Daria Buszta of Bilborough College has started trials on a vibrating wristband that alerts people as to when their station is coming up. Aimed at those with visual and hearing impairments, the “ViBus” concept buzzes at the appropriate moment and could potentially assists hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. Nice work Daria!

Be careful with those RFID Wristbands… we’re looking at you Music Festivals!

The Gibraltar Music Festival found itself in strife recently when organizers went back on their promise to refund monies left on their wristbands. The RFID bands were used to create a cashless bar environment at the event where patrons could upload money and use the wristband to purchase drinks. The 23,000 pounds is now apparently going to be donated to a local charity, but I doubt this will placate patrons who expected their money to be returned. Lesson for music festivals – be clear with your refund policy, and then stick to it.

And finally, here we go again…

Wristbands that state relationship status

Forgive us for being jaded, but this idea has been rehashed about 20 times over the past couple of years, somehow always re-packaged as though it is brand new. Cheryl Duffy in Kellyville is the latest person to launch this after “so many” people told her horror stories about “online dating sites”. How a physical wristband helps during online dating has yet to be explained, but the R U SINGLE I AM wristbands are available for a mere $5 a pop if you want to find out! Alternatively, start a conversation with someone and find out if they’re single or not.

To keep up with the latest and greatest in wristband news, check back regularly with AAC ID Solutions –a leading supplier of wristbands in Australia and around the World.

Australian Made Tyvek Wristbands

Australian Events Looking for Australian-Made Wristbands

With the Australian dollar continuing its slide against the US dollar, it is forcing many Australian Events to seek locally-manufactured event products and collateral, especially wristbands.

As the only company in Australia to manufacture Tyvek wristbands on Australian soil, AAC ID Solutions has really noticed the difference.

Cost effective wristbands

As the Australian dollar drops, it is leaving those who import their wristbands very little choice. “Every day we are hearing that competitors are raising their prices to account for the weak Australian dollar” said Stuart Blott, General Manager, “As a manufacturer, we avoid that cycle completely”.

AAC’s prices for Tyvek wristbands have remained stable throughout the last 3 years, something that has been appreciated by its thousands of customers. Many events operate on an annual basis, so the ability to plan in advance is crucial. Projections for the following year are often made in the month immediately following the event. Having to worry about constant changes to price does not make this an easy process.

Quality Wristbands

The other other key benefit to AAC for manufacturing locally is quality control. “We have complete and total control over the substrate we use, the adhesive and production process” said Stuart, “For us, it is all about quality and consistency”.

This is all the more important when events have problems with the quality of Chinese-sourced Tyvek wristbands sold by Australian suppliers. “It’s a totally different product”, said Stuart.

As most event managers know, Tyvek wristbands are used to cost-effectively identify patrons or attendees at events, allowing event staff (security, bars, gates) to quickly know who is allowed where and especially, who is under 18. They are used religiously at festivals, aquatic centres, nightclubs, attractions and sporting events. Waterproof, tamper evident, secure and unique, these products are the “gold standard” of the event identification industry. For more information about quality Australian-Made event identification solutions, talk to the only experts in Australia – AAC ID Solutions at 1300 797 478 or sales@aacidsolutions.com

Mention this blog post and receive a 20% discount if you are a new customer!

 

Wristbands for the summer

Wristbands for the Summer

Summer is fast approaching. For attractions, resorts, events, aquatic centres and others this means a definite spike in visitors and patrons. It also means that now is the time to start looking at your wristband requirements for the coming season, and to make sure that you have enough stock to last through the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Wristbands for Attractions

Most attractions require a single day wristband that are cost effective. When we talk about attractions we are mainly looking at theme parks, tourist attractions, mini  golf, water parks, bowling alleys, fetes etc. For single day usage, we recommend using Tyvek Wristbands.

Tyvek Wristbands are waterproof, non transferable and secure. Available in a range of bright, neon colours, as well as vibrant, unique patterns, they are also easy to identify for your staff day or night. Priced from as little as 5c per wristband, Tyvek bands come in 19mm and 25mm sizes and more than 140 pattern and colour variations!

And remember, Tyvek bands by AAC are 100% Australian Made AND Printed – the only such wristbands in Australia. For this reason you are guaranteed the highest quality and best value products, supplied in the fastest time.

Wristbands for Resorts

Resorts use wristbands to identify their patrons, especially when their facilities are easily accessible by non paying guests. Most commonly, the wristbands used for this purpose are either silicone wristbands or vinyl wristbands; both are waterproof and comfortable to wear.

The best strategy to employ is to rotate through a wide range of coloured wristbands each week, so that their is a lower likelihood of replicas appearing.

Silicone wristbands are transferable of course, so savings can also be made if your resort can encourage guests to return their wristbands after check out. Vinyl wristbands are non transferable.

Wristbands for Events

Summer is the season for events in Australia. From music festivals to winery concerts, beach events to corporate parties, the industry goes crazy in the summer.

Along with this increase in number of events, comes a need to focus on the wristbands and accreditation used at the events.

