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NFC Headlines at Afro Nation Festival

A cashless-payment solution known as Event Genius was offered at last year's global festival in Ghana and is now planned for use at Afro Nation Portugal, with the goal of reducing queues, increasing purchasing and decreasing theft.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 19, 2020

Music lovers will be able to leave their cash and credit cards at home during this summer's African music festival known as Afro Nation Portugal. The RFID solution that will be deployed at the event allows payments and access control via a wristband, cutting waits at queues and potentially increasing sales. The deployment follows the RFID system's use at the event's Afro National Ghana festival in December 2019. Afro Nation Portugal, which will be held in Portimao, Algarve, is a beach festival that will take place on July 17–19. The festival, also held in Puerto Rico, delivers live DJ performances that include hip hop, rhythm and blues, dance and bashment music.

The beachside event's cashless-payment system, provided by Festicket, is known as Event Genius by Festicket. The solution offers a variety of features, including a cashless payments feature known as Event Genius Pay. According to Lauren Lytle, Event Genius's head of operations, the system is designed so that festival organizers can mix and match from such features as ticketing, travel, accommodations, access control and marketing.

Lauren Lytle
"Our first experience with Afro Nation came when we provided our full service to Afro Nation Ghana," Lytle recalls. The company deployed its software platform for tickets sold via Ticket Arena and Festicket, while also providing wristband ticketing. Afro Nation Portugal will benefit from the full Event Genius product set, she says, including travel packages, access control and cashless payments onsite. This is the second Afro Nation Portugal festival, she adds, but the first use of RFID cashless payments.

Here's how the system works: Each music fan first buys and prints a ticket, or receives a digital ticket, that he or she can provide at the venue. At the time of purchase, the fan is invited to pre-purchase credit vouchers at checkout, which amount to a prepaid balance from a credit card so the customer can buy goods without bringing money onsite.

At the venue gate, fans can exchange their printed or digital tickets for an RFID wristband from Event Genius. The bracelet comes with a built-in passive Near Field Communication (NFC) HF RFID Mifare chip compliant with the ISO 14443 standard. Each ticketholder's information is linked in the Event Genius software and app with the unique ID encoded on his or her wristband RFID chip. That information includes the ticketholder's identification and prepaid account, if he or she chooses to use the cashless-payment service.

Festival personnel will be equipped with Android-based mobile NFC reading devices running the Event Genius app. The app comes pre-loaded with the relevant menu for each vendor site (every location has a different menu loaded prior to the event), and staff members can select items to place in a basket and then hold the device on the wristband to accept payment. For instance, if an individual were buying a drink or a T-shirt, a worker could select the item from the menu, show the cost total to the wristband holder and tap the bracelet if the customer approved the purchase. Employees are trained by Event Genius Pay operators to use the app for payment collection on the device.

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