Point of access has always been crucial for the operation of any business open to the public. It is where clients are received, where revenue is collected and where access is controlled so that no one enters without paying. As such, there is great interest in improving its management and the sector is welcoming the appearance of new technologies with open arms.
Computers and the Internet have helped with the online reservation and issue of tickets and within a few years, this system has captured a significant proportion of worldwide sales. For a decade, e-commerce has grown globally on average by 19% and especially in the issuing of entrance tickets for events and attractions.
Electronic commerce can facilitate sales forecasts for operators, but it can also hinder entrance control. That is why there are bar codes (1974), radio-frequency identification (1983) and QRs (1994); technologies that speed up transactions as well as making fraud difficult. Their adoption is reducing the need for personnel and there are many parks in the USA that are transforming the spaces dedicated to ticket sales and access control, in order to give them other uses.
The transformation that the generalised use of smartphones is going to create has only just started. Impulse buys will be easier and operators can modify ticket prices according to the level of reservations reached in real time.
It is likely that other technologies currently under development will be implemented in the near future. For example, voice identification will allow the univocal identification of the user and we will avoid having to fill out never-ending forms, or even the 16 digits and expiry date of our credit cards.
The iBeacon system (2013), could transform visitor’s experience at a park. It allows the geolocation of devices with a resolution of centimetres and the sending of specific information directly to each user.
The popularisation and availability of cheaper unmanned aerial vehicles could also find an application in access control systems. Human security personnel could locate unauthorised visitors with the tracking of a drone, inconspicuously and without bothering other visitors.
The pace of innovation is accelerating and it can even seem intimidating. But adopting it can become a differentiating element in ever more competitive markets, improving user experience and simplifying management for operators.