Here, the recommendations can vary quite significantly; purely because events vary so much. For example, a single day event that is budget conscious will probably be OK to utilise Tyvek Wristbands. A multi-day music festival with camping, bars and VIP areas will be better equipped with Woven Wristbands.

Woven bands are the most secure, and most durable wristbands available in Australia, especially when combined with the exclusive closure mechanism available through AAC ID Solutions.

Wristbands for Aquatic Centres

Aquatic Centres and swimming pools always see a great increase in visitors over the summer, with warmer temperatures driving everyone to reverse the evolutionary process and head back to the water! The key factor for aquatic centres is that the bands they use are waterproof; and that they will also survive the rigors of such a centre. This could include saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzis etc.

Most aquatic centres will use Tyvek wristbands for this reason. Durable, waterproof and available in so many colours and patterns, they can be rotated daily.

Of course, a lot of aquatic centres are also moving to RFID enabled systems, which means their chosen wristbands will often incorporate RFID chips.

Closing word

In summary, summer is just around the corner. If you haven’t already stocked up on wristbands for the coming months, now is the time. Talk to AAC at 1300 797 478 to see how we can assist.

Wristbands

Choosing Wristbands for Events

Almost every event in Australia uses wristbands to identify its patrons and guests. They also ensure that no one enters their event without authorisation. While this is especially crucial for paid events like music festivals and concerts, smaller events, parties and business conferences also require wristbands.

AAC ID Solutions is the leading wristband manufacturer, printer and supplier in Australia, and has been since 1997. We’ve seen events come and go, from the mighty Big Day Out, to a wide range of smaller community events. If anyone knows how to choose a wristband for an event, it’s AAC ID Solutions! So, as an event organiser, how do you choose the right type of wristband?

Choosing Wristbands – Length of your Event

The duration of your event will effect the type of bands you need to consider. The longer your event goes, the more secure and sturdy your wristbands need to be. Consider a multi-day music festival. Patrons will potentially sleep and shower with their wristband on, spending much of the day in the elements. The wristband used for this event needs to be very different to a wristband used to monitor one hour sessions at a trampoline park for instance.

Single day use wristbands

Any wristband can be used for a single day of course, but the most highly recommended are Australian Made Tyvek Wristbands. Tyvek bands have been used in Australia for 20 years, and chances are, you have worn one yourself. Further still, it is very likely that you have worn a Tyvek wristband manufactured by us! Tyvek wristbands are the perfect single day wristband. They are cheap, strong, bright and secure, and can be used in wet or dry environments.

Multi-day use wristbands

A multi-day event needs to consider plastic, vinyl and woven wristbands for their identification. Each of these are recommended for events that last two or more days. They will withstand the beating they take from multi-day use and retain their security and structure. AAC highly recommends woven wristbands for most multi-day events due to the exceptional security features that can be incorporated. More on this below.

Choosing Wristbands – How Important is Security to you?

Secondly, an event organiser needs to consider the importance of security at their event. Again, events will vary in this regard. A music festival where someone has paid over $100 for a ticket will treat security as a higher priority than a free community event.

Wristbands vary in their security rating, and there are additional steps that can be undertaken to further increase this. There are two elements to consider with regards security. Firstly, how secure is the wristband itself? Secondly, how secure does the wristband make your event? This would relate to anything plain (not custom printed), including plain Tyvek, plastic and vinyl bands. If the wristband you have chosen is readily available from multiple places, then it is easily replicated by those wishing to crash your event.

Low security bands

Low security bands include Tyvek bands that are not manufactured in Australia, plain wristbands with no custom printing and any other type of wristband that has been manufactured poorly. Avoid low security wristbands when your event requires high security access control!

High security wristbands

The most secure wristband products will be those with RFID chips or unique barcodes, and also woven wristbands. The nature of RFID and barcodes (more on these in the technology section below), mean that they are unique. They have also been integrated with smart access control systems to prevent repeat use or forgeries. Woven bands are secure because they are custom embroidered with quality threads. These threads can include metallic threads, and designs can also incorporate sequential numbering, special coloured closures and more.

Choosing Wristbands – How is the Budget Looking?

Of course, it is all well and good to say you want the most secure, high tech wristband available, but if the budget is looking a tad sparse then this does need to be taken in to account. Your lowest cost options are always going to include plain wristbands and any Tyvek bands. Wristband products that include technology such as RFID or unique barcodes will be more expensive, as will woven bands with extra security features. Your best bet is to discuss your budget with a trusted and experienced wristband supplier like AAC ID Solutions, so that an appropriate solution can be quickly offered.

Choosing Wristbands – Are you Integrating Technology?

As little as 5 years ago, this question would not have meant a thing! But, with the growing popularity of RFID and unique barcodes, especially in relation to access control, it is now an important question. The purpose of integrating your identification wristbands with technology is two fold: 1) it means your access control is automated, with scanners doing all the work, and 2) it means that you can also implement social media integration strategies at your event.

RFID and unique barcodes can be added to Tyvek, plastic, photo image adhesive and even small runs of plastic bands, so there are lots of options available.

