Entertainment businesses face a range of management challenges, including those that affect their operational efficiency, security, and the customer experience. As with many industries, today’s solutions are often technology-based and one of the most useful technologies to emerge in the entertainment has been RFID. Here we’ll look at a 5 ways RFID benefits companies in the entertainment sector.
What is RFID?
RFID is a technology that enables microchips to communicate with chip readers over short distances using radio waves. The small chips, known as tags, are generally embedded into other objects such as stickers, smart cards, wristbands and key fobs. Readers come in a variety of forms and can include handheld readers, wall mounted readers and even smartphones.
RFID has many useful applications for the entertainment sector, for example, it can be used for access control, cashless vending, monitoring attendance and timekeeping, asset tracking and even for monitoring operational workflows. With these capabilities, RFID can help entertainment industries in many ways.
- Equipment monitoring
Entertainment businesses rely on expensive, high-tech equipment to carry out their operations. Often, they will have lots of equipment, much of which will be regularly moved around their site. Just consider the various lighting equipment needed in a theater or the sound equipment required by a concert venue.
Not only can it be easy for this equipment to get mislaid or stolen, it can also be easy for it to be forgotten. It’s only later, when a critical moment comes for its use and no one knows where it is, that serious issues arise.
RFID can put an end to this disarray. By placing an RFID chip, such as those available from Universal Smart Cards, on each piece of equipment, entertainment companies are able to track their location. This way, when a piece of equipment is needed, it can be found. In addition, RFID chips can also be used to monitor equipment usage (when, where and who by, etc.), and record and track its safety testing and maintenance history.
- Inventory management
Some entertainment businesses hold substantial inventories of products, especially merchandising and perishables like food and drink. With venues like sports stadia, movie theaters and theme parks attracting large numbers of visitors, it’s crucial that companies have a thorough overview of what’s in stock, what’s being sold and what needs reordering.
RFID tagging can be used to give detailed information of what inventory is held and where it is located. As it is being used, real-time updates can be accessed showing usage, enabling low count items to be reordered.
What’s particularly advantageous is that the data produced from RFID tagging enables businesses to understand which products are selling well and which are not. It also points out patterns in buying habits. These can be used to improve efficiencies in inventory management, particularly with the purchasing of perishable or limited life-span products.
- HR Management
Entertainment businesses can employ large numbers of staff, many of whom are often scattered around a facility carrying out the multitude of jobs that need to be done. To improve efficiency, it is important that the time and attendance of these employees are effectively managed. However, monitoring this can be a challenge.
One solution is to provide each employee with an RFID wristband or smart card. These enable an organization to track employee’s attendance and location and even review their productivity. What’s also advantageous is that the RFID devices can be integrated with existing HR systems to automate processes such as payroll.
- Access control
The chips within an RFID tag can be used to operate doors within a facility and can be programmed on a person to person basis. This means, that each individual can be given access to different areas. This stops intruders from gaining entry, prevents visitors being given access to staff only areas, and limits staff to areas they only have the authorization to go. As a result, entertainment facilities are more secure, and health and safety objectives can be much more easily met.
What’s more, every time someone uses a tag to gain access, their activity is logged. This can be used to monitor customer and staff movements. It shows which areas are busy and, in cases where incidents occur, it’s easy to find out who was there at the time.
- Improving the customer experience
Entertainment companies live and die by the quality of the experience that their visitors receive. It is important, therefore, to find ways that improve this for them.
When visitors wear RFID wristbands or carry smart cards, it is possible to track whereabouts they visited. This enables businesses to see which of their attractions are popular and which are not. A theme park, for example, could easily discover which of its attractions needed replacing with something more appealing.
Another function of RFID technology is that it can be used to interact with customers. It is possible to put RFID tags on posters and POS materials around the site, and if a visitor taps these with their phones, they can be sent marketing materials, special offers or customer service information. Someone attending a theater, for example, could see a poster for a forthcoming production. If they were interested, they could find out more just by tapping their phone. They could even be given a discount on tickets.
From managing high tech equipment to improving the customer experience, RFID technology supports and enhances the operations of entertainment companies. It helps them to be more efficient, better organized and provide better services to the visitors they rely on.