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Techno Files: New technology for July 2019

Crystal Interactive

We’ve all stared agog at clips of Coldplay’s audience lighting up stadiums thanks to their LED Xylobands, a riot of choreographed flashes and patterns that enhance the excitement going on onstage. But while those wristbands were simply about creating visual effects, Crystal Interactive’s wearables go one step further and offer genuine interaction.

Powered by PixMob’s Klik – an event engagement platform – their badges, buttons and wristbands offer registration, interaction, attendee tracking, gamification and even paging (ask your parents), not to mention a dedicated app to manage profiles, services, and information.

Naturally, all three options are reusable and recyclable, have a multi-day battery life and are completely brandable – the badge even comes with its own printer for making stickers. The company also offers post-event analytics, allowing organisers deep insight into attendee behaviour and rich data maps.


Sphero Specdrums

First there was Oddball, the drum machine in a ball. Then there was KAiKU, the music glove with built-in gyroscope and accelerometer. And now we have Specdrums, the app-enabled ring that turns colours into music with a simple tap.

“Make the world your instrument,” says the website, and the promo video is full of shiny, happy people merrily making beats and tunes while skateboarding, doing graffiti art and riding the bus downtown. As you do.

But there is some serious tech behind the novelty: the ring can mimic the function of digital drums and MIDI pads, and can be set to trigger an infinite number of sounds, even ones you’ve recorded yourself. They also connect to any Bluetooth MIDI application on mobile or desktop, meaning they can be patched into the likes of GarageBand or even Logic. Not bad for something that looks like a Fisher Price toy.



The mooted 5G rollout that’s coming soon will, it is claimed, lead to all sorts of exciting and innovative new services and platforms for content creators and music fans. Things like VRJAM, for example – the latest piece of digital wizardry that’s a solution to a problem you didn’t know existed.

The premise is simple: it’s a real-time streaming platform for live VR and AR content, an immersive, interactive app that allows users to “experience artists’ performances in new and undreamt of ways.” Basically, it functions like an interactive Holodeck on your phone, with artists able to visualise shows on the fly, inside a computer-animated world populated by CGI avatars.

It all seems very impressive, and with backing from the likes of Google and Samsung, the tech is expected to have far-reaching applications – sporting and business events, or any type of conference, can be digitally reimagined and broadcast to the world.


Exposure Analytics

Analytics are all the rage, it seems, and with good reason. Aside from providing feedback for ROI and various other KPIs, it makes sense for any large-scale event to track footfall and flows – particularly from a safety and comfort standpoint – and Exposure Analytics have come up with a unique set of digital services for doing precisely that.

Using three different types of sensor – each optimised to record specific sets of data – they can provide real-time reporting on any number of metrics such as heat maps, dwell time, audience distribution, capacity and even mood detection from their customised API and dashboard.

Having worked on more than 3,000 events worldwide, and with brands such as Canon and Mercedes-Benz, their award-winning tech is clearly another useful tool for event professionals and organisers, and takes analytical insight to the next level.


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Techno Files: New technology for May 2019

Who doesn’t love bunk beds? If your camping budget stretches to more than a bargain-basement effort from your local catalogue store, why not invest in a modular disc bed system?

Approved by both the US military and the Red Cross, these beauties will allow you to relive those glorious, childhood days of summer camp. They’re even called Disc-O-Beds! Rugged yet comfortable, they can be assembled and disassembled in minutes, without tools, and come with built-in storage and their own carry bag.

And if bunking seems a little juvenile (as if), you can always stick them side by side for some below-the-stars snoozing, or as an upgrade on the humble sleeping mat – either way, festival sleeping just got a whole lot comfier.


Wacaco Minipresso GR
Is there a more depressing feeling than trudging around a muddy festival site the morning after the night before, hunting for some decent coffee to cut through the fug of a hangover?

Well, fear not, fuzzy headed campers, for the Wacaco Minipresso GR is here to ease your pain!

This compact and versatile gadget claims to be the “perfect portable espresso machine,” and is as light as it is simple; just add hot water to ground beans, and you’re a few pumps away from a perfect espresso with a generous crema. It makes 50ml a go – enough for two people – is easy to clean, and can be used with all manner of beans and roasts; pair it with a portable grinder and you’ll have the freshest brews on site.

