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Niagara Falls, Chicago latest cities to embrace mobile ticketing

Niagara Falls is tapping gtechna-provided mobile systems to manage parking for both residents and tourists, while Chicago is using the accesso Passport ticketing suite to allow the Navy Pier to offer access to advance ticket sales through smartphones and tablets. The moves reflect how the convenience mobile provides for consumers and ability to streamline operations are taking hold in program administration.

“Most governments are not very efficient and typically lag the private sector,” said Mike Bourne, vice president for sales and marketing with gtechna, in Niagara Falls. “Now, with these technologies, this will elevate us to smarter government and better service to society in general.”

Pay and display
To manage parking for both residents and tourists, Niagara Falls uses a mix of pay and display and pay by plate kiosks.

Mobile parking ticketing system used in Niagara Falls.

Gtechna’s Android-based parking software is used to enforce parking by-laws. Parking enforcement officers use Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphones to enter a vehicle plate number for verification and can issue an electronic ticket with an attached photo for evidence using the built-in-camera. The ticket data is sent in real time to administrative servers for processing.

“You can receive a parking ticket and you can decide to go to city hall and pay it five minutes later,” Mr. Bourne said. “In almost all cities today that is currently impossible.”

“Smartphones are ideal because they are designed well for this type of application,” he said. “Best solution at the best price.”

In Chicago, the accesso Passport ticketing suite will allow the Navy Pier to offer its guests convenient access to advance ticket sales through their desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices as well as support the attraction’s onsite sales with traditional ticketing point-of-sale and mobile point-of-sale solutions.

The guest experience enhancement for the Pier comes in the midst of its dramatic redevelopment to update features and amenities in advance of its centennial anniversary in 2016. The multi-year effort, which began in fall 2013, will transform Navy Pier’s 50 acres of urban waterfront.

Consumer convenience
More municipalities are adopting mobile ticketing systems partly to increase consumer convenience and to streamline administration, including paper-ticket printing costs.

Leveraging smartphones for consumer convenience, administrative efficacy.

“Parking enforcement officers have more tools to be efficient and management can leverage technology like embedded GPS in devices to better manage staff,” Mr. Bourne said.

“Smartphones are part of everyone’s day to day usage,” Mr. Bourne said. “When we provide people our app on a smartphone it is so intuitive that training is not even required.

“On top of providing a simple way to provide easy to use ticketing app there are thousands of available apps that can also be downloaded for free to increase productivity,” he said. “With these new technologies the imagination is often the limiting factor.”

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York