In Depth: RFID wristbands vs NFC apps: what's winning the contactless battle?

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The future of live occasions is digital, and soon, your ticket, the means you spend for drinks as well as your ability to share the experience on social networks, can all be done with a tap of the wrist.

Radio-frequency recognition (RFID) wristbands are readied to include at many celebrations and occasions this summer as an option to the NFC smartphone.

Most RFID wristbands include short-range – typically 3-5cm – passive tags and don’t require batteries, but instead, are powered when put near or ‘tapped’ against an RFID reader.

When identifying an RFID wristband, the reader ‘flusters’ a magnetic field developed by a coiled antenna within the tag. The tag then uses this kinetic energy to ‘power-up’ and send data (held within the tags’ memory), back to the reader.

The tags in RFID wristbands can either be customised with someone’s profile (e.g. data is held straight on the chip itself) or they can be made use of as a gain access to ‘vital’ to a protected data source of individual data.

What else can RFID wristbands do?

ID&C is the UK company behind the wristbands at lots of major festivals including Island of Wight. The company has also dealt with brand names such as Adidas.

More than 40 celebrations around the globe have utilized RFID wristband innovation to offer fast-track entry, cashless repayments and possibly the most exciting bit – integration with social media.

Yes– after buying a ticket online, you’ll have the option to link your RFID wristband to your Twitter or facebook account, enabling you to upload, Tweet, share and like all your preferred components of the festival.

RFID bands are also being used for posting to social media

Footage from in 2012’s Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee, show’s how RFID wristbands assisted produce 1.9 million Facebook likes.

In the UK, wristbands were utilized at some celebrations last summertime consisting of the Island of Wight, Wireless and Wakestock. An estimated 3.5 million festivalgoers around the word have now used them.

What about utilizing NFC smartphones instead?

The issue with utilizing NFC smartphones rather of wristbands is that not everyone has one. This pushes away ticket-holders and brings contactless participation down from an attainable 100 per cent if you issue every attendee with an RFID wristband.

Then there’s the reality phones work on batteries, and unlike RFID wristbands, will run out eventually throughout a multi-day festival. And, with limited (sometimes non-existent) means to re-charge your phone in a field, your e-wallet, e-ticket and the capability to brag to your pals on Facebook, will vanish.

To state there’s no location for NFC at celebrations is wrong though. The Samsung Galaxy S4 for example, has been made use of as an RFID reading device and it’s a perfect hand-held scanner for smaller sized occasions.

RFID bands are relatively low cost

It’s not simply the functional problems pointed out above that affect festival-goers though, but the data integrity and protection of any RFID system at a festival crumbles when the contactless device is not locked to your wrist, synced to your profile and made non-transferable.

You mightn’t see RFID wristbands at every festival this year, however with a reported 3 million Facebook likes and a billion cashless deals already made with them, it will not be long till they are all over.