So stick one of these in your backpack and those fuzzy mornings will be a lot less painful.


Chill & Charge barrels
No matter how glamorous your camping set-up is, one thing will likely be lacking: power.

For better or worse, we all live through our devices and would be lost without them – especially at festivals – leading to vast hordes of texters and Instagramers constantly on the hunt for charging sockets (and working Wi-Fi, but that’s another story).

So thank the Almighty, then, for Chill & Charge barrels – a one-stop solution for outdoor bars and concession stalls that lets patrons top-up the juice while sipping on something cold.

Available with either mains or battery power, each barrel comes with four cables and a wireless charging pad, and has connectors for all common devices (USB-C, micro-USB, Apple Lightning). They look the part, too, crafted from real wood, and are both durable and sturdy – making them ideal for rowdy festivals and the ideal excuse to pop by the craft ale stall or gin bar for a spot of (literal as well as metaphorical) recharging.


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Techno Files: New technology for March 2019

Blink Identity
Blink Identity’s revolutionary ID-in-motion technology recognises concertgoers at full walking speed in any lighting condition using advanced facial recognition for personalised customer experiences and increased venue safety. And it all happens in the blink of an eye.

In live event spaces, Blink Identity’s facial recognition solution allows venue/festival management to provide the frictionless identity of people in motion, up to 60 people a minute per sensor, massively cutting down time spent waiting in lines. This process is completely voluntary as ticket-holders enrol in advance by taking a selfie with their mobile phone. Users have complete visibility and control over their data.

Once at the venue, concertgoers can use their face – literally – for admission, easily and painlessly. “Eventually, the Blink Identity solution will be expanded to enable guests to buy drinks, merchandise, enter VIP areas and more, simply by walking past our sensor,” comments Blink Identity founder and CEO, Mary Haskett.


Year on year, millions of fans happily pay to see their favourite bands and attend their favourite festivals. However, the challenge for artists and promoters alike is that in many cases they have no clue as to who the majority of their fans are, and even for the ones they do know, there is no insight as to what they value and how much they would be willing to pay to access it.

Creating insight requires the collection of quality audience data and refinement of that data into clusters of similar people based on artist interest, affluence, life stage, digital fluency, etc.

Festyvent’s touring and festival apps are a key pillar for collecting quality audience data, which when combined with ticket data, mailing lists and RFID data, are the raw materials for the Festyvent data refinery to produce audience insight.

This audience insight removes the guesswork for the creation of successful acquisition, retention and cross-selling campaigns; simplifies event planning; and improves conversions when pitching for brand activations.

“The ability to view an audience at the individual level is increasingly important to reflect the variations in interests, spending power and channel use,” states Festyvent founder David Jacobs.

“You wouldn’t target a recently employed millennial with the same campaign as her 50-something parents. So, while they may live in the same house, Festyvent’s apps and data refinery ensure that the messages they’re sent and the channels that they receive them on are relevant.”


Snow Business
Snow Business is the world’s leading supplier of winter special effects for the film, TV and live events industries.

The company trades in 37 countries around the globe and its work has been seen by most of the planet. Its falling-snow FX machines are the most advanced in the world using patented 3D-printed snow nozzles and full DMX 512 control. In 2018, its machines were used to create winter effects for Blade Runner 2049, which went on to win both an Oscar and Bafta for best special effects.

Currently, the majority of its physical effects are made from recycled, bio-based and increasingly bio-compostable raw materials. The company’s eco falling-snow fluid has been cleared for use in the tropical biome of the Eden Project in Cornwall in the UK, and for many years Snow Business has been a supplier of winter effects to Greenpeace for its ‘Save the Arctic’ campaign. Snow Business is ISO14001 accredited and an Albert supplier. (Albert is an initiative that helps the UK broadcast industry transition to environmental sustainability – Wearealbert.org.)

“In 2017, while working at Glastonbury, I realised that falling-snow FX could be used to reflect and refract light from moving spots and lasers, opening up a whole new avenue of business, says head of research and development, Paul Denney. “Building on initial success in this field the company is exploring working in the summer festival scene with its eco-friendly alternative to single-use Mylar and confetti.”


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