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Swiss Moviegoers Use RFID to Buy Tickets

The EuroPlex Cinemas chain offers RFID-enabled cards to simplify ticket and concession purchases.
By Jonathan Collins
Mar 30, 2005Switzerland's EuroPlex Cinemas chain replaced its eight-year-old smart contact card system at its chain of multiplex movie theaters with an RFID-based system in late 2004. Since then, more than 70,000 RFID-enabled cards have been issued to subscribing customers, who can use the cards to buy tickets and other goods at each of its theaters.

In total, 23 readers have been deployed so far across the 11 cinemas operated by EuroPlex, in five Swiss towns and cities, including Geneva and Lausanne. The interrogators were developed by Geneva-based Ottingénierie, which also designed and deployed the system. The card uses Sokymat EM 4102 RFID read-only inlays operating in 125 kHz, with 64 kilobytes of memory.

Europlex Cinemas has implemented an RFID card payment system throughout its chain of Swiss theaters.

After spending an initial 10 Swiss francs to buy the cinema's RFID-enabled movie card, customers can then make prepayments on their card accounts to buy tickets at an interactive terminal in one of the theaters' foyers. Customers can also buy tickets via the Internet by providing the unique ID code printed on the card, then picking up the tickets at one of the interactive terminals. Additionally, movie patrons can use the card to purchase candy and other goods at point-of-sale terminals by holding it within a few inches of the readers.

The cinema chain also offers movie-card holders special promotions and reduced-price admissions. The program has been in operation for eight years, but Europlex decided to switch to RFID-enabled cards to achieve a number of advantages over its existing smart card system.

Customers can make prepayments on their card accounts to buy tickets at an interactive terminal in one of the theaters' foyers.

"The subscriber data is no longer on the chip in the card, but in a central database, explains Sandra Bernasconi, marketing manager at Europlex Cinemas. "That means better security—if a card is lost or broken, you do not lose the data. Also, the data transfer is quicker from the server than when data is stored on the chip."

Several of the RFID movie cards can be linked to one account. As such, each member of a family can receive his or her own card while only opening one account.
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