Trusted Identities

Trusted Identities

Providing “just the ticket” for the best possible fan experience

As soccer fans around the world prepared for this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup, millions went to the FIFA website to order tickets so they could watch the games in person. As with all major sporting and entertainment events, the goal is for everyone using a ticket to have purchased it from the authorized ticketing entity and to have a seamless experience both when they pick it up and when they present it at the venue.

Electronic Ticketing

Trusted identities make this possible. 2018 FIFA World Cup event in June and July once again has used tickets created from a combination of electronic and physical security features including RFID inlays and special security paper that, together, bring trust to the ticket issuance process. Repeating as this year’s “Official Ticket Producer” for the event, HID Global was responsible for creating and delivering these secure RFID tickets that fans could use to enter 64 matches in 11 host cities of the Russian Federation during the month-long event.

The evolution of RFID ticket issuance technology has followed a path very similar to that of e-passports, which initially were exclusively paper-based and then transformed into a mixture of paperand electronic-based security, including a token containing an RFID chip. This approach, combined with secure fulfillment, consignment and delivery services, ensures trusted transactions when fans pick up the tickets they’ve purchased for a major event like the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

RFID tickets integrate numerous security features designed and customized to prevent counterfeit and forgery. A key component is the physical token inside the ticket’s paper layers that contains the secure RFID chip. Data stored inside the RFID chip is encrypted. The chip’s purpose is two-fold: first, it contains protected data that brings trust to the electronic transaction; and second, it speeds the verification and entry process. Letting an

RFID access control reader validate the ticket and flag counterfeits is much faster than having someone physically inspect each one. Remember, event organizers must move tens of thousands of people through the gates in as little as an hour.

Event organizers should also explore other applications and services that are possible with today’s multi-application embedded ticket tokens. This includes reserving a section of the RFID chip for data that can give fans access to museums, public transportation and other host city amenities.

Making it Personal

After tickets are produced, the next step is personalization, fulfillment and consignment. An event like the 2018 FIFA World Cup is attended by approximately three million fans, each of whom needs a way to acquire the tickets they’ve purchased online. The most common practice is to load prepersonalized tickets into machines at a combination of self-service and manned ticket terminals where fans can pick them up.

The base terminal configuration consists of a desktop with external (or integrated) webcam, and a printer. The customizable terminals include all hardware and software necessary to manage all aspects of ticket issuance, including electrical personalization of the chip and thermal printing of graphics. A secure application module (SAM) is used to digitally sign data inside the RFID chip, and a key management system generates keys and certificates for all data encryption and decryption.

An increasingly popular fulfillment alternative is for tickets to be delivered directly to fans’ homes. This requires pre-personalizing the tickets and then using data provided by the ticketing vendor to execute the final personalization. Middleware interfaces the ticket terminal with the ticketing provider’s software, and fulfillment is completed with a delivery partner. Event organizers need to know that their issuance provider can deliver all of these services across high volumes of tickets in extremely compressed timeframes. This is especially important in the final sales round of a major event when as many as a million tickets or more might need to be personalized and shipped to fans within a few short weeks before the matches begin. One other fulfillment option is typically used for group associations such as Participating Member Associations (PMAs), which receive a Smart card to collect their tickets. This represents an easier way to pick up multiple tickets for multiple matches. The designated member of each PMA will receive an RFID smart card containing all information about the group’s entire number of tickets to be collected. One tap of the card to the machine’s reader is all that is required for this person to receive the group’s entire ticket order, all at once.

Using Real Time Information

Many event organizers also want to take advantage of the real-time analytics that secure RFID tickets can provide before and after an event. They can benefit, for instance, from information about the number of accesses per gate or time slot, and other customizable statistics such how many non-authorized tickets were denied at each gate. Despite their security, RFID tickets continue to be tested by fraudsters, with some events reporting as many as 2,000 counterfeit tickets refused at the gate for every million tickets sold.

Besides stopping fraud at the gate, the technology inside today’s secure RFID tickets also speeds the verification process because problems are revealed the instant the ticket is tapped to the reader. There is no need for someone to inspect each paper ticket or scan mag-striped ones and slow down the line. All holders of valid tickets simply “tap and go” to immediately enter the stadium, and only when a ticket is denied is there a disruption, which may be solved with a secondary magstripe swipe or may need further investigation.

One other trend in ticket issuance technology is trusted mobile tickets that enable spectators to enter a concert venue or sports arena with a ticket on their mobile device. This ticket issuance model builds on the success of mobile ID programs at major universities and in enterprises where users carry IDs on their phones and tap them to readers to quickly and conveniently access buildings and make cafeteria purchases, among other applications. The concept has already been piloted at a major European sporting event that hosted 30,000 people.

The latest ticket issuance technologies are playing a critical role in protecting event organizers from fraud at some of world’s highest-profile sporting and entertainment events. At the same time, they are improving the fan experience from the moment when tickets are picked up to when they’re used to “tap and go” through the venue gate or to enjoy a variety of other potential services in the event’s host cities.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Security Today.

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