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Practicum Report 2005 Donal Foley 53128451 Thomas Goulding 99003996
Practicum Report 2005
Transaction Number: 996352
Movie: Madagascar
Day: Thursday
Time: 19.00
Adults: 2 Children 2
Donal Foley 53128451
Thomas Goulding 99003996
Vanessa Worrell 99420848
Louise Kirke 99412195
Business Supervisor: Dr. Teresa Hogan
Technical Supervisor: Dr. Cathal Gurrin
1
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ...........................................................................................4
Market Size and Trends ...................................................................................5
Market Segmentation ........................................................................................7
Business Model.....................................................................................................8
Growth Strategy ...................................................................................................8
Phase One: Market Entry .................................................................................................. 9
Phase Two: Expansion and Development of Market....................................................... 9
Future................................................................................................................................. 10
Marketing and Advertising ..........................................................................10
Below The Line Marketing............................................................................................... 10
Direct Marketing............................................................................................................... 10
Future Marketing.............................................................................................................. 11
After Sale Service .............................................................................................................. 11
Risk Assessment .................................................................................................12
Revenue Model ...................................................................................................13
Value Chain..........................................................................................................14
Value Proposition..............................................................................................15
PEST ........................................................................................................................18
Political and Legal Analysis ............................................................................................. 18
Economic Analysis ............................................................................................................ 18
Social Analysis ................................................................................................................... 18
Technological Analysis ..................................................................................................... 19
Mobile Phone Technology ................................................................................................ 19
Barcode Scanning Devices................................................................................................ 19
SWOT Analysis...................................................................................................20
Strengths ............................................................................................................................ 20
Weaknesses ........................................................................................................................ 20
Opportunities..................................................................................................................... 21
Threats ............................................................................................................................... 22
M-Solutions Competitive Review ..............................................................23
Rivalry among competitive sellers ................................................................................... 23
Threat of new entrants ..................................................................................................... 23
2
Threat from substitutes .................................................................................................... 23
Power of suppliers ............................................................................................................. 23
Competing Technology ..................................................................................24
Research Methodology ...................................................................................26
Primary Research ............................................................................................................. 26
Secondary Research .......................................................................................................... 27
Feedback from Cinemas................................................................................28
Feedback from Customers ...........................................................................30
Purchase of tickets online:................................................................................................ 30
Willingness to purchase tickets online: ........................................................................... 31
Cost concerns: ................................................................................................................... 31
Perceived benefits: ............................................................................................................ 31
M-Tickets as gifts:............................................................................................................. 32
Frequency of intended use of M-Ticketing service: ....................................................... 32
Technical Report: - Overview of M-Solutions ..................................33
Internet Information Services (IIS) Web Server: .......................................................... 37
SQL Server 2000 ............................................................................................................... 39
Personalization:................................................................................................................. 40
Collaborative Filtering: .................................................................................................... 42
Security: ............................................................................................................................. 43
M-Ticket Purchases using a Mobile Phone Handset: .................................................... 49
Management Structure ..................................................................................54
Appendix ................................................................................................................56
M-Solutions Profit and Loss............................................................................................. 56
Cash Flow Year 1 .............................................................................................................. 57
Cash Flow Year 2 .............................................................................................................. 58
Cash Flow Year 3 .............................................................................................................. 59
Explanation of Costs ......................................................................................................... 60
Office Rent ......................................................................................................................... 60
Case Study .................................................................................................................... 62
Current process versus reengineered process of obtaining a mobile/paper cinema
ticket. .................................................................................................................................. 63
User Manual – for M-Solutions prototype website. ....................................................... 64
Administrators’ Manual – for M-Solutions:................................................................... 83
Using Barcode Technology:.............................................................................................. 93
3
Executive Summary
The objective of this practicum is to create a paperless system of issuing tickets for a
business entity such as a chain of cinemas. This is achieved through the issue of MTickets. The aim is to allow customers to have their tickets electronically stored on
their mobile phones rather than being issued with paper tickets. The source of the idea
comes from the fact that virtually all organisations in Ireland (such as cinemas,
theatres and airlines) still use paper based ticketing, This can be a frustrating
experience due to issues like queuing for tickets at peak times, losing tickets as well
as environmental concerns such as the amount of litter that used tickets creates.
According to Nigel Drake, General Manager of The Vue, Liffey Valley, in an ideal
world all tickets would be pre-booked1. M-Solutions believe there is a gap in the
market for a mobile solution and that these issues can all be integrated and solved
with the introduction of M-Ticketing.
Essentially mobile ticketing offers a new channel of ticket distribution for cinema
chains to the customer. M-Solutions proposes a convenient alternative to traditional
methods of purchasing cinema tickets. The benefits of this system apply to both the
cinema and the customer. It is mutually beneficial relationship.
The aim of this report is to examine the potential of the market for this e-commerce
solution and to develop a working prototype. This was achieved through various
methods including in-depth interviews, questionnaires and research. To obtain an
insight into the Irish cinema market, interviews were conducted with general
managers and marketing managers of UCI, The Vue and the Ormonde. To gain an
accurate representation of the target markets opinions and values, questionnaires were
distributed among cinema patrons and the results analysed. The results of research
carried out for this project show that M-ticketing would be a successful and welcome
service if it were provided in cinemas throughout Ireland.
1
See interview in appendix
4
Market Size and Trends
The cinema market is a big business. This is thanks to big blockbuster movies for
example “Batman Begins” and “Star Wars”. In 2004, cinemas profited from the
success of movies such as “Shrek 2” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.
Final Irish cinema admission figures for 2004 have been confirmed at 17.3m2. With
ticket prices at €8.50 on average, this creates a market worth €147m. Within this
market is the pre-booked sector. Again thanks to big movies, sequels and trilogies,
cinemas can almost take it as a given that the first week will sell out. When the last
“Lord of the Rings” movie was released in Ireland, The Vue made €150,000 in prebooked sales3.
Mobile-Internet is the fastest growing technology in Europe. Currently, there are more
mobile phones than PCs or fixed line phones and Ireland has one of the highest
mobile phone ownership rates in the world.4 This is extremely relevant to MSolutions’ implementation of mobile ticketing. According to the same statistics, the
Irish population, in general, are technology savvy. Hence, M-Solutions is statistically
stable in the Irish mobile and cinema market.
By 2007, it is estimated that the cinema market will reach €7.4bn in Europe alone.
The market was only worth €5.7bn in 2002. Admissions in the European cinema
market are expected to rise to 1bn in 2005. The rise in box office revenues is even
higher than the growth rate in admissions due to a cumulative rise in ticket prices. The
number of screens in Europe will rise to 31,593 by the start of 2007. Multiplex
screens will play a key role in European screen growth over the next five years and
there is still considerable room for growth in several European territories.5
M-Solutions will initially concentrate on the cinema market in Dublin. The number of
cinemagoers in Dublin has increased from 5,709 people in 1996 to 11,356 people in
2
Pearl and Dean, cinema advertisers
Nigel Drake, General Manager, The Vue (Liffey Valley)
4
Forrester Research
5
Screen Digest
3
5
2005. More information on the statistics of Dublin cinemas is available in the table
below.
Statistics
Admissions
Screens
Seats
Person/screen
Admin/screen
1996
5709
64
15570
14886
80209
2002
8517
98
22752
15998
86908
2005
11356
121
30336
21198
115772
Figure 1 Cinema Audiences in Ireland 1999 to 20056
There are a great number of different pricing schemes, special promotions and
concession structures throughout the cinema chains in Dublin. The average price for
an adult’s ticket is €8.50; a child’s ticket €5.75 and a family ticket is €22.00. The
majority of tickets are purchased and used during the weekend, 30% of the box office
revenue is generated on a Saturday.
Box Office Share per day
29
30
25
21
20
17
% 15
10
7
8
9
8
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thur
5
0
Fri
Sat
Sun
Weekday
Figure 2 Box Office Share per day
6
Dadona Research
6
Market Segmentation
This market is made up of both cinema chains and independent cinemas. The
breakdown of this market is illustrated in the chart below. M-Solutions’ target market
will be the major cinema chain, particularly UCI and The Vue as they have
international connections. The Graph below demonstrates that they hold the largest
share of cinema screens. Therefore, M-Solutions will target them because they will be
incremental in the future profitability of the company. Also, in recent years there has
been increased consolidation in the entertainment industry. As a direct result many
independent cinemas have closed down in cities and the larger cinema chains are
dominating the market. Initially M-Solutions will be based in Dublin.
Market Segmentation
16%
29%
2%
7%
11%
14%
12%
6% 3%
UCI
VUE
Screen
Savoy
IMC
Omniplex
Ormonde
IFC
UGC
Figure 3 Market Segmentation of Cinemas in Ireland
7
Business Model
The aim of M-Solutions is to implement the system into cinema chains around
Dublin. M-Solutions will charge a small once off fee for the implementation of the
system. This fee is necessary to cover the cost of the set up including equipment,
hardware and software and is more of an investment for the cinema. It also includes
staff training sessions etc. Annual maintenance is an industry-norm charge for yearly
services and any add on services required will be extra. In our trial implementation,
the cinema chain pays M-Solutions 3% of each M-Ticket transaction to use the
service. M-Solutions will increase this to 5% for new cinemas once the service is up
and running. We aim to have the system implemented in cinemas throughout Ireland
and later expand into the UK/Europe. M-Solutions initially tried to avail of an MMS
service provider. However, by owning its own server, it improves M-Solutions’
financial and market position in the long term.
