Ticketmaster is relying on a suite of recently developed technologies designed to stop scalping to power its high-tech effort to enforce social distancing and reduce physical contact as it prepares for a post-COVID-19 comeback.
Today the company rolled out SmartEvent, a technology roadmap for the 2021 concert experience that staggers entry into venues, minimizes human-to-human contact and pushes much of the customer service functions usually performed by part-time venue staff on to kiosk and smart phone platforms. Stymied in its efforts to develop new technology after furloughing and laying off much of its workforce, Ticketmaster instead will explore redeploying existing technology typically used to fight scalping to aid in efforts to provide contact tracing and viral spread awareness when concerts return.
The plan is new Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich’s first initiative atop the world’s largest ticketing company. Presence and Safetix, the digital ticketing platform utilized by the company to replace print-at-home tickets, will now have the “ability to explore integrations to allow contact tracing where necessary,” while social distancing in the seating bowl will be handled by an algorithm capable of measuring “distance between seats, slope angles, riser heights and more.”
Ticket transfer technology used to restrict fans from reselling tickets to high demand shows will now be used to make “entry safer” by requiring most person entering a concert venue to register an account with Ticketmaster.
“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 Yovich, who took the reins of the world’s largest ticketing company earlier this year following the announcement that Jared Smith would be transitioning out of his role leading the company. “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.”
Ticketmaster also plans to reemphasize its technology which can reconfigure seating arrangements for concerts, sports teams or family shows, allow “organizers to give fans specific arrival times and entry ways to manage the flow of people into the venue” and enable notifications to fans with real-time information.
“Ticketmaster pioneered the development of digital tickets in 2017, which has now unlocked new capabilities for contactless experiences,” the company said in a press release. “SmartEvent can transform a traditional box office facility into a Contactless Box Office, with the ability to handle all ticketing transactions, account support, refunds or will-call while reducing the need for physical interactions between fans and staff.”
The company is exploring ways to incorporate testing and real time results into its plan, explains Yovich.
“While initially intended to help fans and organizers get back to live, some of these innovations will long outlast COVID-19,” 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.”