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According to Juniper Research, 15 billion tickets will be delivered by phone in 2014. This is up from 2 billion in 2010. Mobile ticketing really is entering a dramatic phase of growth. Mobile tickets eliminate the need to print on paper and they improve the ease (and cost) of ticket distribution. Once a ticket is available on a mobile phone, it offers unparalleled convenience meaning, for one thing, that you don”t have to worry about leaving your tickets behind on the kitchen table.

But we think the real value of mobile ticketing is only beginning to be uncovered. The mobile phone has become a ubiquitous lifestyle accessory. You can now do much more than just send a ticket by SMS to a consumer”s mobile phone. Event promoters in particular have a lot to gain from mobile ticketing beyond the cost benefits of going paperless. For one, they can increase ticket-holder loyalty by integrating event promotion and ticketing offering into the ticket-holder”s social networking bubble. Compelling ticket-oriented offers, ancillary revenue streams, and more personalised and cost-effective ticketing options can be developed.

Technologies like Near Field Communications offer the potential to enable many of these new opportunities. With 1 in 5 phones expected to be NFC-enabled by 2014 this communication standard is likely to be a key pillar in the future of mobile event ticketing. NFC-enabled phones could allow event promoters to deploy a paperless, contactless and mobile-based cashless ecosystem without large capital investment or disruption. In particular, the promise for promoters is paperless ticketing and cashless events.

We recently took a look at a new event ticketing app for the Google Android phone from one of our clients, ticketfriend. The app enables end-to-end contactless event ticketing. It”s a component of the ticketfriend platform which allows promoters to set up, promote and manage events. It also allows ticket buyers to integrate their event going experience with their social networking channels. Ticket buyers with an NFC phone can store their tickets in their phone while those without an NFC phone are provided with a single contactless card that can be used to store multiple event tickets. Tickets in both formats can be checked on entry to a venue by door staff using NFC phones. You can see a video of ticketfriend”s app in action here.

The use of NFC to drive ticketing sales means that consumers will become accustomed to contactless purchasing. A ticket, after all, is just a receipt. So, NFC is driving the next phase of evolution for mobile ticketing. And perhaps mobile ticketing may also be a catalyst for the adoption of NFC payments by consumers, too.