Tickets and Tags Go High Tech
Traditional products are being adapted for use in more advanced applications
By Eric Fiedler
Walk down any city street and you're likely to see a police officer writing a parking tickethopefully for somebody else. For those who chose to park in a garage, time tickets probably grace their windshields. After parking, patrons often go shopping, examining price tags and product ID tags.
Traditional tag and ticket markets are everywhereand new, more sophisticated ones are beginning to sprout. "The market is evolving," said Michelle England, marketing manager for Chicago Tag & Label, Chicago. "In the past, a tag simply identified the product by name," she said. "Now tags are responsible for contributing to the entire delivery system."
The markets for these products have changed to suit the needs of newer technologies. In some cases, tags and tickets can accommodate the latest technological advancements with minimal changes in design and functionality, while at other times they undergo complete transformations.
That's the Ticket!
Tickets are no longer limited to traditional body-and-stub pieces of paper. According to England, tickets have more value when they have a magnetic stripe on the back, which allows the user to transmit information via readers. Markets for this technology exist anywhere people are charged for time, as the machines can calculate the amount owed instantly.
For example, tickets with magnetic stripes can transmit entry time and date data, allowing parking lots to use automated machinery. In addition, some parking garages have installed payment kiosks that accept payment before the customer returns to the car.
"Several types of magnetic stripes are available, and the users who take advantage of this technology have embraced it wholeheartedly," said England.
Al Lemieux, general manager of Ennis' Wolfe City, Texas, facility said he believes the overall tag market is expanding. "Although traditional tags may be stagnant or declining, tags with value-added features are still growing and the future is very promising," he said. "Hot new uses for tags are just waiting to be developedall we need is someone that has a need and an aggressive distributor that sells ideas and solutions."