The Rise of Mobile Ticketing

The ticketing industry is an interesting one to observe when pondering the effects of technology on our lives. With shifts in buying patterns and the progression of the smartphone, sooner, rather than later, paper tickets will be a thing of the past.

We have become a community of “last minute buyers” therefore, mobile technology is more important than ever. We decide what to do Friday night at 4pm Friday, consequently, consumers need the ability to quickly and easily make event purchases.

Mobile ticketing technology is also important as consumers mental bandwidth decreases by the day. We can no longer be expected to remember to carry our event tickets with us. Luckily, the 5th limb of over 50% of the population, the smartphone, is a totally different story.

M-tickets as they are referred to in the biz, are gaining momentum as a necessity for just about every industry that heavily relies on ticket sales. The transportation industry for example is beginning to realize that they need to step up there game in the mobile ticketing realm. According to Wired Magazine, in a survey conducted by the consulting firm Accenture, over 4,500 transit users said that they expect such technological advances as paperless ticketing, communication about delays through social media, and the ability to pay for travel using a smartphone app, as early as 2014.

Transportation ticketing is on the forefront of a lot of minds due to it’s necessity status vs. leisure activities like theatre and sports. Nonetheless, research is mounting regarding the other industries as well.  Movie theaters have been on the mobile ticketing bandwagon for several years. Fandango, a company that many movie theaters partner with, reported that their 2012 mobile ticket sales increased 171% versus 2011, and accounted for over 30% of overall ticket sales.

Developments in Near Field Communications (NFC) are a huge factor in the current and future progress of mobile ticketing technology.  Apple is currently working to improve their iPhone NFC technology. MLB has more than tripled the number of stadiums, now 13, that accept paperless mobile tickets via Apple’s Passbook iPhone app.

Juniper, the research organization, predicts 23 billion m-tickets a year will be delivered to mobile phones worldwide by 2016, from just 4 billion in 2011.

M-tickets are not just good news for consumers, but also for operators, increasing profitability by saving money spent on staff and real estate.

What are your thoughts on the sustainability, scalability and potential success of paperless tickets? Would you prefer to have ticket takers scan your mobile device rather than carry a physical ticket?

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