In 2013, Disney's MagicBand revolutionized the theme park and resort industry.
Estimated to have cost over $1bn the wristbands formed part of the 'My Disney Experience' project which also tied-in the use of a cutting-edge mobile app to help guests plan and manage their trips.
For Disney, it was simple. If they enhanced the experience, more people would spend more time in their parks, ultimately, spending more money.
Five years on, we look back at how Disney's MagicBand has been used to deepen relationships with customers. And, how an intelligent RFID wristband helps create lasting experiences and drive new revenues.
Oh, and before we start, just in case you didn't know...
What is a MagicBand?
Disney's MagicBand is a custom wristband that acts as the central nervous system of the MyMagic+ experience. Together, the MagicBand and Disney mobile app provide ways for the Park's integrated systems to offer various enhancements for its guests.
The wearable bracelet is embedded with RFID technology used to electronically store and access ticket information, book Fast Passes, make hotel reservations, process cashless payments, and even work open the door to your Disney hotel room.
Disney's MagicBand was a branding masterstroke
Apple, Coke, Disney. Like them or loathe them, you cannot deny their brand power.
Disney could have introduced an off-the-shelf product that functioned the same as the MagicBand and would have probably cost a whole lot less. (For the record, we have no idea what Disney's MagicBands cost, but we know enough to know they're probably not cheap).
But that's not the Disney way. They saw the MagicBand as an opportunity to create something unique. Something that guests could completely customize with their favorite colors and even their favorite Disney characters.
Customization is key
On the face of things, the MagicBands look fairly plain. The standard models are available in a simple choice of solid colors. This is no accident. The minimal design instantly created a desire for personalization. Fans who buy annual membership can have their names engraved on the bands for free.
A series of special editions would soon follow, giving park goers the chance to have something others didn't.
Disney was masterfully empowering its fans to create their own affinity with its brand. All driven by what is essentially a piece of plastic.
They thought of everything.
Disney even solved the problem of the wristband fitting different sized wrists, with each band splitting in a smaller version if required.
Put simply, MagicBands are cool. And, the fact they're tied to your wrist for the duration of your stay, gives you a weird sense of belonging that's actually kind of nice.
Create a product that keeps earning
The MagicBand's various customization options allowed Disney to monetize their new venture from day one.
What else did you expect?
Each year they introduce new designs, hundreds of limited editions and have an enormous range of 'MagicBandits'- little rubber push-in tags that clip around the spare holes in your MagicBand strap.
The vast options and extras hold the interest of the die-hard fans (of which Disney has many millions of) and makes it easy for little jack or sally to find the exact wristband they want mum and dad to buy them.
The Apple model...
Disney regularly rolls out new iterations, keeping the MagicBand desirable for each new generation of park-goers.
In early 2017 they introduced the MagicBand 2, with even more customizable options. The new version of the band, which is still in use, has a center disc called the 'icon' that can be 'easily' removed with one of those tiny screwdrivers.
Photo credit: Attractionsmagazine.com
This part of the MagicBand contains the RFID tag and can be switched between different style straps - while keeping all of the important data in one place.
There's even the option to turn it into a keychain. Perfect for those who insist they're too cool to wear a wristband.
Revive in-experience purchasing
In the age of the smartphone, sales of printed photo memories at theme parks have declined. But, Disney has managed to rejuvenate sales by adding connecting its PhotoPass service to the MagicBands.
Professional photographers are situated at prime locations throughout the parks and are more than happy to capture those special moments without any commitment to pay. And with a tap of the RFID-enabled MagicBand, visitors will shortly see the images appear within their app.
The photos are heavily water-marked, but the point is that Disney has enabled its park attendees to make the decision about purchasing photos after they've visited the park. There's less pressure on guests to commit to spending and less friction in the experience.
Reduce the chance of fraud
One of the most convenient features the bands offer is the ability to store validated park tickets. With a tap of their wrist on one of many RFID Mickey-branded readers at the park and a quick fingerprint check, they are in!
For families, this is a welcome convenience. No holding onto a wedge of paper tickets and scrambling at the gate to figure out who's is who's. For park operators, mixing the security of RFID with biometrics makes it practically impossible to gain invalid entry.
Keeping Disney's bottom line healthy and keeping out unwanted guests.
