Mobile Barcode(m-Ticketing)

And why not use the mobile phone itself as a ticket for the cinema, for a show or for travel? This is the brainchild of the France Telecom research team. Based on the idea that we take our mobiles with us wherever we go, they conceived the idea of displaying a ticket on the screen, in the form of a barcode. After a transaction over the mobile or the web, it could be downloaded via a WAP site, or sent to the customer's terminal as an image SMS or an MMS (depending on the characteristics of the subscriber's mobile phone).

The "ticket" dematerialised in this way could resemble a simple conventional barcode, like that you see on most products on sale, or be in two dimensions and then contain far more data. For example, for a travel coupon, the barcode could contain complete information about the transaction (customer's name, number of persons travelling on the ticket, means of payment used, time of departure, time of arrival, and so on). The virtual ticket is thus stand-alone and these data no longer have to be retrieved from a data bank located on-line or remotely. The customer simply presents his mobile screen in front of a reader similar to those used by supermarket check-outs to validate his ticket.

By doing away with paper, this innovation makes life easier for the user, who can now place his order right up to the last moment (unlike remote sales of paper tickets which have to be booked in advance). It also avoids ticket queues. This service, called m-Ticketing, could complement those built around m-Payment: after booking, then paying, m-Ticketing is a solution for rapid authorisation to access a service. For the operator, apart from the mobile phone being a way of making life easier, this enables a relationship of trust to be established with the customer. Furthermore, depending on the partnerships set up between the operator and the organisation proposing the service, a percentage remuneration mode could be set up on a case by case basis.

The applications of m-Ticketing are vast: from shows to sporting events, through transport services, and so on. A first experiment was already conducted in April 2004 in Mo�tiers with the road transport company Transdev. Any Orange customer going to a ski resort in the Tarentaise area or the Belleville valley was able to reserve his coach ticket from Mo�tiers station and receive it on his mobile phone in the form of a 2D barcode.

Another major area of potential applications is "couponing". People frequently forget their reduction vouchers or loyalty cards at home when going shopping. The idea is therefore to use the mobile, our everyday companion, as a medium for receiving virtual reduction vouchers or loyalty points, in the form of conventional (rather than 2D) barcodes. The discount will therefore become effective simply by presenting the mobile phone screen at the check-out.

70% of current mobile phones in France would be potentially compatible with this type of service, but this proportion is gradually rising as the terminal population is renewed. The next step in this groundbreaking project in Europe will be to combine partners (large cinema chains, etc) and equipment suppliers (readers, portals, etc.) to achieve a critical mass of potential users. In the longer term, the aim will be to look at ways to diversify into increasingly sophisticated applications, such as access control using biometric data, and so on.