LONDON, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
As the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off, it promises to have made huge technological strides. Featuring goal-line technology for the first time, seven cameras on each goal, the ball will be tracked in 3D and when it crosses the line referees will be notified via a vibrating watch. Safety and security of the crowd is to be managed using remote-controlled robots, drones and face recognition technology. And while in isolated parts of the globe some fans will have their first visual access via expanding telecoms links, in other more-developed regions, viewers will be watching on ever-larger smart TV screens, or not missing a minute on new tablets or smartphones.
But what about the influence of changing mobile technology in the next four years? What can we expect in 2018? You may not even be aware of geofencing and iBeacon mobile technology this year but by then, Warbler Digital CEO Richard Counsell predicts, every organization will be using it in "many wonderfully impressive ways to reach out to you via your mobile phone using platforms such as Moball".
"Mobile phones afford direct access to customers, as a result we are amid a revolution in the way organizations communicate. The latest highly-sophisticated mobile app software such as Moball's user-friendly geofencing and iBeacon management systems will become commonplace," he said.
According to Google search analysis, football (or soccer in the US) is the largest and most connected global sporting event across the globe. Its popularity is unrivalled by any other sporting event. To give you an idea just how popular the World Cup is, the number of worldwide Google searches for the FIFA World cup trump the Super Bowl and the summer Olympics combined. The sport is most popular in South America, where most searches take place, but stateside interest is growing rapidly on account of its growing Hispanic population and the sport's inclusion in the Olympics.
There's already been a step change in the use of mobiles in the run up to this year's World Cup versus the last. According to Google, just 18% of relevant searches took place on a mobile device in the World Cup final back then. During the UEFA Champions League semi-final match earlier this year, 63% of searches were via mobile. Google's noted behavioural changes in searches too; more searches now occur during a match, peaking after a goal is scored, whereas in the 2010 World Cup, where less tablets and mobiles were on hand, search volume fell during the game.
"For marketers looking to target fans, the opportunity to engage directly to their palms really couldn't be any better," said Counsell.
"On the Moball content management system 'geofences' can be built quickly on a standard computer simply by dropping pins in a map. This creates a 'hot zone', which might fit with franchise zones, training ground boundaries, bars, shops or indeed a sports stadium. An organization can then send out rich push messages to its mobile ap users. 'Rich' means those messages can be more sophisticated than text; they can contain video, photographs & animations for example."
"The capability of sending video in rich push messages is a point not to be missed," continues Counsell. "The opportunities to savvy advertisers of rich push messaging with video content are phenomenal." And Google stats appear to back-up his claims - Four of the ten ads on the April TouTubeAds Leaderboard relate to the World Cup. According to Google, Nike has two of the top ads, and they're not even an official sponsor. 'The top five most watched soccer videos in the US right now were all published by brands'. This is a brand-new phenomenon, Google states, reporting that in May of 2010, only one of the top videos was branded (an ad for Brazilian food company Seara). And before the games had even begun, this year's top videos already have 4.6x more views on YouTube than the top five in 2010.
Imagine then 2018, a scene where you pass into the stadium's virtual geofenced zone and are personally welcomed with a video message from your team's manager to your mobile phone outlining team preparations, injuries, line-up and game plan or perhaps an interview with the Captain. On the way to the game, geofences could help you avoid traffic hang-ups with live information. You could also avoid any violence as real-time information feeds to your phone. Prices of food, drink and merchandize might even fall in a freer market as companies compete for your custom using localized voucher deals.
"As well as sports clubs and sports brands, Moball is improving first generation apps of restaurant, bar and hotel group franchises with plug-ins to its technology. This allows them to access all the advanced features of Moball without rebuilding. Furthermore, Moball can be 'white labelled', this means agencies working for brands large and small can offer their clients a high volume solution without fear of delivery."
The technology will also give a boost to fundraising by footballing heroes, according to Counsell.
"We've developed technology with other sport celebrities in the US raising money for charitable causes. For example, we're putting together a Moball geofence app for a US major league baseball player who supports a cancer charity. If anybody with his app passes into the geofenced region of one of his sponsors, they could receive a video message for example saying: 'Hi, if you test drive a car at my sponsor (you are about to pass it), they will donate $25 to my charity'. If the app user carries through the request they could receive a personal video 'thankyou' to their phone."
iBeacons, meanwhile, allow mobile apps to be truly micro-location aware, that means you can deliver information, personalised offers, loyalty, advertising and payment options via rich push notifications to smartphones and other iOS 7 devices in close proximity to the beacon.
FIFA could use iBeacons as assistants guiding those lucky enough to have a ticket to the correct stadium entrance as they pass the palm-sized transmitters en route. When a ticket-holder gets to the turnstile an electronic ticket could be pushed to the front of their phone screen. Virgin Atlantic is piloting such a scheme at Heathrow Airport, where its first class airline customers receive their boarding passes onscreen on arrival at the departure gate.
The technology is not just going to benefit those attending matches though. At home, your personal home iBeacons could turn-on your beer chiller as you open your front door or quick launch your 'remoteapp' as you take your place on the couch. An automatic timer app could fire-up as you open the oven door preventing you burning your World Cup snacks. And don't worry Moball has installed 'cool down' technology so that you are not bombarded with recurring messages as you walk in and out of zone, so preventing the technology becoming an irritant.
Over the next month Moball is running web-based training courses and demonstrations of geofencing and iBeacon technology where you can feel free to ask any 'silly questions' or discuss how the technology could be of use to you (no commitment required). The sessions are currently free! Please contact Helen.email@example.com if you would like to book a time slot.
If you are a member of the Press, Warbler Digital would be glad to provide quotes or background information on the subject of iBeacons, iBeacon management, geo-fencing, rich-push messaging and video content.
Helen Lancaster, Head of Communications, Warbler Digital Tel: +44(0)845-0176-386 Mob: +44(0)7968006632 email Helen.Lancaster@WarblerDigital.com
Richard Counsell, CEO Warbler Digital, Tel: +44(0)845-0176-386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Dunlap, Snr Vice President North America, Direct: +1-312-924-1056
Mobile: +1-614-507-7526 email@example.com
Moball is part of the Warbler Digital Group, a global organization headquartered in the UK, with offices in the US (Chicago & Dallas), South Africa (Johannesburg) & Vietnam (Hanoi). VideoDirect, a video production company, is also part of the group.
Follow us at @Moballapp