Ticketmaster is turning to new technologies to help fight ticket fraud. The ticket giant today unveiled its next generation digital ticket, "Safetix," bound to the ticket holder's mobile device via an encrypted barcode that is automatically updated every few seconds. The tickets will also support NFC technology, which allows fans to enter venues by tapping and driving.
According to the company, ticket holders can add their contactless ticket to Apple Wallet later this year to enter a ticket venue with their iPhone or Apple Watch. This includes the use of proximity-based technology, which automatically selects tickets when the phone is near the ticket reader.
Apple and Ticketmaster tested SafeTix this month during the fintech conference Transact, says Ticketmaster.
The combination of new technologies should reduce ticket fraud.
Unscrupulous resellers today make screenshots or photocopies of tickets, which they then sell multiple times to unsuspecting victims. As the barcodes are now updated automatically, a stored photo will not work.
In practice, however, this can be uncomfortable for some users who have previously enjoyed taking a screenshot of the ticket and sending it to a friend ̵
The change could also make it harder to check in at the venue as users – at least in the short term – fumble with their cell phones to find out how their new passports work.
For fans, the change means they need to transfer tickets to friends or other people to whom they sell a ticket, using the recipient's phone number or email address. This gives Ticketmaster an insight into the retention chain of each ticket. And this data can then be passed on to event owners who now have information about both the original ticket owner and the actual participant as well as anyone else who had access to the ticket.
This also applies to venues and event owners may address participants with other offers and information about the event – eg. For example, with offers for food, drinks or goods or with instructions for the venue. These are the fans that they would not necessarily have been able to achieve in the past if the fan had entered the venue for example only with a screenshot on their mobile phone or a paper ticket. The event or venue owner may even choose to contact the fan after the event, says Ticketmaster.
"With each transfer or sale a new ticket is issued, event owners can build a unique relationship with each fan, resulting in on-site personalization and future communication while increasing the popular fan base," said Justin Burleigh , Ticketmaster's Chief Product Officer, North America, in a launch statement. "With SafeTix, fans can watch a show or game knowing that their tickets are always 100 percent authentic, and drastically reduce the number of ticket fraud cases that event owners deal with on the day."
It is not immediately available everywhere, but is introduced in certain locations and on specific occasions. First, they will be used in all NFL stadiums and for a variety of artist tours for the 2019 season.
They will be available later at Ticketmaster's presence-enabled locations – today there are 300 in the US where proximity-based technologies such as NFC, RFID, and Audio are used. (Noteworthy: Ticketmaster has developed the audio check-in functionality in collaboration with TechCrunch Disrupt finalist Lisnr.)
SafeTix is just one way that Ticketmaster technology uses live events. The company now also uses Blink Identity face recognition tools, which it has invested in at some locations. And Ticketmaster acquired blockchain ticketing company Upgraded last autumn with a view to future improvements in identity-based ticketing.
Moving to SafeTix should not be a major change for NFL gamers. Ticketmaster said that in 2018, 97 percent of fans entered venues that used Ticketmaster technology during the 2018 season. It is expected that Ticketmaster Presence 2019 will be installed at over 350 venues.