Unless residing in one of Disney's on-site hotels, annual pass holders still have to carry a Disney RFID card to validate complimentary parking. What the park could do, is have guests wear their wristbands as they approach the parking lot pay stations, and simply reach out to scan their wristbands for validated parking.
This would be one less thing to carry for families and is a super-convenient way to validate your complimentary parking.
Cut the queues
No one likes to waste time queuing, especially at theme parks. And Disney was able to manage this with the addition of fast passes. By introducing this free cut-the-line service, Fastpass+ allows guests to choose up to three-time slots for attractions each day where they'll only have to queue for a short time.
The fast passes are linked to the MagicBand and validated by tapping against one of the Mickey Mouse-themed RFID readers situated at the ride's entrance.
Make it a hassle-free experience
From airport pick-up, to resort check-in, and park visits, the MagicBand has drastically changed the way visitors do just about everything. For ultimate convenience, with just one MagicBand, guests can forget their worries of holding multiple tickets and resort room keys. And, if they are staying on-site, they can even use their MagicBand for cashless payments.
But, the pièce de résistance is the fact guests flying into for their vacation can have their luggage collected from the arrival airport and taken to their hotel room.
But how do the Disney hotel staff know which room to leave the luggage in? You guessed it, the MagicBand. Guests opting for the 'Magical Express' luggage transfer service are asked to pack their MagicBands in their checked luggage.
How does this work? The MagicBand actually has two different kinds of embedded RFID antennas. The first is known as HF, of High Frequency. These tags have a shorter reading range, which is perfect for when the bands are scanned against RFID portals around the parks to validate tickets. The other tag is an UHF, or Ultra High Frequency. These tags can have a reading range beyond 10 meters, and are more suited to scanning large objects from a further distance, like people or luggage!
Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest's bags are scanned to validate guests names, reservations, and hotel rooms. Hey, presto! Luggage safely delivered to the guests' hotel room.
Now that's the definition of hassle-free service.
Data will help you learn faster than your competitors
Another attractive pull is the data that can be collected through RFID technology. MyMagic+ allows Disney to track guest behavior minute-by-minute. Because Disney can scan MagicBands from a variety of touchpoints, they can gather data from every interaction.
They can track what attractions people have been on, what characters they queue to meet, and where they ate, as well as overall trends. This rich data is priceless to Disney. It gives them the agility and insight to constantly refine their offering.
They can also use this data for advertising purposes. If they know guests like a particular ride or shop, but haven’t been for a few days, and still have their passes activated, they can send offer emails to entice them back into the park.
Guests become detached from the physical representation of holding their money and handing it over to pay for something. It's convenient and secure for guests. It's profit-making for park operators.
Disney is missing a trick here though. Surely they should roll out cashless payments to all of their park visitors?
Create some hype
Anyone who has booked a Disney trip is excited about it. It’s usually something families book up to a year in advance and count down the days. Receiving a package containing MagicBands increases hype around the visit and encourages guests to share where they are going on social media.
Connect fans with the rest of your brand ecosystem
The MagicBand is used by guests to navigate around the park. It's used to book restaurants, hotel reservations, check queue times, and book FastPasses.
But what's neat is that Disney's MagicBand keeps guests connected with the rest of the Disney ecosystem. The bands utilize the Disney app, which itself is connected to the Disney website, where visitors are connected to pretty much every part of the Disney empire.
Yes, the wristband is increasing the customer lifetime value to Disney.
5 year's ago Disney's MagicBand re-shaped the theme park experience. Delivering convenience on multiple levels, and performing as a marketing and revenue tool for the Disney Corp, this wristband has achieved a lot.
But even Disney didn't get it perfect. Its biggest rival Universal Studios recently took the wristband convenience to another level. The TapuTapu wristband at the newly-opened water park Volcano Bay, allows guests to book time-slots for rides, completely eliminating the need to queue altogether.
Other resorts and park operators may not have the capital Disney have, but they can still learn from the MagicBand.
RFID is one of the key technologies beneath all the awesome branding and functionality the MyMagic+ experience delivers.
ID&C has achieved recognition by BritishAmerican Business and as a result we have been shortlisted for one of their prestigious awards. After opening our Florida office in January 2016, we have experienced rapid growth across the Atlantic, recently investing in a new 15,000 square foot facility to expand our US operations and accommodate our ever growing team of talented staff!
