Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Erica Naone

Bringing Connectivity to Lollapalooza

Location-based services are popular at festivals–providing there’s enough bandwidth.

  • August 6, 2010

Location-based services may still be searching for their purpose in the larger world, but they’ve found their niche at music festivals. Attendees at Lollapalooza, a major music festival taking place this weekend in Chicago’s Grant Park, will be able to take advantage of an application for iPhone and Android that uses the location capabilities of smart phones to update and improve on common festival activities.

“One of the biggest things people are trying to do at these festivals is keep up with and connect with their friends,” says Michael Feferman, digital marketing director at C3 Presents, which produces the event. Feferman described how the app builds on common practices at festivals.

For example, people typically plant flags in the ground as rallying points where friends can meet up. The Lollapalooza app lets users drop a virtual flag, complete with privacy controls so only a user’s friends can see the signal.

Attendees often send flurries of text messages to coordinate with each other, and the app simplifies this by letting people communicate on friend walls so that everyone can see the messages.

Feferman believes that similar apps will eventually be taken for granted at festivals and will be entirely ubiquitous. This hasn’t yet been realized, however, because connectivity is often a problem at events–festivals are often at remote locations without great connectivity in the first place, and they’re flooded with a huge, sudden population all trying to use the network at once.

This year, Lollapalooza hopes to better serve the population hoping to post status updates, use twitter, and share and upload photos. Instead of relying on wireless carriers, who often suffer heavy criticism during such events, Feferman says festival organizers decided to take matters into their own hands. They installed free Wi-Fi over the 100 acres of the festival, which involved setting up temporary infrastructure to carry that load.

Feferman stressed that “it’s very hard to provide people with the connectivity and service that they’re used to,” but he hopes that wireless access will help to make the location-based application more useful for attendees.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.