Visitors Cirque@Taque pay cashless via Event Reservation

Published on 17/10/2023 in Customer Stories

We are clearly using less and less cash, even at bars or food trucks at an event. But a stable network connection with guaranteed capacity is crucial for effortless cashless payments.

Visitors Cirque@Taque pay cashless via Event Reservation

Cirque@Taque is a free family festival at Hof De Bist in Ekeren, with lots of music and all kinds of entertainment for both young and old. This certainly includes food and drink. To make purchases during their time at the festival, visitors were given a payment card designed in the house style of the festival.

The basic idea behind these cards is simple. Visitors load a certain amount on the card using their smartphone with a QR code, cash or Bancontact at one of the festival tills. The card can then be used to make cashless payments easily and quickly at the bar, at the food trucks and much more.

The company EventPay provides this electronic payment system at festivals and other events. “Our service is all about making fast and secure payments,” says Klaas De Proost, EventPay’s business manager. The connection between the payment terminals – for example at the bar – and the payment platform goes via the cloud.

But at an event with thousands of visitors, there is a risk that demand on the on-site antennas is too great which would mean that payment terminals are no longer able to use the mobile network. “We used to provide our own back-up for the mobile network by installing an on-site Wi-Fi network, connected to a fixed line, as a way to ensure a smooth flow of payments at all times.”

Reserved capacity

During Cirque@Taque in Ekeren, however, EventPay together with Proximus NXT took a different approach. “Slicing is a 5G feature that allows us to reserve parts of the available capacity of the network for a specific application but this cannot be used with the many existing 4G payment terminals and so we used Event Reservation, a pre-slicing technique,” says Rembert Van den Bosch, product manager at Proximus NXT.

“This is a unique feature of Proximus’ mobile network that allows us to reserve some of the network’s available capacity for the many 4G devices that do not yet support 5G StandAlone." Proximus NXT applied that principle to the mobile phone antennas near Hof De Bist in Ekeren.

Slicing reserves part of the available capacity of the network for a specific application, but that requires a 5G SA device.

Rembert Van den Bosch, product manager at Proximus NXT

Cirque@Taque could expect between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors a day. There were, in total, 20 places where visitors could use the festival's payment card. Some of the payment terminals were fitted with a special SIM card by Proximus NXT, giving them access to the reserved network capacity.

“At times when the mobile network became saturated, the flow of payment traffic via those devices continued very smoothly,” says De Proost, “precisely because there was a part of the network reserved specifically for that purpose.” At that point, the other devices fell back on the wireless network provided by EventPay as a backup. Over two days, EventPay in Ekeren processed over 80,000 transactions.

Lower threshold

EventPay and Proximus NXT look back on a successful test. “Visitors to a festival don’t much enjoy waiting in line at the bar,” De Proost said. “Smooth payments helps keep queues short.” But using Event Reservation does more than just contribute to the visitor's experience. The system also allows EventPay to make huge cost savings.

“If we no longer have to provide our own wireless network at events, that is a major cost gone and we can put more focus on our core business. We are primarily a payments facilitation company, not a connectivity provider.” Another big advantage is that the solution will be built on the existing Proximus radio antennas. EventPay did not have to provide space or power for additional equipment.

Event Reservation makes the use of a cashless payment system more accessible, even for small event organizers.

Klaas De Proost, managing director EventPay.

The fact that the extra cost of a back-up wireless network is eliminated also lowers the threshold for organizers, EventPay argues. “That will mean that using a cashless payment system will become more accessible, even for small event organizers,” De Proost concluded. “The beauty of it all is that Proximus NXT is part of the solution. Having guaranteed connectivity during the event is one less big concern for us.”

This initiative is part of Proximus NXT’s wider perspective. Together with De Cronos Groep, Proximus NXT aims to build new digital experiences that will require reserved bandwidth.

A 5G Private Network is a closed network built specifically to meet the needs of a specific organization. It offers higher bandwidth, lower latency and more security than public networks, resulting in better performance, reliability and greater efficiency. This makes it ideal for companies looking to implement advanced applications such as augmented reality, industrial automation and autonomous vehicles.


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