Culture

How Smart Tones can revolutionize the concert experience

As technology continues to evolve, it is presenting new opportunities for enhancing and redefining the music festival experience.

Every year over Labor Day weekend, fans flock to the Budweiser Made in America music festival, a two-day event put on by Roc Nation – the entertainment company founded by Jay Z. As usual, this year's impressive lineup of artists, including Rihanna, Coldplay and 2 Chainz, generated a lot of excitement and a huge turnout.

But, with crowds can come chaos. Like most large-scale events, music festivals are often plagued with long lines, whether for ticketing, restrooms or getting something to drink. Then there's the confusion around where to go, keeping up with changes in set times and locations and trying to get cell service in a sea of other concertgoers trying to do the same. The good news is that, as technology continues to evolve, it's presenting new and exciting opportunities for reshaping the music festival experience – not just for the fans, but for sponsors and concert-organizers as well.

For the past four years, Budweiser, the title sponsor of this event, has leveraged LISNR's Smart Tones software in its dedicated festival application. Using embedded technology and inaudible sound waves, the app enables guests' mobile devices to "hear" tones, transmit data instantly and receive highly relevant notifications and smart messaging content.

What does this mean?

  • For businesses: the ability to achieve more passive brand engagement.
  • For fans: getting the exact information they need, right when they need it.
  • For everyone: a more connected and enjoyable music festival experience.
Smart Tones are a way to reduce friction and challenges often associated with large crowds.
Smart Tones are a way to reduce the friction and challenges often associated with large crowds.

Transforming ticketing and point of sale
Tickets are very important for festivals, but they can also be a bit of a black hole – which is why the rise of digital ticketing has been so important. On top of cutting down on lines and eliminating the hassle of wristbands, there are many benefits to using e-tickets – not just at concerts, but any type of event. Digital ticketing eliminates the cost of printing paper ones – which customers are more likely to lose or damage – and reduces fraudulent and reselling activity. Additionally, it gives vendors a more efficient way to actually know who is coming in and out of the venue. These enhanced data profiles of guests enable more relevant targeting. 

Although e-ticketing technology is a step in the right direction, many of the options available today (bar codes, QR codes and NFC) have their disadvantages. For example, they can quickly drain the batteries on mobile phones, require installation times and additional hardware, and only work with compatible phones.

Evolution of e-ticketing
This need for quick access, instant connectivity and seamless convenience has given rise to LISNR's Smart Tone Ticketing.

"Smart Tones transform live events into meaningful experiences."

"Our vision for ticketing is a marriage between the contact list world and the mandate that we have from companies, which is make connections as simple and easy as possible," explained LISNR Director of Customer Success Jillian Zatta.

Using ultrasonic, inaudible data over audio communication technology, these high-frequency Smart Tones act as connecters between mobile apps and digital devices. They elevate what is possible for in-venue engagement because they eliminate many of the issues commonly associated with popular technologies today, such as poor connectivity and limited coverage range. They don't require any particular hardware, nor do they need Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or data. The only thing a device needs for the Smart Tone technology is a speaker and microphone. 

Like it did for so many guests and vendors at the Budweiser Made in America music festival, Smart Tones have the ability to turn a live event into a meaningful and memorable experience. 

Winning Ways to Engage Sports Fans

Winning Ways to Engage Sports Fans

With sports teams, leagues and franchises looking for new ways to grow revenue, the topic of fan engagement has been scoring major attention lately. One example: Major League Baseball announced a new, multi-year partnership with Snapchat. Beyond the first “Snapchat Day,” there will be other opportunities throughout the year to give fans an inside look at games and exclusive MLB content.

I recently attended the Leaders’ Sport Business Summit, where fan engagement dominated the conversation. I got schooled in the nuances of English football (soccer to us here in the U.S.), along with three takeaways on winning ways to engage fans on and off the field.

Make Mobile Moments

With the new Major League Soccer (MLS) season just kicking off, Commissioner Don Garber spoke about how the MLS has focused on building their largely millennial fan base. Mobile is critical for keeping those connected and tech-savvy fans engaged.

