Category Archives: Wristbands

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/

Tyvek Wristbands

Forget Paper Tickets, it’s time for Wristbands Australia

Forget pink is the new black, wristbands are the new tickets!

Venues and events have struggled with paper tickets for years. Patrons lose them, they get smudged (especially barcodes), they can be passed from one person to another, they can be copied very quickly and easily, and quite honestly, they’re a bit dull.

In recent years, wristbands have taken the place of paper tickets at many venues and events because they counter all of the above weaknesses. This trend has increased with the introduction of digital wristbands that can be printed with unique barcodes and variable data (such as names, seating, show details etc). In essence each wristband can be 100% unique and accomplish everything a traditional paper ticket can.

Should your venue or event start dumping paper tickets and moving towards wristbands? Let’s take a look:

Wristbands are very hard to lose

Once a wristband is placed on the wrist of a patron, it is actually quite a challenge to lose it! To lose a secure identification wristband, someone would need to either spend FAR too much time trying to remove it, or take a pair of scissors to it. What you can be sure of is this – anyone who approaches your ticket booth claiming to have lost a wristband is very suspicious! It’s time for wristbands Australia!

Wristbands cannot be transferred to other patrons

Many events and venues complain of tickets being surreptitiously passed to non paying guests, allowing them access. Not only is this illegal of course and basically stealing, it represents a significant loss of revenue for the venue itself.

Wristbands are far easier for security staff

The process at the ‘door’ or ‘gate’ at an event that utilises paper tickets can be a frustrating one. Patrons are fumbling around looking for tickets, security staff are trying to scan the barcode or locate the ticket details in a dark environment. Mean while, another 300 patrons are lining up impatiently, not enjoying themselves, and not spending money on F&B!

Security staff can quickly and efficiently locate wristbands, scan them, check their details etc. A different colour can be used for specific events or sessions, allowing quick visual check to start with.

Wristbands can be bright and colourful

Your standard paper ticket will have black text on a white background. A wristband on the other hand can be bright, with neon colours available, allowing them to stand out in a dark environment.

The added benefit of such a variety of colours and styles that wristbands provide is that events can use them to differentiate between certain groups such as VIP’s or under age patrons.

For multi-day events, choose Wristbands Australia

Many events require multi-day access. This is especially true for music festivals. A ticket in these cases is not suitable because the chances of it being lost or damaged is greatly increased the longer it is in the hands of the patron. This situation only worsens when it rains or if the event is outside, or if the ticket needs to be handled on several occasions.

Wristbands, especially plastic wristbands and woven wristbands, can easily last several days without any loss of integrity, an still with very little risk of being lost or transferred to other people.

Wristbands can be multi-functional

Wristbands with detachable stubs can be used for checking your coat or even for redeeming a drink or other product. The wristband and the stub share the same number for security purposes.

Wristbands and technology

The main reason that wristbands can now be considered a viable ticketing option is because the technology and advancements associated with wristband printing have grown considerably. For a wristband to become a ticket in the truest sense of the word, it needs to be unique from one patron to the next. This is to allow, in the extreme, for individual seating at an event or venue.

Wristbands can achieve this firstly through barcoding. Tyvek wristbands, a very cost effective option, can now be uniquely barcoded with a number of barcode protocols, including 39 (sometimes called 3 of 9), 128 and 125 barcodes, amongst others. As well as this linear barcode, the barcode number itself will also be printed under the barcode as a human readable check.

Quick tangent – understanding barcodes. Barcodes are actually very simple. For the purposes of printing on tickets etc, think of barcodes as a font. To create a barcode, all we do is turn a specific number, say 12345678 in to a barcode using a special software. This is the equivalent of changing ABCDEFG in calibri to ABCDEFG in times new roman. The different barcode types listed above are basically different font types. Each comes out a little differently in terms of size and structure, just like a font. The only consideration a venue or event needs to make is what barcode type their scanning equipment works with.

Within the same process, a wristband can also be uniquely numbered if required.

RFID is the other technology that can transform a humble wristband in to an almighty wristband ticket. An RFID chip provides a unique ID number that can be scanned with great ease. Whilst a barcode needs to be scanned very carefully, an RFID chip can scanned from a few centimeters away.

RFID chips (or inlays) can be incorporated in to the production of several different types of wristbands, either single day photo image wristbands or multi-day woven wristbands. It’s time for RFID Wristbands Australia

Both barcoded wristbands and RFID wristbands can also be printed with variable data also. This might include seating details or even the patrons name, as well as session/event show details. With a unique barcode or RFID chip, as well as unique text printed on the wristband, the wristband is as functional as any paper ticket.

Systems

As with any consideration to ticketing, especially changing from paper tickets to wristbands, there would be changes required to operational procedures and possibly hardware. Certainly, staff would need to be re-trained as to the proper method for applying a wristband and door staff would need to recognise specific wristband types. All things considered though, the use of wristbands as tickets presents a variety of benefits to any event or venue.

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RFID wristbands

RFID wristbands for cashless events

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

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

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

How does a cashless environment work with RFID Wristbands?

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

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

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

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

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

Pros of the cashless environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cons of the cashless environment

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

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

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

The final word

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

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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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Wristbands

Custom Wristbands

More than just brightly coloured bracelets, custom wristbands are multi-purpose tools that are used right throughout the world. A global phenomenon, custom wristbands play an essential role in many industries and can be found at recreational venues, health care institutions, government facilities and more. Thanks to continual advancements in modern technology, wristbands are available in a myriad of different styles, colours and materials, offering consumers unprecedented levels of customisation.

Considerations When Buying Wristbands

With so many wristband styles available to consumers, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each material as well as key considerations that must be made regarding size, material and colour.

Colour

Whether it’s for purely aesthetic reasons or identification purposes, careful consideration must be given when deciding the colour of your custom wristbands. There are many things that influence wristband colour, such as:

  • Your company brand – when used for marketing purposes, your wristband’s colours will be based upon that of your company’s. Remember though that while some types of wristbands can be PMS matched, others may be limited by materials and stock available.
  • Emotional Connotations – colours evoke strong feelings of emotion within us. For example, blue is often associated with tranquility, red with anger, green with nature and so on. This being the case, if you are looking to use your wristbands as a promotional device for a particular organisation or for a charity event, your custom wristband colours should reflect the emotions associated with their primary service or in the case of the charity event, purpose. For recreational venues, fluro-coloured wristbands are commonly used, as they help convey a sense of fun and excitement, and are also easy for staff to see.
  • Operating Conditions – if you’re working in low-level lighting conditions or a patron attending a night-time concert, it’s important to have wristband colours that are readily visible to other personnel. Tyvek wristbands are available in a range of neon colours for this purpose.

Size

Regardless of application, it’s essential to have wristbands that fit patrons of all sizes. This is of particular importance in health care institutions such as hospitals, where wristbands range from the smallest (for use with infants), right up to large adults and patients suffering from swelling of the limbs. For adult venues, such as nightclubs and live music festivals, it is often sufficient to have just one size because identification wristbands are adjustable in size.

Materials

Custom Wristbands are commonly manufactured in several different materials, including Tyvek, Plastic, Fabric, Vinyl, Silicone and Woven. Each material has it’s own pros and cons and it’s important to understand the limitations of each.

Tyvek – comprised of high-density polyethylene fibres, Tyvek is a lightweight, strong and highly durable synthetic material that is commonly used in nightclubs, events and recreational venues. Tyvek is relatively inexpensive and 100% waterproof, tear-proof and comes in a variety styles such as plain, patterned, stub and barcoded.

Plastic – a preferred choice for festivals, fairs and all manner of outdoor events, plastic wristbands possess superior strength properties to Tyvek and is totally water resistant – even to prolonged exposure, making them ideal for use at water parks or multi-day events. Plastic wristbands allow for high-resolution, full colour images to be printed on them and contain a highly secure locking mechanism. These premium qualities do come at a cost however and plastic wristbands are typically more expensive than other alternative materials.

Silicone – more common than a cold day in Canada, silicone wristbands are cheap, vibrant and versatile, making them an ideal choice for many events, such as concerts, fundraising, branding and even political campaigns. With options to have text embossed, debossed, or printed into the silicone itself, these wristbands provide a cost-effective solution that delivers maximum impact with minimal outlay. Unlike other wristbands, silicone wristbands don’t have security mechanisms built in and are almost exclusively used for promotional purposes.

Woven – suitable for multi-day events and offering a high degree of comfort and security, woven wristbands are comprised of a durable polyester and are used at many major venues around the world. Woven wristbands are fully customisable, with personalised logos or text woven directly into the fabric, providing an attractive solution that is often retained as a souvenir or memento of an event. These wristbands are equipped with first class locking mechanisms, making them an excellent choice for venues where security is a high priority.