Conclusion

Whether you’re new to event management, or have been in the game for years, it is important to consider the type of wristband that is used to identify guests and patrons. It may be time to change what you’ve been doing, so give AAC a call and we’ll make sure you’re on the right track.

2015 Wristbands

Wristbands in 2015 – What’s In Store?

2014 was an interesting year for wristbands, with technology again expanding within the market resulting in greater use of barcodes, RFID chips and other high security features. At the same time though, there were considerable cost pressures on many events, meaning that many more expensive identification solutions were not within reach.

After a big year, what do we here at AAC see in store for 2015?

Wristbands and technology

When we talk about technology with wristbands we are really talking about unique barcodes and/or RFID chips. The technology associated with wristbands remains a hot topic amongst the industry. Opinions are divided for many and it can no longer simply be a case of “events should use RFID wristbands”. There are just too many different types of events and different factors to consider. What type of events? Events of what duration? Who is attending the event? What sponsors are involved? More than ever before, the decision to use RFID on wristbands is very dependent on the individual event and their structure, goals and personnel.

Who is Using Technology on their Wristbands?

There was considerable growth from the corporate event industry, with many conferences moving in the direction of RFID. The key uses of RFID at conferences include to monitor movement of attendees; when did they enter and exit the main areas, what breakout sessions did they join, what guest speakers did they visit etc. Events also became very canny in putting together ‘treasure hunts’ and similar to encourage more active participation and engagement of attendees.

Fewer large music festivals used RFID in 2014, with some large events opting out of the technology. A large part of this trend was due to the lack of support and knowledge of system providers here in Australia; while being tech-savvy, they struggled with the logistics of scanning at music festivals. There have also been few system providers willing to offer cashless payment technology due to the risks of downtime etc, further halting the growth of the technology within that particular type of event.

2015 Events and Wristband Technology

So, peering in to our crystal ball, what do we see for 2015? Judging by the calls and emails we’ve had in the first week back after the holidays, business events will remain a core growth market for wristband technology. This is due to a few factors:

1. The cost of RFID vs the budget of many of these events or fairly low, so the technology is very much affordable. Many business events utilise smart phones (NFC compatible) as their scanning equipment, lowering the cost dramatically. Compare this to a music festival that requires 20+ scanning turnstiles to scan patrons, and you can imagine the cost difference.

2. The systems involved in business events are far more accessible and functional, with most running as applications installed on smart phones, with back-end systems easily adjusted and edited by the client themselves.

3. Corporate events generally try to outdo one another, and because they are often showcases for new products, or rare chances for teams and customers from multiple geographical locations to meet and exchange ideas, senior management often opt for something a bit special.

4. Spending the extra money on RFID at these events is often very much justified by the benefits, something larger events and music festivals have struggled to confidently claim.

Venues Using RFID Wristbands

A major growth area in 2015 will be venues using RFID and technology-enhanced wristbands. Aquatic Centres are a leading proponent of these wristbands. These environments involve a constant coming and going of members and visitors which is very hard to monitor for staff. The installation of turnstiles that operate via barcoded or RFID wristbands and cards allows:

a) fast and efficient access for members and visitors

b) lower staff levels to manage access control

c) a wealth of fantastic data for management to review, including demand trends, time cycles for visitors and other factors that can influence decision making with regards marketing, rosters and staff levels.

University Open Days are also a high growth market for RFID products. The challenge of an Open Day for University teams is that there are a great number of visitors (potential students / customers). They desperately need to obtain data from these visitors for future marketing efforts. The traditional method of queuing up at a registration booth is cumbersome. Volunteers with clipboards or those entering data in computers is slow and vulnerable to mistakes.

The use of RFID or barcoded wristbands and ID cards greatly improves the registration process, the centralisation of data collection and the accuracy of data. It is also a far more enjoyable process for the visitor and provides positive branding benefits for the University itself.. “look how modern we are!”.

Making the Choice

So how does an event or venue make the decision to move to RFID or barcoded wristbands? It really comes down to what you are trying to achieve. Too many events and venues begin the process of looking at technology like this without really determining WHY they are looking at it. That may seem strange, but the allure of technology often does this.

Once you have determined the WHY, look at the WHO – who do you need to assist you implement the plan? AAC can provide advice and assistance in this regard, with contacts galore within the RFID industry.

Key Elements of the Decision

Music Festivals – your most important first step is to consider access control; will you utilise staff, or turnstiles, or both? Will you consider a cashless bar? Can you attract technologically minded sponsors to potentially subsidise the cost of the technology by using it to engage with patrons? All of these factors will influence how you proceed.

Business Events – the cost of implementation for business events is fairly low. The key is determining how much value you will add to your event by using RFID wristbands or cards. Treasure hunts, monitoring attendance at breakout sessions etc are valuable, but how valuable are they to your event.

Venues – for venues, the costs can be higher but the long term value is immense, as discussed above. It comes down to committing to a higher expenditure now in the knowledge that there will be a return on the investment over time. This is especially true if you have data-savvy team members who can actually analyse and use the data that is collected.

