Ticketmaster this week announced its SmartEvent suite of ticketing technology, essentially rebranding existing anti-resale products as useful for event operators looking to reopen with coronavirus safety measures in mind. Packaged together in SmartEvent are tools designed to allow for varying capacity rules, distancing needs, and data harvesting able to be put to contract tracing use.
“We know that fans around the world are eager to return to live events and SmartEvent gives event organizers an array of solutions to help make that possible,” says Ticketmaster President Mark Yovich in a press release announcing the tech. “SmartEvent brings together our advanced technology platform and industry-leading venue and seating insights, putting Ticketmaster in the unique position to facilitate paths back to live.”
Many of the SmartEvent tools are specific to the needs of venues amid the pandemic and the restrictions in place from government entities to help slow the spread. Algorithmic seat distancing intelligence will help maximize available space, with timed entry and entry rate monitoring allowing throttling of guest entry to allow safe distancing before the start of an event. Other tools touted include contactless technology for both venue entry and contactless payment options for in-venue purchasing – which allows the ticketing vendor to gather even more user data about purchasing behavior, making its trove of data even more valuable to potential partners down the road.
Also included in the tools designated as SmartEvent are leveraging of the controversial SafeTix rotating barcode system – made famous when it was used to lock out hundreds of fans who purchased tickets on secondary marketplaces out of a Black Keys show last year – for contract tracing purposes. In this ecosystem, the rotating nature of the barcodes allows venue operators to effectively eliminate the ability of consumers to access tickets to live events without allowing access to their personal identity and tracking through their mobile devices.
In a contract-tracing context, such data access is understandable, but the Live Nation Entertainment-owned ticketing giant makes clear that the use of the tech will not end with the coronavirus.
“While initially intended to help fans and organizers get back to live, some of these innovations will long outlast COVID-19, streamlining processes and providing endless opportunity to modernize the event experience,” Yovich says. “We have every confidence that the industry will prevail, and that our cutting-edge technology, local expertise, global reach and fan insights will lead the way.”