See Us at SEAT 2018!

We are looking forward to SEAT Dallas 2018 – coming up next week! And as a sponsor, we are especially excited about the agenda this year.  There are lots of great speakers and we look forward to hearing lessons learned and best practices from the many esteemed panelists.

Our COO and founder, Karri Zaremba, will participate in an exciting panel on Entertainment Districts and will share some best practices from Venuetize customer, The District Detroit. You can learn more about how we work with The District Detroit here.  You can also read about how the app works at Little Caesars Arena, home of the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings, here and here.

The District Detroit covers five neighborhoods, welcomes more than five million visitors annually to ten different sports and entertainment venues, and features nearly 8000 parking spaces.  And The District Detroit mobile app, developed by Venuetize, makes all of that and more available to visitors via their own device. Check out this exciting video to learn more about the $1.2B investment Olympia Entertainment has made in Detroit:

 

The panel will also include case studies from other professional and collegiate sports teams, including the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Notre Dame.

We are looking forward to hearing from the other sponsors and sports executives at SEAT. Please contact us at sales@venuetize.com if you’re interested in meeting up in Dallas. See you soon!

Meet Team Venuetize: Clayton Griffin

Clayton Griffin is our Customer Support Director. He is responsible for the Customer Support as well as setting up and maintaining our CMS system configuration.

Why do you do what you do?

I love technology, working with people and solving problems. I have always tried to help people and working in support I have found ways to help people in a variety of ways.  I got started in the career by working as a Medicaid field agent after college. After Medicaid, I went to work at an IBM helpdesk where I started to learn about support centers.  After IBM, I worked for PwC, Tata Consultancy Services and several startups where I continued to grow the skills for leading a support team.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love that the position has been about more than just customer support. I enjoy the fact that I have been able to get involved in different areas of the company, such as configurations, and work with, and learn from, outstanding people.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I love to cook. Specifically, I love to BBQ. I am constantly working on improving my technique and recipes. The biggest challenge is getting the brisket just right but I am also starting to smoke various vegetables.

What’s something very few people know about you?

I am a double ruby member of the National Forensic League. My senior year in high school, at State Student Congress, I presented a resolution to do away the monetary system. The idea was to get rid of physical currency in support of electronic transactions.

What’s your favorite escape?

My favorite escape is books. I have always loved to read. As a kid I would read several books a week. I really enjoyed books like Danny Dunn, Mike Mars, The Hardy Boys, and Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators. Today I have a stack of books that I need to finish from the Wheel of Time series and get caught up on the Song of Ice and Fire series.

Meet Team Venuetize: Eric Loehrmann

Eric Loehrmann is our Creative Services Director. He’s responsible for user interface and user experience design of our mobile applications. He also ensures our branding and marketing materials are consistent and of high quality.

What led you to this career?

As a child I always had an interest in art and drawing, which lead me to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where I studied ad design. It was all pen and ink back then. I could not have forecasted, 30 years later, being in the position I am now.

After college, I started out in sign shops, which taught me typography and layout. That’s been a critical skill for anything I’ve done since then, whether that means websites, mobile apps, ads…

I didn’t realize it at the time, because that was just a job, but it’s paved the way for my career.

I love that designing UI/UX allows me to tap into both sides of my brain; satisfying like putting a complicated puzzle together that ends up being both functional and beautiful.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

There are two things I find most rewarding: One is the reaction we get from a client when we’re in a design sprint. When we conduct the client interviews on Friday and we see their reaction, and then their client’s reaction, that’s a unique experience most people don’t get to take part in. Another reason my job is so great is the team I work with. They are intelligent, respectful, collaborative people who make the whole environment where I work a “home run.”

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I love music. I love shopping for music, collecting music, listening to music, experiencing it live… I’ve met a number of lifelong friends through that passion. That’s been what’s created the strongest bonds with most of the friends I have.

At parties, when people ask, “What do you do for a living?” I ask, “What kind of music do you listen to?”

If you could do anything else for work, what would it be?

If money wasn’t an issue, I could literally work in a record store. Some of the best times I had were working in record stores in college.

What’s something very few people know about you?

Another a job I had in my past life was running cable and setting up cameras for sporting events (Miami Heat, Florida Marlins). The highlight of that time was working the Stanley Cup finals in 1996, and being on the ice seconds after the game ended, watching the Colorado Avalanche celebrate being awarded the Stanley Cup trophy.

 

Top Seven Takeaways from THE PLAYERS

Venuetize works with the PGA TOUR and last week members of our team hosted clients at THE PLAYERS, which took place at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Below are our team’s top seven takeaways from this great event.

