Technology / 07.09.18
Can’t Find Your Ticket? Just Scan Your Face
Earlier this spring, Ticketmaster and Live Nation invested in Blink Identity, a facial recognition startup that claims its technology can identify individuals walking past their scanners in less than a second. They don't even have to be looking right at the camera or slowing down as they move past the frame for the software to "recognize" who they are.
Live Nation wrote in a note to investors, "Blink's facial recognition tech could be used to let a ticketed user into a venue or trigger a door or turnstile to grant access to customers just by showing their pretty faces." Just as important, the Blink technology could also alert a venue's security personnel if a "bad actor" shows up at the event, giving them time to mobilize, prevent that person from entering and possibly avoid a tragedy.
Co-founders of Blink Identity, Mary Haskett and Alex Kilpatrick, both originally worked on biometric identification systems for the U.S. military. They later joined Techstars Music to engage in research for commercial uses of their software. The two recently told Billboard that not only can their facial-recognition technology be used to provide heightened security and ID verification of event attendees at the door, but it can also offer personalized services for VIPs. "As an industry, music iterates really quickly," Haskett said. "In music, we found a group of partners who were really open to trying new things, were creative in their thought processes and moved really fast. It's been a really wonderful place for us."
Ticketmaster executives are especially excited about the possibilities, with a spokesperson issuing an official email statement to Fast Company that disclosed, "Identity-based ticketing has been a core area of investment for Ticketmaster over the past three-plus years."
Consequently, the two companies are now collaborating on a pilot program that incorporates Blink's facial-recognition tech into several Live Nation-owned venues along with the Ticketmaster Presence e-ticketing system. One of the program's goals is to give Ticketmaster access to a much deeper level of data about ticket buyers and ticket users than they currently have, ranging from who is attending the event, how they received their tickets and the ability to communicate with them while they are in the stadium or arena.
The Ticketmaster representative wrote, "Knowing not just who bought tickets, but also who is sitting in each and every seat, can dramatically change the live event industry in a variety of ways. That includes personalization, honing fan interactions, [and] creating a dramatically deeper level of safety and security."
Significant challenges, though, must be overcome. For one, concert venues and sports stadiums would have to be outfitted with surveillance equipment. Ticketmaster would also have to develop a database of all of its concertgoers' faces. And there is no telling how comfortable the general public would be with that reality.
"For now, there don't appear to be actual plans to put this tech into place," writes The Verge columnist Jacob Kastrenakes. "It's not even clear that Blink's tech works as effectively as the company describes. But it's clearly something Ticketmaster is thinking about."
Then again, maybe in a few years, such tech could be a common sight at concerts and games. Currently, according to BBC News, a facial recognition system designed to replace the need for tickets on trains is being tested in the United Kingdom. Developed by the Bristol Robotics Lab, the system is being funded by both the public and private sectors. Researchers are confident the program will ultimately be able to replace ticket gates.
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Tags: Paperless , Ticketmaster , Security , Mobile