A finger on fun

May 2009 Access Control & Identity Management

Biometrics can speed the frustrating process of gaining access to theme parks.

Theme parks promise fun for all, but securing them can be a challenge. There are many areas within this entertainment environment that face security threats on a daily basis, whether through ticket fraud, resale of season tickets or simply long lines deterring customers from entering the park.

To minimise these risks, the theme park industry has been looking at automated identity verification to provide the answer.

International biometric solutions provider Lumidigm, supported locally by Brand New Technologies, has developed a biometric identity verification system that increases the bottom line of theme parks and enhance guests’ privacy.

“Lumidigm’s biometric verification system uses unique biometric information from a fingertip to verify a ticket holder,” says Dave Crawshay-Hall, CTO Brand New Technologies. “The system compares the information on the ticket with the guest’s own unique biometric information. This process takes 1,2 seconds from start to finish — and is fully unattended and anonymous.”

This robust solution has already been successfully deployed at a major theme park organisation in the United States. At this implementation the sensors are outdoors and exposed to all weather conditions including sun, wind, and rain; the population using the sensors is very diverse; the sensors are unattended, and the guests are untrained. Despite these adverse conditions the results have been spectacular. The benefits realised include:

* Prevention of sharing and resale of multiday, multipark, season or annual passes.

* Increase reliability due to reliable and consistent automated identity verification. The time required to check IDs is radically reduced as guests no longer need to provide confidential information such as ID numbers and addresses to manually verify against a photo ID.

* More return customers as the automated identity verification increases throughput: shorter lines mean more satisfied customers and more time for in-park spending.

Even individual concerns regarding invasion of privacy are addressed as complete fingerprint data is not necessary for thorough identity verification, and no fingerprint images are ever recorded. Lumidigm turnstile sensors collect just enough data from the fingertip to verify an individual. That information is then encoded as a number. A fingerprint image cannot be recreated from this encoded information, and the encoding is park-specific.

“This level of biometric scan is like asking for the last three digits of your phone number. With three digits of your phone number, no one will know your full number. Guests can therefore rest assured that they are not being fingerprinted,” concludes Crawshay-Hall.

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