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This guy built an $130 billion business in a recession. You can too.

His first business started after he returned from World War I, in the post-war recession. It began in a small office in Kansas City overrun with mice. He didn’t find them all that troublesome. “One of them was my particular friend” he said.

The rise of touchless technology and its applications

In a world where social distancing is the new normal, touchless technologies begin to gain more and more interest. Before the global pandemic, people didn’t think twice before touching door handles, elevator buttons, or check-in kiosks. But as we speak, high touch surfaces are a hot topic as worries over health and safety are on the rise. As a result, fintech innovators and not only, are looking for ground-breaking alternatives to keep us all safe.

‘Work from home’ is certainly not a permanent alternative, since many businesses require employees to be physically present to get the job done. As you probably heard this before, Coronavirus is not likely to go away anytime soon, so touchless technologies seem like a great opportunity to get things back to normal. In response, some companies started to implement a touchless check-in process for visitors or even Bluetooth access control for employees.

It seems like it’s the perfect time to go touchless. Even if this need is forced by uncontrollable factors, such as a global pandemic, we should look on the bright side of it and become aware that going touchless is in our own good. So, let’s go over some examples of touchless technologies and find out more about it in general.

What are we trying to say by ‘going touchless’?

Well, despite how relevant this topic is as we speak, businesses going touchless is not new. In fact, touchless technology has been around since the late 1980s when motion-sensing faucets and soap dispensers were common within public restrooms. Today, we experience touchless technology several times a day. Just think of how many times you walk through an automated door or think of those moments when you ask Siri to turn on the timer for you.

As you can see, touchless technology is not limited to hygiene and safety. Societies look up to it and treat it as a forward-thinking and modern alternative to complete daily tasks. With that being said, we can define touchless technology as anything that can function without the need to physically touch a device.

Example of touchless technologies

  • Gesture recognition

This is among the most common types of touchless technology. The way we interact with devices is simply replaced by gestures. For instance, waving your hand to activate an automated door replaces the need to physically touch its knob or button.

  • Touchless sensing

Similar to gesture recognition, touchless sensing can detect the movement of an individual under a sensor. In our day to day lives, we come across this no-touch technology several times per day. Think of the last time that you went to a gas station, grocery store, or lodging facility. Most likely, there was no one to open the door for you and you didn’t have to do it yourself either. Thanks to touchless sensing, such actions are simplified and become part of our daily routine.

  • Voice recognition

This form of touchless technology enables users to control a device by speaking to it. Android and Apple devices can be controlled by simply stating some keywords, such as ‘Hey Siri’, replacing the need to touch that device at all. Setting up reminders, timers or other tasks is as quick and simple as ever.

  • Facial recognition

Not long ago, facial recognition seemed to be far from reality. Now, this touchless technology is available for millions of people, most often utilized to unlock smartphones. However, as more people gained interest in its capabilities, innovators found great use cases and environments where it can be applied. The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines started a test involving ‘biometric boarding’, allowing passengers to board the aircraft without showing their ID’s anymore, recognizing passengers by their faces.

  • Personal devices

Apple Pay has proved that traditional credit cards can be left behind and that payments can be completed from our own devices. Compared to contactless payments, where users must touch the POS with a card to complete a transaction, personal devices provide a ‘cleaner’ alternative where that ‘touch’ is not necessary to successfully complete a transaction. Modern personal devices can store your credit/debit cards virtually. For safety reasons, upon completing a purchase, users can authenticate by using their own faces or by inputting a personal identification number.

Oveit as a touchless payment solution

At Oveit, we strongly believe in the power of touchless technologies, especially during the current situation, that of a global pandemic. Until now, our Economy as a Service solution was partially touchless since economy members were required to visit an on-site top-up point to add money onto their digital wallets.

To tackle this challenge and identify ourselves as a complete touchless solution, we started to think the extra mile and concluded that an end-user App is what we need. The purpose of this App is to enhance the experience of our end-users, enabling them to top-up money in a defined economy, from the comfort of their own houses or wherever an internet connection is available.

For economy owners, this alternative should reduce costs, with fewer staff members required. Economy members simply become their own cashiers and upon arrival, their digital wallets should be ready to go. Also, if activated, the auto top-up feature allows users to set a warning limit. As soon as that warning limit is reached, the digital wallet automatically adds up the pre-defined amount from the linked credit/debit card.

How to organize safe events during a global pandemic?

Being an event planner during a global pandemic might be the worst nightmare that you can ever think of. However, these are things that we have little control over and require us to adapt accordingly. As we get used with living under imposed government restrictions, we can see several precautionary measures being removed from our daily lives.

Unfortunately, this new virus is directly related to mass gatherings, which are at the forefront of hosting events. Among the first precautionary measures imposed by governments was to restrict and put on pause the world of live events. During these challenging times, members of the meetings industry create complicated scenarios and endless debates on what it takes to organize events in such a global pandemic.

Therefore, this article is going to focus on different measures that can help our beloved world of live events to get back to normal during these unprecedented times. It is important to keep in mind that precautionary measures are extremely important, and we will only succeed by following strict guidelines. As we speak, an increasing number of events are either cancelled or postponed. Those that are postponed will soon have to take place and event organizers should be prepared to host them accordingly.

Pre-event safety measures

  • Implement attendance policies and restrictions

Stay up to date and determine which countries may experience an upward trend in terms of Coronavirus cases. The John Hopkins live-tracker is a great tool that keeps you updated in real time. Try to impose restrictions and limit potential attendees that visited in the past 60 days countries with a high-risk of infection.

