Premiership football club Manchester City is piloting a scheme that would enable supporters to use their mobile phones to gain entry to the clubs stadium.
The clubs high-tech City of Manchester Stadium already has unmanned, contact-free turnstiles which admit fans equipped with personal, RF-chipped smartcards. The system can admit fans at the rate of up to 1,200 per minute, filling the 48,000-seat stadium in just 40 minutes. Embedding the access technology in a mobile phone would enable the club to not only admit the fan, but also to communicate with them.
The turnstiles are read/write explains Manchester City Head of Retail, Duncan Martin. So at the point where the turnstile opens to let the supporter in, it could also drop an electronic voucher on their phone, offering them a half-price drink or some other promotion. We can already send the same sort of information to the card, but the supporter has no way of seeing it. The mobile handset is the perfect device for this type of application.
Martin says the pilot will start in the next month or so, with the aim of proving the system and seeing how robust it is. If successful, it could be deployed next season.