Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada) (05/26/14) Tossell, Ivor
Four years ago, the organizers of the Coachella music festival turned to Montreal-based Intellitix to address ticketing issues, such as the number of fans being admitted into the festival far exceeding those who paid for tickets. Intellitix solved the problem by issuing cloth wristbands with embedded radio frequency identification chips, requiring attendees to tap their wrists to a sensor at the gates. The sensor compares their wristband to the database of ticket holders and grants them admission. Although the wristbands can be tied to social networks for additional incentives, the real opportunity for revenue is in concessions and merchandizing. The wristbands can be connected to prepaid accounts that attendees register before leaving, and used to buy items with a simple wrist-tap. “Every single event we’ve done we’ve seen sales on site rise between 10 and 30 percent,” notes Intellitix chief revenue officer Eric Janssen. “That’s the business case.” Because online access to festival sites is not always 100 percent reliable, Intellitix employs a closed-loop network, in which admissions or concession purchases are managed on nearby servers, without having to communicate immediately with the broader Internet.