It’s all in the wrist

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Intellitix Chief Operating Officer Peter Fantuz shows one of the RIFD wristbands used by his firm create a “cashless experience” for events from concerts to food festivals.
Intellitix Chief Operating Officer Peter Fantuz shows one of the RIFD wristbands used by his firm create a “cashless experience” for events from concerts to food festivals.

Montreal, Toronto, Budapest and Chatham.

If you asked most people which of these cities isn’t like the other, Chatham is the obvious answer – but for Peter Fantuz that’s a good thing.

Fantuz is the chief operating officer of Intellitix, one of the world’s foremost providers of RIFD event technology and he’s happy to list Chatham as one of the company’s main locations.

“It’s good to be in Chatham, it’s a great place to live and to do business,” he said. “We could go anywhere but we have everything we need here.”

Fantuz can be forgiven for being somewhat prejudiced since he was born and raised here, but says the time away only increased his appreciation for his community.

“I had been living in Calgary and you just don’t get the same sense that you do here,” he said. “The pace is faster and it’s not as personal. I like the fact that I know people here and they know me.”

Intellitix, founded in Montreal six years ago, is led by Serge Grimaux, whose official title on the company website is Chief Executive Officer and Head Pilot.

“Serge is a visionary,” Fantuz said. “He was a festival promoter who saw the potential in RIFD.”

The technology uses radio frequency identification that is installed in a wristband or lanyard, to allow the wearer the opportunity for a cash-free experience as well as increased security for event organizers.

Instead of a traditional ticket, purchasers receive a wristband or lanyard with the information loaded. The wristband is then tapped upon entry.

Although Intellitix doesn’t manufacture the wristbands, it provides the technology and installs the point of sale devices and equipment.

With a presence in 18 countries, the firm has served more than 20 million guests and $325 million in cashless spending.

Included in its more than 200 festivals and events are the Coachella Music Festival, Boots and Hearts and the Ryder Cup.

The technology took off exponentially when it was expanded to allow purchases such as refreshments or souvenirs.

“We really have the ability to create a cashless mini-city of sorts,” he said. “It makes things so much simpler than pulling out a wallet or card. The convenience is a major factor.”

The advantage for the promoter is that they have a much more accurate and timely record of purchases.

“There’s no need to reconcile cash and wait for that process,” he said. “We offer real time reporting which is a tremendous leap forward in reporting and accuracy.”

Fantuz said Intellitix has doubled its business each year of its operation and things show no sign of slowing down.

It currently has nine employees in Chatham in operations, logistics and human resources and is adding more on a regular basis.

“One of the reasons we located here was that there is such a great depth of talent locally,” he said. “We’re within 90 minutes of Western and the University of Windsor and we have strong colleges in St. Clair, Lambton and Fanshawe.”

Fantuz said the firm has “bank grade security” and huge pride in making sure transactions are secure.

“A thief would have a much easier time stealing your wallet than getting a wristband off,” which he demonstrated by having to cut off the band he wore for a demonstration.

Proof of the firm’s success was its award as “Best Technology Provider” at the 2016 Event Production Awards in London, England.

It was and was also ranked by Fast Company as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies” in Live Events.

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