Final word

2015 will see more growth in wristband technology. To discuss this further, talk to AAC ID Solutions, the leading wristband manufacturer and supplier in Australia.

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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Wristbands

Wristbands and News from around the World

Once again we have stopped, taken a moment, composed ourselves and compiled the latest and greatest from the world of wristbands and wearable technology. Don’t worry, there will be no mention whatsoever of the Apple Watch because that has been covered in incredible detail in approximately 42,752 other blogs, magazines and social media.

Here at AAC, we love to see what new ideas have been launched, trialed and discussed. We live in a society where there is a such a drive for new ideas, and so many of these ideas are aimed to HELP people. Think of all the hours, day, years going in to some of the ideas and products we present below, because some of them could really make a genuine difference for a lot of people.

Wristbands designed to reduce the risk of alcohol fueled social dangers

The “Vive” wristbands is a concept by 6 students from the University of Washington. The concept started as a run of the mill class project but has quickly taken shape with potential real-world applications. So much so that the students recently won the “Best Product Concept” at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit and Design Expo in 2014.

So what is the Vive concept? Basically the concept combines wristbands, Bluetooth, transdermal sensors, GPS and WiFi. Wearers are encouraged to activate their wristband before entering a bar, nightclub or similar kind of social scene that could be described as a “high-risk, alcohol fueled social situation”.

Vive_Sensors_Pres_Page

The wristband monitors alcohol and dehydration levels throughout the night and periodically starts to vibrate. The wearer must squeeze the wristband to stop the vibrating, which will continue until deactivated. The idea here is to ensure the wearer remains alert and under control. Now here is where the wristband gets very clever. If no response is received, other Vive wearers in the vicinity will be alerted to this by their own wristband vibrating very strongly.

This way, multiple people may be alerted to someone needing assistance, and directed to that person via the wristbands use of GPS and/or WiFi triangulation. It is also envisaged that the wristband will be able to detect a wearers movement, especially if they have fallen down.

Right now, the wristband is still a concept but the team behind it are fielding numerous offers for its development. Good luck to them; because this seems like a fantastic idea to us.

Wristbands storing medical information

The idea of alerting people to your existing medical conditions is not a new one. People have been carrying around medical alert cards and identification in their wallets for years, or have worn dog tags to alert emergency staff of a unique condition they may have. In many cases, this is clearly a life saving activity because it can influence the kind of treatment a patient receives at the scene of their accident or incident.

But how to alert people to your medical condition if you are swimming at the beach, where it is not really feasible to carry any other kind of identification? The Safe Mate wristband aims to solve this problem, and is starting with kids.

This concept is being extended to the Manly Surf Life Saving Club, with the introduction of the Safe Mate wristband. All new Nippers will be provided the option of utilizing the free wristband, which will be set up to supply crucial details about the child’s medical conditions, if any, which can be used by rescue teams if the child has an accident.

And the rest…

Virgin Atlantic

We don’t quite get this one but David Bulman, CIO of Virgin Atlantic, announced at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London that Virgin would be experimenting with a new biometric wristbands that would measures the heart rates of their customers. Why you ask? Good question. The idea is apparently that each customer has a unique heart rate (really?) and that this will help Virgin service staff to recognise a customer and allow them to offer a personalised service. Are you as confused as us? I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that this won’t include cattle class.

Ryder Cup

In big event news, the Ryder Cup (23-28 September at Gleneagles, Scotland), will be utilising RFID wristbands to enhance the visitor experience. Mostly, they’ll be used for special “official partner activities” in the Ryder Cup Spectator Village. This will include the Ryder Cup Experience with Standard Life Investments, where spectators can compete in a simulated team competitions with live scoreboards around the venue.

In a take on the usual “treasure hunt” concept, the Active Scotland initiative (designed to encourage and promote physical activity) will host the “Walk the Course” challenge, where spectators will be rewarded with prizes for checking in at various partners of the course.

There will also be the BMW Owners Cafe, accessible only to BMW owners, which sounds a little sad but makes you feel better about spending all that money on a BMW I suppose.

Of course, there will also be the normal social media integration, with spectators able to automatically update their social media status at certain areas.

All of this sounds great, but with 55% of spectators aged in their mid 40’s or above (see below from the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales), I am not sure how exciting all these RFID brand activation opportunities will be. Sometimes these ideas ENHANCE an event and sometimes that just DISTRACT from the event.

Free mobile health care

An often under-valued purpose of wristbands is to ‘limit’ the number of people allowed access to an area. This is used frequently at autograph signings, but recently wristbands were used to control the number of visitors to a free mobile health clinic in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. The wristbands were handed out in advance. The clinic is run by Care Harbor and is in its third year already. Great initiative and great use of wristbands!

That’s a wrap!

Thanks for reading and please do send in any other great uses of wristbands you have seen or heard about from anywhere in the world. We’ve love to hear about it and to promote any great ideas.

