The first time I saw it, it scared me. It only took a couple of minutes though. I got it and understood its power.
It all started with a cold DM on a hot August day.
Nathan Whittaker, the Senior Solutions Engineer with Vizsafe had seen some of my articles posted to the Sports Venue Management Group on LinkedIn and suggested that my talk is in line with the walk most of his customers walk. He hinted that I should also be interested in his smartphone technology- a new communication tool for large events and sports venues.
I’m not crusty. In fact, I’m generally receptive to product pitches that could simplify work and amplify results for my sports event clients. Receptive… yes. Skeptical… also yes.
I did some research. I understood in general terms what Vizsafe was, but was hazy on how and why it worked. Nathan sent a case study that detailed how Gillette Stadium adopted Vizsafe into their stadium operations. This was impressive and interesting, but still didn’t bring much clarity. I visited vizsafe.com. I saw that the product had important qualifications, including SAFETY Act designation from the Department of Homeland Security and testimonials from high ranking security professionals.
But, I also got a little bogged down in jargon. I was feeling more confident that Vizsafe could be something of value to me, but I was still struggling to grasp what it was. At this point, curiosity got the best of me. I accepted Nathan’s offer and scheduled a demo.
The presentation started as most product demos do- with early pleasantries followed by a high level overview. Again, good info but not the nitty gritty I was seeking. Nathan was on the same page as me though. Almost as if on cue, Nathan closed the powerpoint and jumped into the software.
What he showed blew me away!
Almost instantly, what was hazy became crystal clear. Vizsafe is a powerful management tool, with capabilities far beyond my expectations. It’s a combination monitoring/ communication tool with incredible range and unlimited application. As Vizsafe came into focus for me, I remarked to Nathan,
“It puts eyes and ears everywhere! it’s almost frightening. As an event manager though, this is cool! I could use Vizsafe in so many different ways.”
During the demo, I wracked my brain for a comparable product. The only thing I could think of was ISS 24/7. I’m very familiar with ISS 24/7. I had scheduled a number of product demos to evaluate its use in some of the buildings I managed. I was never able to bring it online though because it was always cost prohibitive. Both programs are incident management systems that use a central dashboard to disseminate real time information to venue security and facilities staff. This is a hollow comparison though. Vizsafe is capable of so much more.
Simply, Vizsafe is a mobile communication platform.
I’m defining Vizsafe’s functionality much more broadly than they do. But that’s because I see so many ways events and venues can use this technology.
Here are some of the ways I could see using it…
Security & Incident Response:
Vizsafe has a dashboard from which tasks and communications can be managed. A major difference though is that Vizsafe collects a bunch of different inputs. Not just messaging. Both permanent and temporary camera feeds can be directed into the system. In this, the video monitoring system is directly married to the incident response system.
(heck… it doesn’t even have to be security monitors. In one of my buildings, we installed cameras for our basketball video replay system. We could have tied those cameras into Vizsafe and used them as additional camera feeds when they weren’t being used for replays).
What’s even more impressive is that Vizsafe also incorporates input from the mobile app- Geoaware, installed on users’ devices. With Geoaware, staff can share messages, videos, photos and GPS coordinates for immediate incident response. This means monitoring is no longer restricted to mounted devices- that’s huge!
Even bigger still, this mobile input is not just limited to staff. Vizsafe has what they call, Geoaware Citizen Reporting which allows event attendees to report messages, video/photos and geolocation with the mobile app too. This means incidents can be discretely recorded and reported so that they can be responded to quickly and accurately.
I’m a former San Diego Chargers fan (RIP). Most San Diegans stayed away from SDCCU Stadium when the Raiders were in town. The transplant Black Hole wasn’t the most family friendly environment. With Vizsafe though, I could report that surly Raiders fan who had a few too many pops in the parking lot without getting into an ugly confrontation.
The smartphone technology allows Vizfafe to function as a 2- way communication tool too. Teams of people can video- conference (think Facetime) within the system. This is an important capability. It means that some events and venues could flat out replace radios with Vizsafe.
