From BlackBerry to baseball: Infinite Peripherals brings mobile ticketing to the stadium
Infinite Peripherals had what it considered a strong business proposition in the late 1990s, providing point of sale software and hardware that connected BlackBerry and Palm Pilot devices with printers and back-end payments networks.
Fast forward to 2018, and the mobile POS hardware and software provider is propelling its relationship with Apple to deliver technology for Major League Baseball that will allow entry into stadiums through digital tickets and Near Field Communication readers.
The company, based in Irvine, Calif., and Elk Grove, Ill., recently completed its testing for mobile ticketing at the Oakland A's stadium and the Society for Performing Arts in Houston.
Through a partnership with Tickets.com, Infinite Peripherals will allow users to enter the stadiums using an iPhone or Apple Watch. The NFC tickets are confirmed through the Infinea mobile POS, which can also handle bar code scanning, to accept any type of ticket presented.
"We provide the hardware and the application to make everything jive and check in with the back-end databases to monitor inventory and the validation of the actual ticket," said Jeff Scott, CEO of Infinite Peripherals.
Under that setup, Infinite Peripherals leaves the marketing to Major League Baseball as well as how the stadium will handle the NFC system throughout an arena.
"The Oakland A's wanted to be early adopters, so it was not difficult to get them to try this," Scott said. "When they thought about what it could do for their ticket-holder base, they were excited about the opportunity."
To compensate for delays stemming from tightened security at stadiums, event planners and facility owners have been seeking ways to speed up entry. A faster way to scan tickets in a secure manner is a key part of the process.
As part of the system, Tickets.com applies a unique identifier to each ticket, whether it is scanned, manually entered or read through the NFC reader.
"Young fans are immediately attracted to this type of thing because getting into a stadium can be a pain," said Steve Mott, principal of BetterBuyDesign, a Stamford, Conn.-based consulting firm.
Infinite Peripherals' system to use NFC for contactless ticket validation "would be a winner" in speeding things up and securing the ticket issuing process, Mott said.
"If you have printed copies of tickets, someone else could try to scan it on their phone and it makes it harder to make sure someone else doesn't have your ticket," Mott said. "This stuff isn't foolproof yet, but with NFC something else comes into play in that it can only be read by the one device [with the app to do so]. And there is authentication with fingerprint scanning or passcodes on the iPhone to begin with."
For Infinite Peripherals, the opportunity to bring the system to any number of other stadiums or venues would add to its past successes, that Scott says has resulted in more than 1 million devices deployed throughout various verticals, including the airlines industry.
One of its major clients is the U.S. Postal Service, which uses Infinite Peripherals software and 300,000 mobile devices for delivery receipts and payment acceptance.
"We opened our own application division about a year ago," Scott said. "And now we are doing a lot of customized solutions globally."
The company put its "flag in the sand" more firmly 10 years ago, Scott said, when he met employees from an Apple retail store at an industry conference. After hearing them talk about problems they had with Windows-based POS systems, he went back to Infinite Peripherals to begin work on an enterprise solution based on an Apple product.
"That was in 2009, and we suddenly had 8,000 units deployed to Apple retail stores," Scott said.