Category Archives: Guest Post

10 Ways to Use Crowd-Sourced Data to Run a Smooth Event

There’s nothing quite like a large public event, such as a football match or a concert, to draw thousands of people into one place. Of course, the more people you put in one place, the more uncertainty and unpredictability you have on your hands.

Managing crowd safety is of paramount importance. Imagine a scenario where the press of bodies leads to risks of physical safety, or where the sudden influx of people causes miles of traffic congestion around the event. Whether it’s a sporting event, a festival, or a concert, organizers must keep the attendee’s journey on track and keep the vehicle and foot traffic flowing smoothly too, from, and around the venue, to ensure the best possible safety.

Historically, this kind of management has been a combination of sifting through masses of historical data manually and making educated guesses and predictions. Fortunately, advances in crowd-management technologies mean that event organizers can now make better decisions, based on accurate, real-time information gathered from on-the-ground live measurements and data analysis solutions. 

It helps managers get the full overview of their operation, to better understand, plan, optimise and improve the movement of people and traffic in and around an event. 

Here are some tips: 

1. Plan, plan, and plan  
Benjamin Franklin is often credited with the saying: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Planning ahead and taking all necessary precautions is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to preventing accidents and alleviating harmful situations. Nowadays many event managers rely on manual spreadsheets with generic input to forecast capacity and plan staffing resources, without taking unexpected events, such as changes in road traffic, transportation delays, weather changes or other operational obstacles into account. This is a thing of the past; the future is here with intelligent crowd management solutions, and it will now be even easier to plan ahead. 

2. Manage traffic the easy way 
If you’ve ever been stuck in a traffic jam caused by a major event, you will know why it is necessary to manage the extra traffic before and after the event. By combining real-time measurements, using technology, with tools such as event calendars, ticketing systems, and public transportation systems, road networks can be proactively managed. Operators can initiate countermeasures, such as adjusting traffic light settings or dispatching traffic regulators, to reduce traffic build-up. 

3. Live queue and travel times ease People’s minds. 
Drivers and attendees, in and around the event, can be informed about live travel and queue times, delays, and alternative routes on electronic signage and mobile applications. This helps them to make informed decisions and minimise frustration. 

4. Manage both staffing and attendees  
Managers can see, minute by minute, where the staff is needed, enabling them to re-arrange or deploy more staff to entries/exits, food stalls, restrooms and more. Furthermore, attendees can be evenly distributed through way-finding and steward assistance to minimise bottlenecks.

5. Be prepared 
“With great power, comes great responsibility.” Or, to put it another way, with a great turnout of attendees comes with a great amount of responsibility. With a live and full overview of the event, managers can quickly raise an alarm in the event of an emergency, liaise with authorities, and effectively control an evacuation, if necessary.

6. To the stalls, my friend 
Vendors and events don’t make money from people stuck in interminable lines. With a well-distributed flow of people, waiting times will ultimately drop, increasing the likelihood of maximised revenue at food stalls, bars and other vendors at the event. 

7. Post-event – what now? 
After an event, people will typically rush to get home, creating hazardous bottlenecks and long waits. To help keep people calm, waiting times from the venue parking lot exits can also be displayed on screens in the venue and on apps. This will again help people to make informed decisions, resulting in a more evenly distributed flow of people, allowing the venue to be emptied more safely and smoothly. 

9. Coming home safer and faster 
Immediately after the event, intelligent traffic management can be initiated with traffic regulators and traffic signaling, favoring pedestrians and public transportation, allowing the traffic to flow smoothly as well. 

10. The ultimate evaluation  
Not only can such solutions provide live data at the event, but all the collected data can be used to evaluate the overall performance and operation. Understanding the crowd dynamics and the use of models to replicate crowd flow is a valuable method for assessing how future events should operate.

It provides event managers with a cohesive picture of the attendee’s experiences, from the moment they arrive in exiting, and everywhere in between. By combing historical data with third-party data, such as the number of attendees and demographics, event significance and duration, performance quality and more, managers can gain an in-depth understanding of the impacts in future events. 

Ultimately, attendees will enjoy a better and safer experience, while organizers and venue management keep legal issues at bay.

Use cases 
The use of crowd-sourced data and data mining, for optimising pedestrian flow in and around events, has already been trialed and used in several cases, including:

• Parken Football Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark
• ICC Cricket World Cup, New Zealand
• FIFA U20 World Cup, New Zealand
• Tall Ships Races and Christmas Market, Aalborg, Denmark
• Asia-Pacific Ironman, Melbourne, Australia

Guest post by Christian Bugislaus Carstens, who is responsible for marketing and branding of the BlipTrack Solution, which is a sensor-agnostic analysis platform. It provides airports, municipalities and other high-traffic facilities with holistic visibility of people and vehicular queue and flow. With all the necessary tools to plan, predict and automate operation, operators can optimise resources, improve mobility, maximise revenue and give guests a world-class experience. For more information, please visit: www.blipsystems.com 

3 Ways To Make Your Facebook Ads More Profitable

Image Credit: Taktical Digital

There’s an old saying: “You have to spend money, to make money”. That’s as true in social media advertising as anything else. Facebook ads are a great way to reach out to potential customers, market to existing ones, and raise your brand awareness. However, you might find yourself spending money on Facebook marketing, seeing no results, and not understanding why.

Here are three ideas to keep in mind when designing your Facebook ad strategy that will give you a bigger bang for your buck. These tips will help you understand if an ad is working, and help you achieve those sales conversions you crave.

