Getting stuck at the gate should never be your fans’ first impression
100K+ fans at Ohio State University's biggest match of the year last weekend were unable to process their smartphone tickets. The article above cited WIFI connectivity issues, the QR-code-based validators, and the learning curve of technology as the reasons.
With QR-code validators, each user needs to stop and scan their phone and therefore creates a bottleneck for large crowds. ZED uses newer Internet of Things-based technology that means any mobile ticket can be validated without ever tapping, scanning, or showing it. You can even keep your phone in your pocket. ZIG is the only validator of its kind to enable hands-free ticketing for large-scale public venue use.
ZED validators are patent pending and consist of Bluetooth and NFC (near field communication) sensor technology. They were developed initially for fare validation aboard moving buses which often encounter patchy WIFI signals and dead spots as the bus moves around. Even the vibration of the engine onboard the bus weakens the signal.
Public transit users also vary in tech-savviness and fare validators can be daunting to some. With Bluetooth-based validators, the user can just walk in with the phone in their pocket. The scanner does the rest. The ticket inspector gets automatically alerted of the presence of a valid/invalid ticket.
ZED’s IoT validators offer several advantages over QR-code validators such as those used at the OSU football games.
Instant-processing: ZED sensors use Bluetooth or NFC connectivity which is local to each user’s phone. Once within the range of the sensors, the phones instantly connect without creating a bottleneck. The sensor and user’s phone turn red and beeps for invalid entries. The fare inspector only needs to focus on these invalid entries, greatly reducing their workload.
Social distancing: ZED’s Bluetooth validators can be range-controlled. They can be configured for validating tickets on phones within 3-6 feet, thereby enabling social distancing of visitors.
VIP experience: A user stepping into that radius of the sensors would be instantly validated while others waited outside the circle. The user can just walk into the circle with the phone in their pocket, akin to a VIP experience, with social distancing.
Offline processing: ZED’s Bluetooth sensors do not rely entirely on Internet connectivity. We provide a built-in backup mechanism to deal with overloaded systems. In case of connectivity issues, the data is redirected via the mobile app on the individual user’s phone to the backend. Each phone pushes its own data individually to the backend, thereby taking the load off the validator and its internet connection. This also ensures parallel loads of thousands of users, which is essential in cases like the OSU game scenario.
Asynchronous threading: To handle hundreds of thousands of requests, we developed an asynchronous multi-threaded processing solution. A multithreaded approach gives redundant paths ensuring higher throughput and reliability of the solution.
Virtual queueing: Users can remotely connect to the sensors at the venue even when they are at home, to view the crowd levels and can choose to enter a virtual queue from their app. As the crowd progresses, the user can see their individual position in the queue and they can arrive at the venue when it is closer to their turn. Compliance is monitored by the sensors which trigger alerts to fare inspectors to ensure there is no cutting in front of a line.
ZED has been widely recognized for this technology including the 2019 Innovative Solutions award by the Metro Magazine, 2021 Smart Business Awards, and recognized among the top 3 worldwide in digital ticketing in the 2021 Digital Ticketing Technology of the Year awards.