Theme parks and other leisure-entertainment venues have come a long way since
Walt Disney opened his first one in a rural corner of Southern California in
1955. Today’s attractions and water parks offer entertainment of all
kinds, for young and old alike, and are considered destination getaways for
more than 600 million visitors worldwide each year.
For the groups operating these facilities, the goal is to create exceptional
personalized services, so each visitor has a positive and memorable
experience, while also increasing efficiency and convenience, and, of course,
ensuring the highest levels of safety and security.
The contactless trend
Leading venue operators around the world have discovered that contactless
technology, in short- and long-range formats, can help meet all these goals
when it’s designed into smartcards, wristbands and other wearables.
Short-range solutions give visitors a new level of convenience, with the
ability to do things like make payments, bypass long waiting lines and access
hotel rooms, while long-range solutions help venues manage crowds and offer
new services, such as personalized action-cam photos.
Contactless access and payment solutions, based on short-range technology, are
already being used by Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates, Gardaland in
Italy, Trans Studio in Indonesia and other large parks from Orlando to
What these venues have found is that contactless technology enhances the
customer experience while boosting revenue. Embedded in a card or wristband
and capable of interacting with mobile phones and other electronic devices,
short- and long-range contactless technology can add convenience and security
at every level.
An enhanced visitor experience
Here are some of the ways that contactless technology can enhance the
theme-park experience. If you book in advance, you can have a wristband
delivered ahead of time, so you can bypass the ticket window and go directly
to the entrance when you arrive. The wristband might be equipped with just
short-range technology, for up-close transactions, or might aIso have
long-range technology, for transactions that take place over several meters.
Your wristband can make it easier to get to the venue. If you take public
transport or a privately run shuttle service, you can use the wristband to
purchase a ticket, and if you drive, it can pay for parking.
Having used your wristband to enter the park, without waiting in long lines,
you can use it to interact with theme-park characters who call you by name.
You can pay for food and beverages or buy merchandise and souvenirs with a
simple tap of the band – there’s no need to carry cash or worry
about losing your credit card while you enjoy yourself. The wristband lets you
purchase tickets to special events, or get guidance and advice while at the
venue, and gives you access to coupons, special offers, loyalty points and
exclusive VIP areas.
If your wristband is equipped with long-range technology, it can be used to
personalize any action-cam photos taken while you enjoy roller coasters, water
slides and other attractions. Instead of hunting through random shots at the
end of your ride, to find photos of you and your friends, your wristband can
be used to show only photos of you and anyone associated with your entry
ticket. Select the ones you want as souvenirs, and buy them with another tap.
Outside the park, you can use the band at nearby restaurants and, if
you’re staying near the venue, your wristband can also act as the key
to your hotel room.
Some visitors choose to leave their mobile phones behind when they’re
at the venue, so as to have a more immersive experience, away from every day
cares like emails and texts. For those who do keep their phones with them,
though, contactless technology can interact with mobile apps, too. The app can
display a personal welcome when you arrive, and, in combination with your
wristband, can enable live updates, so you know when it’s a good time
to get in line for an attraction, or share experiences on social media.
Convenient and secure
All these contactless transactions are fast, simple and secure, which means
there’s less waiting overall, and more time for fun. Multiple layers of
security combine to protect data, for strong authentication, secure
transactions and secure access information, including the dates the wristband
is authorized for use. Common Criteria certification, with support for
industry-recognized encryption algorithms, such as AES, provides effective
protection against the latest attack scenarios, so the privacy of each user is
assured. The format is also extremely difficult to copy or forge, so
there’s less fraud. Embedded security protects the venue and its
reputation, and lets visitors enjoy their time at the park without fear of
identity theft or other scams.
Behind the scenes: Improved operations
Short- and long-range contactless technology goes beyond the visitor’s
experience to provide operational benefits, too. Onsite staff can use
wristbands to access lockers and work areas. Park operators can manage
personnel more efficiently, with real-time monitoring of onsite activities and can deploy staff where they’re needed most during the busiest
times. Long-range identification helps with queue management, and real-time
knowledge of wristband location helps find lost children or manage crowds
during emergencies. Park operators can also monitor transaction levels in real
time, can develop profiles of visitor habits and preferences, and can use
interactive items, such as kiosks and posters, to interact with visitors.
NXP for the entire ecosystem
NXP is the number-one provider of contactless technology and, as a member of
the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), is
focused on theme-park applications. We have an extensive network of partners
for contactless technology, which means our solutions are supported by an
entire ecosystem. For theme-park applications, our portfolio is strengthened
by many partners like
Gantner Technologies, the leading manufacturer of NFC access control, check-in, electronic
locking for lockers and cashless payment hardware for the global leisure
MIFARE and more
Because NXP has such an extensive portfolio of interoperable contactless
technology, theme-park operators can find the right solution for their
immediate need, yet still have options for expansion and added functionality
portfolio offers a flexible memory configuration, so you can start small and
add on as time goes by. The technology is fully NFC compatible, so MIFARE
applications can interact with gaming consoles onsite, as well as the mobile
devices that visitors carry with them. Suitable options for theme parks are
available throughout the MIFARE portfolio, from
MIFARE Ultralight, to
MIFARE DESFire EV1 and EV2. MIFARE products are supported by TapLinx, a developer kit that makes it
easy to integrate contactless smart card technology into a mobile app.
Available for Android and supporting all MIFARE formats, the SDK lets you
finish a design in just minutes.
Extending the options, developers can also choose NXP
for long-range UHF RFID or NXP NFC tags from the
family. Other options include contact interface controllers in NXP’s SmartMX
line, which have powerful cryptographic coprocessors for secure
Join the conversation
Have you been to a theme park that uses smart card technology, in the form of a
card or a wristband? What was your experience?
Trans Studios in Indonesia Uses Multi-Applications
MIFARE DESFire EV1 and EV2