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Misunderstanding wristbands

Misunderstanding Wristbands

Wristbands are a crucial part of many events in Australia, and have become the ‘go to’ product for identifying guests and patrons at parties and music festivals. But while knowledge of wristbands and their features have become quite well established, their are still certain things that are misunderstood about wristbands. We’ll explore some of these below. As an event organiser or a venue manager, knowing that you are receiving what you EXPECTED to receive is crucial to the security of your event.

Misunderstanding: Tyvek wristbands are not ‘all the same’

Tyvek wristbands are the most popular type of wristband used in Australia. There is a very good chance that you would have worn one yourself, especially if you visit music festivals, aquatic centres, nightclubs, school fetes, concerts etc. Often described as ‘paper wristbands’, this is actually not very accurate.

Tyvek is a synthetic material that is specifically designed to be waterproof and impossible to tear. These properties make it ideal for use as a security wristband.

Of course, with the popularity of these wristbands, there has been a glut of copycat products that purport to offer the same security features as Tyvek wristbands, but which do not. When purchasing Tyvek wristbands here is the key question to ask the supplier:

Are your Tyvek wristbands manufactured in Australia? If you are part of an Australian company reading this article, it is likely that you make an effort, where possible, to buy Australian Made wristbands. When it comes to Tyvek, this is especially important because there are so many elements of the manufacturing process that ensure the wristband is secure. For example, the quality of the adhesive used is vital. A poor adhesive will simply peal off, and this has been a problem for company’s who buy Tyvek wristbands that have originated offshore. Always ask your wristband company where their Tyvek wristbands are manufactured.

Misunderstanding: Woven wristbands are ‘all the same’

As with Tyvek wristbands, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are key elements to a woven wristband that determines it’s quality, which has a direct and immediate effect on how secure the wristband is at an event. Proper woven wristbands should have the following attributes:

  1. The design should be physically embroidered in to the fabric of the wristband
  2. The closure / locking mechanism should be proven to have worked at similar events to your own – similar in terms of size, duration and with regards security requirements.

A worrying trend recently is the use of printed fabric bands (often called heat sublimated wristbands) in place of woven wristbands. The key difference here is the method of customisation; a key reason for woven wristbands being so secure is that their designs are physically embroidered in to the fabric of the wristband. This makes them very difficult to copy.

Printed fabric bands, whilst very nice for less secure events, are NOT security wristbands. Repeat, printed fabric bands are not, and should not, be recommended to any event as a security wristband. The smooth nature of the fabric means that slide locks/closures cannot grip the wristband, which is integral to how it works as a security wristband. Additionally, it is incredibly easy to replicate a printed fabric band with some ribbon/cotton fabric and some marker pens.

Misunderstanding: Silicone wristbands CAN be used for identification

A common misconception about silicone wristbands is that they are useless as an identification wristband. This is not so. Of course, due to the ease with which silicone wristbands can be removed and transferred to other people, they are not recommended for security purposes at a paid event like a music festival.

But, in some situations, they work just fine. The most popular use of silicone wristbands in this regard is at hotels and resorts, who use them to identify their guests. This is important in locations that may attract “non guest visitors” to the resort who enter simply to use the available facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, kids centres and even to access buffet meals! A silicone wristband is easily identifiable by hotel staff, and is comfortable to wear for adults and children, since it can also be produced in different sizes.

Most hotels or resorts will rotate the colour of the wristband used every week also as an additional security procedure.

Misunderstanding: Wristbands are not as secure as barcoded tickets

This used to be the case, certainly. But in recent years, and with advances in digital printing methods, wristbands have the capability of becoming wristband tickets. The key to this is variable data or what is called ‘overprinting’.

Tyvek wristbands, plastic wristbands and woven wristbands can all be printed now with unique barcodes and unique numbering or text, allowing events and venues to scrap their paper tickets and use wristbands 100% as their ticketing solution.

Variable data means data that is different for each printed wristband. This will often be supplied in Excel format and then merged in to the artwork file to create hundreds of thousands of unique wristbands. Alternatively, it may involve a multi-step process with variable data and barcodes added in step 1 via a specific process and then the main artwork printed in step 2 via another printing process.

Going another step further, RFID can be incorporated in to wristbands. RFID Wristbands provide a multitude of benefits in conjunction with the systems they are implemented alongside of. We’ve discussed RFID wristbands on numerous occasions but here is a link to a collection of articles that summarises the use of RFID wristbands at events and venues and that also covers cashless transactions, social media integration, brand activation and, of course, access control.

Final Word

Wristbands can really be misunderstood. With so many suppliers out there purporting their wristbands to be the best AND the cheapest, it is hard for consumers to really get to grips with the products they are reviewing. But by asking a few additional questions with regards quality, source of origin, security, previous use of wristbands etc, a consumer can begin to differentiate between the options available. Wristbands are important at many events. A failing wristband can cost an event a fortune in lost gate revenue, so it is worth taking time to ensure that the wristband you believe you have purchased is actually what you have purchased!

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Wristbands

Wristbands Combatting Underage Drinking

The worry over underage drinking has become concerning in recent years.  With the rise in soda flavoured alcohol popularity and cheap prices, coupled with an increase in ‘binge drinking,’ as a whole it is now not uncommon for teenagers to get dangerously drunk.

