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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

The system not only increased the visibility of the festival and its sponsors on social media, but also helped evenko get to know its clients—the event's audience.

Last year, evenko installed more than 75 accreditation checkpoints (typically, employees manning a gate with an NFC-enabled iPod), where workers could validate whether someone was authorized to enter a specific area. That data was then transmitted to the back-end software via a Wi-Fi network. One of the greatest challenges last year, Rodrigues said, was ensuring that there were enough Wi-Fi access nodes to collect data from the NFC readers within a park filled with people, and containing a high amount of metal and a large wooded area with lakes. "Running cable was an undertaking," he stated. "You have to take a look at where you need boosters, where you can run cables, etc."

Evenko's Michael Rodrigues
With the technology in place, employees had the ability to access a particular client's profile via his or her NFC-enabled iPod and make changes as necessary, such as removing or adding an access area to that individual's profile. This decreased the need for ticket holders or personnel to go to the office or kiosk to make a change, thereby reducing queue lengths.

Next, Rodrigues told LIVE! attendees, evenko intends to further boost the park's Wi-Fi presence by installing additional Wi-Fi nodes, while the software is being adjusted to enable more flexible functionality. "The first year, you never really know what to expect," he said, adding that for the upcoming event, "We have the reality of what actually happened, and it was very positive. This year, we want to take that system and make it more flexible and more reliable."

Evenko hopes to leverage the technology in other ways as well, such as linking NFC bracelets to prepaid accounts, to eliminate the need for cash or credit cards. "We're looking hard at cashless payments," Rodrigues said, "but we want to do everything right." That, he noted, means ensuring that no mistakes are made with a prepaid account system. "If we give you [the client] a bad experience, it will be very hard to convince anyone to participate. This is their money we'll be working with, and we want something that's safe."

In the long term, evenko is also investigating the possibility of utilizing NFC-based smartphones as tickets. What's more, the company might also opt to encode each ticket holder's data on his or her bracelet tag, in order to ensure that all user information linked to that bracelet could be accessed onsite—even if the Wi-Fi network were temporarily out of service.

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