SBJ/July 28-Aug. 3, 2014/Facilities

With self-serve ticket scanners, 49ers look to personalize the process

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The San Francisco 49ers have developed their own self-service ticket scanning system they say will make entering Levi’s Stadium a more efficient — and more personal — experience.

The system, called Kezar, is connected to the team’s new mobile application for Levi’s Stadium, which it rolled out last week. The app allows fans to upload tickets and parking passes on their devices to be scanned by Kezar, among other features.

The 49ers introduced a new app for Levi’s Stadium last week that connects to the new Kezar ticket-scanning system, a unit of which is shown below. Both were developed in-house.

Kezar was created by the team’s IT group, headed by Dan Williams, the 49ers’ vice president of technology and Facebook’s former director of operations. The Levi’s Stadium app was also developed in-house, separate from the team’s app.

“Being a fan myself and dealing with a lot of constraints going into venues, it just seemed like using a
[game-day staffer] to scan a ticket was not efficient,” Williams said. “So one of the pet projects I had was to develop a self-service scanning solution.”

The system will also provide a new source of real-time data for the 49ers’ ticket office.

Fans walking up to the gates at Levi’s Stadium will scan their tickets through a Kezar unit, which looks something like a parking meter. It can read standard bar codes and QR codes on both mobile and paper tickets.

The cameras read ticket codes faster than the handheld scanners typically used at stadiums, speeding up entrance to the building, Williams said.

Greeters with tablets will be stationed beyond the Kezar units, monitoring the gates. Kezar enables a greeter’s tablet to identify whether a ticket is valid, to help eliminate counterfeits.

The system also customizes the experience. The names of fans using the stadium mobile app to enter will appear on the greeter’s tablet screen, plus personal information such as how many times they have been to the facility, which they can use to interact with the fans.

More functionality will be added in the future as the team wraps its arms around the technology, said Al Guido, the club’s chief operating officer.

“Greeters can certainly say, ‘Hi, how are you doing, welcome to Levi’s Stadium,’” Guido said. “But in time, why can’t they be smart enough to say, ‘Welcome to your 50th game, here’s a gift, meet Al Guido at the BNY Mellon Club.’ It allows our service team to really develop a different experience with fans at the gate.”

Kezar is basically an access control system similar to programs developed by Fortress and Alvarado, two companies working with other major league teams, said Dave Scarborough, Ticketmaster’s chief strategy officer.

All three systems are compatible with Ticketmaster’s technology platform. The 49ers, a Ticketmaster client, are thought to be the first team to form their own access control program without using a third-party vendor specializing in that space, Scarborough said.

The 49ers tested Kezar last year at one gate during their final season at Candlestick Park and for the team’s draft day party in May. Last Friday, they scheduled the first test at Levi’s Stadium during a soft opening for season-ticket holders.

Kezar extends to the parking lots, where attendants will hold Android devices equipped with the program’s software version to scan parking bar codes for season-ticket holders. In addition, the team plans to use both elements of Kezar to manage access at the stadium’s all-inclusive clubs, and its restaurant, Michael Mina’s Tailgate at Bourbon Steak & Pub.

The system’s name is a nod to Kezar Stadium, the 49ers’ home from 1946 to 1970.

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