Intellitix’s Carl AH Martin joined Event Production News’ Talking Events podcast to discuss the benefits that RFID technology can bring to Access Control Management and how event organizers can utilize the wealth of data created when implementing Access Control and Cashless Payments into their events.
On defining Access Control:
To simply explain the technology that Intellitix offers, RFID is a chip that goes onto a wristband (more often than a card because it offers greater security), and upon that chip, information is placed that can only be read by certain operators. On that chip, operators can build various zones of access within their festival or event. Organizers can use the technology to control their own event, in particular to monitor crowd movement through different areas of their venue. VIP guests, for example, can enter an event through the gates with the general audience but the data stored on the chip will allow them access into restricted VIP zones as well.
Intellitix really got off the ground in the United States initially because event organizers were having trouble with ticket scalpers and fraud, and RFID Access Control has put a stop to this. We’re now seeing the popularity of the technology spread to Europe as more and more of the world’s biggest live events begin to adopt RFID.
Explaining the process of adopting RFID technology from a patrons’ perspective:
There are two ways that Intellitix can help an event adopt RFID technology. The first is a ‘ticket swap’ scenario, where individual unique codes are sent out in advance and patrons bring this along on a print-out, which then gets exchanged into an RFID wristband on arrival. Alternatively, the second and more popular option is called ‘wristband fulfillment’, whereby the RFID wristbands are mailed out via post to patrons before their arrival at the event or festival. Patrons register their own wristbands online and can top-up in advance to enjoy on-site Cashless Payments. On arrival, patrons just tap their wristbands on the Access Control portals to simply walk into the event venue. This technology helps speed up ingress and egress from an event because our Access Control technology can process a person’s entry into an event in less than a second. We have stewards on the outside of the portals to help should any problems occur and direct patrons straight into a customer service area where they are swiftly dealt with. Coachella was our first festival to offer Access Control to. Now if you look at the numbers attending Tomorrowland you’ll see 180,000 people streaming through the Access Control portals; there are no queues at all.
On utilizing the data generated by RFID technology:
All the information generated through Access Control and Cashless Payments is there for the operators to utilize to their full advantage. Security can use the movement reports to identify the numbers of people in different areas of the event and identify if one venue in particular is getting too busy. One of our clients looks at the bar takings when certain acts are on, if the takings go up the act is booked again as more people are at the bar spending money. Access Control technology is not only designed to be used for event-goers, but it can be deployed for the production side of an event too. Production managers can use the data to inform staff management practices as they will have movement reports on exactly where staff are on site and complimentary staff meals can even be uploaded onto the chip’s data.
On the feedback from consumers and event organizers on using new RFID processes:
European festivals aim to educate people as much as possible beforehand so that there is a complete understanding of the technology by the time patrons get on site. We work with Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, Austria, a fully cashless festival with multiple venues throughout the town, and we’ve seen a great response from patrons; they fully understand the benefits provided by this technology. We have also found that caterers in particular are keen to get on board with RFID Cashless Payments due to improved sales, improved cash flow, and reduced theft as staff tips can be built into the data.