Mobile telecoms firm O2 is launching a trial of near field communications (NFC) technology at a music festival later this month that will see select guests given a crystal-studded wristband embeded with the contactless technology.
The telco says it will use the NFC technology to manage entry into its backstage hospitality area at the O2 Wireless Festival in London's Hyde Park later this month. Revellers wearing the wristband will be able to access the backstage area by swiping it past a NFC-enabled mobile phone.
O2 says if the trial is successful the technology could be used to enable festival-goers at future events to use their mobile handsets to download tickets, pay for purchases and share information.
"The potential benefits of NFC technology to music festivals are enormous," says Amanda Jennings, head of sponsorship and interactive partnerships, O2 UK. "Not only in regard to mobile ticketing but also in terms of saving money through administration, and potentially even the end of cash at festivals."
The wristband was developed by O2 in partnership with IT consultancy Consult Hyperion. Dave Birch, director, Consult Hyperion, says the move to NFC "will be replicated across many sectors, with the obvious implication that anyone designing an identity, entitlement or access card scheme today must be designing it with the roadmap to mobile in mind".
A number of financial services firms are already testing the use of NFC-enabled mobile phones for making low value payments. Card firms MasterCard and Visa are conducting pilots of the technology in the US, while JCB launched a NFC trial in Europe last year. HSBC has also said it was launching a pilot that would see its staff in the US test the use of NFC-enabled phones for making small value purchases.
Earlier this year a pan-European consortium of banks, companies, universities and user groups said they were teaming up to develop an open architecture for the deployment of NFC technology on mobile phones.
The consortium - which includes financial services companies Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Consorzio Triveneto and Safepay Systems, as well as telecoms firms Motorola and T-Systems and consultancies Deloitte and Consult Hyperion - aims to define open commercial and technical frameworks for NFC-enabled services on mobile devices, regardless of the phone type.