Realife Tech tracks fan safety in (real)-time
London and Los Angeles-headquartered LiveStyled – the platform which powers the digital customer experience for the biggest venues and events – has rebranded itself as Realife Tech. The platform has announced new COVID-19 fan safety hub to facilitate the return of live events globally.
With a £5.7m funding round led by Virgo Investment Group, with additional backing from strategic investors Superfly Ventures and Stadia Ventures, Realife Tech works with the world’s biggest entertainment destinations and events. They have developed the ‘Post-Covid Fan Safety Hub’ to provide key customer-facing technology and help bring events back safely once restrictions on large gatherings are lifted.
The platform – founded in 2014 – unifies data from every event venue system, and then analyzes the data to provide truly personalized digital experiences to each individual. It has many a plumes to its beret having received three Event Technology Awards for Best Festival Technology, Best Venue Installation, and Best Venue Solution.
Realife Tech’s platform aggregates data from multiple systems including apps, ticketing systems, Wi-Fi, point-of-sale, digital advertising screens and access control points within real world destinations to create a single view of the customer across their journey. Its ‘Post-Covid Fan Safety Hub’ then uses this information to provide functionality to cut down on queues at entry and exit points, enables contactless ordering and collection of food and beverage and merchandise items, and delivers targeted safety and crowd density messaging through the venue or the team’s mobile app and website. The company works with over 60 of the world’s leading sports teams and entertainment destinations including The O2, London; Tottenham Hotspur; LA Galaxy; Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Outside Lands Festival, to name a few.
Said Adam Goodyer, Founder and CEO of Realife Tech, “Realife Tech is committed to helping events around the world return to action, to assist in kickstarting the economy and providing a safe environment for fans and customers,”
Goodyer added, “We are proud that our technology is playing a pivotal role in the return of so many iconic events around the world and are focused on spreading this benefit beyond the boundaries of entertainment into all areas of the real world.”
“Realife Tech’s mission aligns with our passion for innovation and reinvention. They are truly reinventing real world experiences, focusing on a shared goal to benefit both visitor and destination. We’re glad to invest in a company that has the interest of all parties in mind, as great experiences organically lead to increased brand loyalty and potential spend,” asserted Jesse Watson, Virgo Founder and Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Virgo is an opportunistic investor targeting both asset-based credit and structured equity transactions. Founded in 2009, Virgo has invested over $1 billion, completing 50 investments to date. Virgo invests in market dislocations and areas of corporate change targeting both less efficient market segments and identified themes (or ‘market seams’) in the firm’s core industries.
In an exclusive to ‘Coliseum’, Brent Kocher, CRO Realife Tech, US, said that he does not envision full stadiums till a vaccine is discovered and also reveals how their platform is trying to make the live event space safe for fans in a post-COVID 19 world once the coronavirus storm is over.
Brent Kocher started by revealing that the platform closed a Series A funding round of £5.7m lead by Virgo Investment Group, with participation from strategic investors Superfly Ventures and Stadia Ventures. As he stated, “We are very lucky because we closed our Series A funding just as it started. So, we are able to write it out in. And, now there are a lot of significant movements in the market.”
He observed that the world is going through a very tough phase due to global coronavirus outbreak and so companies would rather be “well-capitalized to be able to do their business to meet the demands of the post-COVID 19 world”.
With an air of confidence, the CRO asserted that the going for Realife Tech will be smooth and they are trying to put all their focus on ensuring that the platform experiences no bumpy ride due to the virus – “Our platform is built through the Webinar, the personalization and the role of commerce is being replaced by safety and messaging around COVID-19, and then we will be back into new revenue for our clients. So, we are not signing a lot of new business right now as you can imagine but we are having a lot of significant discussions at the venue, team and league level and rolling out a suite of products and capabilities that are both end solutions as well as things that can sit behind other finance so it’s scalable.”
Realife Tech’s app was otherwise created for fan engagement and creating revenues for the venue. They did a yeoman task for Tottenham Hotspur by launching the new ‘Spurs Official’ App for the football club in London. But, by relaunching as Realife Tech from LiveStyled their whole platform has changed and they are consolidating all their efforts on how to deal with the pandemic. Kocher explains what changed on the platform, “The first thing you have got to do for the venue or the team is make somebody feel comfortable coming back into the live event space in a post-COVID-19 world. So, the way that we are set up and how we can message that from knowing that you have a ticket to an event, knowing that you have to get on transport or drive yourself, knowing that when you get to the event you are going to be provided a slotted time to get in and then when you are going to be in the venue there is going to be contactless collection. We want to make the whole journey of the fan as such that the venue or the team can communicate to the fan in a timely fashion.”
He added, “We are focused on making the fan feel comfortable and drive home the fact that all those protocols and technology is going to provide a safer experience to fans in venues. So, it’s a lot of existing stuff that we currently do. The objective behind the ‘Post-Covid Fan Safety Hub’ is that we are purposing it with an eye on COVID fan safety help. We have bought in a couple of partners as well to round up that offering.”
