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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 June, 2004, 04:35 GMT 05:35 UK
Texting lights up Glasto's tents
By Jo Twist
BBC News Online at Glastonbury

This must be the place!
Bewildered festival-goers at Glastonbury 2004 have had a helping hand finding their way "home" with a tent that lights up by text message.

Over 100,000 music lovers have made the annual trek to the Vale of Avalon which means thousands of identical tents.

Orange has designed a Text Me Home Tent with a receiver and antenna in it with a unique number to text.

The limited edition tent is to show how mobile technology can make festival life a bit easier, says Orange.

With a lightweight antenna and receiver box, as well as special luminous ribbing embedded on the tent's edge, the whole contraption is not overly cumbersome.

The antenna simply slots into the dome of the tent, and a wire feeds through the fabric of the tent to the receiver box.

Orange beacon

When the receiver is sent a text message, it triggers the antenna to rise and light up as an orange beacon.

The gadget could, in the future, be personalised further to display different coloured lights, or to play the mobile user's favourite ring tone.

The idea grew from the solar-powered tents which Orange developed for last year's festival.

This year's idea shows how gadgets and technologies, like mobiles, are becoming an increasingly essential, but simple, way of enhancing the festival-going experience.

"It is just about making it easier so you can be freer to wander, like the text towers we have here which have become a meeting point," an Orange spokesperson told BBC News Online.

We have done lots of research, especially with the youth market, and the one thing they can't live without now is their mobile

The text towers have replaced the traditional form of festival communication, paper notes.

Notes used to be posted around various meeting points scattered around the festival site, but now the majority rely on mobiles.

"We have done lots of research, especially with the youth market, and the one thing they can't live without now is their mobile," the spokesperson said.

Even during England's Euro 2004 football match against Portugal, which was watched on a giant screen by more than 60,000 festival-goers, mobile technology was very much on show.

"Even I was photo messaging my friends while watching the game, sending them back pictures of where I was," said the Orange spokesperson.

The Text Me Home tents are yet another extension of mobile technology, which could catch on in the world of camping.

Orange says it has had a lot of interest from retailers who could be interested in incorporating it into their camping equipment.


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