Well, their cards are on the table...
Apple has finally announced it's new flagship iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, and their faithful sidekick, the Apple Watch.
It was a fascinating event, not least because of “Scarf Guy” (he had his own spoof account live on Twitter within minutes and #scarfguy was the hashtag of the launch). Surely this is the best example of second screening we’ve seen to date?
My fashion heroes aside, while watching with excitement of what the future holds for mobile and wearable technology, it got me thinking about what this means for the world of ticketing.
The time is now rapidly approaching when our customers will be rocking up to gigs with their credit card on their wrist (in effect, everyone will be wearing a Disney “MagicBand”)
That cashless future people have been talking about is now just around the corner, and if you can buy a pint in the interval with your e-wallet , surely that's also where you'll be keeping your tickets?.
Whilst not announced, I'm sure PassBook for the Apple Watch will display a nice big scannable barcode on your wrist, and voila we're living in an episode of Futurama! Then when Apple release NFC support for our passbook e-tickets things get even more exciting, just a wave of the hand will open the turnstile and you're in...
NFC tied to a ticket in your wrist opens up all sorts of other possibilities, place a couple of induction loops around the doors to the main auditorium, and even the toilets, and you know where your customers are at all times. When Rob leaves the main auditorium, send him an offer for a free drink (please), when Victoria spends 10 minutes queueing, discount her order... tie in a venue that has chosen to implement iBeacons throughout and you can amaze, surprise and delight your customers at every turn... and isn't that the business we're all in?
Meanwhile, on the web, the potential that the iPhone 6, Apple Watch and ApplePay bring to the world of ecommerce, throws down the gauntlet to online retailers to seriously up their game in making fast, simple and seamless payment a part of the day to day customer journey. All eyes will be on the reports from the US once this tech hits the marketplace to see how it performs, and most of all do people care enough to use it? It then becomes a waiting game to see how long it takes the UK market to follow suit, but I’m betting Apple are working hard to try and get it over here before, or soon after Christmas.
Moving from the wrist to the eye, Apple's arch nemesis Google launched Glass earlier this year, and whilst in its infancy, it's already showing how the customer service landscape stands to evolve, with the recent Virgin Atlantic trial across Upper Class being lauded a success in enhancing experiences.
It won't be long before venue stewards will be kitted out with Glass type technology to re-seat customers with ease, and deal with customer complaints in situ, gone will be the dreaded phrase "you need to go to the Box Office sir!".
Here at The Ticket Factory our Developers have been playing around with Glass technology and the possibilities it can bring to our industry. The end product being that we can now happily scan tickets in the office with a simple glance at a barcode, and all of the customer info appears in your field of view!
Now this musing isn’t our announcement to the industry that we’re the first ticket agent to launch Glass scanning at events (although if we launched we would most likely be the first!) It’s simply a thought provoking challenge out to our peers starting a serious debate. What does the future look like for our fast paced, tech dependant industry? And do we as a collective have an appetite for change?
As a self-confessed early adopter, I for one can’t wait to start paving the way for change and giving customers memorable experiences that keep them coming back for more.