Kocher further explained that their ‘Post-Covid Fan Safety Hub’ is focused on contactless collection – “The ability for somebody to place a food and beverage order, that order bills into the concessionaire, the concessionaire then monitors the crowd flow lines in front of the actual stands, and when there is enough elbow room, the concessionaire informs the particular individual to come and pick up the order. So, you are managing the orders in real time and the person that placed the order gets a notification, goes, swipe the phone and back to his or her seat.”
Basically, the app helps in maintaining the hygiene quotient and also enables touchless point actions. The top executive stated that social distancing is possible when people enter the stadium – one and-a-half, two meters of distance is possible. But, he made it clear that he still does not envisage a scenario where 70,000 people will enter the venue or in that case 30,000 or 40,000 people “until there is a vaccine”. He was also sure about the fact that a third or a quarter of the capacity in stadia is also not a feasible proposition till a vaccine comes out.
Talking about social distancing, Kocher informed, “One of our clients – Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s event – IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader – is going to be held on July 4 with no fans in attendance, though they were hoping to have fans around.”
He further pointed out, “We also have the Indy 500 and that’s the largest single event annually in terms of number of people – so, total 300,000 talking about in terms of a pre-COVID world. Such an event will never be held now and if it is held, we will be one of the first one to recommend. We are working with the State of Indiana, and the Governor and the Health Department, to decide the total number of fans in future events.”
Explaining the function of ‘Post-Covid Fan Safety Hub’ and how to ensure that fans stay safe, Kocher added, “People will have to spread out and with the help of our app, we make sure you have the issues around – ordering and everything managed by all these different concession stands. So, it’s a blend of technology, the messaging, and operational alignment. The safety protocols that are required are not set by us. They are set by individual States and health authorities.”
He informed that the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has allowed 5,000 guests for the June 21 Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in US.
Talking about their rebranding, Kocher stated that their platform’s new name is Realife Tech and they visualized it to create a better visitor experience in the real role of every person and “We will really focus on connecting the systems to make them more intelligent and responsive to that journey and the emotions of each person in the real world. So, we really believe that if you got to be like Amazon or Netflix or most of the other more curative experiences online, the personalization that occurs on those platforms is welcome by the people who use them.”
Though he made a strong pitch for platforms like Amazon and Netflix, at the same time he was not very comfortable with the whole “cookies” angle of Google as he said, “If you go to Google and you are typing something and they are tracking through cookies in every other site, maybe not as welcome.
So, by connecting our systems in the stated points and having a better understanding who that person is in front of you in each of those touch points, you could be more responsive and give fans a curated journey. Our role is to do that not just in venues, but sports events, commercial real estate, retail, and any other environment in the physical world.”
Realife Tech has vistas of opportunities everywhere – be it real estate or sports – as Kocher informed, “We are operating across 60 venues in sports teams and festivals which is really fruitful and our next phase out of that will be the current mixed-use developments, so we are to work with events arena. There are quite a few others that are building – you know they have a venue inside but around it a whole bunch of other music venues, restaurants, retail, so, if somebody is there purchasing and this is the personal information we have about that person, you trigger rewards for them to visit a restaurant, or a post-event experience.”
The top official added, “We can enable that person to go to that physical environment through their mobile and have that systems talk to each other and follow that and get smarter and smarter along the way so that when the person is back the next time, there is going to be further customizations.”
He said that the above concept was something in the line of Downtown LA in Staples Center in United States where one can use all the facilities around – “That is what we are focusing on”.
Mentioning about regional preferences, Kocher informed that primarily they see North America as their growth market – “We have strong foothold across several countries, so, we will continue to expand based on the market opportunities.”
He acknowledged that the ‘Spurs Official’ app for Tottenham Hotspur was a big boost for them in Europe and sums up by saying, “The approach that we have with them and using mobile as the primary communication platform resonates strongly across teams and leagues. The ability to treat somebody in London that is going to begin later on that day is completely different than something that is in South Korea. This is a very powerful tool to have and having that automated and changing on regular basis is where lot of leagues and teams want to go.”
Social distancing options
Realife Tech’s main focus is how to make fans feel safe and comfortable on the return to events in a post-COVID-19 world. The main function of the platform’s ‘Post-Covid Fan Safety Hub’:
- Orchestrate the journey from home to venue which includes digital ticket for contactless entry; extra time to travel to venue; go to allocated gate time to prevent overcrowding; sanitize hands before entry; and use mobile app to order food and drink for contactless collection.
- Enable contactless access control;
- Use real-time safety messaging. For example, Gate 4 is currently busy, please use Gate 7;
- Use mobile location data to heat map and monitor crowd density;
- Mobile ordering and contactless collection at closest concession;
- Ready to collect; and
- Support local frontline causes.
The bigger objective of Realife Tech is to bring fans back to live events safely. The platform understands human behavior by linking systems and databases that people interact with in the real world and help automate personalized experiences for each individual using machine learning and configurable workflows. They respond by instructing mobile and web applications and digital screens as to which messages to send and what content to display to each individual.
COVID-19 has changed the equation of the whole world and till a vaccine is discovered nobody can mingle freely and the whole scenario is almost like ‘too close for comfort’. Against such a backdrop, it is companies like Realife Tech who are going great lengths to make certain that eventually when fans return to venues, they can walk in without a care in the world as the platform gives top priority to the ‘Safety First’ quotient.
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