Category Archives: ID Accessories

Regional Events

Agricultural Boom Stimulates Regional Events

Regional Australia, driven by a tremendous surge from the agricultural industry, is seeing a noticeable increase in the number of events, festivals and shows being held. The positive effects from booming exports of key crops, and continued growth in cattle and horticulture, is generating a trickle down effect that is being enjoyed across the entire country. As revenues increase for agricultural business, so too does disposable income of those involved, and the regional councils in the area. Below we’ll explain how this has a knock on effect with regional events.

Agricultural Industry Growth

Almost every week we are seeing positive reports about expected crop yields and estimated export value from all manner of crops and from all parts of regional Australia. A mild winter and and generous spring has meant that Australia’s two biggest export crops (wheat and barley) are both experiencing record breaking years in terms of yield and export value. Canola, our 3rd biggest export crop, also experienced it’s 3rd biggest year on record in 2016.

As the ABC reported here, bumper grain harvests are having a flow-on effect throughout the Victoria economy. Banks are reporting that creditors and loans are being paid and debt is being reduced, key signs that an economy is rebounding nicely.

Other crops such as macadamias, almonds, plus horticultural exports such as grapes and potatoes, have also experienced excellent years.

The Benefits of a Boom

As the agricultural sector booms, regional communities bathe in the glow. The Regional Australia Institute report that regional cities are, for the first time in years, seeing a growth in their population. A growing population provides stimulation for the local economy. More shops open, residents spend more money, creating a growth cycle.

The Effect on Regional Events

The event industry specifically benefits from all this growth and prosperity in several ways. Firstly, when we talk about events, we refer to community events, music and arts festivals, agricultural shows, rodeos and other gatherings. Organised by regional councils in many cases, there is also a growing number of privately run events focusing of regional Australia.

Take Groovin the Moo for example. This is Australia’s premiere regional music festival, attracting more than 100,000 patrons to it’s regional events. Held all over Australia, Groovin the Moo hosts it event in Wayville SA, Maitland NSW, Townsville QLD, Bendigo VIC, Bunbury WA and then Canberra ACT. Despite including the nations capital, the focus of the events is on supposedly less glamorous locations in regional Australia.

The rising waters of events in regional Australia

For an event industry to be successful, you need four factors to present. When they are present, the waters rise for the entire event industry, stimulating growth.

  1. Regional councils and potential event hosts/organisers, need to be “cashed up”. When regions and states do well economically, this results in more generous budgets being allocated, and confidence to plan further ahead. Bigger events need more planning, so suddenly events become a more central element of council planning.
  2. Potential patrons of these events need to be generating a disposable income. With a growing economy, the average household will have a higher disposable income.
  3. The mood in a community needs to be positive. The agricultural boom provides confidence to the community from top to bottom. When times are good, people are more active, more social and more positive.
  4. Potential private and government sector partners and sponsors need to see a benefit to being involved in the event.

Regional councils are enjoying full coffers and increased budgets, but with that comes the responsibility to use it wisely. The running of events has long been a core part of regional council mandates, as the effects are far ranging within the regional communities. With the agricultural boom, regional councils have the budget to organise events.

Potential patrons in regional Australia are enjoying the trickle down effect of a booming agricultural industry. With a high proportion of regional residents being involved in agriculture in some way, when the industry booms, the effect is wide spread. In terms of the event industry, this creates a market of potential patrons who have disposable income. With more disposable income, residents are more likely to spend money on attending a regional event, agricultural show or rodeo.

The mood and “happiness index” that comes on the back of a boom is just as important. A community that is struggling with debt, poor crops and under-employment is far less likely to attend a regional event. But with a prosperous regional economy, the mood in most cases will be enhanced. This influences potential patrons and makes them more likely to attend an event.

The combination of the three factors above means that sponsors and other event partners are also more likely to be involved. A sponsor becomes involved in an event in order to promote their brand, their message or their products and services. With events selling more tickets and generating more positive “buzz” in regional communities, the more likely it is that sponsors will want to be involved. Their investment in events is crucial, and further stimulates the growth of the industry.