  1. THE PLAYERS is an ideal event to entertain clients, partners and employees on a reasonable budget. The event is highly accessible when you consider the overall costs (event tickets, airfare, hotel, transportation, etc.) and the location of the event. There are entertainment options for everyone, including hitting golf balls onto a mini-replica of the 17th island green.
  2. The PGA TOUR has clearly succeeded in engaging a younger fan base, while at the same time still catering to their core demographic. Mobile engagement appears to be at the core of this strategy and was on full display at THE PLAYERS. Large digital boards could be seen throughout the golf course with fan pictures and selfies displayed for all to see with tasteful sponsorship backgrounds mixed in for activation. 
  3. You will be hard pressed to find a sporting event where for an $80 ticket you will get any closer to the action and the star athletes. Being 10 feet away from a pro golfer while they are teeing off or hitting out of trouble from the woods is a very unique and accessible entertainment experience. 
  4. (Shameless Venuetize plug alert!) – The PGA TOUR used geofence technology and their PGA TOUR mobile app to deliver a personalized and convenient experience for those attending the event. From mobile ticketing, to an interactive course map, to live player tracker and statistics, to expediting the (very busy) merchandise store line with mobile payments. We were also lucky enough to have PGA TOUR’s own Scott Gutterman, VP of Digital Operations, give Venuetize and some of our clients a sneak preview of some exciting Augmented Reality technology being tested at The PLAYERS for future TOUR events.
  5. Ingress and Egress continue to be a leading contributor to a fans overall satisfaction level associated with attending a sporting event. The TOUR clearly put a lot of thought and planning into this for THE PLAYERS, and partnered with Uber and Arby’s to deliver an integrated experience. Our people on the ground had high praise for what they experienced both going to and leaving the event at peak times.
  6. Whether playing golf or attending a PGA TOUR event like THE PLAYERS, the sport continues to stand the test of time as a top-notch way to spend quality time with clients, partners, and colleagues. The TOUR has also evolved with ‘the times’, by allowing mobile phones at TOUR events and also investing in the infrastructure to support the connected worker while at a golf tournament. No easy task when you consider the layout of your typical golf course and the importance of noise control that is unique to the sport.
  7. Final Takeaway: Whether you’re an avid golf fan, Gen Z or millennial looking to do something fun and different with friends, a business person entertaining clients, a family looking for a fun day outside together, or you are just looking for a great party, The PLAYERS should absolutely be on your entertainment bucket list. And when you go, don’t forget to bring your mobile companion in the PGA TOUR app.

Meet Team Venuetize: Archana Shrivastava

Archana Shrivastava is a senior software architect at Venuetize. She is responsible for designing features, like mobile wallets, in our platform.  We sat down with her to learn more about her career path, her passions, and what she likes about working at Venuetize.

Archana and her dog, Simba

Why do you do what you do? What led you to this career?

I have always been interested in learning about and working with new technology. I enjoy the challenge of trying to find solutions to complex problems. For example, I really like doing R&D work. As a software architect, I get many opportunities to do this kind of job.

I love trying out new things in life. Even though my high school did not offer any specific classes for computer science I found this subject fascinating and decided to try it out in college. I took some artificial intelligence (AI) and philosophy courses at the University of Pittsburgh, which furthered my interest in the subject and made it a possible career choice for me.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

There is a lot of satisfaction in building something new. It’s a proud moment for me when I’m able to see my ideas form into concrete features. Since we work closely with our clients, it’s also always an achievement when they are happy with my team’s hard work.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

Although I have many different hobbies and interests, I’m particularly passionate about cooking and traveling. I’ve always loved to try new recipes from around the world and I’m happy to take on the challenge of making food I’ve never cooked before. I also love to travel and have a strong desire to see and learn the history of the world. I often go on trips with my family to all sorts of countries and adventures.

What’s something very few people know about you?

I often have conversations with my dog, Simba. When we are just lounging around, I like to tell him about my day and work while he stares back with his round eyes and happy face. The simple but happy moments I experience on a daily basis with my dog are some of the best parts of my day.

Who’s your hero?

My dad is definitely my hero. I’ve always admired how hard my dad has worked to get to where he is right now. Despite being very busy with his business, he always found time for us. We have numerous memories of travels around the world and continue to make more even now. He taught me how to live a simple but happy life. My dad gave me the confidence that I could do whatever I put my mind to and that independence has helped me pursue my fulfilling career. It is also inspiring how dedicated my dad still is to his work, despite the challenges he’s faced. I hope to be the kind of parent that my dad is to my own children.

 

Cheering on the Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bolts are moving on to Round 3 of the NHL Playoffs!

