Tickets without barcode: concert halls experiment with new systems
When fans get tickets to events at the Burton Cummings Theater in Winnipeg in the future, they might notice the lack of a familiar feature: that ubiquitous zebra-style inventory tracker that graces nearly every store. imaginable retail products.
The theater operator, True North Sports and Entertainment, is testing a new Ticketmaster system that gives venues the ability to omit barcodes that would typically be scanned to validate a ticket’s authenticity and allow entry to a concert or sporting event.
This could be an early sign that the barcode days are numbered, as technological improvements allow companies to replace them with more secure digital tickets with codes embedded in a fan’s phone or a Wi-Fi bracelet. Fi that allows them to track consumers for both security and data collection purposes.
Invented in the 1970s, the barcode was first used to purchase a 67-cent pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum, but was quickly adopted in many industries after companies realized it could speed up prices. purchases and help track inventory.
Scannable wristbands, cashless stores
Companies already switching from the barcode lineup at Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival, which prefers scannable wristbands, to Amazon’s new cashier-less store in Seattle that uses various sensors to detect the products customers have in their shopping cart and automatically bill their accounts.
A UK retail expert recently gave the technology a shelf life of just five to ten years.
“The barcode is going to go away,” Ticketmaster CEO Michael Rapino reportedly told an audience at a Goldman Sachs investor conference last fall, though he did not offer a timeline for the. disappearance of the barcode.
His company has been fairly silent on its barcode abandonment experiments through Ticketmaster Presence – a program that allows sites to let fans scan electronic tickets embedded with a digital token instead of a barcode and stored on their phone or smart watch in self-service terminals. to access the events.
The entertainment giant wouldn’t name what venues or Canadian artists are looking to experiment to cut the barcode beyond the Burton Cummings Theater, which True North Sports and Entertainment vice president of communications Rob Wozny says doesn’t has not yet offered a show without a barcode.
So far, Ticketmaster said that 70 venues, including the 25,500-capacity Orlando City stadium, have used Presence in North America and that more are likely to play with the program this year. as it is deployed.
With Presence, “there have been no cases of fraud so far and the technology is successful in getting fans to the venues to see their favorite live events faster and more efficiently than ever.”– Justin Burleigh, Executive Vice President of Product, Ticketmaster
Ticketmaster began pushing Presence amid its ongoing crusade against bots buying large quantities of tickets seconds after they went on sale online and scammers who tricked ticket buyers into the resale market by photocopying a ticket. ticket repeatedly and reselling it to unsuspecting fans who are then barred from entering the gate.
“It’s bad for everyone involved – venues, clubs, artists and most importantly the fans,” Justin Burleigh, executive vice president of product at Ticketmaster, said in an email.
A digital smartphone ticket is supposed to be more difficult to resell on sites and especially outside concert halls.
“[With Presence] there have been no cases of fraud so far and the technology is successful in getting fans to the venues to see their favorite live events faster and more efficiently than ever before. “
Presence not only directs fans to the shortest queues or parking lots with the most empty spaces, but provides a business and marketing advantage as it gives Ticketmaster access to tons of data about spectators and their habits. .
Lower the costs
Barcode-less systems also offer the opportunity to reduce personnel costs by eliminating the need to scan individual items or tickets, said Norman Shaw, associate professor at Ryerson University who studies cashless society.
Shaw said businesses are looking to two barcode alternatives: near-field communication (NFC), which is most commonly seen in tap-and-go credit cards and garage-based entry systems. on proximity, and radio frequency identification (RFID), which businesses can put in place to detect which items leave their store.
“If I have RFID, I have more flexibility because as soon as it comes in I know what I have,” Shaw said. “At the store level, it’s really important for a retailer to know what they have, rather than having to look at every item.”
For example, cruise lines use technology to monitor who goes up and down at ports of call.
Companies also use these technologies to track internal movements.
Retailers with large warehouses have been among the fastest to adopt RFID for inbound shipments which are often bundled on large pallets that can be difficult and time consuming to comb through, Shaw said.
Miners and energy companies, such as Suncor Energy, use RFID key fobs to locate workers without forcing them to scan a barcode as they enter rooms. And manufacturers like Ford Motor Co. and DeWalt are using RFID to help construction and factory workers track tools and equipment.
While Shaw believes the proliferation of RFID and NFC will continue, he doesn’t expect retailers to abandon barcode overwhelmingly, as most alternatives require customers to have smartphones or use the internet. , which can lead to breakdowns.
“It doesn’t cover all situations, but it will cover very many situations,” he said.
But as with any idea that the barcode is on its deathbed, he added, “It will take us a long time to get there.”