The Edinburgh Fringe is previewing a brave new world with a clever bit of tech.
Visitors to the city tend to get buried under piles of tickets, frequently recycling live ones accidentally while leaving others at home. In the old days, this was a disaster that meant missing something for which you had paid good money.
This year Pleasance, which is one of the biggest venues, has offered members of the press the option of ditching paper tickets and replacing them with what looks like a credit card.
The Pleasance Press Plus Pass works like a dream. You set yourself up on a website and can book tickets online, which are loaded on to the card. This enables you to avoid constant trips to the press office to order and collect directly, when you are in a hurry and the venue may be some way away.
At the other end, staff at venues check the booking using their mobile phones rather than tearing a physical ticket in two.
This new development has caused some Luddite controversy. The plastic card doesn’t immediately show you what you are seeing next or tell you venue and show times. However, there is an app that shows exactly what has been ordered and approved, which only leaves a problem for those without an iPhone or Android.
On the positive side, this technology seems to work well, saves time for users and the Pleasance Press Team, making what can be a fraught experience considerably easier.
The odds are that once the product has been perfected with the assistance of the guinea pigs from the Fourth Estate, it will be rolled out to the public next year. It can then only be a matter of time before other major venues and possibly the whole Fringe links in.
The question is how this technology can be developed for other applications and the ways in which it might help your business or those of clients.
I am aware that travel companies use something similar and am unaware about big football or rugby clubs but have not heard talk about this technology being used more widely yet.
The uses for accountants may be limited, although applying it to get staff to the right places might be a boon. If you help sports or entertainment venues the benefit is obvious. Similarly for doctors or anyone else booking regular appointments, this could be the way forward.