The Design Process

Thanks to modern web technologies, you no longer need to guess what your custom wristband designs are going to look like. All reputable suppliers now provide online Wristband Design Studios, allowing you to quickly and easily hammer out concept designs and alter colours, text and images in real-time, as well as choose your desired wristband style.

 

Custom wristbands

Custom wristbands

Although this is a great way to obtain an accurate idea of what your final wristband design will look like, due to inconsistencies with colour interpretation on individual monitors, it’s a good idea to seek out what’s known as a PMS Colour Chart, to ensure that your wristbands will be identical to the colour that you’ve selected. Beyond this, each individual wristband supplier will possess their own list of policies regarding the submission of custom artwork files, artwork approval and so on. In addition, most suppliers will readily send a product sample to you upon request, typically for a small fee, enabling you a first-hand look at the custom wristbands build quality.

The Final Word

With so many wristband styles available on the market to consumers today, coupled with the ability to quickly obtain high quality mockups using online wristband design studios, choosing an accurate representation of your final custom wristband design has never been easier. Even so, it’s extremely important to carefully consider the applications of your wristband and determine what colours, materials and sizes are most appropriate.

Each wristband style carries its own pros and cons and offers varying degrees of durability, resistance to wear and tear, waterproofing and security mechanisms, all of which have a bearing on price. Whether you’re using them for a large scale charity event, marketing purposes or simply a minor recreational gathering, wristbands are an investment and working closely with your wristband supplier is the best way to guarantee great results.

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Resort wristbands

Wristbands Helping All Inclusive Resorts

All inclusive resorts are growing in popularity world wide, and the use of wristbands at these resorts continues to grow also.

One of the major challenges posed by the all inclusive resort structure is that of how to ensure that only paying guests are obtaining the benefits available. Often this will be access to leisure facilities such as a pool, kids club, tennis courts, fitness centres, as well as restaurant and dining facilities.

With many resorts being beachfront, the possibility exists that non paying guests may enter the resort grounds and utilise the facilities free of charge, which is not only costing the resort money, but also will infuriate paying guests.

The solution that many resorts are turning to is wristbands. By supplying guests with a wristband at check-in, resort staff can effectively monitor who is allowed access to their facilities. With a rotating set of wristband colours, perhaps changing these on a weekly basis, resorts can also ensure that previous guests can’t return with their old wristbands and utilise the facilities free of charge again.

The benefit of all inclusive resorts are obvious for both the resort and the guests. It all comes down to cost efficiencies. Guests benefit from cheaper (and simpler) holidays because the resort has undertaken certain changes to reduce their costs; this often includes removing a la carte dining and replacing it with buffet dining. Whilst this is common at breakfast, replicating the structure at lunch and dinner greatly simplifies F&B operations whilst also reducing staff numbers, both in terms of service staff and kitchen staff.

Why wristbands?

There are numerous ways to identify paying guests, and resorts have looked at all of them in the past. ID cards are impracticable because they get lost, left in rooms etc. Lanyards are not functional because they get in the way when swimming and doing other activities. Wristbands are, by far, the more cost effective, logical and non-invasive method of identifying a large number of people like this.

  • They can be branded with the resort logo and also supplied in a variety of colours, allowing the resort to rotate the colours on a weekly basis over a 10 week period.
  • Silicone wristbands, the most popular type of wristband for this purpose, is soft, comfortable and does not disrupt the daily activities of the guest.
  • They can be kept on for several days without causing irritation
  • They are easily visible to resort staff in any situation
  • They can be kept as a memento of the holiday, providing on going branding benefits to the resort.
  • They are available in either transferable form (like a silicone wristband) or non transferable form (see Tyvek wristbands or plastic wristbands). The choice here comes down to a resort determining how likely it is that a guest might pass their wristband to a non paying guest who can then access the resort facilities.

Standard resorts using wristbands

It is not just all inclusive resorts using wristbands to identify their paying guests. Standard resorts in busy or easily accessible locations are also doing the same thing. This is especially true of resorts who features special or unique facilities like a kids water park or similar; something that will attract the attention of non paying guests. In these cases, resorts are also using wristbands to identify who should be allowed access.