Growth Strategy
The strategy for the rollout of M-Solutions involves the formation of the strategic
partnership with as many major cinema chains in Dublin as possible, with two
development stages – Market Entry and Expansion and Development of the Market. It
is envisaged that as soon as one cinema uses the service, the others will quickly
follow suit, as was the case with online booking. The Ormonde was the first cinema to
introduce online booking in Ireland in 1999, soon followed by other cinemas to offer
the service, which is now considered standard. The first phase allows M-Solutions to
penetrate the Irish cinema market in the hope of gaining the benefits of having the
early mover advantage in the mobile ticketing market. The second phase will be to
increase market share in Ireland and expand into the UK and Europe.
8
Phase One: Market Entry
This phase will focus on the development and implementation of M-Solutions’
technology within the three targeted cinema chains. In keeping with its tradition, MSolutions intends to launch M-Ticketing in the Ormonde. This cinema was chosen for
a number of reasons:
Most importantly, the Ormonde family is part owners of the new cinema,
Movies @ Dundrum. This is going to be a huge suburban cinema with 10
screens and will be essential to the future growth and profitability of MSolutions.
As mentioned previously, the Ormonde is very innovative in implementing
new technology.
It has the largest percentage of pre-bookings, around 80% for new
releases.
The Ormonde has expressed an interest in using M-Solutions’ service and
its ability to gather information on its customers.
Next, M-Solutions intends to implement its M-Ticketing service in The Vue (Liffey
Valley) and the UCI chain. These cinemas have expressed interest as detailed in the
interviews – see appendix. The cinema chains believe that mobile ticketing is the
future solution for convenient booking and payment.
Phase Two: Expansion and Development of Market
Once M-Solutions is successful in its primary market, it can roll out the system to all
cinemas throughout Dublin and Ireland. M-Solutions intends to expand into the
UK/European cinema market.
The Vue owns 49 cinemas throughout the UK. Depending on the success of
M-Ticketing in its Dublin cinema, it would be possible to implement the
system throughout all 49 UK chains7.
7
Nigel Drake, General Manager, The Vue, Liffey Valley
9
UCI is a global cinema chain. M-Solutions intends to enter these new markets
through these sister companies.
These contracts offer M-Solutions huge growth and profit potential. Our research
shows that the previously mentioned cinema chains (The Vue and UCI) are interested
in implementing the system, first in Ireland and then, pending successful take-up in
Ireland, throughout their chains.
Future
The long-term goals for M-Solutions are to be the implementation of M-Ticketing in
America. This will be achieved through the UCI chain. UCI (United Cinemas
International) is a subsidiary of a major American cinema chain owned by Paramount
and Universal Studios.
Marketing and Advertising
Below The Line Marketing
To create maximum awareness of our M-Ticketing service, M-Solutions will start to
promote the new service around December2005/January 2006. Our promotional
strategy will begin with website advertisements and on posters around the cinema
foyer. M-Solutions’ first implementation will be in the Ormonde this will be launched
in January/February 2006. M-Solutions will place a promotional team in each cinema
as the service is launched to ensure a smooth transition from traditional ticket booking
to M-Ticket booking8. The promotional team will spend two days in the cinema
demonstrating to customers how the service works. The aim of the promotional
campaign is to educate customers who may not be technology savvy, to create
awareness and to ensure that as much of the target market as possible is reached.
Direct Marketing
The cinema chains will also send targeted emails to all their registered customers. The
cinemas’ registered customers will receive personalised emails introducing them to
8
This will not represent a major cost to M-Solutions because one of the directors already works in a
promotions agency.
10
the service. There will also be creative, attractive advertisements on the cinemas’
websites. When customers visit a cinema’s website, they will see the advertisements
and an information page with instructions and regulations of the service. When the
customer goes to book a ticket using their credit card they will be given the option to
purchase an M-Ticket or a traditional ticket. If they were not aware of M-Tickets up
to this point they will now be curious as to what an M-Ticket is.
M-Solutions has chosen these methods of marketing because they are the most
efficient and cost-effective media to reach our target market. All of the advertising
efforts directly reach the most important segment of the target market, the cinema
patrons.
Future Marketing
It will be necessary to keep the marketing strategy up to date and continually gather
new marketing information. The focus will be on the cinema market monopolizers,
such as UCI9, The Vue and Movies @ Dundrum. These are the large chains that will
bring in the most revenue for M-Solutions. Special offers on popcorn, drinks, sweets
and ice cream will all feature as part of the marketing strategy.
After Sale Service
The after sale service allows M-Solutions to become a part of the cinemas’ operations.
A major part of the service is M-Solutions’ quality control procedures. As technology
advances, M-Solutions will be able to add to the services it provides. This will be
done at a charge. Proper quality control testing will be carried out on the entire
system, software and website. The aim of this is to ensure optimum satisfaction with
the service for both the cinema and the customer.
9
Marketing Manager UCI
11
Risk Assessment
Risks identified are:
The service will not catch on due to its technical nature.
Action: M-Solutions will ensure that the service is easy to use by the target market. A
‘how to use M-Ticketing’ page will be available on the website to talk new customers
through the process. Promotions carried out in the cinema chain foyers educating
customers about the service will create awareness, while at the same time teaching
them how to use the service via demonstrations. Most importantly, word of mouth
among existing users will be crucial to the success of the service.
No cinema chain will want to use the system
Action: Research has been conducted with the main large cinema chains in Ireland to
combat this potential risk. Feedback given from interviews held with the cinema
managers resulted in M-Solutions gaining an insight into the values of the cinemas
and what they would like to see the service do for them. This information has allowed
M-Solutions to tailor the service to these specifications. For example, initially MSolutions considered the fact that staff would be free to concentrate on other
activities, a very positive selling point to the service, however, the reality is that this
was not valued very highly by the cinema chains. Other advantages to M-Ticketing,
such as being able to attract people to buy popcorn and drinks by offering money off
was a bigger incentive to the cinema chains than the freeing up of staff.
Not enough M-Tickets will be sold to sustain profitability
Projected demand for M-Tickets are based on the network effect, the more people that
use the service, the more successful it will be. As one person uses it to book two
tickets, their friends will learn about it and be likely to use the service the next time
they are booking tickets. To ensure demand for the service grows substantially, it will
be necessary to ensure that the process is error free and that excellent customer
12
service is provided. This also involves testing that the cinema chains are satisfied and
will not withdraw their service.
Revenue Model
M-Solutions will charge the cinema a small fee of 3% per transaction. Revenues will
mainly be based on cinema ticket sales and redemption of lost and deleted tickets. The
initial implementation charge simply covers the cost of the equipment necessary for
the system such as scanners.
The players in the revenue model are:
Customer: The customer has two payment options. The first one is credit card via MSolutions integrated into the cinema’s website. The second one is to use their mobile
phone credit. With this specific micro payment service, the customer can turn his
mobile terminal into a payment device and use it to pay for items and services.
Merchant: M-Solutions is providing the service. The costs included are the
technologies used to develop the service for example, the purchase of an SMS/MMS
server.
Payment Service Provider: Visa supports the financial transactions and provides a
secure service, reassuring customers that their credit card information is safe.
Mobile Operator: M-Solutions will provide the network service for the distribution
of barcodes.
13
Value Chain
Figure 4 M-Solutions Value Chain
Stage One
The customer visits the cinema’s website and has two options. He can become a
member by registering his details once or he can remain a non-member but will have
to enter his details each time he wants to purchase an M-Ticket.
Stage Two
There are three options for payment. They are via credit card, mobile payments and EWallets. Credit card payment is via the cinema website and processed by the credit
card companies. Other possible payment methods are mobile payments, where the
cost of the ticket is deducted from the customer’s phone credit. E-Wallets are another
possible method of payment where money is virtually stored on the customer’s SIM
card. However, this technology is not yet available in Ireland.
Stage Three
There are two options available for barcode transmission. One method is through the
use of facilities of networks such as O2, Vodafone, Meteor and 3 (coming soon to
Ireland). The other method is the purchase of an SMS/MMS server. M-Solutions
intends to take the second option and purchase an SMS/MMS server. This is more
beneficial, financially in the long term.
14
Stage Four
When the customer goes to the cinema, an usher will scan their mobile barcode. This
will invalidate their mobile ticket. If the ticket has been invalidated i.e. if it is scanned
already or by human error, it cannot be used again. However, a facility is available to
allow the customer to redeem their M-Ticket if it is lost or accidentally invalidated.
Value Proposition
The main selling point of the M-Ticketing system to cinemas is the potential it offers
to increase a their pre-booked ticket sales, drive customers into the cinema where they
will purchase popcorn, drinks or sweets (a huge profit source for cinemas), provide
them with a method of collecting information about their customers (through
membership of the website and usability patterns), which can improve their direct
marketing campaigns and ultimately resulting in more ticket sales. Other benefits
include a reduction of the chain’s costs due to the massive reduction of paper needed
to print tickets, printing materials and staff costs of keeping a number of ticket booths
open. In addition, less cash will be held on the premises, thus reducing security
concerns.
For customers, M-Tickets dramatically cut the amount of time they will have to
queue. They can proceed straight into the cinema once an attendant has scanned their
M-Ticket. The current situation requires customers to either queue up to purchase
their tickets and then queue again to present their tickets to the attendant, or to book
their tickets online, collect them from a collection machine and then queue to have
their tickets checked by an attendant. In cinemas such as The Vue, (Liffey Valley) this
is a major issue and queues can be 15 people long at the refreshments stand. This can
be quite off putting for customers. M-Ticketing will greatly reduce the amount of time
customers have to wait before they can view their movie and make the experience a
lot more enjoyable. Customers can arrive just before the movie starts, have their MTicket scanned and enjoy the movie, there’s no need for attendants to physically
check the date and time on the ticket. The system will check this automatically, in an
15
instant. Extra features such as the ability to pre-pay for refreshments and have them
almost ready to pick up at a separate station or ‘speed lane’10 can be built in the
service. The Ormonde expressed particular interest in this feature.