Fans have traditionally used mobile devices to conduct real-time searches and connect socially with fellow fans. Now teams are using mobile devices to reach fans in relevant moments and deliver personalized experiences that go beyond what’s happening on the field or court. Authentic and contextual content is often part of that experience.

Keep It Contextual

Contextual content is the ability to create and deliver specific information that meets a fan right where he wants to be met. One example? A fan finding his way through the stadium to his seat thanks to a wayfinding feature in the team’s official mobile app.

But this can go beyond practical pieces of information. Thanks to new communication protocols like the one LISNR provides, teams have the ability to distribute exclusive and real-time contextual content on a large scale.

For example, as fans enter the stadium, they might receive a notification on their phone to watch video highlights of the coach’s locker room pep talk. Or on a crucial 3rd down play, everyone’s phone might vibrate with a special “Make Noise” notification to distract the opposing team. Both are examples of “right-time” content sure to elevate the fan experience.

Connect Outside the Event

Another popular discussion topic was creating fan engagement outside the bricks and mortar venue. Mark Wilf, president and co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings, explained how many modern stadiums are surrounded by mixed use spaces that feature additional entertainment and dining. Beyond game-watching, spaces like these give both die-hard and regular fans additional entertainment options.

And of course, beyond those who attend sporting events in-person, you can’t forget about engaging the hundreds of thousands of fans watching remotely. Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, touched on the role of content creation and distribution through broadcast channels too.

The intersection of mobile and technology makes it possible to capture the hearts of fans at home, too. Imagine fans watching the broadcast at home and having their devices light up with a “TOUCHDOWN” notification every time their favorite team scores. Powered by LISNR. Talk about a winning combination.

Fans have always been a part of sports. But to win big, venues and teams have to make mobile, contextual content and the concept of creating an encompassing entertainment experience part of their playbook.

Stay in touch with the LISNR team by following us @LISNR.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Owning Moments that Matter

If you’re like me, there’s probably an iconic sports moment permanently etched in your brain. Maybe Michael Jordan’s switch-hand layup against the Lakers. Kerri Strug’s one-foot vault landing at the Olympics. Rulon Gardner’s underdog win over a 13-year undefeated wrestling champion.

My strongest sports memory was when I was 7. I watched Doug Flutie throw a “Hail Mary” touchdown pass as the clock ticked to zero to lift Boston College over the University of Miami in an amazing win. To this day, I still see in my mind and remember everything about that moment — how Doug scrambled in the pocket, how the announcers sounded calling the touchdown, and even how the entire team piled on each other to celebrate.

What exactly does this memory have to do with marketing and making meaningful connections with fans and customers?

Actually, a lot.

Making Brand Memories

Right now, my memory of Doug Flutie’s “Miracle in Miami” is tied just to him and the sport. But what if a brand capitalized on that moment in a meaningful way? Rather than just being a memory, that moment in time could become an incredible brand connection, too.

This is what gets me pumped. With mobile technology, marketers and brands have a huge (and right now, untapped) opportunity to own these moments that matter. By own, I mean create a hyper-targeted connection that benefits both fans and brands.

The Business Case for Owning Moments

Let’s stick with sports, although there are plenty of similar applications for live events, broadcast and retail. For this example, we’ll use the Cleveland Cavaliers from my home state of Ohio.

  • They host a max of 20,052 fans per home game.
  • They will play 41 home games in 2015-2016.
  • Let’s estimate 40 percent of fans have downloaded the Cav’s official mobile app.

Using these numbers, during home games, the Cavs have an opportunity to engage with almost 333,000 fans through their official mobile app.

Let’s go a step further and talk about specific moments that matter. In basketball, slam dunks are a perennial fan favorite. What if a brand were to take ownership each time Timofey Mozgov dunks? Thanks to data over sound technology, for example, an athletic shoe company could sponsor each instant replay broadcast to a fan’s mobile device through the Cav’s official app.

Let’s just see how much potential exists.

  • According to 82games.com, on average there are 6.56 dunks per game, so I’ll even go a little more conservative and use the number five.
  • Let’s estimate 75 percent of the Cav’s app users opt in to receive these special notifications.

