WRSTBND's New Contactless Platform Can Safely Manage Major Live Concerts and Sporting Events up to 50,000 People
- New Orleans-based event tech innovator WRSTBND introduces Passport platform to make it safer to attend live events again
- Mendix-built platform integrates RFID scanners, digital wallets, and mobile devices with backend ticketing, purchasing, and credentialing systems
- Integrated technology platform, run with low-code, scales up contactless point-of-sales and capacity management for events ranging from 500 to 50,000 participants
- Three-person Mendix software development team matches output of 15 traditional code developers to deliver production-ready platform for live events
BOSTON, March 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Mendix, a Siemens business and global leader in low-code application development for the enterprise, today announced that WRSTBND, a New Orleans-based technology company specializing in live event management, has launched Passport, an innovative capacity-management application that will make live events both safer and more convenient for consumers now and as the world transitions to its post-pandemic activities.
The contactless registration and ticketing platform combines RFID scanning hardware, edge computing, and real-time mobile transactions tied to backend processes in a unified solution, built from the ground up with the Mendix low-code platform.
Passport's integrated solution is a tailored response to several important trends. First, it provides an innovative approach for live performance and event coordinators to successfully meet the safety and health challenges facing public gatherings during and in the aftermath of the pandemic. As the World Health Organization recently noted, Covid-19's social distancing requirements are expected to last through 2021. In the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicted the entertainment industry could expect to resume live events without restrictions in the fall of 2021, but only if 70% of the country's population receives vaccinations, thereby achieving herd immunity.
In this environment, WRSTBND, during the 2020 holiday season, successfully deployed Passport to support the "Celebration in the Oaks," an annual holiday light festival in historic New Orleans City Park. Organizers restructured the event from a walking tour into a 2.25-mile driving tour and called on WRSTBND to make it work.
"Using Mendix, we were able to build a fully customized reservation platform that booked 40,000 to 50,000 time-based reservations over the holidays, with multiple pricing tiers geared to donors and members, while keeping track of park capacity and traffic flow," said Conway Solomon, CEO of WRSTBND. "It took us just 10 days to build those tailored interfaces with a mobile payment system and web-based backend using Mendix."
Founded in 2019, WRSTBND's principals have over a decade's worth of experience using technology to support live event productions. Solomon credits low-code software development with Mendix as the breakthrough enabling the company to achieve fast results and ROI with highly tailored, scalable solutions.
Like an E-Z Pass, checking each car to see who's naughty and who's nice
In another platform innovation, WRSTBND installed ultra-high frequency RFID sensors throughout New Orleans City Park for the holiday event to help track attendees and manage traffic. From up to 20 feet away, the sensors read the ticket on the dashboard of each car, and then displayed the names of the kids in the car on a "Nice" sign and the parents on a "Naughty" sign - a delightful touch of personalization, especially for the kids.
Support for contact-free digital payments and transactions
To facilitate safe, contactless transactions, the developers at WRSTBND built custom integrations with s secure digital wallets, including Apple Pay and Google Pay, and its actual physical wristbands. This removes the need for cash and credit cards to exchange hands on-site and reduces problems associated with fraudulent or counterfeit transactions. This new connectivity positions WRSTBND to capitalize on another trend: Consumer use of digital wallets is expected to skyrocket by 83 percent, growing into a $10 trillion industry by 2025, according to new findings by Jupiter Research.
The scanners used to read the wristbands and digital passes each contain a Raspberry PI database processor, enabling real-time, latency-free database retrieval and storage - an example of "edge computing," a growing technology trend that puts the processing power right where the transaction takes place. Completed transactions are then uploaded to WRSTBND's backend system via the Mendix cloud.
"In our world, every event has unique logistical requirements," Solomon says. "Artists, sponsors, producers, staff, and ticket buyers have different functions with different data needs. There are no off-the-shelf solutions."
WRSTBND explored building a ticketing and credentialing platform from scratch using Java or turning to offshore coding shops. Adds Solomon: "Those options were prohibitively expensive and too rigid in a more typical year when we have twenty to thirty events to manage. Using Mendix, my three-person development team can provide the company with production-ready work within days. One well-versed Mendix developer can deliver the equivalent high-quality work of five raw-code developers. That's a substantial value that I don't think can be stated enough.
"The ease of developing within Mendix enables us to iterate quickly on complex solutions," Solomon continues. He cites Passport's new ability to log appropriate dates and time for temperature checks and other health-related information as an expansion of Passport's ability to track age-related IDs for purchases of alcoholic beverages.
Building on a decade of success, one iteration at a time
WRSTBND, launched more than two years ago by Solomon and his partner, chief technology officer Jonathan Foucheaux, was originally a software division within Solomon Group. Solomon Group is a leading event provider, set fabricator and designer for large sporting events such as Super Bowl XLVII, music festivals, conferences, and museums.
"My team began working with Mendix in 2013," says Conway Solomon. "Once we entered the world of true low-code, we could jettison FileMaker and Quick Base. Relational databases and spreadsheets don't have the functionality to improve event navigation that make a difference to the client's bottom line."
Low-code's return on investment can be substantial. An early fit-for-purpose app, implemented by Solomon Group, placed IoT sensors on turnstiles at the New Orleans Convention Center. The optical system feeding data into the Mendix-built application provided the fire marshal real-time information on capacity management within the building. This enabled organizers to increase single-day ticket sales by $700,000.
The right tools to create multiple experiences
"At Mendix, we've focused on giving business experts and software developers the tools and capabilities to enable a total, frictionless experience for the full range of end users, customers, and employees," says Gordon Van Huizen, vice president of platform strategy for Mendix. "It's exciting to see companies like WRSTBND push the envelope with these innovations and deliver tangible results on the promise of multi-experience. We are sure to see their solution imitated by others in the live event space when the industry safely reopens and returns to its previous scale."
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