Other benefits include:
The cinema’s paper and printing costs are reduced. These savings could
possibly be passed onto the consumer.
A user can void his M-Tickets if his phone is stolen or lost. He simply enters
the barcode and transaction numbers of the M-Tickets affected and the system
reissues them to his new mobile phone number. The reissued M-Tickets are
assigned new barcode numbers. The barcode numbers of the original MTickets are invalidated.
There is a facility for users to have their M-Tickets resent to their mobile
phones if they accidentally delete the tickets. Again, this is done through the
website using the barcode and transaction numbers of the M-Tickets affected.
Registered users also have the option of having their M-Tickets reissued using
their mobile phone handsets.
Users can transfer an M-Ticket to another phone (for example as a gift to
another person – via texting the M-Ticket). It does not matter if the ticket is on
a number of phones as once it is used it is immediately invalidated.
Offers can be sent out to users on an opt-in basis for movie promotions or
cheaper M-Tickets during quiet times. Through the use of collaborative
filtering, the system can recommend up and coming movies based on the
user’s and other users with similar profiles’ choices.
There are potential long-term benefits to the environment because less paper
will be used as people become used to booking M-Tickets.
Registered customers to the cinema chain could receive special offers. Regular
users have the facility to register their details on the website though this is not
necessary to use the service. The benefits are that the cinema gains
information about its target market that can be used to build customer profiles
and build marketing promotions.
10
Nigel Drake, General Manager, The Vue, Liffey Valley
16
The customer will benefit from fewer queues.
Value Proposition: To the cinema, M-Solutions offers a convenient, easy to use
method of distributing tickets to customers. Cinemas get up to date and accurate
information about their customer base through the membership pages on the website.
This information can be used for highly targeted, direct marketing. This should result
in increased ticket sales. For customers, M-Ticketing offers them the convenience to
be able to book cinema tickets from home and have them delivered instantly. Our
research conducted in the Ormonde cinema showed that a popular new release would
be fully booked for its first week of showing for up to a week beforehand. With
popular movies such as “Batman Begins”, this can even stretch to two weeks.11 These
customers would then come in to the cinema around two day before the showing to
collect their tickets. M-Ticketing will save them this extra trip, give them peace of
mind, reduce the amount of time they have to queue before they can view their movie
and makes the experience more enjoyable overall. Customers can arrive just before
the movie starts, have their ticket scanned and enjoy the movie.
11
Elaine Grange, General Manager, The Ormonde, Stillorgan
17
PEST
Political and Legal Analysis
Mobile Spamming is illegal in Ireland12. Sending direct mail to customers requires
direct consent. Therefore it is necessary to have an ‘opt in’ option on the cinema
website using M-Solutions’ software.
Economic Analysis
In the second half of 2004, total revenues for fixed, mobile and broadcasting markets
in Ireland amounted to an estimated €4 billion per annum, representing an increase of
approximately 5.8%13. M-commerce is appealing because wireless Internet offers
customer-location information, personalized consumer interaction and constant
connection to the Internet. But the m-commerce marketplace requires new business
models for wireless Internet.
Social Analysis
February 2005’s text-messaging figure reached a total of 2.19 billion messages,
according to figures released by the Mobile Data Association (MDA). 9 million text
messages were sent per day in Ireland in 2004. Mobile phone usage in Ireland is the
largest in Europe per head of population. There are 3.4 million mobile phones in
Ireland and the average user sends 82 text messages per month. According to Merrill
Lynch, m-commerce revenue will top $45 million by 2005. Other analysts predict
worldwide transactions to generate more than $100 billion in revenues by 2005.14
12
EU Directive 2002/58/EC
Wireless World Forum
14
Mobile Data Association
13
18
Technological Analysis
Mobile ticketing is going to be one of the hot new concepts of 200515. The demand
for mobile digital communications devices is outstripping computer sales.
Mobile Phone Technology
There are 1.5 billion mobile telecom users today — a quarter of the world's
population. A further 3.5 billion people live within the coverage area of a mobile
cellular network. European mobile operator executives will try to carefully manage
the risks of commercializing their brand-new 3G technologies; deal with a growing
number of competitors; strive for more loyal customer base; try to capitalize on fixedmobile convergence; and aim to unleash corporate mobile data take-up. Behind all
this lies their need to protect market share and margins, and secure further growth.16
Barcode Scanning Devices
Barcode scanners are becoming more popular due to their convenience and ease of
use. Ireland is one of the first adopters of barcode scanning technology on mobiles,
with the introduction of M-Ticketing through Aircoach and m-coupons with Puca17.
Ireland has good suitability because of the fact that we use GSM/SMS enabled
mobiles.
15
www.enn.ie
www.comreg.com
17
www.aircoach.ie
16
19
SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis provides a good overview of whether a firm’s position is healthy or
unhealthy.
Strengths
M-Solutions’ product allows a cinema to deliver a high level of customer service in
an efficient and cost effective manner. Implementation of mobile ticketing will result
in both process and transaction efficiency gains in the cinema. M-Solutions has
designed and developed the mobile application in consultation with cinema
professionals. Therefore, it facilitates all major activities carried out by cinema
management. No other company has produced a similar product for the Irish market.
Therefore, M-Solutions hopes to secure a solid foothold in the market quickly by
relying on first mover advantage. Mobile ticketing facilitates cross-departmental
sharing of customer information and eliminates the duplication of tasks and
information to be recorded.
M-Solutions’ other strengths are strong e-commerce expertise, technological knowhow, excellent customer service and a strong management team. M-Solutions has
experienced and talented employees in key areas and advanced know-how in
customers’ desires due to extensive research that was carried out.
Weaknesses
As M-Solutions is a start up company a possible weaknesses could be a weak balance
sheet. M-Solutions could take a couple of years to become a profitable venture. It may
require a large funding to get it off the ground. This could result in some debt. Other
weaknesses would be the general barriers to e-commerce that exist.
20
Figure 5 Barriers to E-Commerce
Opportunities
M-Solutions offers a new improved solution to traditional ticketing systems. This
presents the opportunity to grow rapidly and potentially expand into new markets,
such as the UK. Credit cards are increasingly being used for payment via the Internet
and mobile phones18. More specifically, people are using their credit cards for
purchasing entertainment tickets. This is demonstrated in the graph below.
18
Central Statistics Office
21
Figure 6 Credit Card use in Ireland for Ticketing Events
Threats
There is always the threat of competition from new start-up companies or existing
ticketing companies wishing to pursue e-commerce strategies. To counteract this
threat, we intend to lock in customers through add on services and maintenance
requirements and to build strong collaborative relationships between M-Solutions and
its partners.
22
M-Solutions Competitive Review
Rivalry among competitive sellers
Competitive rivalry in the M-Ticketing market is not yet particularly strong as it is a
new technology. There are few rivals19 in the M-Ticketing market and none in the MTicketing cinema market. However, there is always the possibility of new entrants.
Threat of new entrants
There is a high threat of new entrants as mobile technology is becoming increasingly
popular. Numerous technology companies that have easy access to the relevant
technology have lower entry barriers. They already have access to the investment and
resources required to enter the market. However, as M-Solutions is the first to offer
the service for the entertainment industry in Ireland, building relationships and
locking customers in can create barriers. Relationship building will be an important
element of the directors’ positions.
Threat from substitutes
Substitutes for M-Solutions’ mobile ticketing are traditional paper based ticketing and
online booking. While these substitutes provide a similar service for the same price
they do not offer the customer as much convenience as they still need to queue to
collect or print their tickets before entering the cinema.
Power of suppliers
Network providers are essential in the provision of M-Ticketing services; therefore,
they have a lot of bargaining power. It will be to their benefit to enhance M-Solutions’
competitiveness because the more successful M-Solutions is, the more they will
profit. This will be an incentive for suppliers to work with M-Solutions as partners in
providing this service. However, M-Solutions intends to use a private SMS/MMS
server, thus reducing the power suppliers will have.
19
Textus based in Invent, DCU
23
Power of buyers
The power of the cinema chains is high as they are the customers who must take the
risk of implementing this system. However, at the moment M-Solutions is the only
provider of this service and once implemented, high switching costs will create buyer
lock-in. It will be costly for them to change to another provider.
Competing Technology
Textus, a Dublin mobile software firm, has introduced SMS barcodes that can be used
in point-of-sale transactions. The M-Scan device communicates with the Textus
server via GPRS, and then issues a physical ticket from an internal thermal printer and
the mobile phone user presents it as a ticket, or as a promotional offer. The
technology is currently being piloted by Miller Beer in Ireland and is being used
actively by another brewer, Stella Artois, in Northern Ireland. Workers in the field are
the target market for the Mobile Employee project, an initiative of Digital North
Denmark.20
Cambridge Consultants has demonstrated a wireless tagging technology based on
new-generation 'ultra-wide band' communications, providing a step-change in
capability compared with today's paperless transport ticketing. Offering a very large
sensing zone - with the option of 3D-positional information on tags - the technology
has the potential to give commuters an invisible license to travel. It could be used to
eliminate barriers in railway systems and allow revenue-checking staff to target only
ticket-less passengers.21
Airline leaders have committed to implement e-ticketing by 2007 to simplify airline
business processes. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which
distributes 300 million paper tickets each year, said that paperless ticketing would
save the industry up to $3 billion in direct costs. In July 2005, delegates at the IATA
annual general meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Singapore approved the
use of self-service kiosks in check-in areas. To reduce queues at airports and airline
20
21
Textus – Google search
Cambridge Consultants – Google search
24
check-in costs, the industry group is also to push for boarding passes with bar codes
that can be self-printed.22
Gavitec's technology enables barcode scanning with camera-equipped mobile phones.
