I often get contacted by visitors to the Fenbrook website by people interested in using RFID wristbands for events.  These people are all over the world – the US, New Zealand, Iran, you name it…  And it reflects a growing interest in the potential of RFID to do new things.  But what usually becomes clear after an initial discussion with these (very welcome) enquirers is that they don’t appreciate that the wristbands are only one part of an overall solution.

To get the most out of this technology, you have to have all the pieces in place – so this blog will set out what those items are and how to get them.  It doesn’t try to tell you why you should use these – that’s all set out on the website at: http://www.fenbrook.com/event-ticketing.

First, what do you want to use RFID wristbands for?  There are two options: event access and cashless payment.  (Or these can be combined on the same wristband.)  Event access is simpler; for this you need the following components:

  • RFID wristbands (suitably programmed)
  • Handheld readers (capable of reading RFID and barcodes, and connected by wifi)
  • Wifi network (independent of GPRS, which will be heavily used by mobile phones)
  • Central computer (to check for stolen/fraudulent wristbands, monitor reader performance, produce reports for organisers, etc)
  • Central location (to charge readers and locate the Project Manager)

As well as these physical items, there are process elements you need to think about:

  • How will you issue wristbands?  Ahead of the event?  At the event?  How will you give each user the access rights to different parts of the event they are entitled to?
  • How will you deal with stolen wristbands?
  • Who will you have standing by to cater for emergencies?
  • How will you deal with adverse weather?

None of these elements is insurmountable.  Fenbrook and its associates can provide all of them on an event by event basis.  It’s also important to use an experienced Project Manager who has done this before.

If you want the RFID wristbands to also handle cashless payment, you need all the items above plus:

  • RFID wristbands containing a payment product (may need to be certified by MasterCard or Visa if you want them to be used outside the event)
  • Kiosks (where customers can personalise and load value)
  • Point of Sale terminals (suitable for the environment in which they will be used)
  • PoS concentrators (where you have a number of terminals, for instance in a very large beer tent)
  • Gateway to a payment network (if you plan to use MasterCard or Visa payment products)
  • Balance checkers (so people can check their balance and reload if necessary)

This might all seem a bit complicated, but the point is we have been through this and done it, in events large and small.  We know what works and what doesn’t, and we have most of the necessary devices and expertise to hand, ready to be supplied on a short term basis.  (This excludes wristbands, which have to be purchased outright.)

Call us or contact us through the website if you want to discuss any of this further.  And don’t forget the point about appointing an experienced Project Manager!

Fenbrook Consulting advises businesses about the commercial opportunities and technical requirements of Near Field Communications and Smart Ticketing

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