Fenbrook Consulting helped design the cashless payment and access control solution implemented by partners IVS at the UK’s Isle of Wight festival in June.

The access control system worked very smoothly, allowing the 65,000 visitors to the festival to proceed quickly through the entrances without having to wait in long queues.  Special wristbands were supplied to festival goers, depending on their status and the privileges they had each paid for.  The networked readers, updated in near real time, enabled any unauthorised wristbands to be immediately detected and appropriate action taken promptly by security personnel.

The cashless payment scheme, used by festival guests in the VIP tent, was also enabled by special wristbands, fitted with MasterCard PayPassTM chips.  Terminals at the bar and VIP food outlet were equipped to read the contactless chips, which worked in a similar manner to Oyster cards on London’s transport infrastructure.  Transactions were fast and the guests were very pleased with the experience.

Perhaps the most successful element of the occasion was the network infrastructure.  Everyone uses mobile phones at festivals, from locating friends, to sending videos of bands they’re watching.  This uses up GPRS bandwidth.  This means that payment terminals using GPRS may have to wait for a long time to make a connection, if the transaction requires online authorisation.  At the IoW, a completely separate high frequency network was used.  This worked flawlessly, and was they key to the user experience being so good.

Having proved the viability of this combination of access and contactless payment, the scene is set for expansion – more, larger events, other venues such as theme parks, and to locations outside the UK.  Festival organisers like the idea because they can speed up the throughput of customers, allowing them to sell more, and revenue at the end of a festival doesn’t depend on visitors still having cash in their pockets.  It also means they can track users, understand their preferences and make offers which are relevant to their tastes and location.


Fenbrook Consulting and its partners deliver cashless payment and event ticketing solutions to the festival, event, and theme park sectors

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