RFID Wristbands Provide Access Control At California Aquatics Center

Guests at Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center in La Mirada, Calif. are buzzing about one of the waterpark's state-of-the-art attractions. Turns out that it isn't a water ride but a dynamic locker system that provides convenient keyless access, electronically activated by guests' RFID wristbands.

Launched in November 2007, the RFID system ensures quick and easy access to waterpark lockers, while eliminating the chance of losing locker keys or forgetting combination codes. The system also provides maximum security as RFID is recognized as one the most accurate and reliable technologies available.

The process at Splash! begins as guests receive a disposable Smart Band wristband from the service desk. Developed by Precision Dynamics Corporation (PDC) of San Fernando, CA, Smart Band is a non-transferable wristband with a securely sealed RFID microchip, which is programmed with a unique 16-character code. When scanned by a RFID reader at locker access stations, a low-power radio wave activates the chip to securely collect and transfer data. The microchip assigns the waterpark guest a locker and triggers the locker to open -- all with the wave of a wristband. The Smarte Locke lockers are developed by Smarte Carte of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Guests at the aquatics center have remarked on the combination of convenience and security that the RFID system provides.

"Guests find it real simple to use," said Lori Thompson, Aquatics Manager for the city of La Mirada. "There's no need for the guests to find their locker as the system does it for them, automatically popping open the locker door. Guests say that they feel secure knowing there's no chance for keys to fall out of their pockets. Plus, they have access to the lockers and their valuables at all times."

The aquatics center had earlier used a reusable RFID wristband with the lockers, charging a $6 deposit, but it required guests to wait in line at the end of the day to return the bands for their deposit.

"Customers find the new disposable PDC Smart Band to be much more convenient as it helps eliminate those lines and save time," Thompson said. "It also helps in reducing staffing levels at the front counter." In addition, Smart Band is adjustable while the facility's previous product was not.

Keyless locker access is only one of the many applications that the Smart Band RFID Wristband System can be used for. Parks and resorts use Smart Band as a high-security identification and admissions pass, allowing entrance into the property. In addition to lockers, Smart Band provides keyless entry into guests' hotel rooms.

Money can be automatically loaded to the wristband to use as a cashless payment card for any point of purchase, with the option of pre-allocating an amount for children. Industry reports cite that guests spend more through cashless methods as opposed to cash. The band can also be used to activate vending machines and arcade games, as well as identify lost children to help reunite them with their parents through its automated identification technology. The waterproof wristband is available in 13 colors.

Thompson said that Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center is looking into additional RFID applications to allow guests to pre-purchase meals or allocate an amount on children's bands for their individual spending.

"We look forward to working with PDC to improve the overall guest experience and provide an even higher level of convenience and value for our customers," she said.

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