Birmingham Ice Skating and Big Wheel

Chameleon is proud to be the company chosen to build and promote the new website and APP for the Birmingham Ice Skating and Big Wheel.

This is one of the most impressive yearly events that takes place over the Christmas period at the same time as Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market and Craft Market which attracts million’s of people to Birmingham.

ice skate and big wheel birmingham

The new website is eye catching and really shows how much effort the client goes to, in order to achieve a status making this one of the best mobile ice skating rinks in Europe.

To make this project even more exciting we are the company behind the search engine optimisation or SEO, marketing and advertising for the event. This will also be using our payment system and mobile beacon technology.

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Microsoft Corporation, Google & Firefox WebAssembly

Things are changing in the web world with Microsoft Corporation, Google and Firefox teaming up together to help build a faster web.

Microsoft, Google and Mozilla are working together looking at website applications and website pages to help speed them up by creating new standards.

This venture could help shape the way the Internet functions and improvements from this will result in users experiences being better all round.

This move could also be a step forward in creating better online games and applications being able to function like a local desktop in a browser.

The big difference is going to be using what is called WebAssembly. This is used to compile source code of Web applications and the new standards will help process this data within the browser more quickly.

How Does WebAssembly Work?

The concept of WebAssembly is actually relatively simple with developers writing the program logic for the Website components using coding language like C or C++ which is no different to what we do already. Then the code is compiled it into a binary object that can be executed by the JavaScript engine within the browser.

The reason for this is that WebAssembly objects are small which will help with the delivery of data to a browser. To put his in perspective a current web game could be as large as 25MB in plain JavaScript code which means the user has to download this data and this creates the bottle neck. The new binary form could be a little as 6MB to 8MB for same web game.

Not only is the game data now delivered quicker the other advantage is the rendering time. The browsers JavaScript engine can execute the new binary form much quicker than plain JavaScript code.

Why Microsoft Corporation, Google and Firefox are looking at this!

Web applications are growing more sophisticated with companies like Google and Microsoft being at the forefront of the technical advances. Both Google and Microsoft use JavaScript heavily and as new developments are released they are becoming more complex increasing the workload of a browser.

The WebAssembly development project is being worked on as group with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) who dictate the current standards for the Web.

This project is being worked on by Google, Microsoft and Mozilla behind the scenes of public view with the goal to reach a consensus which will outline future of browser coding technology.

Cashless Payment System Fails at Download Festival

The Cashless Payment System at the Download rock festival is the first major UK festival to test the a cashless method of transactions.

download festival 2015
Photo by: Lewis Kirton-Smith

The organisers advertised the new systems on the website:-

We can’t trust Download Dog anymore so the festival is going absolutely cashless this year – the first major UK festival to do so. Which is pretty epic.

Not only will it reduce queues for the bar and food stalls, it removes the faff of cash and makes security on site even tighter.

How? We’re introducing Dog Tags, a payment system that will work across the whole festival.

To use the system you have to go to:- < ahref="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" >

The RFID Dog Tags Info and FAQ’s:-

The idea is that you can easily top-up money online, before or during an event. The system then allows any remaining balance to be refunded after the event.

Download Festival Cashless Payment System
Photo by: Wenn

However the Daily Mail reported the “New system branded ‘useless’ and ‘a complete joke’ by revellers” and this at a time when application development companies like Chameleon are moving towards clients using systems with no cash.

The problems being faced were:-

Topping up system not available due to systems crashing.
Attendees added cash to system 48 hours in advance finding no money on their account when the barcode is scanned.

Why Did The Cashless Payment System Fail at The Download Festival?

The payment system was using payment-enabled ‘Dog Tags’ which are designed to speed up transactions, reducing the queuing and to combat crime at festivals. The problem was that the system crashed leaving the festival attendees hungry and thirsty.

Systems are tested fully before they go live but it is very difficult to test in the same volume that actually happens when live.

Possible reasons the system failed:-

1. The api wasn’t build to service so many people in a short period of time (testing potentially on a few dozen people and thought that it would simply upscale to thousands).
2. They didn’t respect the fact that at a festival phone signal is a premium and can’t be relied on.
3. They didn’t develop a system that still functions off line and then simply logs the transactions for when signal is restored. Then it’s not disrupting the service.
4. Their servers were not scalable for peak usage.

It is always recommended to do a soft launch in a few areas first to test the system. Then slowly roll it out section by section and then you have proof the system can cope with the large demand when required.

download festival 2015 fans angry

The organisers where attacked with angry messages on both Twitter and Facebook and this will have a negative effect on the organisers trust.

A spokesman for Download Festival commented Download’s new ‘cashless’ RFID system has encountered some minor technical issues, affecting around 1% of attendees, which has resulted in extended queuing times at some information points.

When the payment system starting to come online the servers should be hitting low utilisation rates and then as more people come to use the system, i.e. more transactions taking place the server load will increase.

The problem it seems here is that the system failed to cope with the load. This is a huge embarrassment for the first cashless festival and we wonder what damage this has done in terms of trust as the future of money is changing. This week Apple announced their system called “Apple Pay” for the UK market.