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Ticketfriend Aims to Eliminate Paper Tickets in Ireland

Concert and event promoters can use the company's solution to provide electronic tickets—via NFC-enabled ID cards or mobile phones—for customers to access venues or pay for services or merchandise.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 23, 2013In today's world of wireless devices and digital media, the ticketing systems typically used for concerts, festivals, special museum exhibits and other events or activities can be downright archaic. That's the opinion of Liam Rabbit, who has worked as a DJ, a sound system provider and a club promoter for the past 30 years, and is now the CEO of Ticketfriend, an Irish company striving to bring the ticketing process into the 21st century. The firm is using Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology to entirely eliminate the need for paper tickets, thereby making gate lines shorter and ticketing slightly less expensive, while also enabling event promoters and ticket holders to share more information about an event online.

Ticketfriend stores a purchased ticket reservation on a server, and then presents information regarding that reservation at the concert site using NFC technology, either on a card with a built-in NFC RFID chip, or on an NFC-enabled phone.

Several venues in Ireland are testing Ticketfriend's NFC RFID cards and service, including the Savoy Club.

There are several problems with traditional tickets, Rabbit indicates. Transferring tickets from one person to another requires a physical handoff of the printed tickets. If someone were meeting a friend to share tickets, for example, but suffered a flat tire en route, the tickets would remain unused. What's more, he says, expenses related to the printing and distribution of tickets simply increase the cost to the public, as well as for promoters who do not want to price their tickets so high that consumers cannot afford them.

The Ticketfriend solution is intended to resolve the problem via a cloud-based server, using NFC technology as a means to access that server and provide proof of purchase to staff members at a venue's entrance.

The Ticketfriend server, which was taken live on Jan. 14, 2013, stores details about events provided by promoters, and also sells tickets to those venues. Consumers can purchase tickets at the Ticketfriend Web site, store that purchase in their personal account on the site, access that ticket on a mobile phone and send proof of the purchase to ticket-checkers manning the doors at the time of the event, via NFC RFID technology. Individuals lacking NFC-enabled phones can utilize an NFC RFID card supplied by Ticketfriend to provide a link to the ticket purchase data. Several venues are presently testing the technology, including the Savoy Club, in Cork, the Campsie Karting Centre, an indoor kart racecourse operator located in Dublin, and the Shackleton Endurance Exhibition, at the Dublin Ferry Terminal, which relates the trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914 to 1917, led by Irish-born explorer Ernest Shackleton.

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