Codes can be printed in newspapers and magazines, on posters or on the product
itself. The Lavasphere platform-independent code needs no additional scanner
hardware to turn camera-enabled devices into universal code readers. It is easy to
integrate into current and future camera-enabled mobile phones – regardless of the
operating system used. The system allows camera phones to read Data Matrix and a
variety of other two-dimensional printed codes, as well as traditional one-dimensional
barcodes. The company also develops and distributes hardware units that make it
possible to read codes presented on the display of a mobile phone. Possible uses
include e-ticking applications and electronic vouchers.23
Semacode is a free mobile barcode-scanning system created by Simon Woodside, a
programmer from Canada. The system encodes standard URLs as two-dimensional
Data Matrix codes. An application on the user's phone converts the Data Matrix code
back into a URL and passes the information to the phone's browser.24
RegiSoft has been developing ticket sales on mobile devices, and now the first such
wireless transaction system is up and running in Singapore. RegiSoft has announced
the successful completion of the first show offering ticket sales using mobile
devices.25
22
Airline leaders – google search
www.gavitech.com
24
www.semacode.com
25
www.regisoft.com
23
25
Research Methodology
To gain an understanding of the mobile ticketing market, research was conducted into
the value chains of traditional ticketing and mobile marketing. During the course of
this project, both primary and secondary methods were used to investigate the
potential of M-Solutions as a mobile ticketing solution.
M-Solutions conducted in-depth research in Ireland and has sourced information from
America, Europe, Asia and other countries. The following areas have been focused
on:
All current processes within cinemas.
The use of mobile technology in the entertainment sector.
The capabilities and limitations of existing technology.
Exploring the opportunities of future solutions.
Cinema customer demographics obtained using questionnaires.
Comprehensive analysis into the structure of cinemas in Ireland.
Trends in spending on mobiles in Ireland.
Detailed financial study into costs.
Direct and indirect competitors.
The questionnaire and survey provided useful information concerning cinema
customers’ interests and thoughts on mobile ticketing.
Primary Research
Our primary research consisted of questionnaires, interviews, surveys and emails. The
purpose of the customer questionnaire was to discover the attitudes of potential
customers that would use mobile ticketing. To complete our primary research, we
carried out a cinema chain questionnaire and interviews with major cinemas in
Dublin. This gave us an understanding of how well our solution would be accepted in
the market place as well as its perceived strengths and weaknesses. The questioning
sequence was designed to invite the respondents to focus on general aspects of the
26
cinema environment. The questions then concentrated on the specific use of mobile
and general technology in conjunction with their everyday work. This approach
ensured that the interviewees became relaxed and familiar with the content of the
questionnaire. It was decided that the composition of the questionnaires should consist
of both open and closed-ended questioning. Closed-ended questions were included in
the questionnaire to measure different aspects of each topic. It was felt that these
questions were an appropriate tool to gain an answer to the specific questions. Some
open-ended questions were included at the end of the questionnaire to allow people to
use their own words to tell us what they thought about the issue of using mobile
phone technology in their professional environment as well as any other opinions
about mobile ticketing.
Secondary Research
Using books, articles and web sites, listed in the bibliography, extensive secondary
research was carried out. All business aspects of mobile couponing were fully
researched using secondary material; many of the articles providing supporting
evidence for this document are quoted. The technical aspects of the project, including
the M-Solutions demo, were researched and developed using the assistance of web
sites and online forums.
27
Feedback from Cinemas
We interviewed four cinema chains, The Ormonde (Stillorgan), The Vue
(Liffey Valley), UCI (Tallaght) and The Odessey (Belfast). They filled out a
survey, see appendix. The results are as follows:
75% of the cinemas thought the service would be very beneficial, 25% thought
it would be the same as normal on-line booking. UCI said it would depend on
cost and whether it would increase sales.
At the moment 75% of the cinemas rely on their websites for customer
information and through newsletters and “cinemail” (an on-line customer
survey).
The Ormonde estimated that each ticket cost .03c.
The Vue and The Odessey estimated that each ticket cost .007c, the cost of
which they try to offset with advertising on the back of the ticket.
The Vue and The Odessey thought that both the cinema and the customer
would benefit, while the Ormonde thought that the customer would benefit
most and UCI thought the cinema would receive the most benefit because of
the advantages of advanced bookings.
Managers were asked to assign each benefit of the service a grade of importance with
1 being the most important and 5 being the least important. The results are as follows:
On average, customer convenience was rated most important, increased sales
and lower cost were rated second most important, being seen as technology
savvy rated third most important, other tasks such as allowing employees to
concentrate on other value added tasks was considered the least important by
most cinemas.
28
Lower Costs
5
5
5
1
More free staff
4
4
4
4
Increased Sales
2
1
2
2
Technology Savvy
3
3
3
5
Customer Convenience 1
2
1
3
Figure 7 Cinema Managers' grading of the importance of the benefits of using M-Ticketing
Other benefits that the cinemas mentioned were:
The advantages of having customers book in advance.
Further customer data.
Ability to track customer interaction with the system.
More visitors.
When asked if they were interested in implementing the system, they all
said yes (depending on obvious practicalities).
Other features they would like to see added were:
The addition of some kind of control mechanism regarding under age
customers gaining access to age rated films. There may always be a need
for human controls i.e. ushers.
At the moment UCI have no paper trail of sales so they would like to see
this feature added.
The ability to pre-book food and drinks so that the customer can just come
up to the counter and collect them.
Problems that the cinemas envisaged from use of the service were as follows;
Integration problems
Kids using parents credit card to gain access to overage films
Communicating the service to customers.
29
Feedback from Customers
The customer survey also provided feedback that was utilised in planning the
marketing strategy. It provided useful customer demographics, cinema and mobile
phone statistics.
Mobile Phone Ownership
Yes = 100%
No = 0%
Credit Card Access
Yes = 90%
No = 10%
Internet Access
Internet = 90%
WAP = 10%
Figure 8 Breakdown of Mobile Phone, Credit Card and Internet Ownership
Purchase of tickets online:
60% do not buy cinema tickets on-line. The following reasons were given for this:
Don’t trust it.
Prefer to pay bills in cash.
Can’t use a computer.
Haven’t always decided what to go and see.
Not Internet and computer savvy.
Prefer to use the telephone.
30
Willingness to purchase tickets online:
80% would purchase an M-Ticket if the facility were available. 10% said maybe and
10% said they would not. The reason being as follows:
Maybe, depending on how safe it was.
Don’t want to use their credit card on-line.
Cost concerns:
90% of customers would be more inclined to use M-Ticketing if it resulted in lower
priced tickets.
Perceived benefits:
Customers were asked to assign each benefit of the service a grade of importance with
1 being the most important and 5 being the least important. As the table shows, value
for money was the customers’ top priority and environmental awareness was of least
importance.
5
4.5
4
3.5
Convenience
3
Environmental Awareness
2.5
Value for money
2
Keeping up with technology
1.5
Less queuing
1
0.5
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Figure 9 Customers' Top Priorities for using M-Ticketing
31
M-Tickets as gifts:
80% think the facility to send an M-Ticket to another person’s phone as a gift is a
great idea. 20% said they would not use it.
Frequency of intended use of M-Ticketing service:
When asked how often they would use the service, 40% said they would use MTicketing every time they went to the cinema, 40% would use it sometimes and 20%
said they would not use it very often. The reasons given for this were as follows:
Don’t plan what film to see in advance.
Because I am not always very organised.
Can’t use Internet.
Prefer to pay in cash.
Prefer to pay in cash to avoid extra bills.
32
Technical Report: - Overview of M-Solutions
At home
Web
Browser
IIS Web
Server
SQL
Server
User can:
Browse Movies, Book an M-Ticket,
Become a Registered User
User purchases MPurchase M-Tickets,
Ticket
View his/her purchases,
View his/her current membership details,
Change his/her M-Ticket details,
Retrieve a lost M-Ticket.
User’s email
account
Database contains:
Movie information, Information
on Users (Passwords are
hashed), Information of MTicket purchases.
User’s
Mobile
Phone
\\\\\\
\\\\\\
Web
Browser
Barcode Number and
Transaction Number of MTicket are sent to user, along
with details of his/her MTicket purchase.
At Cinema
Scanner
1: User scans M-Ticket,
2: User enters his M-Ticket Transaction
Number on keypad (this is printed
underneath the barcode),
3: M-Ticket is immediately invalidated.
Figure 10 Overview of M-Solutions
33
Home
Login Page
View this
week’s
movies
Book an MTicket
Become a
registered
user
Retrieve lost
M-Ticket
Are you a Member?
Yes
Book a
Movie
Are you a Member?
No
Yes
No
Become a
Member
Login Page
M-Ticket Booking
Form (NonMembers)
Login Page
M-Ticket
retrieval page
(Non-Members)
Successful Login?
