Can smart wristbands make lines shorter at music festivals and theme parks?

While wearable devices still lack a killer app that will drive mainstream adoption, smart wristbands may have a long-term role to play as a site-specific device: a way to gain quicker entry to or make faster purchases at events like music festivals or destinations like theme parks, at least for those consumers willing to link up credit card information beforehand.

Last year Disney started rolling out its NFC-enabled MagicBand, a wristband that lets Disney World attendees make contactless payments and acts as a park pass, among other things. Disney reports that for the first full quarter in which the band was available to all guests, roughly half chose to use it, although it’s unclear how many of those enabled the payments feature.

Lately, smart wristbands have been popping up at music festivals. Lollapalooza in Chicago offered Lolla Cashless, RFID-enabled bracelets that let attendees seamlessly buy refreshments and merchandise by scanning their wrists and entering a PIN. PayPal introduced similar bracelets to VIP-section guests at this summer’s Low Festival in Spain. And Barclays helped publicize its new bPay bands by inviting attendees of May’s Pride in London to request one online, then use it to make faster purchases at the LGBT event, which the bank sponsored. bPay bands were also available for British Summer Time concerts in Hyde Park.

Meanwhile, Cantora is an entertainment tech firm working on Nada, a project to create wristbands for concertgoers that combine payment and ticket functions. “It’s so f—ing hard to get someone to download something on their phone or connect with you on Facebook,” co-founder Nick Panama explained to CNBC. “There’s an opportunity to make live events a connected experience: To make who you see and what you buy as the new ‘like’ or ‘follow’ button.”

Image credit: BDC Wire