The TAG Awards celebrate successful SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) growing their transatlantic businesses, the ceremony will take place on Thursday 15th March in London.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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%
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.
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.
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
Over the past few months, ID&C have been busy investing in advanced HD printer technology and bespoke state-of-the-art software, meaning we can now officially announce the release of our new HD Vinyl Printer.
Printing on our comfortable and durable Vinyl Wristbands has traditionally been limited to single color print, but we can now offer our customers full CMYK color along with a greater range of customizable options, impeccable print quality and super-fast turnarounds!
New print features include:
Full CMYK color & white HD printing
Enhanced color prints & improved detailing
Ability to print photographic imagery
Barcoding, QR codes, serialization & variable data
Waterproof, scratch proof, flexible & durable material
Produced in-house for faster production times
Single color and full color options available
See our printer in action
Free sample packs
Free Sample packs for our new full color vinyl wristbands are now available. Please request here and we'll post some out to you.
Alternatively, get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable sales team to find out more about our new printing services or to request a quote.
If you’ve walked through the gates of some of the country’s biggest music festivals in the past 5 years, then you’ve probably experienced using an RFID wristband.
RFID at festivals has taken off to the extent where it is becoming the norm for many multi-day events in the 50,000+ attendance range.
But, RFID (which stands for Radio Frequency Identification) is fast becoming a tangible technology for even small and grassroots festivals to use. And, it’s not just about shorter queues and cashless payments.
The possibilities to enhance the experience for your audience are endless.
Here are 12 reasons why we thing RFID at festivals is big news for any festival organiser.
1. Streamline Entry
No one wants to wait forever to get into your event, especially if its hot outside. Long lines are the worst first impress you want to give your audience. And, as an organiser you want people to get in and get spending.
One of the most tangible benefits of RFID technology is that it will significantly speed-up entry times. Using RFID wristbands, attendees can quickly tap their wristband against a scanner to get in.
They don’t have to scan a barcode or ticket, which can be around 10x slower than RFID scanners. And, each wristband can hold unique information, allowing for instant verification without physically checking or looking at a ticket.
2. Go Cashless
Being able to pay at the tap of a wristband takes the worry out of not having enough cash, or losing money. Giving your customers the option to add their payment information to their RFID wristband before the event will enable fast, secure and easy payment during your festival.
Research has shown that RFID at festivals also increases the chances of spontaneous purchases by up to 20%.
3. Gain real-time Insights
Collect instant data into how foot traffic flows throughout your event. If your event is running for several days, this priceless data will help you to adapt the space to give your audience the best experience possible.
This information can be used for future events to understand what areas or artists were most popular, as well as where is best to place restrooms, concession stands, and eliminate crowds and queues.
4. Enhance the VIP Experience
The last thing you want is for your VIPs to have to stand in line. RFID helps streamline this process. With RFID technology, you can also offer fans the ability to upgrade access levels on the fly - bringing joy to your guests and generated otherwise untapped revenues.
5. Make it Social
By asking guests to link their social media accounts with their RFID wristband opens up a ton of opportunities to engage with them online and encourage social sharing. For example, checking-in on Facebook, syncing photo booths to Instragram feeds, and even co-branding it all with a sponsor.
Social media activations via RFID can extend the reach of your festival to brand new online audiences. And, help attract more sponsor revenue.
Here's an example of how RFID wristbands helped generate 1.9 million Facebook likes at Bonnaroo Festival:
6. Eliminate Theft and Fraud
Unlike traditional tickets, RFID wristbands are impossible to copy or duplicate. Pass-backs are completely eradicated, and dodgy fake wristbands are a thing of the past.
In addition to this, RFID allows for real time control of ticket data, meaning that if a guests do lose their wristband, you can quickly deactivate it and issue a new one, without the worry of it being used by someone else.
7. Strengthen Connections with Sponsors
Any discerning event producer will want their sponsor activations to be un-intrusive and inline with the ethos of the festival. Driving participation via traditional methods can prove difficult, but RFID is the perfect solution for a seamless, frictionless brand experience that your sponsors can truly benefit from.
No more clip boards or guess work on how the activation was received. Real, tangible data and deep engagement becomes easy with a tap of an RFID wristband.