Yes
No
Registered User’s Personal Page
Make an MTicket Booking
(Members)
M-Ticket
Booking
Form
(Members)
View
Member’s
Current
Bookings
Retrieve
Member’s
Lost MTicket
User enters
Lost MTicket
Barcode and
Transaction
Numbers
Change
Member’s
Membership
Details
View
Member’s
Personal
Details
User Enters
New Details
Change
Member’s MTicket Details
User Enters
Barcode and
Transaction
Numbers of
M-Ticket to
Change
Figure 11 Map of M-Solutions Website for cinema customers
34
Administrators’ Page
M-Ticket
Validation
Admin.
scans MTicket
Barcode
and asks
user to
enter MTicket
Transaction
Number
Get Info. on
M-Ticket
Bookings
Admin.
selects a
Movie and/or
Day and/or
Time and/or
Gender and
gets info. On
M-Ticket
bookings
made
Get Info. on
Registered
Users
Admin. enters
a User Name
to get that
user’s profile
or can select
ALL users’
profiles
Revalidate an
Invalid MTicket
If M-Ticket is
scanned in
error, admin.
can revalidate
that M-Ticket
by scanning it
and entering
M-Ticket’s
Transaction
Number
View
Staff
Log/Add
new Staff
Member
Admin. can
view a log
of Staff
Members’
activities or
add a new
Staff
Member to
Staff
database
Ger a
User
Profile
View
Users
Targeted
Admin.
enters a
User’s User
Name and
can view
all MTickets
purchased
by that
Member
Returns a
list of
Users
chosen
by
system to
target
with
Special
Offers
Figure 12 Map of M-Solutions Website with Administrators' Options
Staff Page
M-Ticket Validation
Staff Member Scans M-Ticket
Barcode and asks user to enter MTicket Transaction Number
Figure 13 Map M-Solutions Website with Staff Members' Options
35
Figure 14 M-Solutions Home page (when used with UCI Cinemas Website)
At M-Solutions, we have chosen to implement our system using Visual C#.NET,
ASP.NET, Internet Information Services (IIS) Web server and Microsoft SQL server
2000.
•
The .NET Framework addresses the issues of incompatibilities between
programming languages and unrelated technologies. As M-Solutions will be
installing its M-Ticketing software for a number of different cinema chains, it
is essential that it is compatible with the various legacy systems that they
currently implement. Based on our interviews with various cinema chains,
they would not be in a position to change their current systems. Using the
.NET Framework means that they will not be required to change their systems,
they can simply use M-Solutions’ software as an add-on to their current
systems. At M-Solutions, we believe this to be a major selling point for our
system. The .NET Framework therefore provides a method of using the
Internet to solve the issues of incompatibilities between systems by using
standards such as XML Web Services.
•
The .NET Framework brings the concept of Object Oriented programming to
the Web. It provides a common Application Programming Interface (API) for
all languages. The choice of language used can be changed as the project
proceeds, but the final outcome will be the same.
36
•
The .NET Framework makes use of Web Services such as XML to exchange
data, for example, to authorise credit card purchases, using standards such as
HTTP and Simple Object Application Protocol (SOAP) to allow applications
to interoperate. It simplifies the process of writing Web Services.
•
ASP.NET is the next generation of the Active Server Pages (ASP) server side
scripting languages and is fundamental to the .NET Framework.
•
All code written using the .NET Framework is reduced to the Common
Intermediate Language (CIL), the language used does not affect the
application’s design and operation. The language chosen is simply a syntactic
device for producing a CIL. All applications use the same API – the .NET
Framework Class Library. A class can be written in one language (for
example, C#) and then derived into a different language (for example, Visual
Basic). CIL compilers can support many languages such as Perl or JScript,
each producing the same result as if it were written using C# or Visual Basic.
Internet Information Services (IIS) Web Server:
At M-Solutions, we have decided to implement our Website using the IIS Web
Server 6.0. The main reasons for this are:
1. Reliability – IIS 6.0 is a powerful Web server, which provides a highly
reliable Web application infrastructure. It provides a high-performance
platform for applications built using ASP.NET and the .NET
Framework. IIS 6.0 ensures that one application’s problems do not
cause other applications or the server itself to fail. Administrators can
spend less time managing these applications. It provides a fault tolerant
architecture. Applications can be isolated, but everything else remains
running. The server automatically disables applications that fail too
often within a short period of time.
37
2. Easier Server Management – IIS 6.0 provides a set of management
tools designed to reduce the amount of time it takes to manage Web
server infrastructure. It also features an XML configuration file that
can be modified without having to stop the server. Many applications
can be hosted on a single server, thus reducing hardware costs and site
management costs.
3. Faster Application Development – IIS 6.0, the .NET Framework and
ASP.NET allow developers to develop applications rapidly, using a
wide choice of languages (for example, C# or Visual Basic) and
reliable hosting performance.
4. Increased Security – Authentication and authorization procedures have
been improved in IIS 6.0. Administrators can now grant or deny
authorization to particular computers and users. IIS 6.0 also takes
advantage of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) suite of protocols.
Automatic security patch management and a variety of authentication
schemas reinforce security.
5. XML Web Services – IIS 6.0 provides a high performance platform for
XML Web Services. This feature is extremely important if MSolutions is to integrate with cinemas’ existing systems.
A survey of the 2005 Fortune Top 1,000 Websites reports that ASP.NET and
IIS Web Server serve the majority of leading U.S. corporate Websites26. IIS is
used by 53.7% of these companies, Apache by 22.7%, Netscape Enterprise by
10.8% and the remaining 12.8% use other Web servers.
43.6% of these companies use ASP.NET, whereas 12.2% use J2EE, JSP or
Tomcat.
26
www.port80Software.com
38
60
50
IIS
40
Apache
30
Netscape Enterprise
20
Others
10
0
Web Server Used
Figure 15 Servers used by the Fortune Top 1,000 US companies
SQL Server 2000
At M-Solutions, we have chosen to implement SQL Server 2000 Developer
Edition as our database of choice.
1. SQL Server 2000 Developer Edition is designed to allow developers to
build any type of application on top of a SQL Server. It runs on a
variety of platforms and can be easily upgraded to the larger Enterprise
Edition as M-Solutions grows as a business.
2. SQL Server 2000 provides a data management platform that
organisations such as M-Solutions require in a fast changing
environment.
3. SQL Server 2000 is a full database system, which provides core
support for XML Web Services.
4. SQL Server 2000 provides users with critical, timely business
information, which is tailored to their specific information needs.
5. SQL Server 2000 provides data mining capabilities, which allow users
to make predictions about future business trends.
39
M-Solutions provides many useful services for both cinemas using the service
(profiles can be built on users purchasing M-Tickets) and customers
(convenience).
Personalization:
When a registered user logs onto the website, a session cookie is created and
stored on the user’s hard drive. The user can return to the home page and his
user name is extracted from the cookie. If the user closes the Web browser, the
cookie is destroyed. The server will also destroy the cookie after a certain date
expires.
ASP.NET uses sessions to enable Web applications to store each user’s state.
If the site receives no request from a registered user within 20 minutes of
logging in to his personal page, the server discards the session.
Facilities
available to
registered
users
Figure 16 A registered user's personal page
40
M-Solutions allows registered users to:
1. Make an M-Ticket booking – It is no longer necessary to enter information
such as email address, mobile phone number, age group, gender etc. each time
an M-Ticket is booked. The user simply enters the number of M-Tickets he
wants to purchase and his credit card details. The system automatically links
up the M-Ticket sale with the user’s personal information on the database.
This provides registered users with additional convenience and encourages
customers to register their details on the M-Solutions Website. The benefit for
cinemas using M-Solutions is that they can build up a detailed profile of each
of their registered customers and tailor offers of interest to them.
2. View current bookings – Each registered member has the facility to view
their bookings made.
3. Retrieve a Lost M-Ticket – If a registered member accidentally deletes the
text message containing his M-Ticket, he can simply revisit his personal page,
enter the Barcode number and Transaction number of the lost M-Ticket and it
will be re-sent to the user’s registered mobile phone. He can retrieve the
Barcode and Transaction numbers from his personal page or from the
automated email sent to him when he originally booked the M-Ticket. This
facility will cost the user 80c to cover the cost of reissuing the M-Ticket and to
discourage users from carelessly deleting their M-Tickets. A registered user
can also retrieve his lost M-Ticket using his mobile phone handset.
4. Change Membership Details – At any time, a user can change the personal
information stored about him, for example if he purchases a new mobile phone
and wants to replace his old registered number with his new number or if he
no longer wants to receive email newsletters from M-Solutions. The only
detail that cannot be changed is the user’s user name.
5. View Membership Details – At any time, a user can view the personal
information stored about him by M-Solutions.
41
6. Change M-Ticket Booking – A registered user can change the details of his
M-Ticket booking up to 1 hour before the start of performance. He simply
enters the Barcode and Transaction numbers of the M-Ticket concerned and
can then add extra users to the M-Ticket. He is then prompted for his credit
card details to pay the additional charge. Also, if his mobile phone containing
his M-Ticket is lost or stolen, he can change his registered mobile number on
his personal page and then proceed to have the M-Ticket on the lost or stolen
phone cancelled and reissued (with a new Barcode and Transaction number) to
the new phone. The system will no longer recognise the original M-Ticket.
Collaborative Filtering:
Movies suggested
for a particular
user based on his
past purchases
and similar users'
purchases
Special offer for
registered users
purchasing > 4 MTickets in August
Figure 17 Collaborative Filtering applied to a registered user
42
Security:
M-Solutions takes the issue of security very seriously and has designed its Website
with security in mind. M-Solutions requires users to provide some personal
information in order to allow cinemas using M-Solutions’ software to build up
profiles on their customers. Data Protection legislation requires that information
stored on computers is stored securely so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
The following are some of the security policies implemented by M-Solutions.
•
Certain pages (for example, pages containing users’ personal information) can
only be accessed by people with administrative privileges to the system, for
example, the cinema manager.
•
The Web server identifies registered users using a mechanism known as
authentication. Once a user is authenticated, by supplying a valid user name
and password, he is authorised to view certain pages. The server denies access
to any unauthorised person trying to access users’ individual pages.
