Imagine you are a season-ticket holder for your favorite football team, and you and your family never miss a game at your local stadium. On game day, you’re getting things ready to head out when you receive a text message warning you that traffic is bad, and if you want to make the coin toss, you should probably leave soon. Wow, that’s a nice surprise. You quickly get everyone out the door and arrive on time. As you enter the stadium, a video screen flashes a welcome message just for you, and a moment later you get a texted code for discounted food and beverage. Now that’s personalized service. Since you have the time, you head over to get some snacks before settling in to enjoy the game. These types of experiences, including shorter lines at the kiosks, highly targeted offers on the mobile app, special promotions and other “insider” information all make your fun day out even better.
Major events like a football game can be a real logistical challenge, for attendees and organizers. AP2S saw an opportunity not only to minimize the difficulties of managing a “small town” – which is what a stadium becomes on game day – but also to increase the value of such events for everyone involved. In 2012, AP2S founded OpenField™ to provide the infrastructure that enables an end-to-end venue solution.
Stadium owners are accustomed to using technology to increase efficiency and lower costs, employing automated ticketing systems, commercial kiosk management, building management, CRM, and more. But the systems and the data they provide often remain separate. OpenField integrates these disparate systems, collecting information and unlocking insights into event-attendee behavior. Equipped with powerful, actionable data, organizers are not only able to plan events better, they are able to improve attendees’ experience and satisfaction, improve their revenue, and reduce their own costs.
For example, when Qatar took ownership of the popular Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football club, the leadership wanted to manage the club with a very professional approach, increasing revenues quickly but also optimizing costs. They wanted to know more about customers’ behavior and consumption using data extracted from their systems. They saw an opportunity to improve stadium management and were looking for the best solution. The objectives they gave to OpenField were clear:
  • Know more about PSG customers and prospects
  • Create new segments around customers (VIPs, for example)
  • Suggest new "very targeted" campaigns
  • Create new products and services
  • Measure satisfaction of PSG customers
  • Analyze the behavior/consumption in real time in the stadium
The Parc des Princes, home to the team since 1974, sees an average of more than 43,000 PSG fans per match. With that kind of traffic, the opportunities are obvious. OpenField enabled the collection of consumption and behavior data from many of PSG’s connected applications in order to offer useful management and analysis. Information from marketing, commerce, building, and business intelligence were combined and analyzed to transform the place into a unique “smart venue.” The combination of data from different systems was critical to the implementation of an effective and appropriate decision-making base, and from a CRM perspective, control and data exchange tools were essential in building intelligent relationships with customers.
Thanks to real-time data management, OpenField helps PSG communicate intelligently with its customers, allowing PSG to, for example, use ticket-holder data to send attendees push notifications when traffic is bad. VIP or season ticket-holders are personally greeted by video screens, and fans might receive flash codes for food and beverage promotions. If they’re in the stadium when the team wins, fans may also receive a special promotion. Organizers can better equip the kiosks for crunch times, optimizing resources and reducing waste and wait times. First-time “Premium” seat buyers may be invited for a glass of champagne, and the club occasionally invites attendees with similar profiles to connect in a “LinkedIn Box.” Not only do these special touches add to attendees’ surprise and delight, increasing return visits, they also reduce event costs.
Thanks to data management and the knowledge our clients can glean from that data, ideas based on consumer behavior are limitless. However, in order to do all this, organizations need the flexibility and cost optimization of Microsoft Azure. During an event, when a venue has thousands of visitors, Microsoft Azure provides the increased computing resources our clients need. On off days, Azure allows for reduced infrastructure, lowering costs. Also, the Azure platform is more powerful, reliable, secure, and agile than an on-premises installation, and its 99.999% uptime guarantee gives our clients financial assurance. Azure also provides the “big data” our clients need to offer those tailored services based around traffic, weather, etc.
Venues are complex systems unique to each event. To make the most of every opportunity to improve the customer experience and maximize profit, it’s important to gather, assess, and respond to the massive amounts of data quickly. The cloud allows you to do that, and by leveraging Azure for our app, we’ve allowed our clients to harness the power of that data at costs that make sense for their business. And, at the end of the day, they can offer up experiences that make their customers happy and let them enjoy what matters most – their football game.