Boom sees the regional events industry grow

AAC ID Solutions, as Australia’s leading supplier of event accreditation such as wristbands, cards and lanyards, has its finger on the pulse of event trends nationwide. The agricultural boom is having a clear effect on regional events, with more events being held, and greater numbers of people attending these events. Long may it continue.

For more information about event accreditation for regional events contact AAC ID Solutions at 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.

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!

ID Cards of the Future

ID Cards of The Future

Since their inception, ID Cards have been the subject of a proverbial Cold War between the manufacturers and the criminals who seek to circumvent and exploit the technology present within them, for malicious purposes. Although detrimental to the many individuals and corporation who fall victim to ID criminality, these attacks and intrusions are precisely why ID card technology and company system security measures continue to evolve at such impressive rates. According to HID Global, a leading American manufacturer of identification products and services, 85% of all ID cards issued annually in America will be eIDs (electronic IDs), by the year 2015. By the same year, the number of countries issuing electronic ID cards is expected to outnumber those deploying traditional identification methods by 4 to 1.

Multi-Application or ‘Hybrid’ Cards

Until recent times, an ID card has typically served a single purpose, such as Driver’s License verification, the declaration of passport details, authorisation to a special event and so on. Now however, ID cards are seeing an increased migration toward multi-application solutions, as seen in places such as Germany and Italy where these hybrid ID cards provide a range of details from a single card, including access control, proof of identity, healthcare ID, tax ID and more. For enhanced security, all hybrid cards are equipped with a diverse list of advanced ID technologies like RFID, biometric, optically variable devices (holograms) and more.

In addition to upgraded security, greater convenience and rudimentary ID purposes, hybrid cards can also be used to exercise additional functions such as vote casting (an absolute revelation, particular if you’ve ever experienced the arduous and chaotic election days here in Australia), interaction with social security systems, online authentication and more. At present, these multi-purpose eIDs are already in use right across Europe, with the European Union having already devised an eID card standard known as the ‘European Citizen Card (ECC) Framework’, aimed at ensuring universal functionality for all cardholders in all EU member states.

Traditional -vs- Electronic

Despite unprecedented adoption rates for the latest electronic ID cards, according to HID Global, approximately 90% of all IDs are still verified by human beings, rather than scanners, which are only found in a small portion of inspection facilities around the world.

Human Beings – The Ultimate ID Card

Hybrid ID cards are all about attaching a multitude of services to a single card, but if we did away with the cards altogether? At present, biometric scanners that perform facial and fingerprint recognition are already used throughout the world for the purposes of baggage claims at airport terminals, access to commercial facilities, residential premises and more, but it has been proposed that this form of identification could be replaced by an even more advanced, albeit slightly controversial security measure and that is, blood cell recognition. Every human being has unique blood cell patterns and upon entry into a system, identification would involve matching a person’s blood sample with those present within the database. This process is deemed far more reliable than biometric methods.

Controversy and Opposition

While multi-purpose ID cards represent a quantum leap in sophistication and convenience, having a single ID card that contains intimate and irrefutable data on a particular individual is not without its concerns. Privacy is a major source of contention between advocates and opposition. Another fear is breach of security. No matter how advanced a given technology becomes, there’s always the possibility of unauthorised access, either by a deliberate hacking attempt or due to a system ‘bug’ or exploit that compromises an entire database. All data contained within hybrid electronic IDs needs to be stored within such a database and there is great fear that a data breach in a single database would give an intruder access to a person’s entire details, with the magnitude of disclosure dependent on that which is present on the ID card.

In addition to personal details obtained through unlawful practices, there’s significant concern over the fact that the entire data contained on ID cards possessing such valuable private information is also be readily accessible to those who would normally only be privy to a select area of information. For example, in an article published in the The Guardian newspaper, employees of various licensed venues were found to have illegally accessed the names and addresses of female patrons, through their compulsory ID card scans. So what was intended to provide greater security for both patron and venue, actually compromised their personal privacy, potentially putting their lives in danger.

