We've been looking into this for a number of weeks now and have spoken with several venues about it all. Some who have scanned for years, others who are looking into what their options are. It usually boils down to what works best for each venue - the foyer layout, the staff, the budget and of course the customers, so we thought we'd outline the best options we think you can consider right now in this quick and handy guide.
1. The old school customer list
Yes, this article is about scanning but we thought this option is worth a mention purely because we know of some venues who have been successfully scanning for years but are now preparing to reopen without scanning. Why? Well in some cases it simply comes down to the lay of the land in the building. The access points where they traditionally did the scanning are narrow corridors into the venue, so there just isn't space to socially distant scan. For venues with capacities of 100 - 500 (approx), the current guidelines mean vastly reduced numbers, so why scan when you can check everyone at the main entrance from a customer list at a safe distance? Just an idea.
2. The set up we've always suggested (phone + attached scanner)
The scanning set up we've been suggesting for several years is using our Checkin browser app on a mobile phone, that's connected to a fast and reliable handheld scanner by cable or bluetooth. This method still works of course but it usually means you scan within a metre of the person who either has a hard copy ticket or is showing it on a phone screen. The scanners we recommend for this set up are the Saveo Bolt 2D or the Datalogic Memor 1 (has inbuilt Android device) but it's worth noting that the scan range in approximately 1.5 metres and that depends on the size of the QR code (or barcode) it's trying to read. It usually works fine on paper at that range but not as much on phone screens. You really need to be very close to scan from a phone (approx 0.5 metre). One thing to note: many of our customers are fitting shop style screens at box office and other points of contact in preparation for reopening, so this scan set up will work well in that scenario when there's a small 'hatch' to do the scanning of tickets from behind a screen.
3. Bluetooth Scanning (customers self scanning)
The one we've been asked about most. Essentially a set up that allow customers to self scan. So the Checkin app is talking to a remote scanner via bluetooth, customers scan their own tickets and a staff member is monitoring the app from a safe distance. We've put together a rough homemade video of this to illustrate exactly what we mean:
The scanner here is the Saveo Pocket Scan 2D that allows you connect via bluetooth. The flexible arm and stand is sturdy and easily portable and costs extra (info further down in link). Any bluetooth scanner will work in this fashion with the browser app. So you can connect a phone, iPad or Android tablet to a separate scanner by bluetooth and scan in this way. Wall mounted, bluetooth scanners are an option for this type of set up too.
4. Mobile Phone and holder for self scanning
The bargain basement, self scanning option is using a mobile phone camera to scan tickets and a holder for the phone that clamps on to a box office counter or separate table in foyer. Something like this. For this set up, the phone is positioned in a way that allows the customer to see the screen and camera position so they can place their hard copy ticket or phone with ticket below the camera and check in. Very cheap to buy and implement but not very professional and if customers do have an issue, a staff member will need to intervene to help out.
5. USB scanner
Lastly, the ever reliable USB scanner option. Ticketsolve has always worked with a USB scanner and if you can make this work with your own foyer/venue layout, it's the cheapest and most reliable method going as it's all wired. It only requires a laptop that has a USB port. So if you have a place that you can safely set up a laptop and scan tickets from (behind a screen), this is worth looking into. An example of a solid USB 2D scanner is this.