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Televised and watched by more than one billion viewers around the globe each year, an estimated 80 women representing more than 25 countries and territories worldwide compete for the honor of being named Miss Universe. What started as a regional bathing beauty competition in Long Beach, California, the contest has evolved into a powerful, year-round, international organization that advances and supports opportunities for savvy, goal-oriented, women role models. 

With the escalating popularity of the Miss Universe 2008 competition that took place in July 2008 in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and the expected attendance of more than 18 thousand spectators, the organization’s top priority was to identify a way to avoid counterfeit tickets and ensure that unauthorized people weren’t allowed into the event. The new HID Global ticket system:

  • Deterred fraudulent tickets and voucher tampering
  • Implemented a secure and convenient ticket issuance and verification process
  • Protected contestants and attendees from security breaches and threats

Better than bar-codes and magnetic-based products, contactless smart cards achieve a higher security level of the credential and the overall access control system

Using The Most Innovative Anti-Counterfeiting Solution

As technology has progressed, so has the ability of counterfeiters to create fake tickets for major sporting events, concerts and other large events worldwide. To combat this persistent problem, many venues and events use special paper, inks, watermarks and printing techniques to deter counterfeiting and tampering. While these widely used methods are somewhat effective, counterfeiting still exists. “According to 2001 estimates by the PRC’s own State Council Research and Development, China was flooded with between $19-$24 billion worth of counterfeit goods.

The Miss Universe Organization partnered with Hoan Vu Joint Stock Company (UniCorp) to host the event and manage the day-to-day pageant details and requirements. It was imperative to UniCorp to use the most innovative and sophisticated anti-counterfeiting solution available.

Not only would this combat the problem of unauthorized entry, it would also alleviate related problems, including non-approved attendees video-taping the contest for pirated viewing later. 

Contactless Smartcard Technology For Enhanced Security

UniCorp turned to its long-time security solution providers, the Vietnam Smart Card Technology Joint Stock Company (TechCard) to devise and implement an anti-counterfeiting solution based on industry-leading products from HID Global. 

We were thrilled to create a total solution for UniCorp that would alleviate the pageant’s counterfeit ticket problem,” said Nguyen Thi Thu Anh, sales manager at Vietnam Smart Card technology Joint Stock Company. “As a customer of HID for many years, we could attest to the quality of the company’s solutions. We also knew that HID’s solution portfolio would include the most innovative solutions available, which was important to UniCorp.

Pre-printed with holograms by a Fargo HDP5000 card printer, a serial number was also printed on the card and registered into a database of the event management software developed by TechCard

TechCard quickly determined that ideal solution for the Miss Universe event was contactless smart card technology. Better than bar-codes and magnetic-based products, contactless smart cards achieve a higher security level of the credential and the overall access control system. By incorporating cryptography and encryption and leveraging the internal computing power of the chip, the risk of compromised data or duplicated cards is greatly reduced.   

Counterfeit-proof Tickets With Holograms

TechCard put together a secure and affordable solution that incorporated the use of about 17,000 HID Global’s iCLASS contactless smart cards, offering visual security and anti-counterfeiting features with holograms to quickly and easily identify genuine cards as authorized tickets.

When we announced to Miss Universe management that we’d be using smart cards, they didn’t understand why the ticket itself needed to incorporate smart card technology,” added Hiep Nguyen. “They quickly became enthusiasts when we explained how this would enhance security at the event, plus the counterfeit-proof tickets would also double as souvenirs for attendees.

Excellent Re-transfer Printing Quality

TechCard secured each smart card/ticket with layers of features. Pre-printed with holograms by a Fargo HDP5000 card printer, a serial number – a unique identification number that included the date the ticket was valid for, along with the seat number – was also printed on the card and registered into a database of the event management software developed by TechCard. Two Fargo printers worked nonstop to print about 17,000 cards in record time.

By using smart card technology provided by HID Global, the venue and pageant organizers were able to keep track of all the tickets and secure the event so only authorized attendees were allowed entrance

Hiep Nguyen explains “With only 10 days to print the tickets before we had to start selling them, we were impressed with the excellent re-transfer printing quality and efficiency of the robust Fargo printers; an average of printing two cards with all the security features in just three minutes.

Exported and sent to UniCorp’s online ticket sellers, these embedded data cards further ensured that the tickets sold were not only authentic, but were tracked by seat number and purchaser. As soon as someone purchased a ticket online, UniCorp linked a smart card to the customer’s name and sent it to them.

Preventing Unauthorized Access To Pageant Venues

When the customer brought their smart-card ticket to the event, it was validated by one of 23 HID iCLASS RW100 Smart Card Readers. Real and authorized tickets flashed green under the readers; fake ones (including HID iCLASS cards that didn’t have the right embedded data) flashed red—providing an extra level of security to prevent unauthorized people from gaining access to secure pageant venues.

By using smart card technology provided by HID Global, the venue and pageant organizers were able to keep track of all the tickets and secure the event so only authorized attendees were allowed entrance. Fake and tampered tickets were easily spotted with this secure solution. Lastly, attendees received a unique souvenir to always remember the occasion.

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