Many young people are regularly getting drunk at the age of 16, and some are even younger.  There is a general perception that more and more alcohol is being marketed to a younger audience. Drinks are bright coloured and full of sugar. The taste of alcohol is hidden and a little like drinking soda; but it is not soda.

Some people would argue that they are simply kids being kids and out to have fun and that it’s part of growing up. To a certain extent, yes, this is true. However, it is still illegal, and still dangerous.  Alcohol lowers inhibitions and leads to bad decision making which in turn, can result in dangerous situations.

As a parent, the thought of teenagers being out of control with no idea how to handle it is very concerning.  There is an association with risky sexual behaviour, which can lead to the spread of STDs and pregnancy.  Even worse, you are more at risk of being physically, or sexually assaulted.

The Statistics for Australia:

  • 86.3% of Australians aged 14 years and over have drunk alcohol one or more times in their lives.1
  • Around 1 in 5 (18.2%) Australians over 14 drink at levels that put them at risk of alcohol-related harm over their lifetime.1
  • 17% of 15–18 years old say they had sex when drunk which they later regret.2
  • 13% of ‘one punch can kill’ cases involved teenagers aged 18 and under.3

So, as responsible adults, what can we do to try and prevent it? A large proportion of responsibility must come from parents and schools through awareness and education. We shouldn’t stop trying to make young people aware of the dangers, aware of how alcohol works and aware of the repercussions of binge drinking.

There is also a large responsibility with alcohol vendors not to provide young people with drink.

Thanks to campaigning initiatives, many licensed premises now ask for ID from anyone who doesn’t look over the age of 25. This is a great step forward but is not fool-proof, as it is easy for young people to find a way around it.

The Role of Wristbands

A very effective method that is gaining popularity is to use different coloured wristbands to identify underage drinkers.

The premise is simple. At an event, like a concert or festival, all ticket-holders are given a coloured wristband which can identify them as legal, or illegal to drink alcohol. The attendees must wear these coloured wristbands to gain entrance or to purchase alcohol.

There are different options available depending which type of wristband you need for your event or venue. Some are digital and have a bar-code that links to identity data in their systems, and others are simply coloured, for easy glance by staff.

Let’s have a look why wristbands are becoming more efficient than the traditional ID, like a passport, driving license or ID card.

1.    Wristbands are hard to lose.

When the wristband is fastened round the wrist, it takes a good deal of force to tear off, or a pair of scissors to cut it off. It is not just going to fall off accidentally. Plastic wristbands have a clip which allows the wristband to be put on, but not removed without cutting, whilst woven wristbands have a secure, sliding toggle.

2.    Unique wristbands

As a venue or event holder, you can decide what the different wristbands mean e.g. red for under 18’s, blue for under 21’s, etc. There are even options to have woven or glow in the dark wristbands!

3.    Wristbands cannot be transferred between people.

As the wristbands cannot be removed, underage customers cannot ‘borrow’ one from someone old enough. If they try to remove theirs or wear one that’s taken off someone else, it will be obvious to staff.

4.    Wristbands are hard to fake.

We all know plenty of people who have fake IDs. The levels of technology used in wristbands make it tough for the black market to copy. Also, if yours gets lost or stolen, it will be apparent.

5.    Wristbands make it easier for staff

Bouncers and bartenders can instantly see if someone is old enough to drink which stops confrontation and the use of fake ID’s.

6.    Wristbands can replace ID

Customers won’t have to take their passport or drivers license to pre-booked events, and risk losing them. Many underage drinkers use their older sibling’s passport or drivers license to as ID; wristbands can stop this from happening.

7.    Wristbands can be multi-functional.

Not only can they act as identification, but they can also be used as tickets to get into a festival or concert. This will stop ticket stubs being passed around and ticket touting.

Wristbands not only come in a variety of colours, but are available in different styles.  For one-day events, like a concert or entry to a nightclub, there are Tyvek wristbands, that are easy to use and can be printed with barcodes. There are also plastic wristbands, which are popular for 2-3 day festivals as they are sturdier than paper ones. These are ideal for night time events because they come in neon colours, which can be seen easily by staff.

Woven wristbands are great for festivals as they are durable, hard to forge, and can also act as a memento of the occasion! The woven wristbands can also contain an RFID chip, which stores information.

Recently, RFID silicone wristbands have been developed. These contain an electronic chip embedded in it. These silicone wristbands could be used long-term so that you can carry an identity wristband around with you. At the moment, they are being used in places like gyms or clubs to show membership.

The use of wristbands is addressing the problems of stopping underage drinking. It’s an issue that we, as a society, need to keep on top of because, though we may not like to think it, young people want to drink. They want to rebel, and they want to have fun

We need to be on top of this because as soon as we come up with a solution, they will come up with a way around it! The benefits of wristbands make it increasingly hard for them to do so.

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References

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2014). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: key findings. Canberra: AIHW

2  Smith, A., Agius, P., Mitchell, A., Barrett, C., & Pitts, M. (2009). Secondary students and sexual health 2008: Results of the 4th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students, HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society.

