HID, the world’s leading provider of trusted identity solutions, is producing smart tickets for the FIFA World Cup for the third year in a row. This year, the company also delivered a customised solution for access control in and around the stadiums. With these technologies, HID enables fans to enter and leave the venues smoothly and facilitates evacuation procedures in case of emergency.
The FIFA World Cup is taking place in Qatar until 18 December, with teams competing for the trophy in eight stadiums across five locations. The emirate expects more than one million visitors to the games. To eliminate ticket counterfeiting, FIFA contracted HID to supply around two million paper “smart” tickets equipped with unique security features.
Among other things, an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) inlay is used in the smart tickets for validation. It transmits the unique identity of the ticket and its holder via radio waves. In contrast to tickets with barcodes, the inlays are much more difficult to forge. Moreover, since RFID scanners do not require a direct line of sight like conventional barcode scanners, ticket validation is smooth. In this way, admission to events with large crowds – such as World Cup matches – is much faster.
“It’s exciting to see how our smart ticketing solution is enhancing the fan experience at one of the biggest and most watched events in the world,” emphasised Björn Lidefelt, Executive Vice President and Head of HID. “Our technology is helping organisers bring the world together for the World Cup.”
As part of the project, HID is also providing personalisation solutions for the secure tickets, including self-service counters for members of the press, counters with dedicated printers to issue personalised tickets on-site, and thousands of handheld scanners. HID staff also support on-site staff at each match. The company has also developed an Event Management Platform (EMP) that provides real-time data and reports to the organiser through user-friendly dashboards. The information helps security officials and organisers monitor all operations remotely. For example, they can view the number of spectators at each entrance and exit, issue press passes and direct the flow of visitors from a central location.
A novel solution with limitless potential
The hosts have also asked HID to set up an external access control layer with security checks at every stadium and training grounds across the country. To this end, the company has implemented additional devices with a new UHF booster technology in the gates at hundreds of checkpoints. They increase the reading capacity of RFID tags through conventional UHF readers. The devices are also integrated with HID’s EMP and enable real-time tracking of on-site events and monitoring of the status of the entire system. All of this is done fully automatically to ensure seamless entry and exit and provide fans with an optimal user experience.
“Real-time data on when ticket holders enter and leave the venue is critical for event organisers. This information helps them provide fans with the best possible accreditation experience. For security, the data is also relevant because it shows organisers exactly where they may need to control crowds and what evacuation strategy will be most effective in the event of an emergency,” explains Cesare Paciello, Vice President of Events and Mobility Solutions for Identification Technologies at HID and leader of the project.
Photo: Two football players pose with HID smart tickets during an event at Al Wakrah Stadium on 17 November 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Source: Marc Atkins, Getty Images)