•
The IIS Web Server accepts connections from remote clients and responds to
HTTP requests through those connections. A remote client cannot access files
from a subdirectory that he doesn’t have access rights to.
•
When a remote client requests access to certain files, the Access Control List
checks which resources are being targeted by the user. If the user does not
have authorization to read the file, the server denies him access. IIS also
allows certain domain names to be denied access to the system if required.
•
IIS supports the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) family of protocols, thus
preventing eavesdropping on conversations between Web servers and remote
clients.
43
•
Registered users are required to enter a valid user name and password to gain
access to their personal pages and perform such functions as booking MTickets using their user names or change their M-Ticketing information or
personal information. The browser transmits the user name and a hashed
version of the password to the Web server.
IIS
ASP.NET
Web
Application
HTTP
Request
ASPNET_isa
pi.dll
ASPNET_
wp.exe
Figure 18 IIS forwarding to ASP.NET a user's access token before granting or denying
access to that user27
•
M-Solutions uses IIS version 6.0 as its Web server due to the fact that it
provides a much more robust security model than its previous versions. When
ASPNET_isapi.dll forwards a HTTP request to ASPNET_wp.exe, it also
forwards an access token, obtained from IIS. ASPNET_wp.exe then performs
security checks on the access token before granting a user access to personal
pages. ASP.NET performs an Access Control List check, using the access
token presented to it from IIS. If the Access Control List is set up to deny a
particular user access to the system, he or she will be denied access. This is
known as Forms Authentication and it relies on the credentials entered at login
as the basis for authorising users.
•
Using Forms Authentication, when a user successfully logs in, ASP.NET
issues him with an authentication ticket in the form of a cookie. The user is
27
Diagram reprinted from ‘Programming Microsoft. NET’
44
then redirected to his personal page. The authentication ticket allows that user
to visit and re-visit protected elements of the website, without having to keep
re-entering his user name and password. The lifetime of the authentication
ticket is decided by the website administrators. M-Solutions has limited the
lifetime of the authentication cookie to 30 minutes, using a timeout attribute.
When a person attempts to view a file in a protected directory, ASP.NET
checks to see if the authentication cookie attached to the request is valid. If it
is valid, ASP.NET decrypts it and validates it to ensure that it has not been
tampered with. The user is then redirected to his personal pages. If the
authentication cookie is invalid, the user is redirected back to the login page.
Only registered users can access files in the protected directory. All attempts
made to access the directory other than with a registered user name and
password will be denied and the user redirected to the M-Solutions homepage.
Once a registered user signs out of his personal page, a cookie is created with
an expiry date set to a date in the past, thus destroying the authorization cookie
created. The user will have to log in again if he revisits the site.
Figure 19 An invalid login after the access token supplied by the user was invalid
•
All authentication cookies are both encrypted and hashed. The hash value is
appended to the original authentication cookie. This allows ASP.NET to verify
that the authentication cookie has not been tampered with. It does this by rehashing the authentication cookie and comparing it to the hash sent with the
cookie. Both cookie and hash value appended are encrypted to ensure that an
authentication cookie cannot be read if it is intercepted.
45
The timeouts attached to authentication cookies help prevent replay attacks.
These timeouts work because M-Solutions uses session cookies rather than
persistent cookies.
•
M-Solutions performs validation controls at both the client side and server
side. If a page contains invalid inputs, for example if a user enters 17 digits as
her credit card number or enters letters instead of numbers or leaves the field
blank, the information will not be posted back to the server. Instead, the user
will be prompted to enter the information required. Once the user has entered
the correct information, it is sent to the server and checked again on the server
side before being stored in the database. ASP.NET allows the use of required
field validators, range validators and regular expression validators to check
user inputs on the client side. All validation errors are presented to the user as
a pop-up window containing a summary of the user’s errors.
Figure 20 Validation checks performed on the client side
46
Transaction Number: 996352
Movie: Madagascar
Day: Thursday
Time: 19.00
Adults: 2 Children 2
Figure 21 An M-Ticket
•
All user passwords are hashed before being stored in the Members’ table in
the database. This ensures that nobody viewing the Members’ table can access
a user’s password. When a user enters his user name and password, the
password entered is hashed.
All user passwords are hashed before
being stored in the database
Figure 22 The Members' database. All Members' passwords are stored in a hashed format
•
If the hashed password entered by the user matches the hashed password
stored in the database, then the user is granted access to his or her personal
page, otherwise, he or she is denied access.
•
Users’ credit card information is not accessible to M-Solutions or any of the
cinemas using M-Solutions’ software. All such information proceeds via a
payment gateway to the Credit Card Authorization Centre.
47
•
Extra security measures implemented by M-Solutions are:
1. When using an M-Ticket, the user must also enter a unique Transaction
Number which is sent with the M-Ticket when it is originally booked.
This prevents people from making up a random barcode and trying to
use it at a cinema.
2. M-Tickets can only be validated at the cinema within 1 hour of the
start of performance. It is computationally infeasible for an attacker to
successfully generate a valid M-Ticket with a valid corresponding
Transaction number and use it at the correct movie, within 1 hour of
the movie starting.
3. M-Tickets can only be reissued to a user’s registered mobile number or
the mobile number used to book the M-Ticket (if the user is not a
registered member).
4. Users who lose their mobile phones and purchase a new one can
update their membership details with the new mobile phone number.
The user can then have his or her M-Ticket reissued to the new phone.
This will cost the user 80c per M-Ticket reissued.
5. M-Solutions plans to implement a 2D barcoding system. This offers
customers extra security as much larger numbers can be converted into
barcodes, thus making it impossible to forge a valid M-Ticket.
48
M-Ticket Purchases using a Mobile Phone Handset:
At M-Solutions, we have provided a number of facilities that registered users can
access on their mobile phone handsets.
Figure 23 Booking an M-Ticket from a Mobile Phone Handset
Registered users are also provided with the facility to retrieve a lost M-Ticket directly
from their mobile phone handsets. It is not necessary for them to retrieve their MTicket Barcode or Transaction numbers from the M-Solutions website. The user
simply enters his or her user name and password, chooses to retrieve an M-Ticket and
is presented with a list of M-Tickets currently booked. The user then chooses the M-
49
Ticket he wishes to retrieve, is asked to confirm his choice and reminded that he will
be charged 80c per M-Ticket retrieved. The M-Ticket is then resent to the user’s
registered mobile phone. Non-registered users can only retrieve a lost M-Ticket on the
website, not from a mobile phone handset.
Figure 24 Retrieving a lost M-Ticket from a Mobile Phone Handset
Registered users are offered the facility to alter the number of people booked on their
M-Tickets. For example, if a user has booked an M-Ticket containing 2 adults and 2
children and wishes to add 1 more adult and 2 more children to the same M-Ticket, he
simply visits his personal page, chooses the ‘Change my M-Ticket Details’ link,
enters the extra adults and children and confirms that he agrees to be charged the extra
people to his credit card. There is no extra charge for this service as it is not necessary
to reissue the M-Ticket.
If a registered user’s mobile phone containing an M-Ticket is lost or stolen, the user
can have the M-Ticket cancelled and reissued to his new mobile phone number. The
reissued M-Ticket has a different barcode; the original M-Ticket’s barcode is null and
void and so cannot be used by anyone else.
50
User enters
Barcode and
Transaction
numbers of MTicket he wants
to change
User enters the extra
Adult and Children’s
seats he wants to add
to his M-Ticket
Updated MTicket details
Figure 25 Adding extra people to a user's M-Ticket booking
51
User registers his
NEW mobile phone
number
User enters details
of M-Ticket he
wants reissued
52
M-Ticket is
reissued to
user’s new
registered
mobile phone
number
New Barcode
and
Transaction
number of
reissued MTicket.
Figure 26 Changing the details of a booked M-Ticket
53
Management Structure
Figure 27 M-Solutions Management Structure
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer – CEO and CFO
Vanessa has been selected as the CEO and CFO. Her duties include:
•
The selection and control of budgets.
•
Controlling the development, implementation, and monitoring of the
company-wide financial and management systems.
•
Reviewing the financial and business activities.
•
Providing accurate reports of past and present financial spending activities.
•
Projecting future spending and revenue levels.
•
Serve as principal advisor to the rest of management in matters relating to
financial and resources management.
54
Chief Operations Officer - COO
As COO Donal’s duties are:
•
Directing resource and project management.
•
Acting as Chief Information Officer (CIO).
•
Supervising communication between all management positions.
•
Ensuring information flows smoothly within the company.
•
Identifying technical issues.
•
Supervising administrative, managerial, professional and technical recruiting
(in consultation with other management members).
Chief Technical Officer – CTO
Tom will act as the companies CTO. His job involves:
•
Researching potential technologies that could be used by M-solutions.
•
Investigating potential solutions to business issues every quarter.
•
Staying up to date with potential innovations.
•
Analysing the data provided via the customer databases.
•
Liaising with the COO.
Director of Marketing and Sales
Louise is the Head of the Marketing and Sales Department. Her responsibilities
include:
•
Creating the company’s corporate awareness
•
Building a brand name for the product “M-Solutions”.
•
Identifying potential customers that can adopt and market the platform
successfully.
•
Acting as Sales Representative in Ireland.
•
Meeting with clients presenting M-Solutions’ technology and discussing the
sales process.