3 http://opck.qhvsg.org.au/

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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Wristbands for events

Wristbands as Event Accreditation – Pros & Cons

Event accreditation and management, as an industry, attracts some of the nicest people I have ever worked with and partners and customers. For some reason, event accreditation managers and coordinators really emphathise with other companies, suppliers and situation, and have a well rounded approach to getting the job done. This may be because they are involved in so many elements of the event, and will often need to also deal with both internal and external stakeholders. The ability to build and maintain strong relationships is incredibly beneficial in the lead up to an event and the execution of it.

Whilst the majority of accreditation involves ID cards, laminates and pouches, wristbands have become well known as an accreditation solution at events in Australia, with some events utilising several different types of wristbands in a variety of styles.

Wristbands for parties

The challenge for event and party planners often revolves around the location and appeal of the event more than anything else. A very accessible location at an appealing event will pose a challenge for event planners, as the likelihood of gatecrashers increases dramatically. If the location is secure and the event is not very well known to the general public, the likelihood of gatecrashers is drastically reduced.

This is important because one of the key purposes of a wristband is to allow your door staff to know who is allowed access and who is not. Wristbands can either be posted to attendees in advance (as part of an invitation or welcome pack for the party), or at the door upon presentation of ID and proving that you are, indeed, on “the list”. The key here is firstly making sure your wristband is suitable for your event. If you’re organising an event that is costing hundreds or thousand of dollars per head, you should be using a wristband that provides an element of class.

The other consideration for party planning are the logistics of the event itself. Will there be multiple rooms or areas where access may be restricted? Will the venue be shared with another event, meaning an accurate tab needs to be managed? There is nothing more frustrating for a client than suspecting his tab is incorrect or inflated by orders from a neighbouring event.

In these cases, event wristbands are good to use also. Bar staff will easily determine what orders go on which tab by looking at the wristband colour. Some venues (especially those that accept a large number of smaller bookings for say, office Christmas parties), will use as many different wristband colours as they need.

Wristbands for festivals

One of the most complicated event accreditation roles is within major music festivals. Between patrons (and the myriad of variations within the patron accreditation and ticketing structure, including adults and under 18’s), staff, artists, stall holders, campers, parking and more, the accreditation requirements can be incredibly diverse.

A very prominent music festival that we have had the good fortune to work with for many years has upwards of 34 types of wristband being used of the several day event. This is a challenge for the accreditation manager but one that is a necessity due to the prevalence of gatecrashers at music festivals. Wristbands need to be highly secure and very unique to prevent unauthorised access.

It is recommended that music festivals do not send their wristbands to patrons in advance. Whilst this would allow for a faster process on the day, it increases the risk of forgeries dramatically. The only exception to this may be if RFID wristbands are being utilised. These are, of course, very hard to copy of replicate because of the RFID chip on the inside of the attached tag. And, if they are a stolen, the profile associated with the stolen wristband can simply be deactivated, rendering it useless.

A key accreditation for music festivals is that of under 18’s. With such a strong drinking culture present at many music festivals, finding ways to control this is crucial. Often local police will want a say in this process also. it is recommended that fluro or neon wristbands are used in these cases.

Wristbands for community events

With Australia having such a rich social fabric and culture, there are a growing number food and wine festivals, carols by candlelight, community markets, school events, free public concerts, art displays and more.

For the events that require payment, wristbands provide a very simple and efficient solution for identification. They can be applied on the day on presentation of a ticket.

For free events, wristbands still play a role, especially when it comes to health and safety, or if alcoholic beverages are available. By providing wristbands to those over 18, bar staff can be assured that they are serving alcohol to adults only.

Wristbands for conferences and exhibitions

Conferences and exhibitions have primarily used lanyards and plastic pouches (ID wallets) as accreditation and identification. This makes sense, because all the wearers details, and even a photograph, can be presented very clearly. This allows for better socialising and networking, with is a key element of any exhibition or conference.

Wristbands though, can be useful too. Many conferences and exhibitions are now providing wristbands to their exhibitors or attendees for things like VIP party’s or events that are happening in and around the main event.

A growing use of wristbands at these events is for treasure hunts, social media integration or brand activation strategies. These all require RFID (we’ve explored these in detail in another article a couple of months back). For instance, an exhibition organiser may encourage attendees to undertake a certain number of activities at the event. The attendee is required to them complete the activities and scan their wristband at the appropriate station. Upon completion, they may receive an email or SMS telling them that they can now enjoy a 25% discount at a local restaurant.

The final word

Wristbands are a very cost effective means of identifying a wide range of people at many different types of events. Accreditation managers and coordinators at events in Australia are using wristbands to identify many different stakeholders.

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Silicone wristbands

Silicone Wristbands vs Slapbands

Not-for-profits, charities, campaigns, causes; all have been part of the silicone wristband craze that has engulfed the world over the past 15 years. But for the first time, a new product threatens to topple silicone wristbands as the primary “cause wristband”, and for good reason. Today, we’ll be looking at the feud, the war, the battle that is silicone wristbands vs slapbands! Those with a gentle disposition, look away now because this could get ugly.

