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Populous Adds RFID to Its Playbook
The global sports architectural and events-services firm has started to embed EPC tags into event tickets, passes and credentials, so that its clients can benefit from the use of the technology.
Oct 27, 2010—Populous, a global firm that helps design stadiums and execute events, has adopted a game plan to incorporate passive EPC RFID inlays into event tickets, passes and credentials, so that its clients can benefit from the use of radio frequency identification. In its first effort related to that mission, the company provided RFID-enabled credentials to the 2,000 attendees of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) conference in June of this year, at California's Anaheim Convention Center. Populous now plans to incorporate the technology into tickets issued for future sporting events.
"This is something we are trying to advance," says Jeanette Johnson, Populous' event manager and senior associate, explaining why the company opted to initially investigate RFID's use for its ticketing and credentialing operations. "We know RFID is the future, and we're just excited about it," she states. Visibility into the flow of attendee traffic, the ability to authenticate tickets or credentials and the ability to leverage the tags for ancillary applications—such as making purchases—are among the chief benefits that the company hopes RFID will deliver to its clients.
In 2005, for example, RFID was utilized to authenticate tickets carried by spectators at the Tennis Master Cup in Shanghai (see RFID Takes a Swing at Ticket Fraud). A growing number of conference organizers are experimenting with embedding RFID tags into credentials for applications similar to the NACDA conference, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT Media Lab is launching a system by which visitors use RFID tags in their credentials to collect information, as well as learn more about projects being carried out by its researchers (see MIT Media Lab Launches Virtual RFID-Powered Blackboard).
What's more, major sports venues, including Dolphin Stadium (now known as Sun Life Stadium), have built RFID technology into their IT infrastructure (see Dolphin Stadium Kicks Off a Technology Revolution). The stadium, which Populous helped to design, was the site of the 2010 Super Bowl, and the NFL organizers of that event also hired the firm to provide a number of services, including stadium remodeling and operations planning and management.
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