Congratulations and celebrations: NFC’s Eurovision 2016 debut

Last updated: 11 May 2016

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“My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender”, the famous ABBA Eurovision song goes. This year, though, spectators at Eurovision 2016 might be singing “my, my, at Stockholm cash did surrender” instead. That’s right, visitors to the Eurovision Village ahead of the contest on May 14th will be able to buy NFC-equipped wristbands, enabling them to make purchases without using payment cards or cash. With around 65,000 visitors expected in Sweden, speedy purchasing is crucial to avoid lengthy queues, and fortunately NFC is set to enhance the event for spectators and organizers alike thanks to Gemalto and Visa’s partnership.

Visa is the official partner of the Eurovision Song Contest and, together with Gemalto, makes up the team of Heroes committed to making transactions easier than ever before. If spectators are entering the arena, walking into a hospitality area, or simply buying a glass of Bucks Fizz (or perhaps another drink, it’s difficult Making Your Mind Up), all they’ll need to do is tap their wristband against a reader. The wristband will link up to a website displaying account information, where users will be able to upload money and top up. It really couldn’t be easier.

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So, what’s the technology behind the Eurovision NFC wristband? It’s called the Allynis Smart Event Platform, which we’re proud to say is a Gemalto innovation. It’s already been deployed with great success at Saracens Rugby Club. Fans were able to buy refreshments with a simple tap of the wrist and even use the device to get the train home after the match. Similarly, at Eurovision, fans will still be able to use their wristbands until well after the show has finished, lasting until the end of October 2016.

NFC doesn’t just make things easier for spectators; deploying smart event technology makes sense for organizers too. Shifting to NFC-based solutions makes events more secure, since it’s far easier to copy or steal a ticket than a special contactless payment wristband. In addition, it allows organizers to enhance their marketing and communications strategies and develop effective loyalty programmes, such as giving a customer a discount once they’ve completed a certain number of transactions – something that is easily implemented on a NFC-equipped device. Clearly, NFC is ideally suited to live events, enhancing the experience for spectators and event planners alike.

Eurovision 2016, then, is set to be a more efficient, speedy and seamless show than ever before thanks to NFC technology. So if you’re still Making Your Mind Up about whether to attend this weekend, perhaps this contactless wristband will convince you.

What do you think about NFC at Eurovision this year? Let us know by tweeting to @Gemalto, or by posting a comment below.

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