Sonar 2016 Opens for Cashless Fun with Glownet

There’s an amazing energy in the air here in Barcelona today! Music and all round creative legend Brian Eno opened the Sonar+D digital and creative tech event, to a packed room of enthusiasts and fans. Perhaps the best person to open such a brilliant event as Sonar, with it’s awe inspiring blend of technology, creativity and business. After all, as Mr Eno says himself ” is the most important thing we can do right now…” and we completely agree!

“Ticketing in the past was about purchases, now it’s about experiences… The continuing meaningful personalization of the mass experience.”

At Glownet we’re super excited to be the official cashless payment provider for Sonar, their first and proudest partner, building on last year’s implementation. With our wristbands the whole event will serve around 160,000 visitors over Sonar by Day and Sonar by Night venues across the city of Barcelona over the mammoth three day festival.


With a hospitality team of hundreds, Sonar is using 700 of our NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled devices at its bars, cafes, food trucks and restaurants. With our devices, we will decrease former old cash queues by around 40-50%, with no delays nor cash being lost and moreover no loose change. We want everyone to have a completely hassle free time and that’s why we’re super excited about it, now Sonar 2016 is official open. What a brilliant three days and nights ahead!

We will also host an exciting panel talk at Sonar+D on Friday at 13:00, where will will brainstorm and discuss the exciting fan-centric opportunities in for innovative event experiences, ranging from cashless payments to VIP and even health, safety and event licensing itself, with the CEOs of Yumiwi and Stubhub, as well as our own Scott, our Glownet CEO as well. Please feel free to join us at the workshop, right in the middle of the incredible Sonar+D area. All delegates are most welcome!


Demo Workshop Friday 17 (12.30) 13:00 – 15.00

Sónar by Day Workshops (P4 – Level 0)

TOPIC: How RFID technology can improve the productivity of events and festivals

  • German Coppola, Yumiwi CEO
  • Estanis Martin de Nicolás, General Manager, StubHub International
  • Scott Witters, Glownet CEO, and
  • Moderator:  Hubert Grealish, brand marketing & tech.

It’s going to be a great week and we’re super excited about all the ideas and energy already here. We will be sharing pictures and stories from the event and talks so keep an eye on our Twitter feed too for more updates @GlownetHQ.

Key Differences Between RFID vs Barcodes

Here at Glownet, we truly value knowledge and truth. As two pillars of our core values, we strive to seek both knowledge and truth on a daily basis. Whenever we see the opportunity, we like to help others get informed and learn as well, and as subject matter experts in RFID, it’s especially important for us to help get the word out on this new technology.

One of our very own Business Development Managers, Izan Coomonte, recently read an article (referenced in the post) on Event Industry News, where there was some miscommunication regarding the differences and benefits of RFID vs Barcodes. The below post is his response to that article. We hope to be able to shed some light and clear up some miscommunications.

Reviewing the value of RFID vs Barcode technologies at your event

written by: Izan Coomonte

Following the debate about weighting up the opportunities of implementing RFID systems at events and music festivals, I recently read an article in one of the well known music industry portals Event Industry News that talked about the pros and cons of RFID and Barcode technologies where I found certain points that I disagree with.

As I believe there is a little bit of confusion between the differences and benefits of each of the technologies and that I find the subject really interesting for all major players in the industry, I want to give my personal opinion about this particular article named “RFID vs Barcodes” and follow the valuable debate about the usage of both technologies.

In order to clarify and simplify this post, I will give a brief overview about both technologies and then I will briefly go over the points mentioned in the article.



  • Only read capability. Can’t write information to a barcode.
  • Low durability, easily damaged or removed. Can’t be read if dirty or under the sun.
  • Low security, easier to counterfeit or replicate.


  • More than just reading. Ability to read, write, modify, and update. Works 100% offline as the information can be stored in the RFID chip and be read by other device.
  • High durability, resistant to very harsh environments.
  • High security, difficult to replicate as data can be encrypted and password protected.



  • Barcodes can’t work offline, this means you can’t credit a barcode at point A and then spend at point B, you would need a really expensive network.
  • RFID can work 100% offline as the information can be stored in the RFID chip, this makes RFID systems robust and secure to be implemented in an event.
  • RFID systems require a slight higher investment but the ROI is guaranteed by obtaining an increased spend per customer, intelligent information that lead to make smarter decisions and new revenue streams with third parties such as sponsors.
  • RFID solutions aim to enhance customer experience by reducing queues and improve onsite security by disabling the possibility of buying alcohol if the customer is underage for example.
  • RFID systems only track or register those transactions when the user tap the chip to a electronic device, the RFID solutions used at events can’t track where users are in every moment and all the information is anonymous.
  • RFID solutions eliminate fraud and provide operational efficiency at bars as the two things that take most of the time when buying stuff are eliminated: giving change and internet connections with card machines.
  • RFID wristbands and cards can easily be branded with sponsors logos and add information about the festival.