Freedom and Security

As human beings, we demand total efficiency from our ID solutions. On one hand, we desire the convenience of multi-purpose ID cards that can be used to perform a variety of advanced functions that are easily accessible and widely applicable. On the other hand, we also want our devices to possess infallible security measures, protecting us from all possible incidences of fraud and unwanted personal privacy intrusions. Sadly, while the consolidation of multiple services on a single card is practical, it also a presents hidden dangers. Criminals who compromise a database will have access to a greater volume of sensitive information and this same information can also end up in the hands of individuals who, while obtaining the data through legal means, will have an unrestricted passage all data present within the card.

All technology has vulnerabilities. There is no such thing as perfection. Vulnerabilities don’t impede evolution however, they enforce it. There will always be the possibility of data breach and misappropriation of sensitive data, but the future of electronic ID cards holds tremendous promise. Beyond mere identification, electronic ID cards will continue to revolutionise major industries, such as security, transportation, banking, education, retail, health care, government and personal services. Techniques and materials used to encrypt critical data on future ID cards will ensure that replication is extremely difficult. Future capabilities and subsequent vulnerabilities of ID cards will surely invite criticism from some quarters, but these cards will ultimately be to the benefit of society rather than the detriment.

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Wristbands at Nightclubs

How Nightclubs are Using Custom Wristbands & Cards to Enhance Customer Experiences

As society continues to change, media and, in particular, social media, latches on to stories big and (increasingly) small. More than ever we are exposed to stories that are designed to leave us with an impression of negativity, poor practice and fear. Nightclubs and similar venues have borne significant brunt, with news focused on king hits, underage drinking, inebriation and more. As with everything though, what the news doesn’t cover is how many of these venues are taking tremendous steps to curb such anti-social and unacceptable behaviour.

Much of this is done through the use of ID products such as custom wristbands and ID Cards, and which tie in with internal security processes and revenue-growth strategies focused on enhancing customer experiences.

Wristbands to Control Entry

Custom wristbands for nightclubs provide the easiest possible method of identification at the entrance and throughout the night. For years, stamps were used for this purpose, but canny clubbers would simply wet the stamps and then apply the stamp to a friends hand – voila, free entry! The lost revenue for nightclubs from unpaid entry fees can be significant, especially if entry also entities the patron to a free drink. Additionally, if access is granted only to patrons over 18, applying the stamp to an underage patron allows them access and opens up an entire new area of problems.

ID Wristbands solve this with one key feature – they are non transferable. This means that they cannot be removed and then given to someone else. Likewise, they cannot be copied like a stamp and applied to someone else. In addition a wristband is easily visible, especially when fluro colours are chosen, and highly secure when custom printed with the the venue brand.

A common strategy is to utilise a wide range of wristband colours, rotating the chosen colour for the night randomly to ensure patrons from previous nights cannot regain access using their old wristband.

Wristbands to Control Underage Drinking

With more venues opening their doors to younger guests for special nights or one off events, identification of underage patrons is crucial. Again, a wristband offers the easiest and most cost effective way to do this short of checking the ID of every patron every time they order. For these events, choosing one colour for adults and one contrasting colour for underage patrons is the easiest way to achieve quick identification.

Drinking Age Verified wristbands, as we refer to them as, can either be produced especially for your event along with your own artwork, text and message, or simply purchased off the shelf in our standard DAV design, available in several bright colours.

Wristbands to Encourage Patronage

Here on the Gold Coast, being a location with a high volume of tourists and young revelers, a strategy employed by nightclubs is to give out wristbands during the day that allow access to the venue that evening. This strategy encourages the recipient to begin planning their evening accordingly, potentially also bringing extended groups of friends. The lure of ‘free access’ is a strong one, especially in comparison to other venues where an entrance fee will be charged.

A wristband may also permit the wearer to a free drink or two, with bar staff simply hole punching the wristband once the drinks have been provided, ensuring that the offer is not taken advantage of.

VIP Experience with Membership Cards

Many nightclubs are launching VIP memberships that entitle the member to specific benefits. Of course, as part of the membership the patron will receive an ID cards and potentially other types of merchandise that promotes the brand of the nightclub. This enhances customer experiences by elevating their patronage to another level, especially if it coincides with tangible benefits such as access to a VIP area, discounts on drinks, discounts on entry, or first access to special event tickets.

For the nightclub, the added benefit of course is the collection of a) small membership fees but also b) customer contact details such as email and Facebook, allowing the nightclub to send promotional information to the member in order to attract them back to the venue.

