As Spektrix is cloud-based software (SAAS, to be precise) it doesn’t connect to hardware devices, such as printers and chip & PIN pads, in the way that a traditional piece of software does. In simple terms, Spektrix is a website, and websites (by and large) can’t connect directly to physical devices.
Instead, Spektrix communicates with your hardware devices through the Box Office App, a separate piece of software which is the only thing you’ll ever need to install on your PC, to get hardware which you’ll use with Spektrix to work. The Box Office App acts as the intermediary between Spektrix and your printers and PIN pads, allowing for seamless integration of hardware into your box office system.
This article looks at the different types of hardware you can connect to Spektrix and provides a brief overview of how that works. If you’re already familiar with the basic concepts then you might want to skip to the end of the article, where there are links to further, more detailed articles about each type of hardware. Otherwise, read on for a simple explanation of how Spektrix works with hardware, before you move on to the rest of the articles.
As mentioned earlier, the Box Office App is the only piece of software you need to install in order to use hardware with Spektrix – the main Spektrix tool is web-based, so doesn’t need installing. The Box Office App only needs installing on computers connected to ticket printers and PIN pads, commonly through a wired connection (USB). If you want to use Spektrix on computers away from the box office, or even at home, your computer won’t need to have the Box Office App installed.
The Box Office App works by connecting each computer on which it’s installed to the relevant Spektrix system, i.e. you tell the Box Office App what your computer’s called and what the clientname of your Spektrix system is.
NOTE: if you're not sure what your clientname is, check out our article on How to Find Your Spektrix Clientname.
Once it’s installed and registered, you can tell the Box Office App which printer(s) and PIN pad(s) are connected to your computer, and they will then show up as options in Spektrix:
Here’s where it gets really cool, though – once you’ve added a device to one installation of the Box Office App, that’s then available for anyone in your organisation to use, as long as the Box Office App is running on the PC that the device is connected to.
It’s as simple as choosing the device you want from the list! That’s not so useful with PIN pads, but it’s great for printers - you don’t need to worry about connecting printers up to networks, you just connect each ticket printer to one computer, and anyone can then print to it.
For more installation on how to install and use the Box Office App, see this article.
For most Spektrix users, ticket printers are pretty essential items of hardware - print at home tickets are increasingly popular (and useful), but sometimes you just need to be able to print out an old fashioned ticket.
You can connect a range of printers to Spektrix. Most organisations work with either BOCA or Stimare printers; you may find other printers work okay but they won’t be regularly tested with Spektrix, and we can’t support them in the same way as we can with BOCA and Stimare printers.
There are various models of printer available from both BOCA and Stimare brands, but here are a couple of examples that you might have come across:
Pictured is a Stimare SML and a BOCA Lemur, both of which work well with Spektrix. If you are looking to buy one or more new printers, you can get in touch directly with BOCA (their website is https://tls-bocasystems.com/) or get in touch with the Spektrix Support team to arrange the best price for a Stimare printer.
If you are looking at printers from other brands, it’s worth getting in touch with the Support team just to check that they are compatible with Spektrix.
For users who want to take card payments in the box office, it’s pretty essential to have one or more chip & PIN machines (or PIN pads, as we mostly refer to them). Spektrix uses integrated PIN pads, which means that card payments are handled directly within Spektrix – as opposed to using separate PDQ machines which connect directly to your bank. We think this is the best solution for card payments, as it cuts down on any unnecessary financial reconciliation that you would otherwise have to do.
The exact model of PIN pad you want to use will depend on your payment service provider. If you’re looking for one or more new PIN pads, get in touch with the Spektrix Support team who will be able to advise on what the best option is.
Access control is becoming more and more important, and Spektrix offers the ability to print barcodes on both physical and print at home tickets, as well as scanning functionality.
It’s important to note here that scanners are the only hardware devices which don’t need to connect via the Box Office App because, unlike ticket printers and chip & PIN machines, they act as input devices, as opposed to devices which Spektrix sends information to.
All you need to start using the scanning functionality, and the Spektrix Scanning Interface, is a scanner, a mobile device, a good wireless internet connection in your venue, and barcodes on your tickets.
If you’re interested in using the scanning functionality, get in touch with the Spektrix Support team who will be able to discuss the options and requirements. UK/IE users can order scanners directly through Spektrix, while US/CAN users should speak to the Support team about ordering them, and there’s no additional cost for access to the Scanning Interface.
Links to more articles
This article is very much a summary of how Spektrix works with hardware, and we’ve got further articles which go into more detail of how each type of hardware works, how to install it, and how to troubleshoot if necessary. Click on the links below to go straight to an article about each relevant section:
- The Box Office App
- How to troubleshoot hardware with Spektrix
- Ticket Printers
- Chip & PIN (UK/IE users)
- Ticket Scanners
If you’ve got any more questions, or would like to discuss anything in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Spektrix Support team.