Wristbands for kids clubs

Many resorts now run specialised kids clubs, with the goal of attracting families safe in the knowledge that for a few hours each day, the parents can enjoy some time to themselves. A key element of kids clubs (as well as child care centres around the world) is security and identification. At a resort, the key priorities for a kids club are:

1. Ensuring all staff are aware of allergies within the group

2. Ensuring that kids remain within the right age groups, in order to avoid inappropriate or unsuitable activities.

3. Ensuring that all children leave the kids club with the right parent or carer.

For the above cases, wristbands again provide to be the most cost effective and functional solution. But rather than silicone wristbands, most resorts turn to Tyvek wristbands, ideally with a detachable stub. The benefit here is that while the child wears the wristband, the parent takes the detachable stub. Both items have the same number printed on them for security purposes.

Additionally, Tyvek wristbands are non-transferable, so if the child attempts to remove the wristband, they will be unsuccessful. Different colours can be used for different age groups and a specific colour may be used to indicate that a child has an allergy of some kind. Additionally, these wristbands are waterproof, which is very useful for a kids club!

Wristbands for functions and conferences

Finally, for hotels and resorts with large conference and meeting facilities, wristbands are commonly used to differentiate between groups. This is a more cost effective solution than lanyards attached to ID wallets or cards.

With multiple groups utilising facilities at the same time, and with some groups also incorporating meals or snacks in to their packages, it is important to ensure that each group receives what they have paid for. A simple wristband system allows staff to differentiate between groups in this way.

Resort wristbands and RFID

We’ll explore this in more detail in a coming article, but RFID wristbands are proving increasingly popular at resorts because they serve two functions. Firstly, they provide a means of identification in the same way that the wristbands above do. But secondly, they can be programmed, in conjunction with the right kind of systems, to become guest access passes to their rooms, the elevator, the fitness centre and any other facilities that might be present.

Resorts can choose whether to use silicone RFID wristbands (which will be reusable) or plastic/vinyl RFID wristbands (which are designed for single time use only and need to be cut to be removed).

Wristbands are a simple and cost effective tool to identify patrons or guests at resorts and hotels. All-inclusive resorts especially are using them to ensure that only their paying guests are enjoying the facilities they have paid for. For more information, talk to AAC ID Solutions.

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PMS Colour Chart

PMS Colours for Wristbands & Promotional Products

PMS colours are the heart and soul of any branded product design process. If you have ever worked on a logo or design and been tasked with asking a promotional products company to get that design on a product, you will be well aware of this! But what is a PMS colour?

Looking for a PMS Colour Chart

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System and was devised by a company called Pantone. Basically,  it is a standardized colour reproduction system that has been universally accepted within the graphics and printing industries. By standardising the colours, everyone has access to the same reference points when talking about colours and shades, ensuring consistency in the printing and design process. In the same way that we expect a Big Mac in Miami to taste the same as a Big Mac in Paris, consistency is paramount!

Viewing PMS Colours

PMS Colour Chart

PMS Colour Chart

The best way to determine a desired PMS colour is to use a PMS guide. Produced annually by Pantone, the PMS guide, consists of many 15cm x 5cm strips of cardboard bound into a small ‘fan deck’. On each of the strips are several colours, varying in shades, and with a PMS reference underneath it. Pantone recommends that new books are purchased annually (of course they would, so would we!), due to the tendency of the colours to veer towards a yellow hue over time. The PMS guide is a great reference to have nearby when you are working on branded products.

PMS colour inconsistencies

Many people view PMS charts on their computer, via a range of sources as they are published in quite a few places. The problem with viewing PMS colour charts on a computer monitor is that everyone has different settings on their screens. Whilst a PMS colour might look red to you, on another monitor it could appear maroon, or certainly a different shade of red. And when it comes to PMS colours, especially with regards branding, choosing colours that are 4-5 shades off is the difference between a good job and a bad job!

When you need to match a PMS colour to something in your hands, it is always advisable to track down a proper PMS Guide Book.

PMS colours for wristbands

When it comes to wristbands, the key consideration is the printing method, because not all wristband suppliers can generate wristbands in the PMS colour of your choosing. Most will supply a range of stock colours that are then overprinted with your desired artwork, logo, message etc.

