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Photos: Wine festival raises a glass to NFC

A look at how The Big Wine Festival is going cashless...
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By Jo Best on
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Big Wine Festival

A look at how The Big Wine Festival is going cashless...

Oenophiles rejoice: next year, England is getting its own festival of wine - and it's set to be the biggest food and drink event in Europe.

The event, The Big Wine Festival, will take place in June 2012 with some 120,000 visitors expected to partake in the celebration of all things grape.

But no money will change hands during the festival's four days - it's going to be an entirely cashless affair.

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2 of 10 The Big Wine Festival

Big Wine Festival

Instead of handing over notes and coins, visitors to the festival will be able to pay by swiping a bracelet over a reader.

Each attendee will be issued with one of the bracelets, rather than a ticket. Visitors will show their bracelet - and have it scanned - to gain entry to the event.

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3 of 10 The Big Wine Festival

Big Wine Festival

Each bracelet will be associated with an account holding an amount of stored credit.

An attendee can swipe their bracelet over one of the readers at the festival to buy food or drink, and the cost of the purchase will automatically be deducted from the stored credit.

If an attendee runs out of credit, it can be topped up either at tills around the festival...

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Big Wine Festival

...or at portable handheld readers, which roaming festival staff will carry.

The readers will take credit and debit card payment for top-ups, while static tills around the site will also accept cash.

The cashless system is supplied by Cimex, Auto-ID and Wrist Marketing.

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Big Wine Festival

The bracelet contains an RFID chip, pictured above, which is scanned by readers to make purchases and verify the holder's identity.

If the bracelet is lost or stolen, festival staff can quickly render it unusable and another bracelet can be issued in its place, using the same account details.

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Big Wine Festival

In order to ring up a drinks bill, staff can press the icons shown on screen...

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Big Wine Festival

...or read barcodes - for example, those on wine bottles - to scan in the drinks.

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Big Wine Festival

Wine lovers will be able to swipe their bracelets on touchscreens dotted around the site to be presented with a list of which wines they've tried. They'll also be asked to rate the wines out of five, with the most popular wine scooping The Big Wine Festival's People's Choice Award.

This data can also be used for marketing purposes by the wine makers selling their produce at the event - for example, by emailing punters details about which wines they rated the highest during their visit and where those wines are on sale.

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Big Wine Festival

The festival is hoping to attract families, with child-friendly entertainment and events including storytelling.

Should children get lost, their wristbands can be scanned to find their parents' mobile numbers.

Those under 18 will also be given a different coloured wristband to over-18s to show they aren't old enough to buy alcohol.

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Big Wine Festival

With so much of the event relying on the cashless system, the festival has put contingency plans in place in case the tech fails.

In the event of a power failure, the readers will still be able to draw on a battery life of three hours. In the event the festival's network goes down, transactions will still go through, with the data transmitted once the network is up and running.

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