Monthly Archives: February 2018

Expert Blog: Managing RFID Credentials at Your Event

Guest blog by Natasha Hiller, Chief Operations Officer at Marcato.

So, you’ve taken the plunge and decided to integrate RFID at your next event. 

Now you can sit back and let the technology do the work.

You’re life just got easier, and you’re about to make a ton of cash, with no effort at all, right?

Wrong!

While RFID technology has the ability to deliver a bounty of benefits to event organisers, like anything in life worth having, it doesn’t come easy.

Your work has only just begun. You now need to ensure that each person showing up at your event has an RFID wristband waiting in their name, pre-set with the correct access. 

Often this process is managed by back and forth emails between people requesting credentials and the event organizers.

This method is chaotic as emails can be easily forgotten and the threads can go on forever, making it impossible to track who should get what.

You want to find a system that enables you and your whole team to easily see a list of everyone who is requesting credentials. And, you need to be able to make edits in real time.

There are really only two options for doing this.

Shared Excel File

By using an Excel file stored in Google Drive, it enables your whole team to see the full list of people requesting each credential. If managed and organized properly, you should also be able to calculate inventory levels, etc.

This solution seems cheap and easy enough to manage but there are a few shortcomings.

Once you have confirmed your list of guests receiving credentials, letting them know is a manual and tedious process.

It can also be cumbersome to get this data into the RFID system to begin issuing credentials at will call.

Usually, this is done through a one time import and then you need to move over to manually entering things directly into the RFID system moving forward.

Switching the method of entering this data right around show time can cause confusion and lead to mistakes or people being forgotten.

Use a Credential Management System

Although this method isn’t free, the money you can save by implementing a system should more than recoup your cost to purchase it if implemented correctly.

Some of the benefits of a Credential Management System include:

  • Ability to easily track and manage inventory levels
  • Process internal ticket buys for staff and guests
  • Only approved users can approve/decline credentials
  • Using permissions, easily delegate the approval/decline process to those in charge of specific areas
  • Automatically notify guests/staff of approved credentials by email along with any other pertinent details
  • Seamless integration with RFID companies, enabling you to use the same system before, during and after the event—keeping all data centralized
  • Store all data regarding catering and assets on the person’s record along with their credential details
  • Pre-built reporting

Although having a dedicated system is a preferred option, budgets don’t always allow for this so here are a few questions to keep top of mind no matter which system you go with:

  • What policies are put in place to ensure that no one slides into the guest list who shouldn’t be there?
  • What is the plan to avoid duplicate entries causing incorrect inventory levels?
  • How is the guest list going to get into the system where it will be issued without a lot of manual work?

As long as you have a good plan in place for these questions, you are on track to simplifying your credential management system, and a step closer to a smooth RFID integration.

8 Benefits of Using RFID Wristbands for Resorts & Attractions

The use of RFID wristbands for resorts and attractions has grown significantly in the past 5 years.

Ever since Disney’s MagicBand burst on the scene in 2013, the theme park industry has rapidly adopted RFID technology. Age-old paper wristbands and tickets are being replaced with cutting-edge state-of-the-art contactless passes, in the form of wristbands or cards.

But, RFID tags are nothing new in the leisure industry, hotel key cards have utilized RFID since the early aughts.

Now, attractions are rolling out the technology across multiple functions, putting RFID technology at their heart of their operation. 

Less time waiting in line for guests, and increased revenues for owners are just two of the well-documented benefits of RFID wristbands. But, there are many other ways to get more bang for your RFID buck.

With that in mind, here’s a list of 8 benefits RFID wristbands can bring to your attraction, resort or theme park.

  1. Improve Guest Check-in and Entry

Nobody likes waiting in line.

Check-in is the gateway to the rest of the attraction. Whether a hotel or a theme park, overcomplicated admission processes will frustrate guests and negatively affect their experience.

RFID systems speed-up access control. RFID cards or wristbands can pre-authorise and sent out in the mail, allowing guests to self check-in on arrival.

RFID MagicBand scan

This gives your guests control over their check-in, can reduce staff costs and improve first impressions.

RFID cards or wristbands can easily be re-programmed on the fly via a POS if they are lost or stolen.

  1. Go Cashless

Put simply, RFID works like a contactless credit card.

RFID wristbands enable cashless payments, allowing guests to pay for drinks, food, and merchandise with a quick and easy ‘tap’. All without having to worry about handling soggy cash or carrying around a wallet.

Furthermore, the disassociation with cash that comes from using RFID wristbands results in an average increase spend per-head of between 15-30%.

  1. A Hands-Free Experience

RFID wristbands reduce stress. Freeing-up guests from carrying cash, keys, and credit cards allows them to enjoy resort facilities without a worry in the world.

So that they can focus on having fun at the attraction – increasing impulse spending on rides, restaurants, and retail.

This is something that Universal Studios Florida has invested heavily in at their third park Volcano Bay, which opened in 2017. 

