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Attendance Tracking/Ticket Scanning

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Theatre Manager handles tracking of tickets that were used at an event which can be accomplished in one of three ways:

  • Via Events & Dates - scanning stubs using a "wired" or "tethered" scanner or typing in the ticket number
  • Via a web site interface - scanning stubs or typing in the ticket number
  • Via remote using "wireless" hand held scanners that communicate with a web listener

Each option was built for a different purpose and have some pro's and con's associated with them. These are outlined in the table below. All methods:

  • Allow you to enter ticket numbers for a specific event to record attendance. It can be done by scanning the bar codes on a printed or web ticket -or- if the bar code fails, typing it in manually.
  • Have a range of messages that tell you if the ticket was used already to gain admittance, if it is for the wrong night, etc.
  • Can be used in conjunction with each other - meaning, you can use all 3 methods simultaneously if you wish.

Events & Dates

This method of verifying attendance requires you to open the Events and Dates window (or access it from the Accounting->Confirm Attendance Menu).

Pros

  • Can also track attendance by patron number. If you enter the patron #, then all tickets purchased by that patron for that night will be considered used.
  • The simplest method of attendance tracking and probably the cheapest, especially if used after stubs have been collected.

Cons

  • Requires a full copy of Theater Manager (and licence) for each of the workstations that you are using for attendance tracking. This means that attendance tracking 'at the door' requires a computer and scanner attached.
  • Does not facilitate the process of a patron entering and leaving a venue multiple times by multiple exits.

Web Site Interface

This method uses computers equipped with a web browser to communicate to the web listener to track attendance.

Pros

  • Can use inexpensive 'older' computers and a connected bar code scanner to perform attendance tracking at the door. Discarded laptops with a USB interface might be ideal.
  • Bar code scanners connected to machines are cheaper than stand-alone wireless solutions - so this is probably a mid-range price solution.
  • It does not require a user licence to be in use to scan tickets. All tickets are scanned and sent to the web listener via a special interface to the listener.
  • It can be used to check patrons into the venue -and- allow them to leave for later re-entry.
  • It could be used for attendance tracking of stubs after the fact.
  • Can have one or more separate web listener(s) assigned to the attendance function, if desired.

Cons

  • This approach requires a computer at each of the venue's access/egress points capable of being networked and running a browser.
  • The bar code scanner must be tethered ("wired") to the computer at each door.
  • You must have the web listener module to use this option (however, multiple devices can communicate to the same web listener).
Wireless Scanners

This option uses iPhone/iPod wireless scanners and a custom ArtsMan application to scan tickets and send the information to a web listener that checks the person in and out of a venue based on ticket number for that performance.

Pros

  • This uses a battery operated stand alone wireless device specially designed for this purpose. Staff can wander un-tethered to scan tickets which makes it very flexible and the scanner can be deployed to any venue access/egress point depending on demand.
  • It does not require a user licence to be in use to scan tickets. All tickets are scanned and sent to the web listener via a special interface to the listener.
  • It is designed for the leanest communication with a web listener and is quite fast.
  • It has great visual and audio feedback to help determine the permissions of the user to check in and/or out.
  • Can have a one or more separate web listener(s) assigned to the attendance function, if desired, to speed processing.

Cons

  • It requires the web listener module to operate (however, multiple wireless devices can communicate to the same web listener).
  • It is the most expensive technology.
  • It requires a wireless LAN connection to be operating continuously otherwise you cannot scan people into the venue.