1. Know Your Value Proposition 
A value proposition is what you have to offer that customers will find attractive. This may seem as simple as giving a great discount, having a good product image, or offering a solid product. Those things are only part of the deal. Your value proposition also includes a “why” element: Why you? Why your brand?

People want to make the decision to buy, not be told to. So, you have to think creatively about what your customers’ value and how to tap into that.

One of the best approaches to take is to gain a deeper understanding of the psychology behind purchasing decisions. There are plenty of resources available on the topic, particularly when it comes to the psychology behind a good Facebook ad. Once you have the knowledge base behind you, you can begin crafting ads that resonate with customers by providing them with the value they inherently wish to see.

2. Understand When Facebook Ad Metrics Have Meaning 
Facebook clicks, likes, shares – we hear about them all the time. The more, the better is supposedly the game. Well, yes…and, no.

If no engagement or sales are coming from those metrics, it does not matter how high the numbers are (unless your goal is simply raising brand awareness). Remember, on Facebook, those clicks and shares can cost you money, so you need to understand whether they’re actually buying you anything in return.

Keep track of the clicks, how much they cost, and how many leads to actual sales. If you’re getting lots of clicks but unsatisfactory sales conversions, your campaign needs work. Is it your text? Your landing page? The lack of ease to make a purchase? Anyone of those things and more could be the problem. A/B test by changing just one feature of the ad and try again until you notice positive changes in your data.

3. Do Your Market Research
To be successful on Facebook, you need to position your product in your key demographic. In order to do so, you need to understand who your customer is, then target your ad at that type of individual.

If you’re a local pizza place, why advertise to the entire Facebook user base when all of your customers are within 10 miles of your shop?

If you sell women’s dresses, your primary client is going to be female. Make sure to adjust your Facebook ad campaign appropriately to target only those who will be most interested in your brand and the most motivated to make a purchase.

Fortunately, the Facebook ad platform lets you tailor your demographics in incredibly detailed ways. You can select ad placement by geography, age, interests, or target behaviors, like whether has clicked an ad of yours before or has recently made a similar purchase. You can then use your targeting to enhance your audience research. For example, run the same ad with different targeting categories to see which one does better. You can then eliminate audiences that are not performing well, and get even more specific within those that. Additionally, you can take advantage of Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences, which are a group of people that resemble your current customers but have yet to be targeted.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel 
Facebook has been around long enough to hone the tools for gathering a deep understanding about its users and to prove that advertising on their platform is the path to success. Therefore, let Facebook be your guide. The website’s tools offer marketers the abilities to gain key insights from consumers, create increasingly successful ads, and get to know their market better.

Guest Post by Ilan Nass, Taktical Digital

The 4 AR Developments That Defined 2017

After much anticipation, augmented reality (AR) has come into its own in 2017. There is now a range of hardware and apps available for consumers to purchase and try. Here we’ve gathered together four of the best AR technology trends that played out this year.

Expanding Mobile AR Experiences
There’s no denying that Pokémon Go! created an AR experience that was enjoyed by the masses and brought augmented reality to the fore of public consciousness. Snapchat’s AR filters furthered the fun with useable mobile AR experiences.

Nintendo expanded on this even further with their game from Niantic. It proved to consumers and businesses alike that AR energizes users in real-time through a mobile experience that has piqued the interest of many.

Snapchat has been fetching consistent and healthy ad revenue from their AR app-based digital marketing methods, and Facebook is just one platform ready to follow suit. What’s more, Apple upped the augmented reality development ante this year with their ARKit for iOS.

Retail Applications of AR 
Thanks to the digital layers or holograms that AR technology creates for consumers in their real-life environment in real-time, it is already changing the way people see the world around them. Thus, it is poised to innovate the way that we shop online.

AR technology in e-commerce is quickly advancing. According to Retail Perceptions, 61% of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer AR, whilst 71% would shop more frequently with retailers who offer AR.

Furthermore, mobile shoppers have overtaken desktop consumers, making up 61% of all e-commerce traffic. Conversions, however, remain 63% lower on mobile as compared with desktop users. AR is already beginning to change this and showing real benefits for consumers and retailers alike. Gap’s Dressing Room app created with Avametric is just one example of how augmented reality is making mobile experiences more useful and engaging.

AR Headsets
The AR headset race currently has Microsoft Hololens at the lead with their developer’s version of the working head-mounted display (HMD). Notwithstanding Magic Leap and other players, the Hololens has consistently moved ahead with development and distribution of their hardware.

Thanks to the commercial and developer versions of Hololens, we’ve seen an upturn in the adoption of AR headsets. As a result, this hardware is beginning to breaking out of exclusively the gaming field and into other areas, including medicine and practical work applications.

The Hololens community continues to grow as more developers jump onboard and build programs specifically for the hardware. Further adoption of augmented reality HMDs will demonstrate the integration of AR and the future of computing for everyday life.

Mixed Reality 
Mixed reality, sometimes referred to as hybrid reality, is another growing area closely related to AR. As headsets further evolve, AR headsets with more immersive capabilities are emerging alongside VR headsets that are able to see the world around them, such as the HTC Vive. It’s likely that these technologies will merge to create an easy transition between VR and AR experiences in the not-so-distant future.

Augmented reality technology has flourished this year and is set to further develop amongst mainstream audiences who are keen for new experiences across all verticals. These four examples are the ones that defined this year in the AR realm, but you can expect much more to emerge in the years following. As the technology develops from both UI and UX perspectives, it will be more suited to meet the demands of both businesses and consumers and continue to increase in popularity.

Guest post by Serena Garner, Y Media Labs  

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com