Your fans wont feel like they're being sold to. Your sponsors will get accurate, and actionable data. And you, the organiser, will understand the value and potential revenues you can generate from future sponsorship activations.
8. Simplify the Box Office Process
No one looks forward to having to stand in a queue to pick up wristbands or tickets, especially if another queue awaits them at the festival gate.
With RFID technology, you can mail out wristbands and passes before the event. This not only builds up excitement amongst fans but gives you the opportunity to pre-educate on how to get the most from their RFID experience. Pre-loading of cash, activation of tickets, and social media connections can all be done pre-event.
And if you have some last minute sales, it’s easy to assign RFID wristbands to guests as they arrive.
9. Give guests something to remember
One of the biggest perks of using RFID technology for your guests? It’s awesome. Attendees love to wear their wristband as a badge of honor for where they’ve been, keeping them on for months, even longer.
The fact the wristband helped them feel safe, gain quick access to their designated areas, and pay for drinks with ease will build brand-affinity with your guests and gives them something to share socially with friends.
10. Sell More Tickets
RFID technology allows you to gain a deeper understanding of what your fans are engaging with and excited about. You'll also get insight on entry times, sponsor activations, and concession purchases - enabling easy and accurate profiling of your audience for future shows.
11. Impress your Attendees
Every summer, Instagram is flooded with photos from festivals. Attendees are always keen to share what they can do with modern technology and how their life is better than yours right now. There’s no denying that if you introduce RFID at your festival, your awesome points will rise, and your fans will love it.
12. Make your Attendees Feel Safe
Sadly, in today's world, it’s more important than ever to make sure your event is safe and no one who shouldn’t be there can get in. As well as giving your audience that added sense of security and confidence.
Since RFID wristbands are associated with encrypted, individual IDs, it’s pretty much impossible to duplicate them. And if you felt like anyone was up to anything they shouldn't be, you can quickly deactivate an individual wristband to cancel entry into certain areas. As well as using the data to find their last known whereabouts.
Well, here at ID&C we receive lots of questions about RFID wristband technology; how it works and more importantly, what the benefits are for event organizers.
So, we wanted to explain it plain and simple. A beginner's guide if you will. An 'RFID wristband 101', if you please...
RFID technology stands for Radio Frequency Identification, but what is that exactly?
RFID describes the method or process of transmitting the unique identity of a wristband (or any RFID-enabled object) using radio waves.
The technology enables specialist readers or 'scanners' to capture the data on an RFID tag and transmit it to a back-end computer system without the requirement for physical contact.
What happens when an RFID wristband is scanned?
When read (or 'tapped'), an RFID scanner will transmit an encoded radio signal which identifies a tag.
In less than a millisecond, RFID tags receive the transmission and respond with a unique identification number.
The most simple every-day comparison to RFID is a barcode on a can of soda.
When scanned, the barcode talks to a database of information relating to the soda. Details including product name, price, weight and use-by-date are unlocked when a barcode is read.
So, are RFID wristbands the same as barcode wristbands?
No. Not even close.
While the principle of retrieving data via scanning is the same, the similarities between RFID and bar codes end there.
I could write at length about the differences but this handy table provides a quick overview.
RFID vs Barcode Wristbands Comparison Table
High throughput. Thousands of tags can be read in just a few minutes, making it ideal for event admissions.
Very low throughput. Codes can only be one at a time.
Line of Sight
Not required. If the tag is in reading distance, no particular orientation is required. An RFID wristband can be read from any direction, even from the back of the tag.
Required! Scanners need to see the barcode to have the ability to scan. The barcode must be oriented in a specific direction. Event organizers find this impractical. The barcode must stay perfectly clean to be read too.
Low. RFID can be automated via a portal, or integrated gate, allowing patrons to tap their tag on entry to an event.
High. Almost always requires human interaction to ensure accurate scanning.
Read, write, and even modify in real-time.
High. RFID antennas can be embedded in various, non-conductive materials for protection from water, heat and knocks.
Low. Barcodes become damaged in poor weather conditions. Bar codes need to be in perfect reading condition.
An RFID wristband contains a 'smart tag' made up of an RFID chip and antenna. The tag can be in the form of a visible card (often made from plastic for durability) or it can hidden or 'embedded' in other wristband materials like silicone and cloth.