Wristband base colours (certainly for Tyvek wristbands) should be manufactured and printed on a flexographic printer, as this also allows for the production of fluro or neon colours, which are crucial within the wristband industry when it comes to identifying youths, or people at night time events. So any wristband supplier who actually manufactures their own wristbands, like AAC ID Solutions, will have the capability to produce wristbands using a specific PMS colour, but this is limited to high quantities.

For small quantities of wristbands printed with a specific PMS colour, only a screen printed or digitally printed wristband will be able to get close. A digital wristband like a photo image adhesive wristband is printed on a commercial-level digital printing press and can produce any PMS colour almost perfectly, though it will not be able to produce true fluro colours. With screen printed wristbands, PMS-matched ink colours can be ordered, so this can incur an additional cost for the consumer. Alternatively, the supplier may be able to mix an appropriate match for the desired ink colours using the existing inks at their facility.

An added consideration when PMS matching ink colours on wristbands is the curing process. Lacquer based inks cure via evaporation and so are sent through a dryer/heater after printing. The curing process can darken the ink colour a little. UV inks (commonly used to print plastic or vinyl wristbands) are cured under UV lamps, and the effect on the print colour is less pronounced.

PMS colours for  promotional products

PMS matching on wristbands is pretty uncommon. But PMS matching on promotional products is central to almost every production run or every product you can imagine. For many promotional products, the customisation method uses screen or offset printing in which case reproducing the correct PMS colour is quite straightforward. The tricky part comes when the product available can be produced using a series of available colours, which a PMS colour then has to be matched to.

Take, for instance, sweatbands. Sweatbands are made from a polyester thread, of which there are a specific range of colours available. The threads are pre dyed and held in stock ready to be used on customised jobs. Whilst the range is very good, it does not match the 1,000+ colours in a PMS Colour Chart. In these cases, it is often necessary to compare the thread samples alongside a physical PMS Colour Guide in order to closely match the PMS colours.

And this is where problems can occur. it takes a good judge of colour to really match a thread to a PMS colour, as we all interpret and see colours slightly differently. This is also where using a computer monitor to view PMS colours becomes problematic. We have many customers who have seen a colour they like on a custom bag or woven wristband, for instance, and held this product up to a monitor to match a PMS colour. In almost all cases, it is not as close a match as they thought.

Fun fact

PMS Colour of the year

PMS Colour of the year

Did you know that every year a Colour of the year is selected. Rather then influence design and fashion, the colour though normally reflects existing tastes.

In case you were wondering, your current colour of the year is apparently Radiant Orchid!

So there you go.

Working with the right supplier

The key to all this is working with the right supplier. If you have been provided specific PMS colours from your branding and design teams, then fair enough, but if you have had to guess PMS colours based on old files or products, please tell your supplier so that they can work with you to ensure the PMS colours care correct. This way, your wristbands and promotional products will arrive at your office and look exactly like you expected them to!

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Australian Made Tyvek Wristbands

Tyvek Wristbands – Buying Australian Made

It’s a tough choice for any consumer and we see it on a daily basis. There are products we’d LIKE to buy because they represent the same values as we do, whether this is a food product that uses organic growing methods, eggs that are free range, or manufactured products that are Australian Made. Inevitably, if we’re posed the question of “all things being equal (including price), which one would you choose, a locally made product or a product manufactured off shore”, I’d hazard a guess that all of us would opt for the locally made product. But the problem is, often the better products are the ones that cost more, and this puts consumers in a tough situation.

In the world of wristbands, consumers are presented with the same dilemma. Faced with a plethora of options manufactured off shore, and with a market that has become increasingly price driven with a focus on cost cutting, events and venues can be left with products that do not meet their requirements due to poor production, printing and security features.

AAC ID Solutions has been a part of the Australian Made Australian Grown campaign for many years, being the sole manufacturer of Tyvek Wristbands in Australia. Founded in the 90’s, AAC quickly became the leading wristband supplier in Australia, expanding quickly in to manufacturing, printing and more, launching new products and reaching new markets. Key to it all has been a focus on quality; both of product and service, and with a special emphasis on Tyvek Wristbands.

Tyvek Wristbands

Tyvek Wristbands are used more than any other wristband in Australia. They are secure, waterproof, lightweight, and (with the right adhesive) non transferable. Australian events, venues, schools, councils, governments, memberships etc purchase tens of millions of Tyvek Wristbands annually; plain, patterned and custom printed. They are used primarily as an identification wristband, allowing quick and easily recognition that person A is wearing a yellow wristband which means that today they are allowed access to the pool, for example.

