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Australian Concertgoers Use RFID to Win Prizes, Post Facebook Updates

Virgin Mobile utilized an NFC-based solution to connect with its customers throughout the three-day Splendour in the Grass festival.
By Dave Friedlos
Sep 24, 2012A select group of concertgoers at this year's Splendour in the Grass, held in Byron Bay, New South Wales, in July, were rewarded with more than just renowned international artists, thanks to the introduction of Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology. Virgin Mobile customers who attended the three-day music festival—which featured a lineup that included Smashing Pumpkins, Jack White, Lana Del Rey and Bloc Party—could also register to receive an NFC-enabled wristband allowing them to win prizes instantly, and to automatically update their Facebook profiles.

With a tap of the wristband in the "Virgin Mobile Posh Pit" VIP area, a concertgoer could win one of more than 1,000 prizes, including mobile phones, headphones, sweet treats and burger vouchers, with each prize generating a different status update to that person's Facebook profile, thereby letting his or her friends know what had been won. With specific prizes added for female concertgoers, based on their Facebook profiles, it was one of the most technical NFC applications to date, according to Andrew Davis, technology supplier Tapit's head of operations.

"The system had to display the different prizes won to each user, as well as an accompanying status update corresponding to the prize the user had won, meaning no status update was the same for all prizes," Davis explains. "The beauty of this event was making the integration between Facebook and Tapit harmonious. The user just saw things happening automatically, but the development underneath took a substantial effort from our technical team. This was one of the more complex assignments we have had, purely for the fact that all our previous projects involved no Facebook application integration."

A total of 2,480 taps were recorded during the three-day festival, Davis reports, reaching more than 175,000 people via Facebook.

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