Ticketmaster taps smartphone audio data to tackle long lines
- Ticketmaster, the division of Live Nation Entertainment that's the market leader in U.S. ticket sales, launched a system to check attendees into events using audio data from smartphones, according to the Verge. Instead of scanning a QR code or a barcode from a paper ticket by hand, the smart tone technology uses a smartphone speaker to generate a high-pitched tone that's inaudible to more than 90% of the human population. A special scanner at the venue's gate translates the data to verify the mobile ticket and ID. By showing a green approved screen on their phones, people can gain entry more quickly.
- Event venues also can access attendees' smartphone data to get precise geolocations of each guest, which allows organizers to send customized messages to individuals, according to VentureBeat.
- Lisnr, a Cincinnati-based technology company, developed Ticketmaster's "Presence" e-ticketing system. The company also plans to add shopping capability that lets guests buy food and drink from their seats without waiting in line at concessions.
As consumers have their phones with them almost always, mobile ticketing can bring added convenience for bus rides, concerts, films and other activities that previously required consumers to remember a printed ticket. One of the challenges with mobile ticketing is pulling up a ticket on the screen to gain entrance, which can be time consuming. NFC contactless technology is positioned as one possible approach for addressing these challenges and Lisnr's smart tones technology could be another. The tech has many advantages over traditional ticketing, including cost savings and the ability to verify the identity of event attendees — and potentially reduce ticket fraud — at a much quicker rate. Lisnr-powered tickets give Ticketmaster greater control over the reseller market for fans who face difficulty in getting tickets to sold-out shows or events.
Because each smart tone has its own unique identifier, venues can track people with scanners that interact with their phones as they move from their seats to concessions or other facilities. The data can be harnessed to target individuals with personalized messages and offers. Lisnr's technology is currently in place at hundreds of venues, and may also be applicable in other settings like shopping malls to let merchants target shoppers with proximity-based alerts, according to VentureBeat.
Generally, data-over-audio technology is still in the early stages of development. Chirp, a London-based startup, created a tool for easy data transfers using sound, while Google's Nearby uses near-ultrasonic audio as part of its proximity-based messaging protocol. Even if the tool doesn't gain immediate widespread traction, Ticketmaster's adoption of Lisnr's smart tones may raise awareness of the technology the same way that Pokemon Go helped to popularize augmented reality among smartphone users.