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Biometrics are changing fan experience at stadiums and beyond

Palmki deployed at Belgian stadium
Biometrics are changing fan experience at stadiums and beyond

Most people know the panic of heading to an event and suddenly feeling unsure you have your tickets with you – a problem that biometrics could relegate to the past, as venues explore how facial verification and other biometric tools can be used to expedite and enhance fan experience. A recent webinar hosted by Biometric Update brought together representatives from the biometric verification firm Veridas, along with industry expert Doug OGorden, to discuss how biometrics stands to change the fan journey as uptake increases across the sector.

Veridas’ global experience across sectors and use cases, from finance to government services, has honed its team’s insights on access control and resulted in global growth. The firm is now pursuing disruption in the stadium and event venue space, which has the potential to open doors to wider applications in leisure and entertainment. OGorden says the key question facing Veridas is, “How can we enhance those ‘magical moments’ – which are very pricey, most of the time – this art of the possible, of putting together the digital and the physical experience?”

Veridas’ Alfonso Urrizburu says any question about stadium experience has to be considered in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it influenced crowd behavior, and cites data showing people are now more likely to see value in expedited entry and the option to avoid lineups. Larry Butsch, business developer for North America with Veridas, points out that audience experience begins long before people arrive at a venue; ticketing, transportation and meal planning are all part of the journey.

“When I go to the stadium, I want a hundred percent positive experience,” says Butsch. “And I want to be able to free-flow and walk into the stadium knowing that my face just activated my ticket, that if I need to activate a credit card that can be done, that if I want to buy an adult beverage the facial age verification will be taken care of, so it’s seamless. I am who I say I am, and my face is validating all of this.”

A recording of the full webinar is now available on demand with free registration.

Belgian Pro League team selects Palmki for biometric entry trials

Ghelamco Arena in Ghent, Belgium is implementing trials of a biometric entry system for football matches and other events, says a release.

The system will utilize palm vein authentication through Palmki, a biometric platform developed by Belgian OT services firm Perfect-ID, to allow fans to enter the park without presenting a physical ID card or ticket. Dirk Piens, director of Ghelamco’s home football club KAA Gent, says the move was inspired by Belgium’s new “Safe Football” law.

“We looked for an innovative technology to grant spectators access to the stadium in a smooth and safe way,” says Piens. “We are pleased to have found the right partner with Perfect-ID and Palmki.”

Marc Strackx, director of Perfect-ID, agrees that authentication with Palmki provides a secure, innovative method to simplify access and connect with fans, and touts its convenience.  “A registration unit, our software and our Palmki sensor: that’s all you need to install the Palmki hand palm recognition technology,” he says. “After the registration, the scan of the hand palm vein structure is hash-coded and that way your biometric data is stored safely. Once this is done, users just need to present their hand. The Palmki software will perform a biometric recognition of the hand by matching it with the saved hash-code. More than 5 million reference points in your palm will be recorded in a split second and our intelligent biometric identification software takes care of the rest.”

“This pilot project will help us understand how fans respond to this groundbreaking technology,” Strackx says. “Based on the results and feedback, further research can be done on how the technology can best be integrated into football stadiums.”

The current trial – the first of its kind for the Belgian Pro League – is set to last 18 months, with assessments set for Spring 2025. Its first phase has already been implemented in the form of a fast access lane for members of KAA Gent’s Young Business Club.

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