Traditional Barcode Scanning using a Computer
We firmly believe that the best option for scanning tickets is with a corded USB barcode scanner like a Motorola DS4308 that can scan both paper tickets and tickets from the customer's smart phone. A USB scanner plugs in to some device like a laptop, netbook or tablet and transmits all barcodes scanned to the ThunderTix web-based application for event validation. The great thing about the USB solution is that it's plug and play and super easy to use. No instruction manuals, no training required. Just plug it in, login to your ThunderTix account, click Scan, choose the Event and point the "pistol" at each barcode, "shoot" by clicking the trigger, and you're scanning. So easy, right? We think so. So why all the hype about mobile apps when the USB option is such a great solution?
The USB powered scanners we suggest are relatively inexpensive at approx. $300 each and connect to any device with a USB port or mini-USB port (with an adapter). This allows most organizations to scour their offices to find laptops and tablets to station at the door/entrance on the day of the event. If you need several scanners, the cost increases when purchasing the scanners outright. We also rent scanners at a much lower cost, but if you have more than 2 events per year, it really makes financial sense to purchase rather than rent. In addition to the cost of scanner equipment, each scanner must have it's own device to function with ThunderTix. So, if you need scanning at 10 points of entry, you'll need to have 10 scanners and 10 devices.
If you don't have 10 devices on hand -- or however many you'll need -- we suggest you purchase inexpensive tablets with USB ports. Tablets can run anywhere from $50-$950 per unit so consider what you'll be using the tablet for. If it's only for a scanning device at your events, you won't need all the bells and whistles of high-end tablets. On the other hand, if you are going to take it home to use at your house the other 364 days per year for personal use, you may want a nicer tablet like the Microsoft Surface. All devices do not need to be the same, so if you have a Dell laptop, a MacBook, a Nexus Tablet and a Surface, you can use all of them -- each connected to 1 USB scanner.
A question we often hear is, "What about iPads? We have several of those in our office. Can we use those to scan?" Unfortunately, the answer has always been 'No' because there is no USB port and no way to connect the scanner using a USB adapter, which makes iPads the only tablet on the market not functional with a USB scanner. Of course, with our new iPad scanning App, these tablets are now available for use as their own stand-alone scanning station. And, what's the best fact about that? The ThunderTix Scanner app is completely FREE, but if you are planning to use the app from your iPhone or iPad, make sure you consider your connection requirements and differences between the App and a USB scanning station.