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
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
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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