Mcode Electronic Tickets & Coupons
Electronic tickets and coupons offer a fast and convenient way to send confirmation of travel, offers and other items of value which can be exchanged for goods or services. In the PC-centric world, distribution is via E-mail or the web and the customer is often asked to print out the coupon and bring it along.
Mobill’s patented Mcode solution provides electronic tickets and coupons directly to the customer’s mobile phone, completely eliminating any need for a PC and printer.
Mcode is Mobill’s way of creating and sending a code grid such that:
- It can be transmitted not only over the Internet to smartphones, but can also be sent to any GSM or CDMA mobile phone using SMS.
- The code block can be scanned from the mobile phone’s screen, decoded and validated against a database.
Mcode tickets and coupons make it possible to complete the entire M-commerce cycle using just the mobile phone that consumers always have to hand.
Mcode uses a compact block of characters to encode the coupon’s ID number. The design is optimized to fit on the mobile phone screen and to facilitate reliable scanning. The example below shows a simple implementation of Mcode in a coupon. Mobill’s production system uses an enhanced coding scheme that provides a code base sufficient for very large scale deployment.
Creating and Sending an Mcode Ticket or Coupon
The Mobill Service Platform (MSP) creates Mcode-based tickets and coupons as an option in the M-Ticket, M-Gateway and M-Event applications. M-Gateway includes a webAPI which enables external systems to create Mcode coupons for other applications.
The coupon ID number is generated at random from the code base. Only a controlled small portion (say 1 in 1,000,000) of the available codes is issued at one time. This is one of the defences against forgery: a randomly forged coupon has a small chance of bearing a valid ID.
MSP writes the details of the ticket or coupon to the Mcode store, including the ID, owner’s mobile number, validity period and details of the purchase or offer.
Descriptive text is added around the Mcode block and the ID is also appended in decimal text. MSP then sends the ticket or coupon to the customer using, for example, Internet to a mobile wallet app or SMS to a basic mobile phone.
Scanning and Validation
At the point of redemption, for example a ticket control or checkout, the customer shows the ticket or coupon by opening the mobile wallet app or displaying the SMS message.
Mobill offers two solutions for validation:
- Mobile Validator – an Android app used by the retailer or ticket inspector.
- Fixed Validator (in development) – an optimized scanner device for high-throughput applications such as public transportation and point of sale.
The validator works by capturing an image of the customer’s mobile phone screen, locating the Mcode block and then processing the image using an optimized conversion engine to decode the ID number. The Validator then communicates with MSP to check the coupon against the Mcode store.
|Mobile Validator application showing scanner view. Simply place the Mcode block in the green box and it will be automatically captured, decoded and validated.|
|Validation result is automatically displayed.||Manual entry is available as a fallback option.|
Here’s a video of Mobile Validator in action: