Lollapalooza has long been a name to conjure with when it comes to music festivals, sometimes mentioned in the same breath as the biggest of all such events: Woodstock. Now, Lollapalooza is taking a bold step forward, turning to a breed of wearable technology in wristband form to serve as a cardless payment system for purchases made at the show.
When Lollapalooza starts up August 1—and runs through August 3—in Chicago, IL, festival-goers will have on hand new wristbands to both get said festival-goers into the event, and also a whole new way to take care of those incidental expenses that crop up. It works comparatively simply; festival-goers, before actually hitting the festival, will submit credit card details to the festival's website, which will then transfer said details to a unique RFID chip contained within each plastic wristband. Following that, users will then use the wristbands to get into the festival, and along with a PIN, use the wristbands to make purchases at bars and stalls in the event.
Reports suggest that such items can also be put to work in audience participation events and the like, though this one seems to be more focused on establishing a secure bridge for commercial activities within the event. But then, that's half the allure of wearable technology; its sheer potential for offering a variety of useful activities within a larger structure. Not only can wearable technology be used as a payment platform, it can be used as a direction finder, a reference source, and a host of other points.
Nowhere is that last more plainly evident than at the Wearable Tech Expo, set to take place July 23 and 24 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. There will actually be several panels taking place at the event somewhat related to this point, including a panel called “Wrist Reform: The Smart Watch Dilemma.” Featuring Yankee Group (News - Alert) analyst Ryan Martin as moderator, and including HZO's chief sales and marketing officer Sergio Leveratto, Samsung's South West Asia director and head of cloud services Tarun Malik and Freescale (News - Alert) Semiconductor trailblazer Sujata Neidig as panelists, the panel will cover why the wrist will be the center of the wearable technology field. It will also cover several other points related to wrist-mounted technology, including design, pricing structures and more. But that won't be the only relevant panel to Lollapalooza's ambitions; there will be points around wearable tech and music, wearable tech and fashion, and more, along with the ability to actually see some models of wearable tech that will likely hit stores over the next several months.
Indeed, Lollapalooza is showing us just one potential pathway for wearable tech to take. It's showing how simple it can be to connect wearable devices with a payment system, and from there, may well make it applicable for just about anywhere. While Lollapalooza is something of a closed system—there are only so many vendors on hand total—it's still a good look at how such a system might work, and from there, how it can be applied to the larger commercial system.
Only time will tell if Lollapalooza's use of wearable tech will prove to be a standard in the wider field or just the kind of thing that shows up at concerts, but it certainly has validity enough to make some think twice about just where the wearable tech system as a whole is going.
Want to learn more about the latest in wearable technology? Be sure to attend Wearable Tech Expo, July 23 & 24 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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