Over 1 million premium in-stadium impressions could be generated for the shoe company (which doesn’t even take into account viewers watching from home). More than just a billboard or ad, using owned moments to connect and engage with fans all the way down to their seats has the potential to generate impressive ROI.

Keeping Owned Moments Meaningful

There are a couple caveats to owning moments that matter.

  • First, the connection between the owned moment and the brand story needs to be authentic for fans.
  • Second, to stay meaningful, not every single moment can be owned. It can quickly become overwhelming or irrelevant to fans if a brand takes ownership of a moment that happens too frequently, like three-point shots.
  • Third, look for ways to naturally extend owned moments. If a fan experiences a meaningful moment watching branded replays of slam dunks via their mobile device in-stadium, how does that connection continue for the fan at home during the next game?

Brands, fans and teams alike stand to benefit with meaningful connections in these moments that matter. So what’s going to be the next memorable moment? And who will own it?

Discover how to capitalize on moments that matter by following @LISNR.  

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Live Event Spotlight: Budweiser Made in America 2015

BMIA Banner

Over Labor Day weekend, more than 140,000 fans converged on Philadelphia for the latest installment of the Budweiser Made in America Festival. Now in its fourth year, the event features an eclectic mix of artists personally curated by hip-hop mogul Jay Z.

Set at the base of the city’s famous “Rocky” steps and spread out across five stages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the event featured performers including Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Death Cab for Cutie, Nick Jonas, and almost 60 other rap, rock, EDM and R&B artists.

LISNR was at the event for the third year in a row, powering the official Budweiser Made in America mobile app. The goal? Deliver “right place, right time” messaging for a rockin’ fan experience.

The Challenges

We’ve all been there —trying to get a WiFi or data signal with thousands of others at a large outdoor music event. Keeping up-to-date with schedule changes takes forever. Forget about posting a selfie to Facebook or Instagram.

Budweiser recognized just how important it was to create a positive fan experience. From keeping guests up-to-date about set changes and artists next up on the schedule, to helping fans get home safely, our team was charged with facilitating relevant engagement and notifications through the mobile app.

Since LISNR uses SmartTones® to deliver data over inaudible sound waves to mobile apps, any challenges associated with WiFi or data coverage were immediately off the table. These audio tones are delivered through existing speaker infrastructure – meaning the festival was already “wired” and no additional or special hardware or other technology was needed.

Seamless to Fans

LISNR’s embedded technology creates a seamless experience for fans who just care about “right place, right time” messaging. Through the app, fans’ mobile devices “hear” the tones and deliver instant – and most importantly – hyper-relevant notifications, even if Bluetooth and Location Services are turned off.

For example, “smart” messaging content unlocked by LISNR included:

  • A special Budweiser-branded welcome message as attendees entered the Made in America Festival.
  • Notifications about water station locations and refillable Budweiser water bottles to keep attendees hydrated.
  • Up to $20 off notices for an Uber ride as festival-goers approached exits — part of Budweiser’s commitment to get fans home safely.

LISNR notifications also drove traffic to other Budweiser-sponsored footprints within the festival.

  • Guests could visit the Budweiser Signature Room (part barber shop, flash tattoo parlor and old school arcade game) for a signature beer draft.
  • Fans were encouraged to collect Budweiser cans and return them to the Recycling Store for free t-shirts.
  • Attendees also received messages about Budweiser’s “Make a Plan to Make it Home” area where they could register to win a free bike.

An Epic Experience

There’s hardly a better way to close out summer than amazing performances from Beyoncé and The Weeknd. Key fan engagement and interaction metrics were up across the board over the previous year:

  • 58,000 interactions with LISNR tones.
  • 600,000 app sessions.
  • 5.4 million impressions through Twitter and Facebook.

What a way to turn up this year’s event. See you at #MadeInAmerica 2016!

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Mos def Scrum.

High Intensity Management: The Original Scrum

High Intensity Management: Mos def Scrum

What’s the scrum?

Scrum’s focus is “on the business needs of projects when developing products and services”1. As a technology company, LISNR has embraced the need to produce deliverables. This is not particularly surprising that scrum became the approach for this, as it is common at other organizations of similar age and personnel size. So the point of this manifest is to explain the proximity between the scrum methodologies and the United States (US) Army’s reconnaissance planning methodologies when working with small, distributed teams.