Tapu RFID wristband

Credit: Universal Studios Volcano Bay

 

Using RFID technology, their TapuTapu wearable band brings a new level of convenience with Virtual Line technology and lots of interactive enhancements throughout the park.

Guests can even touch their TapuTapu bands to totems around the park, to virtually hold their place in line. The band then alerts them when it’s time to ride. Talk about a VIP experience for everyone!

  1. Family Freedom

Allowing children to have their own wristbands for purchasing food and drinks, gives them a sense of independence.

RFID technology allows parents to set spending limits, or remove the option for payments, leaving it solely as a key for room and locker access.

RFID systems also offer ways of increasing child safety. A parents’ RFID wristband can be linked to their child’s, preventing minors from gaining access to certain areas or leaving a perimeter without their parents.

What’s more, our RFID wristbands are 100% waterproof – and can take on water rides, slides, showers, and even sunscreen lotion. 

  1. Security & Control

Operators will see improvements in their bottom line because RFID technology eradicates the chance of fraudulent passes that negatively impact revenues.

The opportunity for theft and fraud is reduced when guests only need to wear a wristband. There’s no need to carry cash, credit cards or even a wallet.

And, just like a credit card, if an RFID wristband is lost or stolen, an RFID system allows easy cancellation and re-issue.

Parents will also find comfort in the fact that if a child is lost, RFID wristbands can be used to determine the last location of the child.

 

  1. Make a Social Splash

RFID technology enables integration with social media. Visitors can choose to link their RFID wristbands to their social profiles and open-up a whole host of fun experiences.

Once linked, guests can post photos to Instagram, or ‘check-in’ on Facebook, all by tapping their wristband against an RFID touch-point.

This gives guests something to share socially with friends while providing free online advertising for your resort, or waterpark.

Visitors can do things like shoot water cannons at other guests, and illuminate images in the volcano’s hidden caves.

  1. One Wristband to Rule Them All

The introduction of RFID at resorts has reduced the need for guests to carry multiple items for access and payment.

Now, credit cards, room and locker keys can be combined into one RFID wristband or card for the ultimate convenience.

Add to this, the ability to link social media profiles, and you have a trifecta of apps, all on your wrist.

Your operation and the experience of your customers is instantly optimized. And, when you provide guest satisfaction, your visitors come back time and time again.

 

  1. Data & Insight

With RFID present at your resort, you’ll have the ability to collect intelligent data and deep analytics.

You’ll easily discover how guests use, interact with and move around your attractions.

Helping you to determine traffic patterns, dwell times for rides, and tap into undiscovered operational efficiencies.

With RFID cashless wristbands in action, you’ll also get smart data on purchases, allowing for optimized merchandising and concessions.

Data gathered from RFID system integrations is used to streamline and improve experiences for future guests.

Conclusion

The benefits RFID systems offer resorts, theme parks and practically any type of attraction, are staggering.

RFID Systems are advancing, and more companies than ever are offering these solutions to the leisure industry. This helps drive prices down for operators looking to take the plunge into RFID.

From cashless payments to line-busting access control, RFID wristbands at attractions are not the future, they’re the ‘right now’.

security wristbands for events

5 Ultimate Security Wristband Features For Event Organisers

Our customers often ask ‘what are the best security wristband features?’

Event organizers want to make sure that nobody can copy their wristbands and get unauthorized access to their event.

Why? Because oversubscribed events can be dangerous if safe capacity is exceeded.

And, it can result in a bad experience for guests that have paid to attend, which can have a knock-on effect on revenue loss, a revoked license and at worse, the cancellation of your event.

OK, so this is a worst-case scenario. But this is why security is so important for events, and one element of a safe and secure event is the event wristbands.

When it comes to security features there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ option. Every event is different and therefore has a different set of requirements.

So, with that, here are our 5 most popular security wristband features.

1. The Wristband Lock

What is a wristband lock?

A wristband lock is a small clasp (or toggle) that fastens a wristband to its subject’s wrist, preventing its removal.

Every security wristband has a lock which, by its very nature, is secure. But, like everything in life, people want options. Here are ours:

  • The Barrel Lock: a plastic tube (or barrel) that slides one-way onto a cloth wristband. The lock has 2 layers of plastic teeth which grip the fabric material when pulled back, preventing the lock from sliding in the opposite direction, thus loosening the wristband. The ‘Barrel’ as we wristband folk call it, is by far our most popular security lock. It combines convenience, security, and value for money. It is also our most tried and tested lock, and has gone through numerous iterations, with our latest version touted as ‘the most secure wristband on the market’ by one of our clients.The Barrel Lock is easy to close, even when there are thousands of people waiting at your gate. Also, it doesn’t need any kind of closing tool.

 

  • The Smartlock: a plastic hinged clasp with a metal pin, designed to pierce a fabric wristband and prevent removal.This lock only works in conjunction with 16mm wide woven fabric wristbands, but when applied is extremely reliable and robust. The Smartlock does not require a tool to apply but is not recommended for audiences of more than 10,000 people, as it can be labor-intensive to close the locks in large quantities.