The Venuetize team was invited to cheer on our hometown hero – and customer – the Tampa Bay Lightning, during Game 2 of Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs. Lucky for us, the Lightning tied up the series, beating the Boston Bruins 4-2 at AMALIE Arena. We are so excited that they’ve won the series and are moving on in their quest for the Cup!

We had a blast! Our team was especially excited to see the Lightshow feature of our app in action. Check it out here. During the pregame show, when we saw all of those phones lit up around the arena, we felt pretty amazing about being part of the team that made that happen.

Bring on Round 3. We can’t wait to watch!

Check out some photos of our visit.

Witnessing History with LAFC

On April 29, Team Venuetize was lucky enough to be invited to take part in history by attending the inaugural home match at the Los Angeles Football Club’s newly-completed  Banc of California Stadium.

The stadium was built from the ground up for a connected fan experience. From the technology throughout the stadium, to the amazing amenities, every detail is focused on engaging the Club’s fans.

We enjoyed great views, an amazing time at various clubs and lounges in the stadium, including the Sunset Deck, which recreates the beaches of Malibu in downtown LA, and breathtaking action on the pitch. This great article in the LA Times and fantastic video from LAFC capture some of the spirit of the evening, including the winning goal, scored during the last two minutes of stoppage time.

Among the details that help fans experience the venue and stay connected to the club is the LAFC mobile app, powered by Venuetize. We were thrilled to see the Club marketing it throughout the day – and encouraging fans to use it for tickets, paying for food and merchandise, and to navigate the space.

Many many thanks to the team at the Los Angeles Football Club for inviting our team to share in this momentous occasion. Check out more pictures from our visit.

Mobile Gamification and Content Delivery: The New Frontier for Sports & Entertainment Brands

Sports and entertainment brands are meeting their fans where they spend the most time – on their mobile devices. They’re already making it easy for audiences to engage year-round – and personalize their experience when they visit the venue for an event.

But, cord-cutting, augmented reality and a host of other technology developments are changing the ways people watch games and events live. This puts companies like Twitter, Facebook, and a host of streaming upstarts in a position to monetize the content that teams and brand can and should own.

But the right mobile strategy – and underlying platform – can put brands back in control and ensure they’re capitalizing on the huge revenue opportunity that is just waiting to be unlocked. With the right combination of strategies, sports and entertainment brands can and should:

  • Offer immersive and engaging augmented reality content
  • Take control of streaming rights and deliver engaging content to superfans at every point of their journey to the arena
  • Monetize streamed content with contextually-relevant advertising that takes into account fans’ behavior, preferences and location

Use Case

A family of four visits the arena for a game. On the way, passengers in the car  enjoy access to streamed content from the arena that is available only to those that sign up for the team loyalty program.

At the game, with new, immersive offerings, everyone in the famly can take advantage of fun activities during the game, like voting on the next play, or which player will score next via the team app on their mobile device. Simply adding these opportunities takes fans from passive viewers, to active participants in the game.

The next time someone on the team scores, everyone who guessed correctly could receive exclusive AR video of the player who scored, as well as other related content that they’d be incented to share with their social networks. For each share, they might receive a certain number of loyalty points toward purchasing that player’s jersey or something else at the arena.

Moving forward, based on the ways that the fan interacts with and uses the content that has been shared with them, brands can begin to make assumptions about what the interests of the person who uses that particular device and serve up personalized advertising and content to him or her whenever they interact with the team app, attend a game, or watch via their device.

The Opportunity

With the right data and analytics – and a creative approach to content, blackout management, and rights, teams, brands, and venues can begin to monetize content in new ways, and increase their presence and control on the platforms fans use both in the arena, and at home.  We predict big changes in the ways brand deliver content — and fans consume it — over the coming year.

 

No Slowing Down Mobile and Data in Sports. You Can Bet On It!

We recently sat down with VP of Sports and Entertainment at Venuetize, Craig Duncan, who over the past month attended the Sports Data and Fan Engagement Summit and the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference. Craig has responsibility for the Sports and Entertainment (S&E) vertical at Venuetize, and has over 12 years of experience working with leading S&E organizations on how to best leverage mobile, data and analytics to drive deeper levels of fan engagement, sponsorship activation, and business profitability.

What were your top takeaways from the sports data and fan engagement conferences you attended over the last month?

First, it’s a great time to be a sports fan. The diversification of how we can now consume sports, whether digital or live, and the increasing combination of both at the same time, gives fans so many more affordable and enjoyable options than ever before. Secondly, there are so many new and exciting technology companies out there focused on enhancing the fan experience. This also creates a challenge for S&E businesses, to build a strategy and partner ecosystem that can deliver for today, but also is open to integrate new technologies in this rapidly changing tech landscape. Finally, if you don’t think eSports and the legalization of sports gambling are here for the long run, I would respectfully say you are wrong!