Scrum is an agile methodology, meaning it is meant to be flexible. Although it is not the first methodology to attempt to encapsulate flexibility, it is one that has some principles that are perfect for producing products rapidly and in an iterative way. Tom Poppendieck (2003), the author of The Agile Customer’s Toolkit, expressed this as the following seven principles2:

1. Eliminate waste – add value not inventory
2. Amplify learning – as a repetitive process
3. Manufacturing postponement – delay decisions until the last second (when necessary)
4. Deliver as fast as possible – Iterative timeframes
5. Empower team members – training, trusting, and leading
6. Build integrity – perception versus reality
7. Avoid sub-optimizing – understand the whole business need

(List paraphrased from Scrum Project Management, 2003)

         The seven principles fit the needs LISNR had in order to solidify the product and the go-to-market strategy in the most disruptive way possible. These principles were explained better to me than what is written in FM 3-20.98 (Reconnaissance and Scout Platoon) by Major Ryan T. Kranc while he served as the Commander of L Troop, 2/16th Cavalry Regiment. He explained these principles as “focus, tempo, engagement, disengagement, and displacement criteria” (personal conversation, 2008). He also wrote at length about these concepts in 2008 in the November – December issue of Armor Magazine3.

Let’s correlate the scrum out of US Army doctrine.

         Every one of the Poppendieck principles has a focus, tempo, engagement, disengagement, and displacement criteria. That is what makes it flexible during concurrent projects and that is why scrum is extremely flexible despite being somewhat standardized in its loose constructs.

Focus

         Here is the step through of the principles and their correlation. Each phase needs a focus that meets the intent of the business model. Without understanding the intent, then each phase is misguided in the type of goals to be planned and produced. The idea is to narrow the scope of the information needed to the minimal amount necessary to complete the task for the level of the personnel involved. Not all levels of participants need to know the whole picture in order to attain a productive focus to complete the project. This is all based around information relevancy for the level of personnel involved.

Tempo

Each phase requires a tempo. Tempo is the amount of speed and detailed effort to establish a given phase. The eliminate waste phase is a deliberate process, meaning that the tempo is slower due to careful detailed analysis of the requirements of the phase. The inverse is the delivery phase, which is rapid and forceful since the requirements should already be specified upon reaching this phase in order for execution to take place effectively. Other phases may be one of these two options or anywhere in between in the amount of speed and detail to be consumed.

Engagement

Engagement criteria in scrum phases boils down to the rules around a task. Just as a Cavalry Scout has to sometimes let opposition go past their position in order to canalize them before letting them be crushed by the main effort, so must a Software Engineer sometimes let minor bugs slip past in order to eliminate other issues that can derail the project as a whole. These minor problems are still reported and annotated for future projects as specified in the engagement criteria.

Disengagement

A disengagement criterion is a set of rules of when to stop working on an objective for a Software Engineer participating in scrum. An example is when a 2-point story with a mal specification becomes a 5-point or an 8-point story. In this example, the Engineer should cease-fire or continues to over-watch on the objective/ story and report the issue to the Scrum Master for follow-on guidance. Such guidance may be to continue to work on the objective, come back to the objective later, request support for the objective (pair programming), and/ or to follow the displacement criteria. There are rules to how to disengage from a task in scrum as well. The teams, in order to breed integrity and empowerment, define the engagement, disengagement, and displacement criteria for each sprint during the sprint planning meetings.

Displacement

In scrum, the story may be pulled from the sprint just as a Scout may be pulled from an objective and reorganized for a follow-on assignment. Often when a story becomes too much or is later determined as non-critical to the business needs then it can be displaced from. The displacement criteria are the rules in how the displacement occurs. Does the developer log the issue, results, and/ or findings somewhere? Or is it an open abandonment, such as “won’t fix” requirement added to the story? Again, to breed integrity and empowerment, the employees are given the focus to make these decisions in consensus, while also being in accordance with the business model’s intent.