Casestudy – The challenge that the industry is facing is one that has happened all over the world. In Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, in the face of a coup and then several months of well publicised smog brought about by slash and burn agriculture, the tourism industry was in crisis. Tourists were staying away in the hundreds of thousands, hotels were empty, tourist spots were quiet and thousands of people and businesses were in big trouble. The prices for tours starting dropping dramatically as business fought tooth and nail for any revenue they could generate, simply to pay running costs for vehicles and guides if nothing else. Suddenly, a price war was on the cards and a tourist could now purchase a full day adventure package with transfers, guides, lunch, elephant trek and rafting for as little of Baht 200 (AUD$6). The problem of course was that once the market picked up, tour agencies were stuck in the cycle of cheap tours, so they downgraded their buses, hired inexperienced guides, went to less reputable destinations, provided worse lunches and suddenly, the product offered was not recognisable from where it started, resulting in damage to the reputation of the Northern Thailand tourism product in general.

The lesson – quality should be the last thing sacrificed by a business.

Back to Wristbands

The importance of quality – wristband quality is paramount for an event such as a music festival, nightclub, leisure centre, or anywhere they are used to identify someone who has paid to obtain access. The consequences of utilising a non secure tyvek wristband at these types of events and venues can be very damaging. The main damage is caused by lost revenue, with one patron removing their wristband and finding a way to pass it to a non paying patron, allowing them free access to the venue or event. The term we use to describe this feature is transferability – as a secure event, you really want a non-transferable wristband.

How might a poor quality wristband be less secure? – If you look at the construction of a tyvek wristband, they are actually quite interesting, with several key areas that, if manufactured poorly, can lead to a poor quality product. Firstly, the adhesive. A strong adhesive ensures that once the wristband is applied to the wrist, that it is incredibly difficult to remove. Imagine using a lower quality adhesive; patrons will simply peel the wristband right off, especially when the wristband is exposed to wet or moist environments like the rain, a sauna or swimming pool.

Secondly, the dye cut. At the end of your wristband you will note a pattern of cuts on the front side of the band, over the adhesive area. These cuts need to be exactly the right depth because their job is to, basically, tear the wristband apart if and when someone wants to remove it from their wrist. If the dye cut is too deep, it the wristband will come apart when the adhesive sticker is removed. If the dye cut is too shallow, the wristband will be much easily to remove. A quality wristband will therefore be manufactured to consistently high standards.

Thirdly, the quality and depth of colour is crucial in a wristband, especially when considering the need for the neon or fluro colours that are available. The difference between a genuine neon pink wristband and a washed out pink is important, especially if your event is identifying under 18’s, or runs at night when the wristband really needs to stand out. The same goes for printing of text on custom wristbands; if this is undertaken with poor quality inks, or via a means other than screen printing or flexographic printing, then the ink will run, smear and smudge.

Australian Made Tyvek Wristbands

An event or venue must utilise secure wristbands in order to protect their revenue. AAC believes strongly that in order to best serve our customers, a high quality wristband is required. This is why we manufacture tyvek wristbands in Australia, allowing ourselves full control of quality, material, adhesive, inks and testing, which we take very seriously.

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Brand Activation and RFID Wristbands

RFID Wristbands and Brand Activation

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

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

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

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

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

So what is RFID and RFID Wristbands?

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

How does it work at events?

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

Great Brand Activation Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Else Are Sponsors Doing This?

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

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

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

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Wristbands

Wristbands: The Future Proof Guide

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

What do your wristbands need to achieve?

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

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

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

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

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

How secure do you want your wristband?

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

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

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

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

When should you look at Barcoded or RFID Wristbands?

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

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

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Wristbands

5 Things You Didn’t Know Your Wristband Could Do

Everyone has worn a wristband at some point. Whether to enter a music festival, a nightclub or an aquatic centre, they are something we’re all used to. Boring old wristbands just sitting there wrapped around your wrist. Very wrong! Like Homer discovering the use of trees “It’s about time trees were good for something, instead of just standing there like jerks!”, AAC hereby presents 5 things your wristband can do that you didn’t know.

