This summer, fans attending Governors Ball on Randall’s Island in New York will enter the festival using one of the most advanced RFID wristband technologies in live music.
Developed by Eventbrite and its recently acquired Scintilla Technologies, the new RFID technology is an access control system that allows for cashless payments, rapid onsite fulfillment and offline operations with multiple layers of redundancies to continue to power an event if the network goes down.
The technology was created for large scale, multi-day festivals as a solution to alleviate long entry lines, collect data and combat fraud and counterfeit tickets. While the technology has mostly been deployed at large events, Eventbrite is planning to utilize it at smaller fairs, expos and niche one-off events.
How does it all work? We asked Biasha Mitchell, Eventbrite’s Head of Music Business Strategy & Solutions, to tell us more about the technology.
SEAMLESS ACCESS CONTROL
Eventbrite’s RFID wristbands have encrypted data written directly to the chip with multiple redundancies to keep the event up and running when connectivity issues arise, Mitchell explained.
“By writing access directly to the chip, you allow that data to communicate with the handheld device if the RFID or network goes down,” she said. “The wristbands also allow for secure offline transactions, utilizing secure tokenized credit card information.”
All handhelds and portal entries contain their own database of attendees at the festival, creating an extra layer of protection so that attendees will never be stopped in their free flow around the festival and while organizers continue to get the data they need for their event.
SIMPLIFIED ORDER TRACKING AND FULFILLMENT
“With RFID technology, we’re interested in helping the consumer all the way through the event experience,” Mitchell said. “We wanted to create a self-service model that enables the consumer to interact with their ticket order and corresponding RFID wristbands and get the help that they need.”
With the ticket-buying journey in mind, Eventbrite created a portal to help the consumer track their wristband shipment and update their shipping address all the way up to delivery. At last year’s Snow Globe festival in South Lake Tahoe, Eventbrite achieved a 99.4% delivery success rate, creating far less fulfillment headaches.
Fans can cancel stolen or lost wristbands through their Eventbrite account, and fans who purchased wristbands after initial shipment can add or change shipping information until the moment their order ships. Last minute ticket sales and walk ups are much easier with simple on-site processing.
“We call it Rapid Wristband Fulfillment,” Biasha said. “Anyone who bought a ticket near or during the festival opening date can bring a print-at-home ticket to a predesignated location at the event.”
Using an iPhone, the Eventbrite team can quickly authenticate the wristband by touching it to the device and automatically assigning to the attendee enabling them to walk into the festival, significantly reducing wait times and lines by 60-70% for events like Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival.
“We also write their wristband ID to the chip, so there’s never a delay in understanding where that wristband can go,” she said. “It takes only a matter of seconds to complete any walk-up or last minute sale.”
CASHLESS PAYMENTS AND 360º CONSUMER DATA
Eventbrite is one of the only ticketing companies that allows attendees to link the credit card they used to purchase their tickets to power their onsite cashless payments.
“It’s not a nine-step process where you have to log into Paypal and verify your details multiple times,” she said. “Within your Eventbrite wallet, it’s easy to assign your current card or set up a new credit card for easy payment. And it’s easy to do on a phone without a lot of pinching and zooming of the screen.”
By combining ticketing and access control information with concessions data, Eventbrite gives festival organizers a full 360º-view of the consumer as they engage and experience the festival.
Eventbrite’s RFID collects demographic data which can be used to help sell sponsorships, Mitchell said, or analyze entry and exit averages to determine staffing levels, or use the concessions data to make real-time information about inventory.
“We’re really starting to tap into what’s possible,” she said. “2016 was really about entry management, making sure attendees get in every time without any failures, while 2017 and beyond represent the future of RFID and all the possibilities with sponsorship tie-ins and experience enhancements.”