Concert tickets sent to mobiles

A leading venue in Sydney, Australia, is trialling technology that sends tickets to patrons' mobile phones as picture messages

A new m-commerce service has moved to exploit existing barcode scanning and mobile-handset technology, with one of Sydney's premier venues poised to use it to process paying patrons for a forthcoming series of concerts.

The patented technology, mobi-tickets, was licensed by Aura Digital Communications from UK company Mobiqa for distribution in Asia Pacific. It sends a barcode to a mobile phone as a picture message, which can then be scanned by typical point-of-sale infrastructure.

The barcode can be viewed on any handset which can view picture messaging, which accounts for about 80 percent of the market, according to Aura director Adam Dunne. Since there are two standards for mobile picture messaging -- Nokia Smart Messaging and Sony's Enhanced Message Service -- the message is sent in both formats and special 'sniffer' technology works out which is the appropriate format. If the handset cannot display picture messages, a unique number is sent which is manually keyed in by the staff.

Mobi-tickets will be launched next month at The Metro Theatre in Sydney, which will use the method to deliver tickets to Magic Dirt, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Frames and Killing Joke concerts.

"The patrons will receive an SMS containing a barcode, called a mobi-ticket, with confirmation of ticket and event details," said Dunne. "At the point of entry, the bar code on their mobile phone will be scanned by the ticket attendant using DENSO scanning hardware."

Leo Crawford, entertainment manager of The Metro said: "Mobi-tickets can be delivered to the customer within minutes of the booking being made and can be cancelled and reissued effortlessly. This technology is set to become mainstream in the ticketing business."

Aura plans to launch the product in Melbourne and New Zealand later this year, and in other countries throughout South East Asia next year. The mobile technology services company is also working with local retail chains to deliver promotions based on the technology.