Scrum is a fancy word.

         As displayed by this extrapolation between reconnaissance planning criterion and scrum, it can be noted that scrum concepts are nothing new. But since this is the newer word to decorate these methods for Software Engineers, Project Managers, and the like in a way that is applicable to their work flows for lean success, I believe scrum is perfect for any organization.

We mos def scrum.

Scrum has been proven to be effective for LISNR. LISNR has been able to maintain focus despite being small, often distributed, and made us completely disruptive to our industry. This clear focus of intent to be THE Smart Tonetm provider for all content delivery services has helped us create the tools to provide that service in an iterative way. As we continue to improve our technology in this way, we do so with the appropriate tempo over a 10-day sprint with clearly defined criterion for each story as to what the engagement, disengagement, and displacement criteria is. Major Ryan T. Kranc has not only made this concept intuitive for the US Army, but also allowed this current civilian to apply and recognize these principles within my own workflows and that of other Software Engineer’s workflows for the betterment of LISNR’s innovations. We are mos def scrum.

Sources

1Pries, K. & Quigley, J. (2011). Scrum Project Management. Boca Raton, FL: Auerbach Publications.

2Poppendieck, T. (2003). The Agile Customer’s Toolkit. Poppendieck.LLC.

3Kranc, R. (2008). Fort Knox, KY: Armor Magazine, Retrieve from https://www.benning.army.mil/training/eArmor/2008/NOV_DEC/ArmorNovemberDecember2008web.pdf.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

LISNR, Turn Down For What? Nothing.

September, last year, I became enlisted into the most unique company I have ever known. What makes this company different? It is the community and the culture.

LISNR is about being better than enough. This is being recognized by our customers and is really beneficial to its employees, community, and is a must. Without a living culture, no company can get the talent to maintain its course. It is by our culture that we have attracted the talent that has grown into our workforce. This is more than just a group of people; we are a family, a team. We have grown into a family that believes in our cause and become stitched together at the seams. This patchwork is united by commonality and driven by not one, but us all. United, LISNR has stood, is standing, and will continue to stand.

Unification through happiness

“Become happy, which will then help you become a success”1 (The Importance of Happiness in the Workplace, 2012).

The stats of working in a place concerned with your happiness, according to the research from the Wall Street Journal and iOpener Institute as recorded by the United States Geological Survey Department2, is:

  • Employees believe they are fulfilling their potential up to double that of their peers
  • Around 65% of employees have more energy
  • 58% of employees are more team oriented and helpful
  • Employees align their values with the company’s values up to 98% more than their peers in other businesses
  • Workers are 10 times less likely to take sick days
  • And most importantly to the bottom line, 85% of happy employees are more efficient at their work than the alternative

(List paraphrased from The Science of Happiness: How to Build a Killer Culture in Your Company, 2013)

Happy, Disruptive People

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Above is a picture of those stats come to life in a culture of individuals who have achieved success from a healthy, happy workplace. These very people are what helped LISNR to become the #12 disruptor company3 (Meet the 2015 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies, 2015).

So how did these happy people become so happy?

  • Engaged leadership who understand that the employees decide the culture (Leadership guides, does not dictate)
  • Employee meetings on deciding the culture (We set the parameters)
  • Happiness Committee (Because we are that dedicated to happiness)
  • Training opportunities (Encouraged to grow with hack-a-thons, mentorships, and pair programming)
  • Agile Development Strategies (You know it!)
  • We roll deep when we decide to go places (Employee engagement)

LISNR is its own company derived by a people who believe in the company values, establishes a culture that is involved in the local community, and most importantly, care about each other and our mutual success. As our culture grows, our success will grow, exponentially. We won’t be turned down for nothing!

Sources

1The Importance of Happiness in the Workplace. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.leadertoleaderjournal.com/sample-articles/the-importance-of-happiness-in-the-workplace.aspx.

2The Science of Happiness: How to Build a Killer Culture in Your Company. (2013). Globoforce Limited. Retrieved from http://www.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/mentoringreadinglist/Science_of_Happiness.pdf.

3Meet the 2015 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies. (2015). CNBC. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/102609977

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.