Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Tech hiccups at Rebel Salute

Published:Friday | January 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM

At one time, paying at the gate meant flashing your cash. But it also held risks to personal security from pickpockets.

Now, in the era of plastic, credit and debit cards are welcome, but it brings another set of challenges - of the technical kind - as Rebel Salute showgoers found out over the past weekend.

Some reggae fans were left fuming when they turned up at the gate and tried to pay the entrance fee electronically, but were told by agents handling the equipment that the card machines were not working.

"It's a good thing I had a backup plan, because I had planned to use my card," said a female fan, who patronises the stage show every year.

"How could they allow this to happen?" she charged, adding that the money she eventually used to pay for entrance was earmarked for spending on food and other services inside the venue.

The 2016 staging was 'powered' by FLOW, but the telecoms told the Financial Gleaner that it was not the cause of the glitch.

"All technical requirements, including Wi-Fi, fixed Internet and phone lines, as agreed on with the organisers, were delivered and worked according to both our expectations during the two-night event," said sponsorship and events manager at FLOW Jamaica, Stephen Miller, via email.

He said the point-of-sale (POS) machines used at the event required a mobile or SIM connection and as such, could not have utilised the fixed or Wi-Fi Internet connections or telephone lines to process transactions.

He intimated that the glitch arose from absence of the mobile connection.

"We have since recommended to the organisers that for future events, they consider a POS machine that utilises a fixed connection as that will provide a better experience for patrons," Miller said.

Meanwhile, organisers of the event have promised a smoother process for the next show.

"Maybe, as FLOW informed me on the night, we need to request a specific type of machine from the provider," said Jahyudah Barrett, daughter of the promoter, Tony Rebel.

Barrett said a similar problem occurred at last year's show.

"The machines were not able to work with the type of internet that was provided. So, neither the wired nor the WI-FI itself would work with that type of machines," she said.

The hiccups caused a backlogged at the gate.

Throughout the two nights of Rebel Salute this year, Miller said FLOW's technical team remained on site and worked closely with the organisers, "offering continuous support to deliver the outstanding event".

The show was held January 13-14 at Grizzly's Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann.