Power, festivals and getting the basics right

We are all guilty of sometimes getting carried away in the excitement of the moment. Loosing the plot at the front of the crowd at your favourite artists’ gig, finding a bottle of your favourite Scotch at a bargain rate, or bumping into the old school friend you lost touch with. These are all fine, and quite understandable.

Being so focused on the new shiny tech that you forget about the basics, well that’s probably best avoided at all costs.

Festival of dysfunction

This is a lesson the organisers of We Are FSTVL learnt the hard way.

In this case thousands of festival goers were made to queue for up to four hours because the wrist-band entry and payment system failed at the key moment. The Standard covers this particular event in more detail here.

In a meeting yesterday (19th June, 2019), I heard of similar examples of technology failures at concerts, race days and festivals where promoters sought to provide an enhanced experience to their customers through the provision of new technology capabilities, but ended up leaving them with the bitter taste of disappointment or frustration.

It can be all too easy to forget about getting the basics in order, especially when chasing innovation. In our day-to-day we talk with start-ups and tech companies about ground breaking technologies and ideas, however, as mentioned in my recent Emerging Technologies keynote, the challenge for many organisations is to differentiate, defend against competition improve customer experience and reduce friction without breaking things.

This often leads to the search for innovative ideas that are more evolutionary rather than revolutionary. But here’s the jam with that – you’ve got to make sure you’re evolving in the right direction. It’s never been more important to understand the opportunity of the future and build your roadmap to evolve towards something revolutionary.

All powered up

Understanding the customer pain points

The company I met yesterday is a great example of this. They provide power. Not revolutionary, but an essential that’s growing in importance every single day.

On the table in front of me was a battery pack with a button, some charge sockets, a few green lights, three rubberised power cables and a QR code.

Honestly, nothing jumped out to me as ‘wow’, but hang-on, the device is not the point, it’s the use-case that is genius.

Power pain

As the father of a teenage daughter, I know the fear and panic that sets in at the dreaded 20% mark. Emergency continuity plans go into force when her battery hits 20%, a frantic search for charge points, time to find a coffee shop … but only if it has a spare table and a plug socket.

The problem is bigger than that for organisations that want their customers to ‘linger’ – sports stadiums, pubs and bars, festivals, concerts, shopping centres, airports. We now depend so heavily on our mobile phones that our days-out are only as long as our mobile phone batteries last.

Ok, you say, but there are battery packs already, why not carry one of those? Good question, I’m glad you asked it. Well, I gave my daughter two of these already; a big 22,000mAh monster, as well as a smaller, easy to put in your bag version. But she never takes it, and she’s not unique in that aspect.

So when power runs out, our response is to find somewhere to sit and wait, or worse, lock our phone away in a locker for a fee! Yikes! Separate me from my phone? No thanks.

Getting to the (power) point, or not.

This company essentially provides brand-able mobile power-as-a-service. Pick up one of their power packs from a charge station (many already dotted around the country, many many more coming soon), scan the QR code and off you go. Take the power pack, wander around, enjoy the festival, and when you’re done, drop it back off. Job done. You’re charged just for the time you use it, and best of all you didn’t have to have lug a chunky battery around all day.

So what if you wander somewhere where you can’t drop it back? That’s ok too, they thought of that. There’s a daily and life-time cap to the fees, meaning after a set period of time and cost the pack is yours to keep. You can still swap it for fully charged ones at any of their stations, but as a ‘fully paid up’ owner of the pack, there’s no additional charge.

Value for venues

Many venues have power points, wireless chargers or charge lockers, but they’re missing the point. These solutions tie people in one place, cause separation anxiety or there are simply not enough to go round.

The company told me that their offering is a managed service, which enables the venue operator to simply plug it in and reap the benefits of more connected, more content customers who can continue to enjoy the facilities and services they provide without the limitation of short-term battery life or being tied down to a single point.

Beyond that, they believe it becomes a draw for customers, pulling them into venues with these devices.

Want to know more?

If this, or any of the other companies we’ve met sound like they could solve your problem, do get in touch.

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Scott Stonham

Scott is Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at InnovationScouts.tech. He has been at the forefront of many technologies we take for granted today, including mobile internet and smartphone navigation. Today he helps clients navigate innovative emerging technologies and is available for speaking opportunities.

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