Touch and go! That is what technology has come to today. Get all the information you need by touching one device to another. You know what I am talking about. You have seen the commercials on TV with credit cards that touch a screen to pay for merchandise. It’s called Near Field Communication or NFC for short.
This technology seems to be everywhere. It is even in many smart phones. Touch, and pictures have been transferred from one device to another. So, why shouldn’t this technology be used at the 2014 South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF)?
And it was!
I sat down with Christopher Lee, the Senior Manager of Brand Partnerships for www.esurance.com the sponsors of the NFC technology for the festival. I asked him a lot of questions; way too many to list here. So, here is a synopsis of our dialogue.
“The “SavorBand” is the latest in the NFC technology. It was made especially for this event. It creates opportunities to expand the customers experience,” Lee stated. Lee went onto to describe, “It is a digital goodie bag. Each attendee will be given a SavorBand. When they visit a both or display they like and want information about it they will tape their band on a tablet in a kiosk that affronts the booth or display and the band will record that information onto itself. When the attendee gets home, he or she will log into the website inscribed on the band and using the code number also on the band he or she can down load all the information they have collected from the event. They can save it, print or share it.”
So, why www.esurance.com as the sponsor of this SavorBand? Aren’t they an insurance company owned by Allstate?
“We want consumers to see us as unique and more than just an insurance company. We want to grow with our potential customers in the world of technology. We want them to see that we are thinking outside the box to be thought of as bringing people into the age of electronic engagement. It is all about consumer empowerment,” touts Lee.
This device is not a bar code scanner or OR reader so, there is a lot more versatility with this technology because it offers receivable data. Meaning that you can share the data back and forth.
Lee cited that the organizers at SOBEWFF saw this technology as an opportunity and unique way to deliver, in a non-intrusive manner, information that people can browse though later. Especially important to people who want the many recipes of the dishes they liked. They now have them in a downloaded format that they can bring into other programs and formats or share.
By hosting this technology at a wine and food festival esurance.com, along with their technology partner ClearHart Digital, underwriting the SavorBand is like a beta-test for consumer engagement. On-line companies like esurance.com are seeking out better ways to engage the consumer in positive ways and terms that meet the consumer’s wants and well as their needs.
“We have taken technology and put it into the customer’s hands to have the consumer self-direct education and purchasing,” Lee stated. “There is a learning curve for both us and the consumer and the wine and food festival is a great testing ground to accomplish just that,” Lee continued.
Well the day of reckoning came and I was one of the in that first group of people on line for the SavorBand at the festival. It was a very lightweight band that fit like a watch on your wrist. It was simple to operate, as there are no moving parts, just like Lee had said it would be. All I had to do was wear it and tapped on the tablet screen to get the information I wanted.
I quickly realized I could do two things with this little gadget: first was to rate the food and the second was to get the recipe and information about the booth’s presenter. There were some glitches here and there, but for the most part, it seemed to work quite well.
Now for the real test! Did all the information I collected over the past several days really appear on the website and could I do what Lee said I could do? Yes and Yes! It was all there. I could peruse thought and collect what I wanted and toss what I did not want. I could share things too.
What I thought was so great about the SavorBand was that it is truly an unobtrusive technology that was easy handle and easy to use. I did not have all that paper to carry around or stuff in a backpack from all the vendors. You know, all those cards and brochures and other pieces of literature to carry around the festival that I would have to sort through later would only wind up throwing away. This gave me the ability to sort through it all in a very simple way with no killing of trees for the paper and no trash accumulation.
I like this technology and would like to see more trade shows and other events with eager vendors wanting to get out their information to utilize this technology. It is a great idea whose time has come.