RFID Technology for Events: The Practical Guide

RFID Technology for Events: The Practical Guide

When people tell their friends about a great event, advanced technology rarely comes up. People are more interested in having a good time and gaining value.

Ignoring technology is a wasted opportunity. Quality integration is available today in the form of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) badges. Many events are using RFID and investing millions in the experience.

Today we discuss the value this technology offers and how you can put this in place without giving up the first born.

Disney Bet Big


It is undeniable that Disney provides guests with one of the best customer experiences money can buy. This is especially true at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. They now use a system that utilizes a smartphone app, a central data server, and a unique piece of wearable technology they call the MagicBand. And they bet $1 Billion on it.


Disney RFID magic band


When customers make vacation reservations, they are invited to sign up for a web service. This web service will link up to a MagicBand (a computerized bracelet) they receive in the mail.

Within the web service, customers create a personal profile. They include favorite Disney characters and attractions they wish to experience. It also asks for other miscellaneous information like birth date and gender.

The server links this information with the MagicBand Disney has sent to the customer. The MagicBand is equipped with an RFID chip and a 2.4 GHz radio signal. This allows it to communicate with other electronic devices.

Learning about customers is useful. But the true value of the technology comes when designers find ways to combine the technology to create a fantastic customer experience.

For Disney World, this comes in the form of their Be Our Guest restaurant. Before a customer reaches the host desk, their MagicBand alerts the restaurant they are approaching. This enables the host to view the profile associated with their MagicBand and greet them by name upon arrival.

The guests are then showed to their seats and a waiter brings them their food. But how did the waiter know where they were sitting and what they ordered? Before entering the restaurant, the guests entered in their food orders from their smartphones.

Then, once they found their seats sensors are used to triangulate the location of the MagicBand linked to the order. This lets the waiter know where to find the guests, completing the seamless experience, one that seems like, you guessed it – magic.


Can You Up Your Game?


One of the key tenets of customer service is alleviating pain points. Pain points are instances or occurrences that stand as barriers to customers achieving their goal. Remove pain points and you improve the experience.

By utilizing technology to end pain points, venues allow guests to focus on their night and have a good time. To end pain points, they need to be identified. Locating industry-specific pain points isn’t hard for people who have been in the business for a while. Creating a solution is more difficult.

To go this alone is ludicrous. If you are going to be successful you need to use off-the-shelf technology. You need to leverage the experience of service providers.


No Cash No Problem


Intellitix is a company specializing in RFID technology. The flagship is the IntelliPay cashless payment bands. These bands are in use across Europe and North America.

Users create an online profile to link the band with a credit card or PayPal. They then tap it on an RFID reader to buy food, merchandise, and other items. Events using the technology include:

  • Barclaycard (UK)
  • Mysteryland (USA)
  • Digital Dreams (CAN)
  • Coachella (USA)
  • The Irish Open (Northern Ireland)

Many festivals and live events use cashless payment systems. As a bonus, these systems are proven to increase spend per head by between 15-30%. The fast transaction times offer a convenient way to spend.

Other providers of this technology include:

All About The Network

Networking is the biggest reason I attend events. Face to face communication beats any other form of relationship building. At the Tomorrowland music festival in Belgium, RFID technology replaces the awkward contact share, albeit for not quite professional networking in this case!

Tomorrowland RFID wristband


Attendees register wristbands online with Facebook accounts. If two people near each other press the button on their wristbands at the same time, each person’s Facebook contact is exchanged. Attendees receive an email of anyone they meet each day.


Easy Breezy Registration

Connect and go RFID scanner


A certain type of RFID called UHF reads tags from 30 feet away. Montreal’s C2MTL Commerce & Creativity conference uses badges with UHF tags for both registration and security.

As thousands pass through the entrance gates UHF readers give security a yes or no status for each person. The contactless access control makes registration quick and painless. Most systems can process over 2000 devices per hour.


Keep Up


Don’t be left behind. Smart management teams are creating countless ways to use technology to better the customer experience. RFID is not simply another cost to erode your profit. Great technology is a win for you and for your attendees.

Rafiq is the founder of Crowdflow.io and is on a mission to create technology to help organizers sell out great events.