Amazon’s palm reading technology will let some Red Rocks concert-goers gain entry by scanning their hands

The new technology is the result of a partnership between AXS and Amazon.
5 min. read
Sylvan Esso plays Red Rocks, July 18, 2018.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Red Rocks is getting into the biometric scanning game.

Digital ticketing company AXS, which provides online ticketing services for hundreds of live venues, announced Tuesday that it would be rolling out self-service ticketing pedestals using Amazon's palm-scanning technology at its venues, starting with Red Rocks. Attendees of Tuesday's Alison Wonderland concert were the first to be able to try the new service, which allows fans to enter the park with a quick swipe of their palm.

Amazon One,  Amazon's palm-recognition technology,  launched last year as a payment system in Amazon Go stores, where guests can pay for items just by scanning their palms. The tech allows users to connect their Amazon accounts to their palm prints, eliminating the need to pull up the Amazon app while checking out.  Similarly, at Red Rocks, concert goers now have the option to connect their AXS ticketing accounts and orders to their palmprints.

"We're thrilled to work with AXS to offer fans at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and other future venues the opportunity to enter events quickly and easily with just their palm using the contactless Amazon One service," Dilip Kumar, Vice President of Physical Retail & Technology at Amazon, said in an AXS press release. "Fans can now enjoy a more effortless experience entering Red Rocks Amphitheatre, giving them more time to get settled and enjoy the show. We look forward to hearing how fans enjoy the experience, and can't wait to bring it to more locations with AXS to benefit even more event-goers."

Blaine LeGere, AXS's Ticketing SVP of Strategy, said other AXS venues will begin incorporating the technology in the coming months, including potential Denver locations early next year. He added that AXS is not yet ready to share much more information about those venues.

"We are super, super excited to be debuting it tonight here at Red Rocks, and in the great city of Denver," LeGere said on Tuesday.

The technology is arriving at a time when more businesses are talking about contactless ways to deliver goods and services during the pandemic. But LeGere said AXS representatives first met with Amazon three years ago to learn about the new technology.  He said it seemed like a good preventative for problems like phones running out of battery while people are trying to scan their tickets. It's also contactless, paperless and designed to reduce wait time by eliminating the need to show a mobile ticket.

"We saw this as an opportunity. Rather than solving a problem, we saw it as sort of a failsafe," LeGere said.

How it works

Usually, the way AXS ticketing works is ticket holders present a digital ticket on their phone to an agent, who scans the ticket's QR code and grants the ticket holder admission.

The new technology is not supplanting digital tickets altogether. Red Rocks ticket holders will have the option to either scan their digital ticket as they normally would, or opt into AXS' Mobile ID technology at an enrollment station just outside of the venue. Those that choose to link their palm prints to their AXS account will first present their QR code at an AXS ticketing pedestal, and then scan either one or both palms.  Per a press release, this enrollment process only takes about a minute.

Fans using AXS's Mobile ID technology will move through a separate dedicated security line, approach a self-service AXS pedestal and hover their palm over an Amazon One device. The palm-recognition technology will be able to connect the prints to the ticket holder's AXS account and any tickets under their name.

Red Rocks attendees will have a second chance to opt into the technology for future AXS events at a second enrollment booth inside the venue. One you've signed up, your palm can be used to get into other AXS shows that use the technology.

How secure is the data, and who can access it? 

After a person's palm is scanned, Amazon stores their digital palm signature in its cloud.  Some privacy experts worry about the security risks involved with biometric scanning technology, saying the cloud could be hacked, or the data stolen. But Amazon says the cloud is highly secure.

LeGere said that neither AXS nor the city will have access to users' palm prints. He said  Amazon stores the palm prints in its cloud, and converts those palm signatures into a token connected with a user's AXS ID.  AXS and the city will have access to those tokenized IDs, not the prints themselves.  The Associated Press reported that Amazon "keeps the palm images in a secure part of its cloud and doesn't store the information on the Amazon One device," and said users can ask for their information to be deleted at any time.

LeGere also stressed that Amazon One reads your palms, not your fingerprints.

"It has huge potential to finally get people thinking biometrically, without the really big scary elements that  facial recognition can present, or even fingerprints can present," he said. 'This is a much more affirmative biometric solution where the customer is absolutely presenting their palm to indicate, 'I consent,' and they're absolutely presenting their palm to scan that palm. And if they choose not to, then they won't."

He says he thinks Red Rocks fans will opt into the service.

"The feedback loop we have is from Amazon patrons at their physical stores where this is implemented. And that feedback has been very positive, they trust the technology," LeGere said. "I know that people get nervous about getting into the  facility and getting in fast. So we're, we're really excited about being able to offer that."

Recent Stories