Now moviegoers can bypass long lines at the ticket sales and will-call counters, and breeze into theaters and other facilities with the new WavePass Internet movie ticketing system announced by AmaTech USA, Inc., a world leader in contactless smart-card development and manufacturing. The WavePass System represents a major technological advance for online ticketing venues, which had been searching for a truly seamless interface between their online sites and the bricks-and-mortar world of the theaters they represent.
“National Amusements has always been a leader and an innovator in adopting technologies that enhance the movie-going experience for our customers,” said William Towey, Senior Vice President, National Amusements, Inc. (a founding partner in MovieTickets.com). “The WavePass System would allow us to provide yet another enhancement to the convenience patrons experience at our cinemas. Customers arrive at the theatre with their WavePass card in hand and can go directly to the concessions stands and to their seats without stopping at the boxoffice, or even at an automatic ticket kiosk. We also feel that our patrons’ ability to download cash for concessions and other purchases onto the same WavePass card is yet another plus service we can provide to them.”
The controversy has been whether or not online ticketing would revolutionize the industry or fade into the background as a mere marketing gimmick. Online ticketing venues have been finding it harder than expected to get visitors to their websites to take that extra step and click through to actually buy tickets on-line. There hasn’t been sufficient motivation to get people to actually buy tickets on line in enough volume to guarantee the industry’s success.
“Research has shown that many Web surfers are content to simply surf, and don’t make the connection from the Web to the brick-and-mortar economy,” said Dennis Ryan President of AmaTech USA, Inc. “There simply isn’t that much difference between buying a ticket online and then going to the theater to wait in line at the will-call window or kiosk, and simply waiting in line at the box office. And surveys have shown that even though moviegoers love their movies, they generally hate waiting in line. Until now existing online ticketing methods haven’t been able to successfully resolve this problem.”
“The WavePass system makes it a whole different game,” added Ryan. It forms the bridge between the Internet to the real world. Because of the added convenience and possible promotional tie-ins, it encourages the web surfer to make the connection — to actually buy the ticket online, load the ticket onto his WavePass card at home and go to the theater with little or no waiting when he gets there. There is really nothing else like the WavePass system. From the level of interest we are receiving, we expect the system to be in common use by the end of the year.”
The most visible element in the system is the WavePass smart card itself, the prepaid pass that customers need only move through the air near the WaveThru reader as they breeze into the theater. It is based on broadly used contactless smart-card technology pioneered by AmaTech, and found in mass transit systems, toll bridges, e-payment systems (Shell(R) and Mobil(R) service stations), access control, and other applications.
A contactless smart card contains an inexpensive microchip that receives, processes, evaluates and stores data (much like a personal computer) with a small antenna forming a transponder (a device which picks up and responds to radio waves). Because they use radio waves, WavePass cards never need to touch the reader — they are simply passed within a few inches of it; WavePass cards even get their power through radio waves from the reader/writer, no batteries to change — ever. And since mechanical contact with a reader is not required they can actually be manufactured into any form — key fobs, bracelets, pendants, etc., in addition to the standard credit-card shape and size.
With the WavePass System, before the moviegoer goes to the theater he selects the movie on the Internet and downloads tickets onto his WavePass smart card using a small WavePort(TM) reader/writer attached to his PC. Or, he could use a kiosk located at the theater or any convenient public area. It’s like having tickets delivered into your hand at home. The customer can also prepay for concessions at the same time by loading “electronic cash” on to the WavePass card. To enter the theater, the customer simply waves the card past a WaveThru(TM) point-of-sale reader and the ticket is deducted from the card. At the concession stand, the WavePass holder chooses movie treats and pays with the e-cash at another WaveThru point-of-sale terminal — reducing or eliminating another long line. Having a loaded WavePass card is like having a ticket in your hand, with prepaid concessions added in.
“This is proven technology already being used every day by tens of millions of people in Europe and Asia in mass transit. It’s a familiar technology!” said Alicia Espericueta, Director of Marketing for AmaTech USA. “A WavePass card is just like any credit card that you keep in your wallet, but now instead of taking out your credit card to buy a ticket (after waiting in line) your card is your ticket. And it’s contactless so there’s no stopping to fumble with the card; no ‘insert here’; no swipe; no slap. Simply pass it by the reader and skip the line.
“All around Asia, merchants surrounding transit stations (where smart-card use first took off) began accepting smart cards to pay for newspapers, food, and other sundry items. These merchants began accepting smart cards because their customers wanted to use them. Smart cards are cool, and people like to use them! Movie tickets online is simply the next natural step for this technology,” she added.
The WavePass package that theaters provide their customers contains a WavePass contactless smart card, a WavePort reader/writer for the home PC, installation software, and a purchase rebate coupon. When the customer signs up for the service online, the one-time registration process requires a credit card number and a password. The rebate value is loaded onto the card. Registration information goes to a secure database for transactions and for collection of demographic data (updated every time the moviegoer buys a ticket). With the customer’s permission, individualized promotions can be emailed that are based on the moviegoer’s tastes. Amatech’s expertise and manufacturing capabilities have turned this state-of-the art technology into an economical system that enhances the theater-going experience, and boosts the theater owner’s bottom line at the same time.
AmaTech USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AmaTech AG, (Security Code Number – WKN 519 280), the world leader in the volume production of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems and components such as contactless smart cards, smart labels, tags and readers as well as application software and system solutions. This globally operating company holds 72 worldwide patents on products, machines and manufacturing processes in the identification technology sector; an additional 89 patents are still pending, including the patent applied for on the WavePass system. AmaTech USA’s Product Development, Customer Service and Corporate Sales Offices are located at 460 Benson Lane, Suite 12, Chandler, AZ 85224. You can reach the company by phone at 480-726-8800, or via the Internet at [http://www.amatech.com], [http://www.amatechusa.com] and [http://www.justwaveit.com].