PDC RFID Wristbands

In today’s highly competitive amusement  industries, customer loyalty is built around convenience, security, and overall guest experience.  The emergence of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology has completely reshaped the way amusement and waterparks operate. It all began in 2005 at PDC’s first SmartBand® RFID wristband system deployment at Hyland Hills Water World in Denver, CO. Soon after, SmartBand® was put to the test by the first of 9 Great Wolf Properties in Poconos, PA. Cashless payments, resort access control, and keyless room entry means Great Wolf guests no longer have to worry about keys, wallets, or cash. Everything is on the wrist— you can’t get more convenient than that!

Today,  leading amusement parks, water parks, resorts, and music festivals around the world are using PDC Smart® wristband technology with overwhelming success attributed to customer and business focused applications that increase guest spending, enhance park efficiency, and boost guest loyalty.

Key Benefits

Increase Revenue & Profits

RFID provides convenient purchasing power by reducing transaction time, resources, and fraud associated with cash handling

Enhance Security

Non-transferable, secure RFID wristbands prevent unauthorized use or access unlike tickets, keys, cash, and credit cards

Streamline Operations

RFID automates manual procedures, making transactions simple and seamless

Reduce Costs

RFID provides faster, automated processes to reduce staff time and required resources

Instant Data & Analytics

RFID offers real-time reporting tools to provide instant application data and analytics

Prevent Fraud & Counterfeits

The unique chip identifier number in every RFID wristband makes duplication or replication impossible

Boost Your Brand

Social media integration and the keepsake value of RFID wristbands leaves a lasting impression long after a guest visit

Elevate the Guest Experience

Faster payments, shorter lines, and streamlined operations all add up to more satisfied and loyal customers


What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification, an automatic identification technology that uses radio waves to transfer digital information between a tag and reader.  An RFID tag is comprised of two parts – an antenna for transmitting and receiving signals, and an RFID chip which stores the tag’s ID and other information. 

RFID is used in hundreds of applications worldwide and comes in various forms: Low Frequency (LF), High Frequency (HF), and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) HF tags at 13.56 MHz are most commonly used in the amusement and water park industries with a read/write range of just a few inches, high storage capacities, and fast data writing. These advanced capabilities make RFID extremely quick and accurate, requiring little to no effort on the part of staff or guests to use effectively.

What are the key components of an RFID System?

RFID systems are composed of many common elements, and include tags (also known as transponders or inlays), readers, antennas and application software. However, depending on the requirements of the application, the actual make-up of these components can vary greatly in size, form factor and cost.

How does RFID work?

All RFID systems transmit digital data between a reader and transponder via radio waves. PDC is focused on passive RFID systems in which an inlay – a combination of microchip and antenna – receives and transmits data only when coupled with a reader and antenna, typically at a range of 5 inches or less. The reader is controlled by a host computer or on-board microprocessor and determines the appropriate read or write operation.

Active RFID systems use transponders with an on-board battery to boost the effective operating range of the tag, and are often used for real-time location systems or environmental sensing and storage. This added functionality comes at a significant cost vs. typical passive systems.

What are PDC Smart® Wristbands?

PDC Smart® Wristbands describes PDC’s patented product line of RFID wristband products, widely used today in a growing number of hospitality and healthcare applications.

PDC Smart® wristbands contain a securely sealed waterproof RFID tag, which is programmed with a unique alpha-numeric code which can be linked in a host database to the wearer. When scanned by an RFID reader, a low-power radio wave activates the chip to securely collect and transfer data. 

PDC Smart® wristbands replaces traditional forms of identification and access credentials including keys, badges, and door cards that can de-magnitize, or don’t mix well with water. From cashless point-of sale, to keyless entry, and social media integration, PDC Smart® Wristbands drive any variety of guest-convenience applications with a
simple wave of the wristband.

What are the advantages of RFID over barcodes?

Unlike a magnetic stripe or bar code, RFID allows for passive data transfer without the need for physical contact or line-of-sight reading.  RFID is not likely to completely replace bar codes, but RFID has specific advantages over bar codes that make it the technology of choice for a growing number of applications. Benefits include:

  • RFID does not require line-of-sight to communicate between tag and reader. This feature improves efficiency and also enables RFID to be used in harsh or dirty environments. 
  • RFID is a dynamic data carrier. Many RFID devices are read/write capable, which enable updates to the encoded data in the tag. With barcodes, any changes to the data require printing a new barcode.
  • RFID provides increased security over barcodes, which are easy to copy and duplicate. With RFID, different levels of security are possible depending on the sensitivity of the data stored or accessed by the RFID tag. Data encryption techniques, secure or private communication protocols, or public/private keys are proven techniques to safeguard the security of a RFID system.
  • The first time read rate of a RFID tag is higher than a barcode, which improves efficiency of a system. Unlike barcodes, RFID is not sensitive to sunlight, making it the ideal credential for outdoor parks or resorts. Also, curvature, especially in a wristband, has minimal impact on reading a RFID tag, whereas curvature in a barcode can render it useless, depending on the symbology or orientation.

Can RFID be used as a tracking device?

Since passive RFID transponders must be closely coupled with a reader to transmit information, the read distance is generally limited to short distances, rendering passive RFID tags impractical for tracking purposes. A passive RFID system may be configured to provide ‘last known location’ based on the last read of the transponder at a specific location, but it cannot provide real time tracking.

Active UHF transponders use a battery to power the chip’s circuitry and broadcast a signal to a reader. Transmission distances can reach 100 feet or more, enabling active systems to track items or people in closed loop environments.

Are there any health risks associated with RFID and radio waves?

No. RFID utilizes the low-end of the electromagnetic spectrum. The waves emitted from readers are no more dangerous than radio waves signaled to your car stereo.