RFID has been a funny thing in Australia.
For years, pretty much all of us in the event industry were sure it would be ‘the next big thing’. With a large US-based RFID systems provider launching in Australia a few years ago it was assumed that many music festivals would moving to RFID for patron identification and cashless bars. All the momentum was in the favour of RFID and many of us were saying “I told you so”.
But, after some notable events initially trialed the technology, the majority decided to go back to their usual methods of accreditation, identification and payment systems. It seemed that the technology just wasn’t returning on it’s investment. The US-based company has since floundered and another notable expert in RFID also recently left the events space all together. Two more victims of the fickle Australian events market, which sees big music festivals come and go at an alarming rate.
After that, RFID got very quiet, with mentions of it few and far between. RFID for Events seemed like an idea that had come and gone with barely a whisper.
2016 is shaping up to be a very different proposition.
RFID for Events in 2016
Whilst the RFID wristbands and RFID cards have been cost effective for years, it has been cumbersome RFID systems and solutions that have prevented the technology from really taking off.
Fortunately Australia now boasts several knowledgeable businesses who have entered the fray and who are finally offering systems that make sense. These systems are modeled on successful international systems that offer several key benefits that had been missing before:
- The ability to operate offline in case of a network loss
- The ability to operate via apps and smartphones, increasing the accessibility of such a system
- Far greater POS integration, allowing for intelligent cashless bars and easy to use “top up” stations that minimise the number of transactions taking place.
- Much lower costs associated with the set-up
- More advanced metrics and data to analyse after the event, with genuine benefits derived from the data that will improve profits at the next event.
- Additional avenues to generate revenue, more often than not paying for the entire system itself, and then some.
The emphasis in 2016 will be less on access control, and more on managing connected crowds, social media integration, crowd management, brand activation and cashless payments.