There are three types of tags that can be used: passive, active, and battery-assisted:
Passive – Passive RFID tags utilize energy transmitted by the reader for power and do not have a battery built-in. Passive is the most popular for large scale outdoor events and venues.
Active – Active RFID tags have an on-board battery, which transmits information regularly without requiring a reader.
Battery-Assisted – Battery-Assisted RFID tags contains a battery that only powers the tag when it’s in proximity of a reader.
There are limits on the ranges RFID wristbands can meet, and depending on what type of event or festival you are planning you can choose options from low to ultra-high frequency.
How much data can an RFID wristband store?
The types of data you will find stored on RFID tags can include identification credentials, purchasing credits, coupons, access control into hotels or VIP areas, and even social media information.
So when you walk through a checkpoint, you can choose to have your activity or photos posted to social media automatically.
These types of information don’t usually require too much data to hold them.
The biggest passive RFID tags can store up to 3720 bytes, or 3.72 kilobytes of information. This is enough to store personal data, such as someone’s name, address, credit card authorization, and identifying information.
UHF (ultra high frequency) tags store up to 8 kilobytes of information.
For access control systems, RFID tags are usually 3 kilobytes or smaller.
What Data can an RFID Wristband Collect?
Using RFID technology gives organizers real-time analytics of how wearers move about and interact with your event, venue or attraction.
You can highlight busy periods, queue times, and popular attractions. Helping you constantly flex and adapt to optimize the experience for your visitors.
Can RFID wristbands be used as a Tracking Device?
Most RFID wristbands use passive tags that operate at high frequency, as such, it is impossible to track a wearers location as the tags are limited to very short distances.
However, RFID can record the last known location of a person. This can be vital and useful information for understanding traffic flow and security risks at future events.
Transform every aspect of your event
Not only does RFID technology help streamline entry, it also connects you with your audience on a new level.
Patrons no longer have to carry wallets, tickets, and personal information just to participate. Ticket-holders can enjoy the show with a feeling of freedom.
Join the ever-growing industries that are benefiting from the use of RFID technology. Tap into how you can improve your event experience by contacting us today to find out more.
Tag / Chip: Embedded in a wristband a tag (chip) passes information, allows entry, and even payment of goods by communicating with an RFID scanner via intelligent radio signals.
Reader / Scanner: Scanners (readers) are usually positioned at entrances and exits, as well as VIP zones and other areas inside an event and communicate with a tag (chip) to carry out a task such as allowing entry, or opening a locker.
The benefits of RFID Technology for Events
Due to the security, cost-saving and revenue increasing benefits of RFID wristband technology, many organizers are turning towards the technology to help optimize their events.
Since 2011, the live music industry in particular has adopted RFID technology inside concert wristbands to improve the experience for fans, increase security and open up new revenue streams.
Infographic from 2013 showing the use of RFID at music festivals.
Comic Cons (or comic book conventions to give them their full title) have become one of the most sought after tickets on the event calendar, with some Cons outselling major music festivals 2 to 1.
The rapid rise of Comic-book Cons are just one reason why an increasing number of organisers have turned towards RFID technology to help ‘Pow!’ the counterfeiters, and ‘Wow!’ their fans... in true superhero style.
What is a Comic Book Con?
In their classic, most simplistic format, fan conventions were a gathering of comic book and cult film enthusiasts - commonly in the genres of sci-fi and fantasy.
But, social media 'geek chic', Disney's (relentless) Marvel franchise and various other spin-off superhero media has given birth to a new breed of super-sized ‘Fan Con’.
With categories dedicated to Anime, Sci-fi, Gaming, Comics, Furry and Horror, there's an estimated 400 pop-culture conventions in North America alone.
Jump through time to 2017, and these events challenge major music festivals in their size, attracting thousands of attendees and generating millions of dollars in ticket revenues.
When it comes to size, stalwartsSan Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con are among the undisputed ‘king of cons’, with some 400,000+ annual visitors between them.
But, rival Conventions in L.A, Chicago, Calgary, Salt Lake City and Cincinnati have become huge attractions in their own right - further cementing the niche as a behemoth in the live events industry.
The Power of RFID Credentials
So, how do these Comic Cons sustain a kick-ass fan experience during a time of unprecedented growth?