Silicone wristbands or Slapbands… Pick your side!

Slapbands

Slapbands

It’s an interesting choice. Whilst silicone wristbands are the traditional favourite, primarily due to the fact that they are easily recognisable and cost effective, slapbands are growing in popularity at an incredible rate. Below, we’ll present cases for the two antagonists and announce a winner, based on 4 core functions; price, effectiveness of communicating a message, memorability and the all important ‘cool factor’.

Round 1 – Ding Ding: Price

Many causes and non for profits are incredibly cost conscious. While some have exceptionally high budgets due to long term and well managed campaigning and fundraising, most do not. Look at the current ice water bucked challenge that is sweeping the world, with everyone from Barrack Obama to David Beckham taking part. Either way, as with any decision regarding spending in business, cost must be considered a primary factor in decision making.

Silicone wristbands are very cost effective, especially in large quantities. The larger campaigns in Australia and around the world, where upwards of 1,000,000 silicone wristbands may be acquired, pay as little as 10-12c per wristband. Even in small quantities, commonly purchased by schools and local community fund raisers, are extremely cost effective and allow causes to utilise the common practice of handing out silicone wristbands along with a small donation.

Slapbands cost more than silicone wristbands. They are larger and the manufacturing process has more stages, resulting in this extra cost. It is common for a slapband to cost 20-100% more than a silicone wristband, depending on quantity purchases, artwork, turnaround times etc (all the usual production questions you are no doubt familiar with!).

Winner: Silicone wristbands (comfortably)

Round 2 – Ding Ding: Effective of communicating a message

When looking at this category, there are two factors to consider:

1. How well the message is presented on the wristband

2. How likely is it that the wristband will be worn, and for how long

3. Design capabilities on the wristband

Silicone wristbands provide an area of 202mm length x 12mm in height, a total branding space of 2,424 square millimetres. A slapband, by comparison will usually measure 300mm in length x 25mm in width, providing a total branding space of 7,500 square millimetres, more than three times the space.

This is really important. Many causes and charities involve partners and sponsors, who in most cases are donating time and money to the cause in exchange for publicity. The opportunity to allow them space to include a message of their own for their logo/website/message, is a considerable selling point. Even just for the cause itself, the extra space can be used to provide more information about the cause.

In terms of wear-ability, a silicone wristband is likely to be worn for longer than a slapband. A silicone wristband, being smaller, is less conspicuous than a slapband and more acceptable amongst adults in day to day like.

Design wise, a slapband provide far more capabilities. Whilst a silicone wristband can be printed in various colours, this method of customisation does not last as long as debossing the wristband and then adding an ink-infill to the debossed message. A slapband on the other hand, specifically a PVC slapband, allows a full colour, digital-quality print, along the entirety of the wristband. This, again, allows for a greater scope of design, which makes thew wristband more attractive to potential wearers and better represents the brand of the cause.

Winner: Slapbands

Round 3 – Ding Ding: Memorability

This round really comes down to the factors above. If you saw someone wearing a silicone wristband on one wrist and a slapband on the other wrist, which will you remember? yes, this can come down to the design of each one (a fantastic silicone wristband design may be more noticeable and recognisable than a plain slapband design), but really, a slapband will be noticed far more easily than a silicone wristband.

The extra size, the design capabilities, the fact that PVC slapbands actually provide a type of “reflection” to light… all these factors ensure that slapbands are more memorable than silicone wristbands.

Winner: Slapbands

Round 4 – Ding Ding: The ‘Cool” Factor

Now we get to the X factor. Which of the two wristbands are the coolest? This is important. In the world of business, NFP or for-profit, the brand is crucial. The last thing a business wants to do is position itself as unfashionable amongst its target markets.

In this way it is tough to split the wristbands, so let’s get highly analytical and try to determine what makes something ‘cool’. Whilst I, as a 34 year old man, may have very different opinions to my 5 year old daughter on this matter, there are certain factors to consider.

How original is the product? Slapbands are relatively new. Silicone wristbands have been used for two decades and really don’t represent anything unique any more. What’s original about them? Not a lot.

How desirable is the product? As above, silicone wristbands are a dime a dozen in 2014, with some people proclaiming their association with several causes all at once. Slapbands are unique and have a far greater chance of becoming desirable.

Of course, the factors above are heavily influenced by the other brand awareness and marketing strategies that a cause is implementing. A brilliant social media campaign that goes viral will raise the ‘cool’ factor of a silicone wristbands associated with their cause immeasurably. And likewise, a boring, stale campaign run by a cause that then uses slapbands to raise awareness will mean the products becomes highly undesirable.

Winner: Slapbands (just)

The final word

While the choice of a wristband is important, there are far more factors at play in the world of raising awareness through promotional wristbands. For a greater effect, just in terms of the product itself, go with slapbands, especially if you feel that you want to ‘mix it up’ a little. For cost effectiveness, especially for new causes, go with silicone wristbands.

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