May 23, 2022

By: Mike Fox, VP of W-Fi at Connectivity Wireless

About a year ago, I wrote the following:

The definition of analytics: The process of examining data sets to draw conclusions about the information they contain. Can you say boring?

How totally unsexy is collecting data, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions about the data? Data, data, data 100% unsexy, right? WRONG!! Instead of thinking about data collection as the family minivan, think along the lines of a sleek European supercar. Think Bugatti, not Buick.

In my humble opinion, and frankly, in the opinion of many ad providers, analytics are very sexy. The ability to customize ad content based on demographic information collected by the network is very appealing. It is appealing to the point that they are willing to pay a premium for the opportunity to advertise in your environment. Just in case that isn’t clear, this was a way to not just monetize your Wi-Fi network, it’s a way to make it a profit center.

These comments were from the venue owner/operator’s perspective. But, as a fan, like you who has attended events in large venues, we know what? We know that the wireless service is about as far from sexy as you can get. Basic connectivity is a challenge, let alone in-seat concession orders, game replays, or receiving special in-game offers. So, what about us fans? What do we get when attending events in large venues? I mean, we get the event itself, but what beyond that? We can’t text our friends, we can’t send pictures, we can’t….grrr, I digress. You get my point, I’m sure.

Let’s talk fan experience and what that means, or what it should mean anyway, and how venue-based analytics from platforms like CW’s ConnectLytix can enhance or enable a more robust fan experience.

What is the Fan Experience?

So, first off, what is fan experience? In the “old days”, just going to the venue and watching a game, concert, or another event was the fan experience. In today’s world, that event is the minimum expectation. Most fans, myself included, expect excellent wireless connectivity. We expect applications to order concessions and merchandise, applications that work. We also hope to live stream the event; admittedly, we expect a lot. If we assume the wireless connectivity is sufficient, which it rarely is, then what are the facts of a robust fan experience, and how can an analytics platform improve on them. Let’s explore…

Venue Efficiency

This is simply the ability to move about in the venue, to quickly access concessions, restrooms, team merchandise stores, vendor kiosks, etc. With traffic data, like footfalls and dwell times, collected by an analytics platform, venue managers can more effectively place everything to ensure fans have the best “in-venue” experience. With consideration given to everything from ingress/egress to social distancing, traffic flow analytics can improve the fan experience at the most basic level within the venue.

Venue/Fan Interaction

This is a critical point of success for maximizing the fan experience. It’s a given when a fan comes into a venue that they will interact. The venue and fan hope the interaction leads to an enhanced experience for the fan. This interaction leads to the collection of critical data by the venue to use to that end. In this instance, it’s all about customer engagement. How do we as fans benefit from the venue analytics capability? There are several ways:

Initial Contact: You might know that when your wireless device comes into contact with the venue’s wi-fi network, it knows you are there. You don’t need to log in for the analytics platform to be able to offer up pre-login splash pages with rotating content so you can gain access to deals on team merchandise, coupons of concessions, etc. In short, the fan experience is enhanced by the platform’s ability to push content to your wireless.

Fans Feedback & Profile Surveys: We’ve all experienced the moment when you walk into a restaurant, arena, or any other venue and have been served up the opportunity for free wi-fi, and only if, we provide our email address or fill out a brief survey to get on the network. Many have figured out a workaround to avoid baskets full of spam emails from this scenario. Providing a fake email address is a big one. But, just for a moment, imagine you’re a parent with two kids, two tablets, and a real desire to eat dinner in peace or watch a game with relative attention. You would be willing to answer a few questions about clothing preferences or perhaps your favorite wine or beer. Tell me you wouldn’t and I’d be very skeptical. Seems simple right? It is. An effective analytics platform will allow the venue operators to interact with you unobtrusively. Through simple survey questions, you can gain free access to the robust wi-fi network so your kids can stream shows and use applications while the platform targets you with “in-game, in-venue” opportunities. As a fan, and if you choose to log in with your social media platforms, you’ll be providing the venue-specific demographic data that they can use to customize content for you. Without giving away the farm and providing basic information like zip code, age, favorite car, etc., you get benefits like targeted content. Deals fitting your preferences and cost savings. I don’t know what defines a better fan experience than saving money.

Pre & Post Event Interaction: With significant connective tissue with those surveys, I spoke of earlier, the venue’s ability to communicate with you both before and after the event. With the data collected from your device, your wi-fi login information allows the complete fan experience. This is a classic; the more you put in, the more you get out scenario. Most analytics platforms, including CW’s ConnectLytix, can communicate with you in real-time via email, or in some instances, SMS messaging can pump for your event experience well before you arrive at the venue.

In-Venue Immersive Experience: Depending on how you look at it, this could be everything from the event itself. From the AV presentation put on by the venue to the interaction of all the fans. How is it a little more specific to the visualization presented in the signage around the venue? An effective analysis platform coupled with marketing savvy and detailed venue traffic data can lead to the visuals you see. The feedback you and your fellow fans provide during the event allows the venue to structure and present the type of content you want to see. Whether it’s advertisements for a particular beer or directions to the restrooms, all that visualization is designed to optimize your fan experience. From the moment you pass through the touchless ticketing gate, powered by the robust wi-fi and analytics platform, you are presented with images and content gleaned by the venue from the past event fan input. Once again, your time at the venue is tailored to ensure you get the most out of your fan experience.

Thoughts & Considerations

Now in closing, I know what you might be thinking. Something along the lines of “No way bro, I’m not giving out my personal data like that”. I’m here to tell you that if you’re using a mobile device, the “they” already have it. Empowered with an understanding of what’s discussed here and knowledge that the venue’s working to make your experience as good as possible may soften the blow. By embracing instead of attempting to avoid, you set yourself up to see what you want to see. Get the deals and offers you want, and save the most money you can. To me, that’s super sexy, or at least as sexy as technology can be.

Mike’s Bio

Michael is an industry veteran bringing 30 years of infrastructure experience to the Connectivity Wireless team. With extended leadership roles at industry leaders such as Ruckus Wireless, Cambium Networks, and D-Link Systems. He brings experience and thought leadership in revenue generation, new business development, and customer acquisition. As VP of Wi-Fi Sales, Mike specializes in taking meaningful issues to customers and working with them to mold solutions allowing their businesses to thrive. He thrives on creating authentic partnerships with customers to achieve their stated business goals, ensure maximum customer satisfaction, and help realize proper system optimization through technology.

Want to Learn More?

Check out Mike’s previous blog on analytics – Analytics, It’s Inevitable: The Value Proposition for Wi-Fi Analytics