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Access control with no queuing

In future, it will be possible to use advanced triangulation technology combined with the powerful 5G network to control access without a physical entry barrier. The only thing users will need is a smartphone.

Angelica Filippi

September 28, 2023 . 4 minutes read

In summer, the peak season for festivals, music lovers from all over the world gather to enjoy unforgettable moments. But before festival guests can start having fun, they often have to endure the hassle of a seemingly endless queue at the entrance. Visitors to any festival often have to stand around in the summer heat for far too long while they wait patiently for their tickets to be scanned so they can enter the festival grounds.

Checking tickets or IDs manually can be very time-consuming. In addition, there may be issues with the scanners, for example, if the glaring sunlight stops them recognising the QR codes in the ticket app on smartphone displays. All these elements may dampen anticipation and waste precious time at the festival.

Enjoy festivals and the ski slopes with no barriers

Aside from concerts, cable cars can also present similar challenges when it comes to admitting throngs of visitors. As a Swiss-Ski sponsor, Sunrise is committed to the digital transformation of winter sports and is working together with the sports federation on innovative solutions that will deliver it. As a result of this collaboration, Sunrise realised the potential that access control offers and decided to develop a universal solution. The project aims to revolutionise the cable-car experience that we currently know.

Driving snow can also stop QR scanners reading tickets clearly. This leads to longer waiting times at festivals or cable cars.

A barrier-free access-control system will be a more effective solution for the issues mentioned previously so that skiers can get through easily and enjoy being out on the slopes. Specifically, modern technologies will enable ticket holders to have their tickets checked, with their consent, without actually having to do anything. All they’ll need is to have their smartphone with them. QR codes or similar proof of a ticket will be redundant – whether on the slopes, at a concert or at a festival.

Localisation by triangulation

This is made possible by triangulation, a technology based on the advanced 5G standalone (SA) mobile standard. Triangulation uses three mobile antennas to determine a user’s position via their smartphone. This process compares the data from each antenna in order to pinpoint the location of guests by means of mathematical calculations. Whereas in the past the position was accurate to within a few metres, triangulation now enables the position to be calculated to within roughly one centimetre. With this information about a guest’s location, they can be admitted without needing to pass through a physical barrier.

Triangulation automatically identifies a user’s location, as long as they’ve given their explicit consent. If they have a ticket, they don’t need to pass through a physical entry barrier.

Cameras will be used as a control mechanism to prevent any unauthorised access to the site. They’ll compare the data with the information obtained from the triangulation. For example, the system can detect that only two people have a ticket, even though there are three people at the entry point. If this happens, the entry staff may carry out a manual ticket check to identify the unauthorised person.

Successful pilot project

The access-control system is still in an early pilot phase. A first working prototype, which currently operates with only one antenna, has been trialled successfully. The existing model is already capable of identifying a person reliably in real time. Triangulation will be used with the next-generation prototypes and will further improve the accuracy of localisation.


See the prototype for yourself at the 5G Joint Innovation Hub

Anyone who’s interested and doesn’t want to wait for the advanced prototype to be fully developed can view the pilot version of the access-control system at the 5G Joint Innovation Hub.

The Joint Innovation Hub presents various 5G innovation projects, including smart applications for Swiss tourism. It showcases the latest technologies that offer an exciting glimpse into the future of mobile communication. If you want to learn more about the Joint Innovation Hub or the solutions developed together with Swiss-Ski, click here to arrange a visit and see the fascinating innovations for yourself.

The reason why triangulation isn’t used yet is the requirement for the aforementioned 5G standalone network, in which the entire infrastructure is based on 5G. This requirement isn’t met yet nationwide. In addition, smartphones that support the 5G SA standard don’t exist yet. This is why developing the mobile infrastructure and introducing 5G SA-enabled devices are important steps in making triangulation-based access control commercially viable. The Sunrise project team is working closely with mobile and network operators to address this challenge and drive the required infrastructure forward.

A solution for everyone

Once the technical requirements are met, Sunrise customers will be able to benefit from the new technology. This is of course provided that guests have previously consented to the use of their personal mobile-phone location data. This data will be processed in accordance with the Swiss Data Protection Act.

With the access control of the future, the user experience at festivals and on the slopes will be significantly improved - and thanks to e-SIM, this is also true even for users who aren’t Sunrise customers.

Customers of other mobile providers as well as guests from other countries will also have the opportunity to make use of this new form of access control. However, they’ll need to be connected to the Sunrise network to do so. They’ll be able to use temporary eSIMs that they can purchase to utilise barrier-free access control.

Anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone or doesn’t want to use mobile access control for any other reason will still be able to access a site or cable-car station using the established control systems.

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