55
Appendix
M-Solutions Profit and Loss
Profit and Loss, M-solutions Year 1
Sales
Less cost of Sales
Gross Profit
Vat @ 21%
Net Profit
Profit and Loss, M-solutions Year 2
Sales
Less cost of Sales
Gross Profit
Vat @ 21%
Net Profit
Profit and Loss, M-solutions Year 3
Sales
Less cost of Sales
Gross Profit
Vat @ 21%
Net Profit
41989.00
169220.00
-127231.00
26737
-153968
177672.00
-130120.00
47552.00
9985
37567.00
150432.00
-130920.00
19512.00
4097
15415.00
15415.00
56
Cash Flow Year 1
Opening Balance
Direct Costs
Staff Costs
Legal Fees
Promotion
Equipment
Expenses
Insurance
Phone Bills
Office Rent
January February
March
April
May
60000.00 33973.00 24046.00 14119.00 4192.00
10000.00 10000.00 10000.00 10000.00 10000.00 10000.00
10000.00
10000.00
1000.00
4100.00
100.00
160.00
1000.00
Total Debts
June
-5735.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
-26360.00 -10260.00 -10260.00 -10260.00 -10260.00 -20260.00
Sales
The Ormonde, Sales
UCI, Sales
Dundrum, Sales
The Vue, Sales
Total Sales
Account Balance
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
1768.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
2101.00
33973.00 24046.00 14119.00
4192.00
-5735.00 -23894.00
July
August September October November December End of year
Opening
-23894.00 -32053.00 -46763.00
-59380 -61997.00 -64614.00 60000.00
Balance
Direct
Costs
Staff Costs 10000.00 10000.00 10000.00 10000.00 10000.00 10000.00 120000.00
Legal Fees
10000.00
10,000
40000.00
Promotion
1000.00
Equipment
4100.00
Expenses
Insurance
Phone Bills
Office Rent
Total
Debts
Sales
The
Ormonde,
Sales
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
100.00
160.00
1200.00
1920.00
1000.00
-10260.00 -20260.00 -20260.00 -10260.00 -10260.00 -10260.00 -169220.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
333.00
3996.00
57
UCI, Sales
Dundrum,
Sales
The Vue,
Sales
1768.00
Total Sales
2101.00
Account
Balance
1768.00
1768.00
1768.00
1768.00
1768.00
12376.00
3449.00
3449.00
3449.00
3449.00
3449.00
17245.00
2,093.00
2,093.00
2,093.00
2,093.00
8372.00
7643.00
7643.00
7643.00
7643.00
41989.00
-59380 -61997.00 -64614.00 -67231.00
-67231.00
5550.00
-32053.00 -46763.00
Cash Flow Year 2
Year 2
Opening Balance
Direct Costs
Staff Costs
Legal Fees
Expenses
Insurance
Phone Bills
Office Rent
January
April
July
October End of year
-67231.00 -56093.00 -43955.00 -31817.00
-67231.00
30000.00 30000.00 30000.00 30000.00
1500.00 1500.00 1500.00 1500.00
300.00
480.00
1200.00
1920.00
1000.00
-33280.00 -32280.00 -32280.00 -32280.00
-130120.00
Sales
Sales (The Ormonde)
Sales (UCI)
Sales (Dundrum)
Sales (The Vue)
2013.00 2013.00 2013.00 2013.00
14859.00 14859.00 14859.00 14859.00
20229.00 20229.00 20229.00 20229.00
7317.00 7317.00 7317.00 7317.00
8052.00
59436.00
80916.00
29268.00
Total Sales
44418.00 44418.00 44418.00 44418.00
177672.00
-56093.00 -43955.00 -31817.00 -19679.00
-19679.00
Total Debt
Account Balance
300.00
480.00
1000.00
300.00
480.00
300.00
480.00
120000.00
6000.00
58
Cash Flow Year 3
Year 3
Opening Balance
Direct Costs
Staff Costs
Legal Fees
Expenses
Insurance
Phone Bills
Office Rent
Total Debt
January
April
July
October
End of year
-19679.00 -14801.00 -9923.00 -5045.00
-19679.00
30000.00 30000.00 30000.00
1500.00 1500.00 1500.00
30000.00
1500.00
120000.00
6000.00
300.00
480.00
450.00
1200.00
1920.00
1800.00
-32730.00 -32730.00 -32730.00 -32730.00
-130920.00
300.00
480.00
450.00
300.00
480.00
450.00
300.00
480.00
450.00
Sales
Sales (The Ormonde)
Sales (UCI)
Sales (Dundrum)
Sales (The Vue)
2352.00 2352.00 2352.00
13362.00 13362.00 13362.00
8700.00 8700.00 8700.00
13194.00 13194.00 13194.00
2352.00
13362.00
8700.00
13194.00
9408.00
53448.00
34800.00
52776.00
Total Sales
37608.00 37608.00 37608.00
37608.00
150432.00
-14801.00 -9923.00 -5045.00
-167.00
-167.00
Account Balance
59
Explanation of Costs
Funding
Each of our four directors is also investing €15,000 from personal savings. The cash
flow shows that M-Solutions will be in debt for the first three years, almost becoming
profitable at the end of year 3. This cash flow was based on pessimistic figures,
assuming M-Solutions receives no grant. In reality M-Solutions would expect to be in
receipt of a grant from Enterprise Ireland. If this were not possible, a bank loan or
venture capital would be required.
Staff Costs
Each of the directors will earn €25,000 per year before tax.
Legal Fees
Estimated to be around €10,000. Each time the system is implemented in a cinema,
new contracts will need to be drawn up. In year two and three they are estimated to be
around €1,500.
Phone Bills
Four mobile phone contracts at €40 each per month = €160
Office Rent
M-Solutions intends to avail of the Invent Virtual Incubation service. This allows the
use of address and access to facilities for €1,000 per year. In year three, M-Solutions
will rent an office for €450 per month.
Promotion:
Cost of promotional activity carried out will be around €1,000.
60
Equipment:
Visual Studio licence: €1,200
SQL Server licence:
€600
Web Space:
€300
SMS/MMS Server:
€2,000
Total:
€4,100
61
Case Study
Case studies are an important element of the research. They demonstrate that there is
a strong possibility that M-Solutions will be successful. This is because similar
systems are currently being researched or implemented.
E-tickets on airlines to burst into Chinese market28
E-ticketing is going to be one of hot new concepts of 2005; some people say that 2005
will be China's e-ticket year. Experts estimate that in China's domestic air market, the
use of e-tickets will reach 50% during 2005, which will mean that e-ticket sales will
surpass 30 billion RMB (€3.6 billion). Given the attraction of this enormous market,
traditional ticket agents are seeking to enter into technology alliances. IT companies
are gradually infiltrating this market and existing travel sites aren't giving up, so who
in the end will be able to push China’s e-ticket market forward?
The reason for the sudden and rapid development of e-tickets lies in their economic
benefits. A China Southern spokesman confirmed that the proportion of e-tickets had
already reached 20% of tickets sold, saving close to 100 million RMB (€12 million)
in expenses. According to estimates, one regular paper ticket costs about 40 or 50
RMB (€5 to €6), including printing, delivery and settlement costs. Calculating
according to the total number of annual passengers on domestic flights
(approximately 70 million), the whole airline industry could save at least 2.1 billion
RMB (€250m) a year.
Because e-tickets are virtual (not material), they don't have to be delivered, thus
reducing the airlines’ investment in sales outlets and distribution networks. Moreover,
the settlement and ticket payment problems between the airlines and agents are
resolved. With traditional tickets, settlement for tickets took two weeks or more, and
each day as much as 10 million RMB (€1.2 million) wasn't received on time,
occupying significant amounts of airlines' capital resources. Using web-based
payment to settle e-tickets greatly reduces the number of steps in the settlement
process.
28
www.9588.com/mediaroom
62
Current process versus reengineered process of obtaining a mobile/paper cinema
ticket.
Re-Engineering Process
Current process
Unique identifier allowing immediate
Slow delivery
access to customer records via
database.
Consequent time efficiency at preHigh distribution costs
booking stage.
Improved co-ordination of customer
High operational costs
information between departments.
Improved co-ordination of system
Increased Touting
information between departments.
Reduction
of
paper
intensive
Lack
of
customer
procedures
information
Higher throughput in the number of
Lack
of
customer
patients
convenience
Tickets can be sold right up to the last
No insurance on ticket
minute.
The tickets are delivered immediately.
No guarantee on ticket
Cheaper than printing and posting a
No integration between
paper ticket.
systems
The tickets can’t simply be transferred
Constant machine failure
like a paper ticket.
Organisers can track attendance at the
Poor after sales service
event automatically.
No need to queue at the box office to
collect paper tickets.
No need for panic if the customer loses
his M-Ticket, it can be cancelled and
reissued effortlessly.
63
User Manual – for M-Solutions prototype website.
1. Facilities for NON-MEMBERS:
Figure 28 M-Solutions Home Page
The user visits the M-Solutions website (in reality, the cinema’s website using MSolutions’ software) – figure 28.
The user can view the week’s movies – the seats available column decreases when an
M-Ticket booking is made so this column is constantly changing – figure 29.
Seats
available for
each movie
Figure 29 Movies available this week
64
A user can then proceed to book an M-Ticket – he is asked whether or not he is a
registered member. A user does not need to be a registered user to purchase an MTicket – figure 30.
Figure 30 User is asked if he is a registered member
If the user is not a registered member and does not wish to become one at this time, he
is presented with an M-Ticket booking form for non-members – figure 31.
65
Figure 31 M-Ticket booking form for non-members
The movie, day, time, adult seats and child seats dropdown menus are all dynamic. A
user cannot choose a day without first choosing a movie, or a time without first
choosing a movie and day. This ensures that users cannot book an M-Ticket for a day
or time that a particular movie is not showing.
Once the user has entered all the required information correctly, he is presented with a
confirmation screen – figure 32.
Figure 32 A successful M-Ticket purchase by a non-member
66
The user’s M-Ticket is then sent to his mobile phone. The barcode number is
converted into a barcode and sent along with the transaction number and details of the
movie, day and time chosen – figure 33. This information is also sent as an automated
email to the user’s email address. The user is also reminded again of the convenience
offered to him of becoming a registered member.
Transaction Number: 996352
Movie: Madagascar
Day: Thursday
Time: 19.00
Adults: 2 Children 2
Figure 33 An M-Ticket
A user can choose to become a registered member of M-Solutions. He does this by
filling out a membership form – figure 34.
Figure 34 Application to become a registered member
67
The user’s user name must be unique – if the user chooses a user name that has
already been chosen by another user, he is asked to choose a different user name.
Upon successfully registering, the user is redirected to the Login screen – figure 35.
Figure 35 A successful user registration
The user can choose to have an M-Ticket reissued to the mobile phone number used
to make the original booking, if he accidentally deletes the M-Ticket – figure 36. This
facility costs the user 80c per M-Ticket reissued.
68
Figure 36 Retrieval of a lost M-Ticket (non-members)
69
Users can find out more about M-Solutions and mobile ticketing by clicking on the
FAQ page – figure 37.
Figure 37 Frequently Asked Questions about M-Ticketing
70
2. Facilities for REGISTERED MEMBERS:
Figure 38 Members' Login Screen
New
registered
user, so no
profile built
yet
Figure 39 A Registered User's personal page
Once a registered user logs in (figure 38), he is presented with his personalised page,
along with some suggestions of movies of interest to registered users with a similar
profile – figure 39.
71
A registered user can make an M-Ticket booking. Because his personal details are
already stored by M-Solutions, he doesn’t have to reenter them when booking an MTicket. This provides registered users with a booking form that is much more
convenient to fill out – figure 40. The user’s name is already entered automatically on
the booking form and cannot be changed. All he needs to do is choose a movie, day,
time, number of adult seats and number of children’s seats required. As M-Solutions
does not store users’ credit card details, he is required to enter them for each M-Ticket
purchase. In this instance, M-Solutions has placed security as a greater priority than
convenience.
Figure 40 M-Ticket booking form (Members)
72
The user is presented with a screen confirming his purchase – figure 41. His M-Ticket
is then sent to his registered mobile phone along with an automated email to his
registered email address.
Figure 41 Confirmation screen for a successful Member's M-Ticket booking
The user’s personal page is updated with information about the booking. As the user
has chosen a movie of genre type ‘Action’, the system suggests a soon to be released
action movie. Also, as the user has booked more than four M-Tickets in the one
transaction, he is presented with a special offer – figure 42.
73
User is
targeted with
a soon to be
released
movie based
on the same
genre of MTicket
purchased
Regular users
are targeted
with special
offers
Figure 42 User’s personal page – updated with his recent purchase
A registered user can view a list of all M-Tickets currently booked by him – figure 43.
Figure 43 M-Tickets currently booked by this member
74
A registered user can have his M-Ticket reissued if he accidentally deletes it. This
service costs the user 80c per M-Ticket reissued – figure 44.
Figure 44 Registered user's M-Ticket reissued
A registered user can change or update his personal details, for example change his
registered mobile phone number – figure 45.
75
Information
already in
form so user
doesn’t have
to reenter it
User has
updated his
Mobile Phone
Number
Figure 45 Registered users can update their personal information
A registered user can view his personal details stored by M-Solutions at any time –
figure 46.
Figure 45 Personal details of a registered user
76
A registered user can change the details of his M-Ticket purchase, for example he can
add or remove people from the M-Ticket booking – figure 47.
User enters
Barcode and
Transaction
number of the MTicket he wants to
alter
Extra people
are being
added to this
M-ticket
booking
Figure 46 Changing details of a registered user's M-Ticket purchase
77
If a registered user has his mobile phone containing an M-Ticket stolen or loses it, he
can cancel the M-Ticket and reissue it with a new Barcode to his new mobile phone.
The original M-Ticket is then null and void – figure 48.
User enters his
new mobile phone
number here
78
User enters
Barcode Number
and Transaction
Number of MTicket he wants
cancelled and
reissued
M-Ticket is
assigned a
new Barcode
number and
Transaction
number
Figure 47 Cancelling and reissuing an M-Ticket from a lost or stolen Mobile Phone
79
3. Mobile Facilities for MEMBERS:
Registered members have the facility to book M-Tickets directly from their
mobile phones.
Figure 48 Mobile Phone Login Screen
After the user successfully logs in, he is given the choice of booking or retrieving
an M-Ticket – figures 49 and 50.
User can choose to
purchase an M-Ticket or
to retrieve an M-Ticket
Figure 49 User choosing to purchase an M-Ticket
80
The user is then presented with a list of movies, days and times to choose from
and is asked to choose the number of adult’s and children’s M-Tickets he wants to
purchase – figure 51.
Figure 50 User choosing a movie, day, time and the number of adult and children's M-Tickets he
wants to purchase
The user can choose to have an M-Ticket reissued using his mobile phone handset
- figure 52.
Figure 51 User chooses the M-Ticket he wants reissued
81
He is presented with a list of M-Tickets he has purchased, chooses the one he wants
reissued and confirms his choice.
82
Administrators’ Manual – for M-Solutions:
This manual provides instructions for Administrators (for example, cinema managers)
to use M-Solutions.
All administrators must authenticate themselves using an administrator’s login and
password – figure 53.
Figure 52 Administrators' Login Screen
Upon successfully logging in, the administrator is presented with an administrators’
screen, consisting of a set of options – figure 54.
83
Figure 53 Administrators' list of options
An administrator can:
1. Validate a customer’s M-Ticket. He simply asks the customer to scan his MTicket and enter his M-Ticket transaction number. The administrator can then
check the M-Ticket booking details and most importantly, that the M-Ticket is
valid and hasn’t been used already. If the M-Ticket has already been used, the
administrator will be informed by the M-Solutions system that the system is
invalid – figure 55.
84
M-Ticket is Valid
Details of MTicket being
validated
Figure 54 Administrator's screen after validating an M-Ticket
85
2. Get information on particular M-Ticket Bookings. The administrator can
select a movie and/or day and/or time and/or user gender and find out
information about what types of people are booking particular movies at
particular times and build up profiles of the age groups and genders of people
purchasing action, sci-fi or animation movies – figure 56.
Administrator wants to view
M-Ticket bookings for
‘Batman Begins’ on
Thursday for all
performances for both male
and female bookings
Non-Member
M-Ticket
bookings
Members’
M-Ticket
bookings
Figure 55 Administrator enters a query and relevant Members' and Non-Members' M-Ticket
bookings are returned
86
3. Get information on registered users and their M-Ticket purchases. The
administrator enters a registered user’s user name and the M-Solutions system
returns the information required – figure 57.
Figure 56 Information about a particular user
87
4. Revalidate a mistakenly invalidated M-Ticket. If a cinema usher mistakenly
invalidated a customer’s M-Ticket, an administrator can immediately
revalidate it – figure 58.
M-Ticket is
Invalid
88
M-Ticket is
Valid
Figure 57 Administrator revalidating a mistakenly invalidated M-Ticket
5. View the staff log and add new staff (ushers) to the staff database. Ushers can
validate M-Tickets by asking the customer to scan his M-Ticket and enter his
transaction number on a keypad. Staff members do not have administrative
rights, however – figures 59 and 60.
89
Most recently
revalidated M-Ticket
Figure 58 The staff log
Figure 59 New staff member (usher) added, with staff but not admin rights
90
6. Get a user profile. An administrator can enter a registered user’s user name
and view all M-Tickets purchased by that member and get a breakdown by
movie genre – figure 61.
User
administrator
wants
information
on
Administrator can
see that this user has
already used his MTicket booked.
Figure 60 Breakdown of M-Tickets booked by this registered member
7. View users targeted by the system. If a user is purchasing M-Tickets regularly,
the system will recognise this and target that user for special offers, for
example half price popcorn or reduced price M-Tickets at quieter times during
the week or up and coming he may be interested in viewing – figure 62.
91
Figure 61 Recommendations made by the system based on users’ past purchases
92
Using Barcode Technology:
After researching various technical solutions for encoding the cinema ticket
information, sending it to the customer’s phone and then allowing it to be validated at
the cinema, the most cost efficient and practical solution was to use barcodes.
As customers are already familiar with barcodes, typically 1D Barcode technology,
which appear on everything from packets of biscuits to technical products, we felt that
our customers would not be intimidated by using them in our solution. Another factor
was, because of the familiarity, customers would feel secure in the fact that their
cinema ticket information was encoded sufficiently and thus only the cinema would
be able to decode the information and validate their ticket.
Figure 63 1 Dimensional Barcode
Figure 64 2 Dimensional Barcode
After further investigation into whether to use 1 Dimensional (1D) or 2
Dimensional (2D) barcodes, we decided to use 2D barcodes as they can contain more
information than conventional 1D barcodes.
One factor in choosing 2D barcodes over conventional barcodes is that 1D barcodes
get wider as more data is encoded. This would result in problems, especially as some
screens on mobile phones are narrower than others. 2D barcodes make use of the
vertical dimension to pack in more data, which in our case results in barcodes, which
are square and which fit nicely on the screens of most mobile phones.
93
When the user has entered their details on the website and has selected an M-Ticket, a
unique transaction number and barcode number is automatically generated. A 2D
barcode is generated from this barcode number and the barcode is sent to the
customer’s mobile phone as an image.
Once the customer shows this image on their mobile phone to the usher at the cinema
the usher scans the 2D barcode with a 2D barcode scanner, the customer is asked to
enter their transaction number (printed under the barcode), thus invalidating the MTicket.
Figure 65: Typical 2D scanner
94
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