Ideas from the team


Apple Watch: Could Box Office Software Ever Go Wearable?

Will the Apple Watch get the arts excited about wearable technology? Image credit.

Would you want to see ticket sales, ROI reports and email marketing stats on your watch? Salesforce, the cloud based CRM platform for sales teams has made this possible by developing its enterprise software for the Apple Watch. It allows users to access key pieces of data, request reports by voice and take actions from their wrist.

It’s an interesting turn of events for wearable technology whose future looked uncertain when Google took Glass off the market earlier on this year. Despite there being some exciting opportunities, it seemed as though wearable tech in an arts context might be a long way off after all. But now enterprise apps are on the horizon for Apple Watch and there are rumours that Google Glass is reinventing itself as a product for business. With this in mind, is there an exciting future for enterprise software in wearable technology? And could we eventually be seeing arts CRM and box office software apps for Apple Watch?

While the Apple Watch is typically being geared towards consumers who want an easier way of connecting with friends, tracking their health and checking into a hotel (let’s not forget telling the time too), the idea of using Apple Watch to improve the way we work in the arts is intriguing.

We’re already using cloud apps on our devices to stay on top of emails when we’re out and about so the transition to using the Watch to work smarter isn’t so farfetched. And it makes sense that technology which can help you be more productive in your life would be useful in a work context too. In fact, Salesforce say their app “bridges the last mile between insights and action”. In the same way, an arts CRM and box office app on your watch could help marketing, box office and fundraising teams to act on the data they see on their watches, reacting to events as they happen in real time. Exciting? We think so. Here’s how we see arts CRM and box office software being useful on an Apple Watch:

Working smarter

  • Notifications would alert you when something important happens e.g. you sell out a show or you get a daily update on how you’re doing achieving your fundraising goals.
  • You’d get easy access to key stats enabling you to react faster to data in real time e.g. number of open opportunities in your fundraising pipeline. Access to stats could be far easier with a single swipe or a voice command.
  • Much like health-tracking apps, Spektrix on a watch could even nudge its users towards better behaviour through stats, congratulating you when you achieve a higher email open rate than usual.
  • You’d be able to pick up your work where you left off, handing off your session from Watch to Tablet to Desktop.

Marketing in real time and running a box office

  • Used in tandem with iBeacon technology (more on this here), you could market extra services or products to them or ask them for feedback based on where they are in or around your building.
  • Front of house, using a Watch would be far more subtle than a radio when dealing with customers with sensitive information (e.g. VIPs, major donors or people with access needs) allowing FOH staff to deal with their needs more discreetly.
  • It might also be useful for venue management by pushing notifications to your Watch to let you know how seats are filling up in the auditorium, for example.
  • Chief Executives could see at a glance who they should be talking to at press night, perhaps even recording a voice memo against an opportunity in they fundraising system.
  • You could have roving box offices with staff who can sell a ticket in a few swipes. And when Apple Pay finally launches in the UK, customers would be able to pay by tapping their wrist on a card reader.

Enriching the audience experience

  • ‘Tweet seats’ could make a comeback since encouraging audiences to tweet from an Apple Watch during a performance would be much less obtrusive than a smartphone (or Glass).
  • Second screen content would enrich the experience of going to the theatre or make art forms that are perceived as too highbrow (like opera) more accessible.
  • It could remove friction for the audience, for example by using their Watch to ‘check in’  when they arrive rather than needing to present a physical ticket.

When it comes to actually making this a reality, software suppliers who want to adapt their arts CRM and box office software for wearable devices would need a reliable cloud infrastructure first. But before we get too excited, we’re waiting for the Apple Watch to go on sale in April and will be watching to see its impact on the way we work and play.