Carolina Panthers draft Verizon and Wicket for entry with face biometrics
Two new deployments of biometrics for different applications at professional sports venues have been unveiled, along with a new platform for delivering loyalty programs and customized offers.
The Carolina Panthers are the latest pro sports club to bring biometrics to its fanbase, with the announcement that Verizon will deploy Wicket facial recognition software at Bank of America Stadium for access control and ticketless entry.
Queen City News reports that the ticketless Express Entry option, available at entrances for the North Silver Club and South Silver Club premium seating areas, uses facial authentication to match a scan with a registered image linked to a fan’s Ticketmaster account. No ticket or phone is required at the point of entry.
Phase I of the service will make biometric entry available for club season ticket members, with a planned rollout for all season ticket holders.
Verizon has deployed Wicket at NFL stadiums in Cleveland, Atlanta and Nashville. The system is opt-in and runs on Verizon’s 5G network. The company has also launched a VPN for coach-to-coach communications at 29 NFL venues.
Wicket aims to keep friction on the field with Lava link
Moving beyond access and into the fray of fan experience, Wicket has partnered with real-time AI data experience platform Lava to expand what fans can do through facial authentication. A release says the two companies hope to create a streamlined, touchless fan journey, “from the turnstile to the concession stand.” Once identity has been authenticated, touchpoints around the venue leverage Lava’s algorithm to provide loyalty benefits and customized experiences, such as no-cash and self-serve express concession lines, which have already been trialed at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“This innovative concession experience has resulted in exceptionally fast service times and an elevated experience that our fans enjoy using to bypass lines and get back to their seats so they can enjoy the game,” says Brandon Covert, VP of information technology for the Cleveland Browns. Wen Miao, Lava’s chief executive officer, says combining Wicket’s biometric identification and Lava’s real-time personalization opens up possibilities that could bring game day to a new level.
“Serving up the right offer, to the right customer, at the right moment increases engagement, deepens brand loyalty, and boosts spend,” he says. “We see enormous potential for this blend of instant biometrics identification and real-time personalization.”
Palmki brings palm payments to Belgian bars in European first
At a bar in Antwerp football club’s Bosuil Stadium in Belgium, Palmki powered a transaction in which palm biometrics were linked to bank details and used to pay for a beverage. A release from POM, the Belgian fintech that partnered with Palmki, says the system works via an infrared scan of 5 million reference points in the pattern of blood and nerve pathways in the hand, linked to a bank card registered at enrolment.
“Palmki already carried out a successful test with palm payments with rechargeable payment cards at the Leuven Bears basketball club in October this year,” says Marc Strackx, CEO of Perfect-ID, which owns Palmki. “We are now taking the next step by integrating with POM’s payment platform. Palm scans can also be linked to regular debit and credit cards such as Bancontact, Visa and Mastercard.”
Palmki and POM say the false acceptance rate (FAR) for the system is lower than 0.000001 percent at a false rejection rate (FRR) of 1 percent, and that the payment process is supervised and fully audited by the National Bank. “Linking a bank card to a palm can be compared to permission to automatically collect subscriptions such as Netflix or Spotify via a credit card,” says Tom Totté, co-founder at POM.
This post was updated at 12:09pm Eastern on January 8, 2024 to clarify geographic details in the last section.