Please feel free to share your opinion and keep the debate going about these two technologies used at events.

One weekend, 4 countries, 2 continents…

Growing pains aren’t always painful. We’re proud to say that this weekend, we are deploying four events in four different countries across two continents. It’s a Happy Halloween for us indeed!

Starting in order of time zones, we will be deploying our Instant Cashless solution at Day of the Dead Australia Warehouse Project, in Melbourne. Following the success of the Sydney edition 1 week ago, we will continue to offer a great experience down under at our second Australian delivery.

Detonate Festival in the UK is following suit in the cashless revolution, offering their 5,000+ customers the benefit of shorter queues, faster transaction processing at bars, and increased security with our instant cashless solution.

Brunch Electronik, in Barcelona has added a Halloween edition to their popular event and continue to enjoy the benefits of our Instant Cashless system as they’ve done with all their Brunch and Piknic events in 2015. Increased spend, faster transactions and full visibility and transparency into their operations.

Finally, after our successful deployment at Kappa Futur Festival this summer, the promoters from this event have decided to implement Instant Cashless to their 15,000+ festival, Movement, in Turin this Halloween.

Glownet’s cashless revolution continues to grow, and our team is getting stronger, leaner and more experienced!

Valhalla: A Bizarre Ride

Valhalla copy

On December 20th 2014, we rolled out a fully cashless delivery at SFX’s closing event for the year, Valhalla: A Bizarre Ride. At our second event working with SFX and 25,000 attendees this year, we were challenged with the task of introducing the benefits of RFID into the Dutch market, which has long been dominated by the use of tokens.

We successfully delivered our gPASS solution for access control (as well as a check-in pilot) and our gPAY cashless solution to all 25,000 guests. With 52 top-up stations spread across 52 kassa units and 29 vendors and bars on site, we deployed 153 mobile devices to achieve a seamless cashless payment experience. We also had 2 customer service locations, which we’re happy to say remained quiet throughout the entire event.

Through the use of our RFID solutions, guests benefited from shorter queues, the elimination of theft, and post event refunds – a huge plus to guests who normally have to quickly spend their leftover tokens at the end of the night, or bite the bullet and lose money on unused tokens, as refunds are not given with the token currency system.

Aside from happier guests who found more time on their hands to enjoy the music they’d come to see, Valhalla organizers benefitted heavily from our live reporting tools. These live reports gave the promoter the ability to alert sponsors to top selling products and empowered bar managers to make real time decisions regarding stock levels. In addition full event performance reports were delivered a mere 48 hours post-event including total real money top-ups by kassa unit, total sales, full vendor sales summaries including top 10 products sold by hour, and outstanding customer balances.

Spotify Experience @ DCODE Festival

After the huge success of the Spotify Experience at Bilbao BBK Live, Spotify asked Glownet Screen-Shot-2014-11-05-at-11.13.22to propose a new engagement concept for DCODE Festival.

DCODE Festival is organised by Live Nation in Madrid and has one the most competitive line-ups in the Spanish music festival industry. Based on this fact, Glownet proposed that festival goers vote for their favourite artists through Check-In Stations located around the site by tapping their Spotify RFID wristband.

Every 90 minutes the results of the most popular artists will be posted in real time on the big screen located at the main stages with the goal of creating a more social music experience.

Stage view tickets, speakers and Spotify Premium accounts will be given as incentives to encourage participation.


Spotify Experience @ Bilbao BBK Live

Spotify is a very active brand in the music festival industry, and as a streaming partner for music festivals understands very well that there are multiple opportunities for further brand awareness and end-user acquisition.

Glownet proposed innovative RFID engagement experiences to Spotify to target festival-goers at Bilbao BBK Live, one of the biggest music festivals in Spain.


The experiential marketing concepts Glownet delivered were:

  • Selfie stations positioned around the site so that customers could take instant selfies and apply Instagram-type filters. Simply by tapping their Spotify wristbands on a totem, customers were able to upload photos to their Facebook profile with an overlay of the sponsor.
  • Playlist Check-In totems located at the main stages giving the opportunity for registered customers to check-in while different artists were playing. Festival goers could share the playlist that their favourite artist was playing on Facebook by tapping their wristband to the Playlist Stations.
  • At the end of the festival customers received a customised playlist based on the artists they watched at the festival.
  • Samsung speakers, cameras, Spotify premium accounts were used as incentives depending on the levels of engagement achieved by their Facebook posts.

The objectives for this campaign were to register 3,000 users, generate 1 million impressions, 5,000 comments and likes, 1,000 playlists and photos. The results far exceeded these expectations:

  • 4.3 million impressions
  • 6,700 registered customers
  • 18,000 comments and likes
  • 3,100 Spotify playlists shared
  • 2,300 photos shared