If you have been to any festivals in the last 12 months, you might notice that there’s been a constant, a rather unobtrusive gadget that comes with every single festival event: the RFID wristband. What is really taking the world by storm is happening rather quietly behind the data technology world where obsolescence of handling cash appears to be not too far away in the future.
The power behind RFID – referred to as radio-frequency identification – is gaining momentum in the live music and entertainment sphere. Its technology is not only providing a more seamless festival experience for festival-goers but also a vast data of information for the organisers; from audiences’ favourite food and beverage, when and where they prefer to consume them, to how often they exit and enter the festival ground.
MNA had a go at attending festivals with these implemented technology powered by Sandpiper, and it came as no surprise that this is the way forward for developing technologies in the entertainment space. GoGorilla, a Singapore tech company which was recently bought over by Sandpiper, has already activated over 500,000 RFID wristbands in the region including Singapore, China, Thailand and Malaysia. With more live events and shows in the pipeline, they have already provided its services to the most recent gigs including Road To Ultra Thailand & Singapore, 808 Music Festival Thailand & Myanmar, Together Festival Thailand, VIP@ STORM Festival Shanghai, The Singapore Yacht Show, The Thailand Yacht Show, iLLUMi NATiON, VIBE Music Festival, Slush Tech Conference Singapore, SG 50 @ The Float, Singapore Grand Prix (fringe events), Savour Food Festivals just to name a few. While every event may require various specification, each LIVE event provides a detailed and telescopic case study into how this technology could further evolve.
Its one-stop ticketing solution begins the moment an audience goes online to purchase a ticket. With the option of mailing the wristband or picking it up at the festival ground, each wristband has its own serial number which can be activated the moment it is scanned for entry. Users using its e-wallet app – iGo – get to top up credits prior to the event, and spend the leftover credits at partnered F&B outlets after the event. While other RFID tech companies have been providing solutions to the ‘barrier to entry’ for festivals, Sandpiper is working hard to work out solutions for ‘barrier to exit’ of an event. Its true challenge lies in ways for customers to continue spending outside of the event space all year long rather than just for one event.
James Kane, Director of Sandpiper Asia, commented: “Rather than ‘cashless’ being the last component added in the event organisers planning, iGo is moving to the front of the queue by offering customers & organisers the full system to start in the ticketing process by “pre” topping up, and carrying unused balances forward. It’s fair to say each future event and customers gain from the previous event in iGo. The iGo ticketing system is not in app form only, they offer the organiser full white label widget and ticketing pages for their web platforms, but by leaving your balances in the app you get special “app only” ticketing prices [for your next event purchase].” At this point, refund is typically not necessary in Sandpiper’s world.
What could be better as this service has not only extended to benefiting the users festival goers, but also onsite solution and management of its whole ticketing service, a convenience to organisers whose objective is a similar one – to provide a fantastic LIVE event experience.
“We’ve been providing cashless solutions in this market since 2012 and what I am most excited about at this point is that the technology has finally caught up with our ideas, we are able to provide the full ecosystem from start to finish and make it a seamless event experience. From the early days of using just smartphones to the fully integrated systems we now offer, it’s all about the customers’ experience,” added Kane.
Ultra Singapore 2017 alone saw roughly one third of ticket holders registering iGo accounts, and the iGo app being downloaded over 1,500 times, with reported pre-event top-up credits well over $100,000 SGD. While this may be the tip-of-the-iceberg experience for its many end users, we will be seeing many more of this evolving technology with the recent multi-year deal signed between Sandpiper and Ultra.
Let it be said that while MNA is always on the lookout for some of the finest technologies in the music world, this topped our “Tech List of the Year 2017” and we are excited to see how far this technology can play a part in enhancing LIVE events especially at festivals and concerts.
To experience what we have seen so far, Sandpiper will be providing similar ticketing experiences for its upcoming Eden Music Festival, Odyssey Music Festival, as well as smaller bespoke VIP events such as Boudoir Blanc for the F1 weekend in Singapore.