With the successful launch of Embed’s Mobile Wallet firmly in its back pocket, InterGame’s Dan Snook speaks to the company’s chief technology officer Andy Welsh about not only how the contemporary payment solution is shaking up the industry, but about how the delivery of its services and updates to them are disrupting the status quo.
Out of home entertainment has been described by some as a “sunset industry”. Perhaps if it was still in the guise that it was, say, ten years ago, then I would agree. But, for me, the vibe is unmistakably changing. From the minor, like the almost complete absence of ties worn by men at the IAAPA Expo, to the major, the cutting edge products like Embed’s Mobile Wallet. If you’re still part of the “sunshine” generation, you’re going to get left behind.
Such a fate, however, is most certainly not going to be suffered by Welsh and his team at Embed.
The CTO is at the helm of a digital revolution that is turning heads in a previously somewhat conservative industry.
Before Welsh joined Embed’s parent Helix Leisure, the average time to deliver software to customers was approximately 12 months.
Under Welsh’s guidance, the provider developed a new-look strategy, realigned priorities and reorganised teams to manage on-premises updates and cloud migrations within days of delivering new features.
According to Welsh, the business change has been “significant”, evident through the development and training of staff to move away from “hardware-centric roots” to evolve into a cloud-centric organisation.
Then, Welsh set his sights on transforming the wider industry, working with Google and Apple to gain compliance for the Mobile Wallet, a system designed to fit seamlessly into Helix’s existing business operating solutions.
For Welsh, Embed represents the “purest form of digital transformation”, disrupting both Helix and the wider industry as the “only non-banking finance-payment or loyalty-card business and brand card” that sits in the mobile wallet’s of Android and IOS devices.
He said: "The Mobile Wallet is designed to dovetail into your operations, and doesn't need a dedicated app on the phone, which gets your customers up and running really quickly.
A cardholder gets their card and registers it on our mobile portal, which immediately gives customers details on their card- balance information and even ticket counts are all available. Guests can add multiple cards, meaning users can add their whole family's cards to an account.
“Once in, you can select an individual card and add balance to it at any time, anywhere and keep playing. No more queues."
Other than it’s fundamental function, there are a host of other benefits it brings to users and operators.
Having Everything at Your Fingertips
“Customer retention and loyalty strategies are an integral part of a business’s success plan. Embed’s Mobile Wallet, part of the Mobile Portal module, is simple and convenient for guests to use- no special software is required, and operators can focus on offers, drive repeat visits and improve customer loyalty- which is what an operator's time should be focussed on.”
Tap. Repeat. Reload.
“We're living in the post queue world, where instant gratification and speed of service matters. The immediacy of reloading the virtual game card equals greater revenue, less manpower, less hardware costs, and greater profit. Guests don't have to stand in line at the kiosk, cashier, or balance-check machine, they can increase spend and reduce dwell time by simply topping-up without leaving the game. In fact, they can reload their virtual game card anytime, anywhere.”
Security that Equals Peace of Mind
“Game card related information is protected by advanced security and encrypted mobile technology, so no more lost game cards for the guest and no risk to the operators.”
Embed, says Welsh, is dedicated to supporting the operators of the future. Because it has positioned itself as an innovator in the entertainment space, it has had to “pick the most appropriate partners who have a long term view to supporting our vision on a massive scale.
“Once we understood our partners and their roadmap, we had to build an implementation that afforded client customisation and the start of an amazing guest experience; which is a big shift in mindset for Embed.
“We've worked hard on creating a system that can be constantly refined based on usage data, so it's only going to get better and better.”
Image: Embed CTO Andy Welsh flanked by CMO Sara Paz (left) and CEO Renee Welsh