Not long ago I asked a few questions of the team behind the LSO Pulse project about how the project had gone and the lessons learned. But for this particular project, it wasn’t the end because a brand new project, Student Pulse, has been born straight from the successes of the Digital R&D Fund project.
Nico Koepke, CEO of KODIME, the tech company involved in the LSO Pulse app programme, talked me through the evolution of the new project. The original Pulse project finished late in the summer, and with the program’s objectives having been achieved (and generally positive feedback from all involved on the pilot’s outcome, Nico tells me) the LSO suggested to other orchestras and venues in the capital to expand the student offer, under a new joined brand, Student Pulse.
“KODIME was appointed to create a new version of the app on iPhone, Android and the mobile web to enable multiple orchestras to list and manage their events,” explained Nico. “And to provide a central support service to both the participating orchestras, venues and the ultimate customers – the students buying tickets – We have launched the new program and app in September, and so far it is working well.
“More than 50 student events have been listed to date by the nine participating organisations, and more than 1,000 students are already registered in the program, buying tickets for events and venues from the Barbican via Southbank Centre to Cadogan Hall.”
It’s been a short while since my last update (not least because I’ve been on holiday!) and it’s been great to come back to so many views and shares on the blog, so thanks very much!
The last few posts in the series have asked questions of some of the projects (for example, we’ve heard why clarity has been so key for the Happenstance project and how, for the Dero project, success is down to committed project partners) – it’s been interesting to see the different answers and compare and contrast, but there’s a wider question I think needs addressing:
What are the wider implications of these projects? What lessons will other arts orgs take from all the experimenting?
For Punchdrunk, and their digital project, it was about rethinking how audiences and companies need to rethink how they connect digitally, particularly pertinent in this fast-paced world of tech and social media. “The conventional model doesn’t fit and needs to be continually interrogated,” said Pete Higgin, enrichment director at the company. “I think as part of a body of projects in the pilot programme, this one is certainly part of a wave of work that will explore further the crossover between digital and the arts. On a company level, our eyes and ears are opened to new possibilities and we are exploring ways to integrate digital work into our company.”
For Nico Koepke, CEO of KODIME, the tech company involved in the LSO Pulse app programme, the lesson was purely mobile: “Students and other young audiences can be very effectively reached and engaged on the mobile channel, and they appreciate the offer and reward with loyalty. We also feel the project showcased that marketing and selling tickets via mobile including the reasonable complex transaction mechanics does not have to cost a fortune or require a new boxoffice system.”
Jo Johnson, digital marketing manager for the London Symphony Orchestra (the organisation behind the Pulse programme) it was about looking at the bigger picture: “We have taken our prototype app and are in the process of widening its scope to include several other orchestras and venues, making one big student scheme for classical music concerts in London. While collaboration between arts organisations is nothing new, this will be the first time that London’s orchestras have worked together on such a large project, pooling resources – financial and people – to reach more of London’s student population to hopefully get them to classical music in greater numbers. For a group that is traditionally in competition with each other, it feels like something pretty revolutionary.”
… which is exactly what the Digital R&D Fund is all about: creating revolutionary ‘things’ and forming revolutionary ideas to filter down through the ranks so that all arts organisations can get in on the action.
Thanks to Neil Young for that headline! I’ll be humming this when we are putting the second part of our solution to the reality test tonight, at London’s Barbican where the LSO will be performing the wonderful Brahms Symphony No 2.
Having seen lots of our students target audience download the app, visit the mobile site and purchase tickets successfully (and still more buying via mobile as I write this), this evening will be all about redemption.
Our standalone and custom built mobile ticketing solution consists of the following components:
– the ticket owner’s mobile phone, either loaded with the LSO Pulse iPhone / Android App, or a smartphone with Mobile Internet access
– the mobile ticket, which consists of a number of visible and hidden data fields, and a corresponding QR Code, stored on each mobile device
– a handheld barcode scanner, which is connected via cable to the below notebook
– a notebook computer, which has been stripped to the bare bones to do only one thing, which is to run the Chrome web browser to access the web app below
– the LSO Pulse Ticketing web application, which is browser based and is driven from our KOMOBILITY platform (runs in the “cloud”)
The student coordinator will use this setup to scan all mobile tickets, to check whether a ticket is valid (purchased, not redeemed yet, for this event), and upon success, select the ticket on the web application to have been “collected”. For this phase 1, the coordinator will then hand a paper ticket to the student matching the pre-sold seat information.
In future events, we plan to drop the last “paper” element in this process, however this being a trial and involving a large concert and organisation (Barbican), we want to be safe rather than sorry!
The web application allows for alternative lookup methods, should the scanning of the mobile ticket fail, for example lookup by mobile number, name, and PIN code – obviously just scanning it is much more sexy (and faster), so one of our KPIs tonight will be the % of sold tickets successfully scanned at first attempt.
We have a number of fallbacks in place, including iPads with 3G connectivity should WiFi fail, several mobile handsets iPhone and Android to check for usability queries, and last but not least a list of all tickets, students and seats allocated on paper – if all goes well, that list will not be touched.
As for mobile ticket sales to date, here some stats as to what we have seen to date, and what we therefore expect to see with the students tonight:
- Biggest single transaction was for 8 tickets
- 70% of purchases made by App
- 30% by Mobile Site
- iOS 70%, Android 30% of app downloads
- Average tickets per user = 2.5
- App users have bought 2.7 average, Mob Site 2 per average
- So far 7.7% of ticket buyers have that fact shared via Facebook
We hope to have it almost all worked out and are excited about seeing the original concept complete its first circle. We’ll document it all and whether good, bad or ugly, will post a detailed update here in a few days.