1. Your wristband can upload photos to Facebook!

In conjunction with RFID or barcode technology, your wristband can help upload photos to Facebook. This has proven especially popular at University Open Days in recent years, where the University is aiming to increase the engagement of their prospective students with the University itself. How does this work though? Each prospective student who attends the event is assigned RFID wristbands, barcoded wristbands or cards, which is registered to them. Throughout the day, a photographer can take photos via a smartphone and then simply scan the wristband or card of each person in the photos, automatically uploading this photo to Facebook, Instagram, BuzzFaceaGramer or whatever is the newest social media tool. The key to this is the system used to manage registrations, with some excellent options out there now; for recommendations, drop us a line.

Wherever wristbands can be used to increase engagement between a business and a potential consumer, member, existing customer, this is a great advancement.

2. Your wristband can buy food and drinks!

Whilst you will still need to be attached to your wristband for the wristband to accomplish this feat, it is still interesting! Again, through the use of RFID or barcode technology, wristbands can be registered to a individual who then loads money uploaded to their profile within the system. When you wish to purchase something, most likely at a music festival or a water park, a simple swipe of the wristband charges your profile the right amount. The benefits of cashless transactions have long been debated amongst both festival management and festival attendees, with no clear answer really prevailing.

The problem for festival management when looking at cashless transactions is this: what happens if the system crashes and suddenly F&B spend halts for 30mins, 60mins or longer? The potential losses are immense, and many festival rely on revenue from food and drink spending to cover their significant running costs.

For festival attendees, there is always been a feeling of propriety and tradition when it comes to their festival activities; there has been backlash against RFID wristbands to manage access control, as there has against cashless transactions, with festival goers feeling that it is taking the industry in the wrong direction and that it goes against traditional festival ideals.

With regards to cashless transactions, there is an additional security benefit; your photo can also be assigned to your profile, so if someone somehow comes across your wristband, when they try to spend money your photo will appear, allowing the cashier to recognise the fraud immediately. This is also a great way to prevent underage drinking at events without needing to continually check ID.

3. Your wristband can be a secret agent!

Shhh, this one’s a little hush hush. The newest advancements in wristband technology mean that micro text and even invisible text can be added to certain wristbands, allowing for special security checks to be undertaken. Keep this on the down low.

The main benefits here relate to security, especially at venues like nightclubs and music festivals, where additional security features can mean the difference between spotting a fake wristband or not. Forgeries are becoming more and more advanced, and appearing at venues and events faster than ever before. Small steps like this that can make it harder for forgeries to appear are very welcome to the industry, and should be encouraged.

4. Your wristband wins you things!

Treasure hunts and similar activities at conferences, exhibitions and networking events are proving popular. Driven by RFID or barcoded wristbands, participants are challenged to “check in” or scan their wristband at, perhaps, 5 different locations; this may be specific booths, conferences, break out rooms etc. As a reward, once the 5 scans have been undertaken, the user receives an SMS or email letting them know they can now enjoy a 10% discount at the bar.

Likewise, at music festivals, more and more sponsors are setting up booths that utilise RFID or barcoded technology with the goal of allowing patrons to enter competitions with the simple swipe of their wristband. Beware though, the goal of these sponsors is to collect your data for future marketing purposes, but the point remains – a simple swipe of your wristband could win you a car!

5. Your wristband can keep you safe

As we reported in a recent article here, wristbands are being used to keep people safe. Equipped with GPS trackers, wristbands can be used for people deemed ‘at risk’ for potential leaving specific areas losing contact with carers or loved ones. Services have started that manage this exact process, with response units available to prevent such incidents.

Wristbands are changing, with some very specific now becoming very clear in 2014. Whilst the simple wristbands of today will continue to play a role in identification and security at events, venues, parties etc, a new wave of wristbands are now readily available to anyone who wants to turn a simple product in to one that achieves more than you might have imagined.

The digitalisation of wristbands is something we’ll review in more detail later this month, but it is a trend and advancement that is having dramatic effects on the industry, whether it relates to the use of full colour artwork, variable data, overprinting, barcodes, unique non sequential numbering, special security features or RFID inlays.

As a leader in this field AAC is pushing the boundaries to see what is possible. It really comes down to your imagination to determine what can be done.

Talk to AAC to discuss your ideas, or ask us for some; we’d be happy to help of course.

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Wristbands in the news

Wristbands & Technology News – June 2014

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

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

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

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

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

E3 Wristbands: The Battle of the Bands!

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

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

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

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

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

Project Lifesaver Wristbands: Keeping people safe

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

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

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

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

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