SJUK Exclusive: Heightened security, seamless experience

September 21, 2022

It is possible to provide the ultimate experience for both employees and attendants in large sports, music and corporate events without compromising security, argues HID Global.

The countdown for the most widely viewed and followed sporting event, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, is on. The opening ceremony on November 20 will include the 32 competing nations followed by a match in Al Bayt Stadium, one of the eight state-of-the-art, large-scale venues hosting the matches throughout several weeks into December.

Millions of people are expected to attend not just the games, but the various cultural and entertainment events happening across the country.

The revenue for sport events alone is projected to reach upwards of $27bn (£23bn) this year, according to Statista, a global provider of market and consumer data. Considering live events also include concerts and festivals, comedy and award shows to name a few, the opportunities — and challenges abound.

Controlling access to public events has become increasingly complex, with customers expecting paperless tickets, social media integration, and more. Event management and security teams must plan security with layers of flexibility and reliability that comprise of access control, secure ticketing and issuance, location services and identification technologies—not just for spectators, but also for hired and contract staff, as well as volunteers.

To rapidly plan, configure and execute a more secure and engaging experience, it is important to address each of them proactively.

Faster and frictionless

Upon purchasing a ticket, users simply download/install the event’s app on their smartphone, smartwatch or other mobile device and transfer it to their digital wallet. Ticket scans are faster and frictionless, making the admissions process more convenient than ever.

Modern visitor management solutions allow event managers to easily automate and simplify the onboarding, check-in, and check-out procedures for VIPs, contractors, vendors, other non-ticket holders and volunteers, eliminating inefficient and manual processes.

Visitors and contractors can be grouped across a variety of dimensions to make their experience and the oversight better for all parties.

Flexibility helps venues manage diverse types of events and groups needing event space access, including delegation of responsibilities to contractor admins or even event staff for check-in.  Contractors’ and vendors’ physical access should be managed similarly to full-time employees, and a good visitor management solution can help large event spaces bridge that potential gap.

Event organizations must meet the preferences of all attendees. When selecting a physical ticket option, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is the way to go. These tickets come in several form factors (tickets, cards, wristbands, etc.), feature RFID inlay and are manufactured with special security papers designed to prevent counterfeiting and forgery.

RFID transmits the unique identity of a ticket and ticket holder via radio waves. Unlike barcode readers, RFID scanners do not need a line of sight with the RFID chips. This means attendees can simply tap their tickets to a reader to validate them and gain access to an event, significantly speeding up the admission process. The data stored in a ticket’s RFID chip is encrypted and digitally signed.

Instant fulfilment and personalisation

It is important to consider the legitimacy of tickets purchased at the door. Through an event management platform (EMP), tickets can be personalized and printed on-site from the web interface. More robust issuance solutions offer an instant issuance feature to encode smart tickets are required.

Reliable, contactless readers: with hundreds of people entering the venue before the event, readers should be capable of reading barcodes, RFID/NFC, as well as enable contactless payments, from a single point of presentation. Ability to mount on both poles and desks simplifies attendance logistics. 

Real-time, actionable reporting: customer experience and engagement are at the forefront of large event organizations, so an EMP with a real-time reporting dashboard helps organizations better understand customer behaviour and visualize credentialing, threat alerts, and more. The interface is architected to work seamlessly with all ticket types and form factors. Additionally, dynamic digital vouchers are available regardless of the chosen ticket technology.

And plan proactively is exactly what the IT team at Chester Racecourse, a premier horse racing venue did. Not only did the organization add modernity to luxury, but it delighted its customers even more with a seamless and smart event solution.

Located in northern England and established in 1539, Chester is the oldest racecourse still in operation in the world.


Customers expect quick, seamless, and secure transactions even at the races. As a high volume, luxury venue, Chester Racecourse works to ensure the race day customer experience exceeds expectations. Chester identified transitioning to e-ticketing as one path to enhancing race day.

“Our heritage is extremely important to us, as is the necessity to strive for innovation. As a racecourse we have championed many firsts here at Chester,” said Mansur Akhtar, Head of IT for Chester Racecourse.

“We constantly challenge ourselves as a company and that’s why innovation is so important to us and we are extremely excited to be working with HID Global on a new e-ticketing access control system.”

Modern event management requires accounting for the security of spectators, fighting against ticket fraud, providing fast and secure access control, offering cashless payments, and harnessing event data.

Chester was seeking an e-ticketing solution that would be convenient for customers, enhance security, and give access to additional services beyond entrance to the racetrack.

Chester Racecourse selected the Smart Event Solution from HID Global to deploy personalized e-tickets and access controls at their venue. With the event management platform, Chester introduced personalized smart tickets, physical and mobile RFID readers, and mobile barcode scanners that streamlined the racecourse’s identity confirmation, access control, and vending. Customers can add their mobile tickets to their digital wallets or Chester’s proprietary app, making the solution mobile.

“Our primary objective on a race day centres around exceeding customer expectations. The HID mobile application provides a seamless direct channel for pre-, during and post-event engagement with our customers which supports our commercial objectives of increasing race day revenues and improving customer experience,” said Rob March, Director of Commercial at Chester Race Company Ltd.

This platform allows Chester to manage VIP, general admission, and staff access through one unified system and collect real-time and post-event data.


Security, scalability, and ease of deployment are chief benefits of the Smart Event Solution. The platform consolidates customer and staff experiences into a single platform; smart tickets, access control, event apps and event management cloud software without compromising security and can handle large volumes of traffic.

“I’m more than happy to have chosen HID Global as our access control partner,” said Akhtar. “Within the many features, they’ve ruggedized offline capabilities of the ticket readers and the ability to transfer tickets into a digital wallet or our own app gives us the flexibility we need.”

Chester immediately was able to improve their customer experience by offering customers access to tickets on their personal mobile devices and mobile purchasing options in the venue.

Beyond secure, convenient access management, the HID technology unlocks new data for Chester to iterate and improve the race day experience. The Smart Event Solution collects data such as access per time slot, access compared to tickets sold, number of non-authorised tickets stopped, and more. HID can also customise the system to get specific data should Chester require insights into behaviours specific to their venue. This data can be leveraged in a variety of ways like spotting security risks and improving the flow of foot traffic.

Providing mobile and RFID tickets strengthens Chester’s status as an innovative and historic racecourse. It also creates an avenue for customer engagement after events with social extender experiences.

“At Chester, we’re always looking to innovate,” said Akhtar. “With HID, I believe we’ve found the right partnership not only for access control, but for the full product suite that they have to offer. I expect these solutions to enhance the customer experience so that they can enjoy the day at the races.”

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This article was originally published in the September 2022 edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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