Irish firm takes small screen to the big screen


3 Aug 2006

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Scanners could be coming to a cinema near you and it’s nothing to do with David Cronenberg’s head-exploding Eighties sci-fi flick.

A new paperless ticketing system that could change the way the Irish public goes to the cinema and other entertainment venues has been created by two Dublin City University (DCU) graduates.

The system was debuted at the premiere of the new Miami Vice movie starring Colin Farrell.

The system, entitled Fonaticket, is adding yet another dimension to the way the mobile phone is used and is reputedly drawing attention from industry.

By using the Fonaticket system, cinema goers will only need to bring their mobile phones along to the cinema to claim their tickets. After logging on to the Fonaticket website, www.fonaticket.com, a text message containing a unique bar code will be sent to the customer. This is then scanned at the cinema, saving consumers both time and hassle.

Louise Kirke, managing director of Icora, the creators of Fonaticket, says mobile ticketing will benefit both the consumer and business.

Parents will no longer have to hand over their credit cards to their children and consumers can avoid queues, dealing with broken ticket machines or lost tickets, she lists as some advantages.

From a business perspective, companies will be able to cut down on paper, ink and machine-maintenance costs. Icora will charge an implementation fee to client businesses so consumers should not be affected.

“Mobile ticketing is the future of the ticketing industry. Why waste commodities such as time, paper and ink when a faster, more efficient and environmentally friendly method of distribution is available?” says Kirke.

Icora launched the Fonaticket system on Tuesday night at UCI cinemas in Tallaght, Dublin with a special preview screening of Miami Vice. The firm is currently in negotiations with UCI’s head office in Manchester and, according to Kirke, the Tuesday night launch generated huge interest from other industries.

Eventually, UCI and other venues will be able to set the system up on their websites and consumers will be able to buy the mobile tickets directly from there.

“We will be able to implement the system whatever way the business requires us to do so,” says Kirke. “It depends on their procedures at the moment and how much they want to change them.”

Icora’s founders began working on Fonaticket when they were doing the masters in electronic commerce at DCU. The concept came to life in 2005.

By Linda Daly