 

What do you think is the most interesting metric that sports teams are currently garnering from mobile app data specifically?

The fact that some teams are seeing usage of their mobile app as the number one indicator of season ticket holder renewals (for highest users), and churn (for lowest users), is extremely noteworthy considering the impact that season ticket holders have on a sports team’s business overall.

How would you assess the S&E mobile landscape as a whole based on what you are seeing at these type of S&E industry events and from your experience overall?

We are at a very exciting time in the world of mobile engagement for the sports and entertainment industry. Just five years ago, the infrastructure and technologies that enable so many of the ways we engage fans in personalized and useful ways were not available. The technology advancements over the last five years have dramatically changed the way sports and entertainment organizations run their business. More and more S&E organizations are running their business with a mobile-first approach in terms of fan engagement and experience.

I think the PGA TOUR is a great example of this. Eight years ago, phones were not allowed at PGA TOUR events. In 2011, the TOUR started allowing phones in certain areas at tournaments. In 2017, they changed their device policy to allow fans to take photos and video of on-course action during tournament rounds, which of course opens up to sharing on social media and so much more. As a result, they’ve been able to draw in a much younger demographic to their sport overall, which in turn opens the door to significant business opportunities, including mobile content monetization and new opportunities with prospective and current corporate sponsorship partners. In addition, fans are using their mobile devices onsite at PGA TOUR events for everything from mobile ticketing and payments to digital autographs, and so much more.

This all said, I believe we are only now just beginning to see the impact mobile will ultimately have on the sports and entertainment industry. The best is yet to come!

What is your advice for a sports and entertainment business when it comes to defining their mobile strategy?

First and foremost – have one. It’s a common mistake I see that sports and entertainment organizations are so focused on the current season and the ‘here and now’, that they don’t take time to map out their mobile strategy and how it impacts their key stakeholders not only for the current season, but going out at least three years.

I also strongly recommend building a mobile strategy that is truly fan-centric first. It is easy to say, but much more difficult to actually adhere to, with pressure usually coming from above to show immediate ROI on a technology investment. If you deliver a mobile experience to the end user that makes their lives easier and more enjoyable, they will engage with your brand at much deeper levels. Once you’ve built this trust at the fan/consumer level, app downloads and usage will increase dramatically and the monetization opportunities will quickly follow, along with measureable ROI. Pulling this off requires involvement and executive sponsorship from the very top of the organization.

What was the most interesting topic from your viewpoint over the two events?

In my opinion, the single most interesting storyline across sports business for 2018 is the legalization of sports gambling. It is no longer a matter of if it will happen, but when. You could really get a feel for how much momentum this development has at both events. When the short term monetary impact is measured in billions, and it directly impacts fan engagement, venue experience and so much more, I just think it’s a fascinating storyline from so many angles. I’m excited to see the role technology will have when it comes to empowering fans to gamble on sports events regardless of where they are. The new regulations will be interesting to see as they roll out, with laws most likely varying by state, which will only complicate how the on-the-go consumer is able to wager outside of a brick and mortar sportsbook. Mobile will play a huge role, as will the analytics aspect – where brands will be able to derive an enormous amount of data from legal gambling activity. I expect to see this topic gain even more traction, and a more prominent place on the agenda of these events and others in the coming years.

The Augmented Age


Our CTO, Nimish Shrivastava is a new contributor to the IoT Agenda, a TechTarget publication that talks about The Internet of Things.  Check out his first column on the Augmented Age:

We are living in the Augmented Age. We, as individuals, are becoming more and more reliant on devices that augment our lives. As a result, connections between people and the spaces they live in and/or visit are changing rapidly.

What does this mean? Within smart spaces – like smart cities, venues, campuses and districts – IoT devices are gathering data that can improve experiences. We’ve seen a host of applications already gathering steam and as a result, smart entertainment districts and cities are becoming synonymous with IoT.

Smart streetlights and smart meters are improving energy efficiency. According to Accenture, more than 74 million smart meters were installed in the US alone through 2016. We’re also seeing IP cameras, drones and other devices improving security as well as interconnected sensor networks minimizing traffic and improving productivity.

At the same time, we are seeing smart technologies that are augmenting our bodies and our lives – including sensors on wearables, smart contact lenses, and audio interfaces like Alexa. Today, we are on the cusp of bridging these two developments: marrying the data delivered by IoT devices with the augmented consumer experience that is also producing a great deal of data, and delivering the power of that data via new interfaces.

All of this is leading to new ways of thinking about how we experience and engage with smart spaces, and to big opportunities for the people who manage these spaces.

Read the whole thing at IoT Agenda