Designated Drivers

This is another great initiative that has come about with the police and the media being involved. We have found some venues have really embraced this concept and use a wristband we have designed specifically for this scenario. This allows groups to go out and have a great evening but for the venue also to know who has been designated as the driver for that evening, as they are identified by a specific wristband. Some venues go even as far as to offer free soft drinks to the designated driver to ensure they receive the recognition they so richly deserve for being the driver of choice for the evening.

It also serves as a reminder for the designated driver that, for that night at least!, they are on their best behaviour and to not give it to the temptation they are surrounded by. This is a great example of how bars and nightclubs are thinking of ways to enhance every patrons experience.

NSW new alcohol laws

Many nightclubs are now working within the brand new regulations in NSW, as outlined here: http://www.nsw.gov.au/newlaws. In essence “1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks laws have now come into force across a new Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct”, and many venues have begun to act accordingly.

Nightclubs choosing plain or custom wristbands

Of course, for many nightclubs, bars and venues, a key decision is whether to purchase plain wristbands or custom wristbands. The argument is a very simple one, because it come down to choosing between a more secure wristband solution (having the wristband custom printed) or a lower cost solution (simply purchasing them plain).

It can also come down to time. Often, after a few busier days than normal, a venue can run out of wristband products and may need these in a hurry, which can influence the choice of plain or pre-patterned wristbands.

Customising a nightclub wristband is vital, where time and budget allows, and AAC recommends choosing a combination of fluro colours as well as darker colours with metallic inks. Of particular popularity for nightclubs are black or purple wristbands with gold or silver metallic inks to display logos and text.

If you run a nightclub and you have an interest in wristbands, ID cards or branded merchandise, don’t hesitate to give AAC a call.

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Turf Clubs Moving Towards Wristbands

Before I joined AAC as an Account Manager, I worked within membership and events, specifically at turf clubs. Starting off in reception, I gained exposure to the event industry and the daily machinations of a raceday, which is a very complicated operation.

One of the biggest challenges was having to identify every single patron on course and determine what areas they could access on the day. With potentially thousands of patrons involved, this was never an easy process.

For example, at most of the larger turf clubs there can be 10+ function rooms and 4-6 restaurants. It is important that we are able to determine which guests are allowed where, as each guest has purchased a different type of package.

Initial attempts to control this situation involved, tokens, tickets and even confirmation letters, but the hassle involved in checking these at every gate/entrance became tiresome. In addition, letters and tickets can be copied and redistributed very easily, resulting in unauthorised access and over crowding in certain function areas.

A more secure solution was definitely required.

Given the similarities in the event structure at a race day compared to a music festival (different access permissions, under age patrons etc), it became logical to replicate the identification systems used at the festivals themselves.

And that is where the idea for wristbands was first presented!

Wristbands for access control

Wristbands were first issued to guests on presentation of their ticket or confirmation letter. Different coloured wristbands were used for each venue/section so the staff could easily identify these. If guests were not wearing a wristband or claimed to have “lost” theirs, they would be refused entry. Simple as that.

It was found that wristband products were the only thing that worked as it removed any chance of them being re-used or transferred to another person.

Wristbands to manage bar tabs

Wristbands were also issued to guests who wanted to start a bar tab. The guest who provided a credit card and a drivers license was handed an exact amount of wristbands to issue to their group of friends.  If you weren’t wearing a wristband, you couldn’t get a drink on the tab.

Wristbands to control underage drinking

Preventing alcohol service to underage patrons is vital at events. Rather than constantly checking ID when orders were placed at the bar, the solution implemented involved issuing completely separate 18+ wristbands upon presentation of ID at the gate. This allows the patrons and bar staff to operate quickly and efficiently without ID-checking delays.

My experience with events and turf clubs has really assisted me at AAC; having an understanding of all the issues present means I can provide logical and cost efficient solutions for turf clubs customers.

With the 2014/2015 Racing Season quickly approaching, AAC is contacting all our turf club customers and discussing wristbands, lanyards, membership cards and even merchandise.

AAC ID Solutions would love to help you with your race day event, so please don’t hesitate to contact us today on 1300 797 478.

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