Contactless technology beyond payment

Last updated: 29 July 2015

As we discussed in last month’s blog, contactless payment is taking off around the country and the world. Music festivals, theme parks, and sporting events are offering wristbands enabled with contactless technology and linked to your payment card. This means shorter lines, easier transactions, higher spending and happier consumers.

But contactless technology extends far beyond just payment. More and more vendors in the entertainment, social media and retail industries are utilizing contactless technology as a way to build their communities by allowing fans and consumers to get even more out of the experience.

Taylor Swift’s hugely successful 1989 tour equips every concert-goer with a contactless-enabled wristband that glows and prompts them to wave their arms to the beat of the music. That’s up to 55,000 wristbands per show, letting each and every one of her fans become an integral part of the event. Furthermore, after Swift’s recent show in Baton Rouge, three teenage girls were in a car accident and thrown from their vehicle into a dark field. How were they found? By repeatedly tapping on Taylor Swift’s glowing contactless wristbands.

Even Oprah Winfrey has experimented in contactless at one of her touring events, “The Life You Want Weekend.” Not only were the wristbands used to rally the crowd, but she also created an interactive exhibit space where participants could express interest in different products by just tapping the band for more information. Winfrey’s team could then track and follow up on any potential leads, satisfying both ends of the retail food chain.

While wristbands may seem to be the wearable of choice, contactless technology can be embedded into almost anything. Three NFL teams – the 49ers, Lions and Saints – have rooted contactless chips into their player’s shoulder pads. A device placed on the doorframe of the locker room activates the chips before they walk onto the field, where their accuracy and movements are tracked to better improve their performance. Even the ball has a chip!

And at a Budweiser sponsored event in Brazil, cups were facilitated with contactless technology that allows users to link and connect to their individual Facebook accounts via a QR code on the bottom. Each time you “cheers” and clink cups with a fellow attendee, both people automatically become Facebook friends. It’s a true example of what “social media” was always meant to represent and as simple as “Scan. Drink. Friend.”

With the rapidly evolving technological revolution, contactless will continue to grow, broadening horizons and making consumer and merchant experiences more convenient, more secure and more fun. Where would you like to see contactless technology next? Let us know in the comments below and check out the future of wearables here.