Technology / 11.30.17
Microchip and RFID Experimentation: Is Wearable Technology the Future of Ticketing?
Wearable ticketing technology may be the wave of the future, but for now it's just an intriguing experiment. One such experiment will be conducted at Australia's upcoming Pause Fest, a technology and culture festival now in its eighth year. Ahead of the 2018 festival in February, 10 volunteers agreed to have a microchip implanted into their hands. The chips have been preloaded with a three-day VIP pass to the festival, serving as a replacement to traditional paper tickets.
The $200 microchips will not only give the test subjects access to all areas of the festival, it will also enable them to unlock digital assets of the festival. This includes quick access to the event's agenda via their mobile phones.
Forbes recently asked Pause Fest founder George Hedon to elaborate more on the true purpose of the technology. He replied, "It is less about the ticketing aspect and more about pioneering a digital experience. There has been talk about inserting chips for some time. But aside from chipping dogs and pets, little has been done to see how they can improve our lives."
He and other advocates point to the potential benefits aside from festival use. For instance, the chip also has the ability to serve as a key to one's home or workplace. It can also be programmed to engage an app or website on a smartphone when scanned. When Pause Fest is held early next year, the 10 volunteers will participate in a panel with insertable technology expert Kayla Heffernan to talk about whether or not they found the chips useful.
The panelists will undoubtedly be asked about the inevitable resistance to being "microchipped." Some, for instance, believe such technological innovation is yet another invasion of personal privacy. George dismisses such concerns, stating, "Shock factor aside, people have been living with pacemakers and augmenting their bodies for years. Why not a chip that can help us with technology?"
More common these days in event settings are wristbands that contain radio frequency identification (or RFID) chips. One of the most recent examples was the Phoenix Fan Fest, a two-day gathering of science-fiction, fantasy and comic book fans at the Phoenix Convention Center put on by Square Egg Entertainment. This time around, Square Egg employed a new wristband system as opposed to the badges used at previous events. Each band contained an RFID chip that was scanned upon entry into the show. Square Egg spokeswoman Kristin Rowan remarked, "If you pass it over a reader, it gives off a sound that the RFID wristband is legitimate, that it has been activated, and it's good for the show."
Such wristbands are expected to become increasingly used at theme parks. The Nona Adventure Park is on track to open next summer in Lake Nona, Fla. It will use RFID wristbands for checking in and observing ride wait times. Currently, guests at Central Park Fun-Land in Fredericksburg, Va., are able to access all games, rides and attractions in the park with Embed's RFID-enabled wristbands.
The website InterGame Online recently interviewed Central Park Fun-Land General Manager Clint Novak, who said, "The system has cut down on theft and is extremely popular with guests. They like not having to carry anything extra with them and are actually surprised to learn that there's a chip inside the lightweight wristbands." Novak went on to add that the wristbands are so popular that the park goes through "roughly 500" of them in a typical weekend.
The future is definitely full of possibilities for wearable ticketing technology such as the RFID wristbands and the Pause Fest microchips. London's The Guardian quotes Kayla, who concluded, "Payments are the killer application. As soon as you can pay with it, more and more people will go ahead and get these."
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Tags: Paperless , Wristbands , Implants