Ticketmaster has begun piloting a smartphone-based ticketing system that relies on audio data to admit fans to live events.
The app, created by Ticketmaster, uses signals emitted and received by smartphones, which are inaudible to humans, to track who is entering a gig.
According to the tech website Venture Beat, Ticketmaster has begun to use the ‘smart tones’ system, developed by ultrasonic audio technology firm Lisnr, at a small handful of venues, but have plans to expand the system globally within the next four years.
To utilise the technology, users must download an app and open it as they approach the venue. Microphones installed at the event detect audio signals sent out by the app between 18.75 kHz and 19.2 kHz - frequencies which are inaudible to 90% of people.
Once the identity of the ticketholder is confirmed, users’ phones will light up green and guests are admitted without a ticket being manually scanned or checked, thus eliminating queue time.
This is not the first time that ultrasonic sound technology from Lisnr has been used to this effect – the sounds have been used in large department stores to monitor footfall and for security purposes. Jaguar Land Rover also used the technology recently in a test which substituted car keys for a smartphone that could notify the car of a particular driver’s presence. Upon detecting this personalised signal, it is able to unlock the car and adjust the seat settings.
Whilst other paperless ticketing systems in a similar vein have been put forward before, such as QR codes or the NFC chip, Lisnr claims that these are expensive as they require infrastructural investment in venues in order to work effectively.
The Ticketmaster system could not only reduce queue time, but also has the potential to crackdown on ticketing fraud, as it ties each ticket to a specific person and mobile phone.
By Sophie Nevrkla