The facilities team can use Vizsafe the same way security does. Facilities staff can see a maintenance issue before they arrive or provide remote instruction to staff onsite to expedite repairs. Vizsafe gives staff and guests a mechanism for reporting issues. For example…
Last September, I coordinated a 3- day functional fitness competition. If you’ve ever worked one of these events, you know that the restrooms get destroyed. These folks have healthy digestive systems! At one point, I walked past our bank of 20 porta- potties. 18 of them had green “available” dials on the door knobs while there was a line six people deep waiting for the other two. The reason. Toilet paper. We were out and had no mechanism for reporting. If Vizsafe was in use, we could have posted reporting instructions, received a direct work order via Geoaware and restocked immediately. Lives changed one roll at a time.
Front- of- house staff plays the most important role in our guests’ experience at our events. People want to be treated like people and their experience at events is personal. Vizsafe is a technology that enhances our human capacity as event organizers and improves the human experience for our staff and guests. We can use Vizsafe to prepare and support our staff while also providing a direct and personal service to event attendees.
When I managed the Walter Pyramid, I’d get a ton of steps in on game day. According to my iPhone step counter, I’d do over 12 miles during a single basketball game. These calories were burned circling the concourse checking in on staff and visiting with guests. Vizsafe wouldn’t eliminate most of these steps but it would allow me to respond more immediately to staff questions and maintenance issues.
Vizsafe could also be a platform for concierge level service to our guests. What if I had a real- life but digital customer service “agent” in a central office that could respond directly to guest questions through the app? This would amplify my capacity for world- class service.
This is an outside the box application, but was one of the thoughts that had me (and Nathan) super excited.
Could I use Vizsafe as a personal jumbotron?
Rather than run content to an LED board, we could curate digital content to broadcast to the mobile app. Programming, advertisements, promos & fan interactions can be presented on Geoaware just as they are on the videoboard. This would allow for new sponsor activation and fan engagement opportunities. We could establish an event specific newsfeed.
Another unique feature with Vizsafe is its token system- a reward tool that incorporates digital rewards. The idea is that tokens are distributed to incentivize users to engage in the system. Report an incident, get a prize.
This reward mechanism can also be really useful as a marketing asset. What if a sponsor funded tokens to encourage fans to take a specific action? Something like this…
One of my favorite event sponsors is Pso- Rite– a personal massage device. Pso- Rite does exceptionally well with online sales because people need to be educated before they buy. They must see the product in use. This is also why they sell a ton of products when they vend at sports events. It gives people a chance to see, touch and interact with it. So with Vizsafe, we could set up a QR code at their vendor booth. When guests scan the QR code, their account gets credited with a token that can then be used towards their purchase of a Pso- Rite device. It doesn’t cost the sponsor anything because the tokens come back to them but is of actual value (it’s more valuable in the context of the event than away from it which further incentivizes purchasing behavior) to the guest.
Most of my career as a sports venue manager has been spent in small and mid- sized facilities. I loved working in buildings of this size because of all of the different hats I got to wear. I had to be inventive and resourceful. Working with limitation is an underappreciated opportunity, but it can also be frustrating. One regular challenge of limitation is that a lot of the cool products and technology I’d see at the trade shows didn’t fit my venue. The tools were either too robust and/ or too expensive.
I figured this would be the case with Vizsafe too. Afterall, Gillette Stadium is an impressive case study that is frankly, on a different scale than most of my clients. I was excited about the product, but tempered my enthusiasm in anticipation of the financial disappointment that was sure to come.
Except for it didn’t. The pricing model worked- it was exceedingly fair. It was affordable and scalable and breaks down like this:
- VizSafe is a Software as a Service (Saas) model.
- This means it is hosted on their secure cloud so… no hosting fees.
- There is no software to install so… no pricey & time consuming configuration.
- There are automatic updates so… no maintenance costs.
- VizSafe is billed per user/ per month. Only $5 per user/ per month. This means in my 5,000 seat collegiate arena, I could have 20 team members on the system for just $100/ month.
🔔 In other words, I could have 20 people on the system for the duration of the academic year for roughly the cost of 1 Motorola radio.
I started Stylehawk Event Services to empower events that inspire communities. To do that, I’ve made a commitment to bring the power of the big event syndicate to the small and independent. We use our expertise, creativity, agility and resources to help sports event organizers level up. Vizsafe is one of these resources. It’s a powerful but attainable tool that makes events safer. Better. More profitable. Stylehawk Event Services is an official Vizsafe representative because we believe in the product and the team behind it. Learn more about Vizsafe and let’s talk about how it could benefit your event or venue.