 

  • Metal Ring: This is a classic, yet very reliable closure made from aluminum. The aluminum ring is crimped with a tool and when closed, tightly pinches the two ends of the wristbands together. Although this lock requires a tool it is still a favorite among large music events and is known for its reliability.

 

  • The Loop Lock: a socket and stud lock that loops over a fabric wristband and fastens into a pre-punched hole.

 

  • Socket & Stud: The kind of lock used on all of our vinyl wristbands. Once secure, it can not be removed without being destroyed.

 

  • Self-adhesive tab: This is the type of fastener used to secure our Tyvek wristbands and Chroma wristbands.

 

What about reusable locks?

Reusable locks wouldn’t normally make their way onto a list of security features. But, some events actually encourage sharing of wristbands and others simply do not have a requirement for controlled access.

2. UV Wristbands

UV (ultraviolet) is one of the most commonly asked for security wristband features.

What is UV? Ultraviolet is actually a type of radiation produced by the sun or synthetic light sources like sun beds.

It might sound scary. But, in the world of print and wristbands, the term UV is a kind of a slang term for something that ‘glows in the dark’. The glow is triggered by a UV light, (sometimes referred to as a black light) that is often found amongst the lighting arrangement in nightclubs and festivals.

At ID&C, we provide two variations of UV wristbands.

  1. We can weave special UV treated threads into any of our fabric wristbands. This is a great security feature that is very difficult to replicate, especially in a short space of time.

 

To validate the wristbands as genuine, have your security staff and gate staff carry a small black light. The lights usually fit in a pocket and run for days on a couple of batteries. You can get them on Amazon.

  1. We can print UV ink onto vinyl wristbands and Tyvek wristbands. This enables our customers to add security features to their entire accreditation.

3. Security Foils & Holograms

Printing a security foil or hologram onto a wristband is a great way to increase the security and prevent fake copies.

What’s the difference between a foil and a hologram?

Put simply, a foil refers to the material used, whereas a hologram refers to the visual effect created. Foils can have a holographic effect though, but holograms are typically made from ultra-thin layers of plastic.

Customers can have foils printed onto Tyvek wristbands. Or, they can have custom holographic stickers made for applying to vinyl wristbands.

There are also plain metallic wristbands with a holographic effect.

4. Barcode Wristbands

Printing a barcode is a basic, yet foolproof method of improving accuracy with access and identification.

It is very common these days to see barcodes used on concert tickets. In fact, some ticketing companies only provide digital tickets, which are only validated with a unique barcode.

Taking this tried and tested technology, and applying barcodes to wristbands helps an event increase its security as well as its operational efficiencies.

Wikipedia describes a barcode as “…an optical, machine-readable, representation of data; the data usually describes something about the object that carries the barcode.

For an event wristband, the ‘data’ and ‘object’ would be the ‘ticket details’ and ‘ticket holder’.

In 2014, barcode wristbands were used to speed-up arena access for the 50,000 fans at the Isle of Wight Festival. The same technology was also used to link children’s wristbands to the contact details of their parents, in case they got lost.

Barcode wristbands can be made in Tyvek, vinyl and cloth materials.

5. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID is the latest and most high-tech feature available on a security wristband.

The benefits of RFID technology for events is widely commented on. Eventbrite, a popular event ticketing company, does a great job of describing the benefits of RFID in this blog post.

The three main applications of RFID technology for events are:

  1. Cashless Payments – With RFID, event attendees have the facility to pay for goods via an RFID wristband that can be pre-loaded with credit and topped-up or connected to a credit card.Food and beverage vendors use small contactless terminals that enable users to tap their RFID wristbands to activate and authenticate a purchase.

Using cashless payments at events can increase on-site spend by 35%

  1. Contactless Access Control – In this scenario, an RFID wristband can be used in place of a traditionally printed concert ticket. Details like ticket type, name and access are stored on a back-end RFID system, and authenticated by tapping a wristband against a scanner.
  2. Brand Activation – Using RFID technology, event organizers are able to connect attendee’s social media accounts with their event wristbands. Via digital photo booths fitted with RFID scanners, festival goers can do things like share their experience in real time without having to use their mobile phones.

This provides event organizers with the ability to extend the promotion of their event beyond those attending, and in real time.

We work with industry-leading RFID companies to help integrate our RFID wristbands technology at any kind of event.

RFID technology can be embedded into all of our core wristband types but is most commonly an additional feature of a cloth wristband.

Conclusion

No two events are the same, which is why our customers can choose from a wide range of security wristband features.

From UV print to RFID cashless payments, adding more security will improve the operation of your event.

Improving the experience for your attendees generally means they are more likely to tell others about how awesome your festival was, or how quick it was to get in.

Improved security + better operations = Happy people & more tickets sold

 

 

Sources:

http://www.sunsmart.com.au/uv-sun-protection/uv

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcode

http://www.festivalkidz.com/blog/electronic-scanning-child-safety-at-major-events/