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Osheaga Music Festival to Include New NFC-enabled Features

The three-day event will better enable guests to share their experiences via social networks, as well as allow the festival to gather information about its attendees and what they like.
By Claire Swedberg

"We helped them see their vision through to a real-world deployment," Palermo says. RFID Academia's spinoff company, Connect&Go (a joint venture between RFID Academia and social-media and mobile-marketing firm Piranha), provided the hardware, software and onsite services required. The solution included ID&C NFC RFID wristbands; Connect&Go's NFC readers, access-control platform and social-media platform; and Marcato Festival data-management software that interpreted data from each wristband read, which it then forwarded to the Osheaga festival's ticketing software.

For access control, certain staff members were each equipped with an Apple iPod Touch mounted on a Wireless Dynamics's iCarte 420 NFC reader, which locks onto an iPod Touch or iPhone and can be plugged into the handset's bottom connector. Kiosks, such as photo booths that sent pictures or data to a user's social-network accounts, had built-in, custom-made Connect&Go NFC RFID readers. Altogether, there were approximately 100 RFID readers in use at the 2013 event, and about 150 will be used this year.

Kiosks, such as photo booths that send pictures or data to a user's social-network accounts, have built-in, custom-made Connect&Go NFC RFID readers.
For visitors, Rodrigues said, just getting used to the system required some education, since attendees sometimes did not understand that the wristband served as the ticket. Evenko also had to determine the best process to ship bracelets to users; ultimately, the company had specific envelopes made.

Evenko established a Web-based system known as Osheaga Play, used both last year and this year, to launch the ticket holder's experience. Using the site, a festival client can sign up, receive information about the event and create his or her own profile for the show. "If you want to interact with the site, you would have to create a profile," Rodrigues says, and that acts as an incentive to get people comfortable with the system. For example, he adds, users would need to use a social-media site or sponsor activation to sign up to win a prize. They could also download a mobile application for their smartphone in order to obtain festival schedules and instructional videos.

As attendees arrived at the gates to last summer's festival, evenko personnel used the NFC-enabled iPods to read each guest's wristband tag, allowing that person to enter, while also creating a record of who had arrived. While walking throughout the grounds, attendees could utilize the read stations to "like" a band on Facebook, or to share information or pictures via social media. At last year's event, there were 23,559 such interactions, with 23,000 ticket holders linking to social media, and links to 12.5 million Facebook friends.

Analytics derived from data retrieved last year by the Osheaga Play system indicated that 65 percent of attendees were female, with 88 percent between 18 and 34 years old. Sixty-seven percent had studied at a college level. It also found that 65 percent were tourists, with the remainder comprising Montreal locals.

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