  • Filter participants based on country of origin

It might be a good idea to require international attendees to bring their passports for an additional layer of safety. Those participants that visited a high-risk country in the past 60 days should not be allowed to enter the event premises. However, make sure to consult local travel restrictions and guidelines before taking such decision.

  • Provide flexible cancellation policies given the current situation

If for some reason you decide to postpone or cancel your event, show that you care and enable participants to use tickets for future editions or apply refunds if there will be no future editions anytime soon.

  • Consider hosting a Hybrid event

In our previous posts, we’ve talked about the benefits of hosting hybrid events. Given the current situation that we all deal with, that of a global pandemic, hybrid events might be the answer to deliver events to a broad audience. This way, those failing the screening process can attend the event virtually from all over the world. Streams.live is a streaming solution designed to accommodate the needs of a hybrid event and it can keep your audience engaged with little to no effort.

  • Public health tracking through data collection waivers

Follow global privacy regulations and collect necessary information from your participants. If any incidents occur during your event, public officials should at least have a name and a contact number from those attending. In the given context of a global pandemic, this information is required to conduct epidemiological investigations. With Oveit, relevant data can be collected through registration forms (GDPR compliant) and attendees are required to fill those details before they receive their electronic tickets.

The form setup. You can choose from text, dropdown lists, email, dates and file uploads
  • Keep attendees updated with special event rules

Make sure that participants are well-informed and aware of any uncommon precautionary measures implemented. It can take the form of a newsletter and most organizers send these updates two-weeks in advance, one-week prior, three-days prior, one day prior and a small recap during the event day.

Impose day of event precautionary measures

  • Temperature screenings at the event venue

As you already know, one common Coronavirus symptom is high body temperature. Therefore, before entering the event premises, staff members should screen attendees with thermal scanners to decrease the risk of infection. Those with temperatures higher than 37.8C must be escorted to an isolation room for additional investigations.

  • Designated isolation holding room

Together with health agencies, event organizers might have to prepare an isolation holding room for suspected cases. This room should follow strict disinfection procedures and medical staff must be present.

  • Regular deep cleaning throughout the venue

Contract an experienced cleaning team that gets the job done. Make sure that high-touch areas, such as door knobs, stairs handrails, chairs, registration areas and bathrooms are cleaned more often. Appropriate disinfectant substance should be used for deep cleaning.

  • Display health notices at the venue

Place health notices throughout the venue, especially in areas where attendees tend to crowd. These should include social distancing reminders, frequent hygiene practices, and other relevant precautionary measures.

  • Safety measures for Food & Beverage providers

Communicate with food vendors well in advance and educate them on best practices on how food should be served during your event. For example, instead of open buffets, advise them to serve individually wrapped food. If your F&B providers insist on using open buffets, make sure that they use splash and sneeze guards or other relevant food safety measures.

  • Hand sanitization devices around communal areas

Forcing people to use bathrooms for hand hygiene is not a good option since it compromises social distancing rules. Instead, a good backup plan is to place hand sanitizer dispensers in key areas, especially nearby meal, and beverage stations.

Follow-up after the event

  • Post-event surveys

Use these surveys to analyse your event’s success, but also to find out if any of those who attended are feeling unwell to avoid the spread of the virus.

  • Prepare attendee data if necessary

If public officials need the attendee data to conduct an epidemiological investigation, make sure that you have it handy and ready to go. Time is extremely important in such investigations.

In summary

Remember, these are general guidelines and before applying any of them make sure to double check with local authorities. We hope that events will get back to normal as soon as possible, but before that, better be safe than sorry.

At Oveit, our mission is to help event organizers accomplish their goals, even during challenging times. We try to find innovative ways in which our technology can be used in force majeure situations. Hopefully, these guidelines will help you get back and running.

Stay safe!

How to make event venues safe with Cashless Payments?

There is no doubt that the world of events and hospitality has been seriously hit by COVID-19 and the imposed lockdowns. Major festivals around the globe got postponed or canceled. Across Europe and not only, governments begin to realize that imposed restrictions are indeed an efficient way to limit the spread of the virus, but they also realize that such restrictions can only harm economies in the long term. So, should event organizers implement cashless payments as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the virus?

As economies get back and running after weeks of lockdown, many of us face unprecedented situations in terms of conducting business and daily activities. Even before this pandemic, it was obvious that the use of cashless payments solutions around the world is on the rise. But guess what? In a post-COVID-19 world, cashless payments might be more important than ever.

It is predicted that a new type of customer will emerge from this pandemic. We already saw an increase in demand for cashless payments solutions over the last years, but the differentiator lies in how providers deliver those expectations and how it separates them from other competitors.

Facts about COVID-19 and Cash handling

Government officials have strongly advised us to avoid cash handling during the coronavirus outbreak. It is well-known that cash is notoriously covered in germs, but what is the reality when it comes to COVID-19 and cash? According to many experts, the chances of being infected after handling cash is still low compared to other ways of spreading the infection. According to a recent post published by Reuters, the U.S. Federal Reserve started quarantining physical dollars coming from Asia, before allowing it to recirculate in the U.S. market. It was treated as a precautionary measure against spreading the virus among U.S. citizens. Although there is no hard evidence saying that handling cash increases the risk of infection, many retailers decided to advise their clients to use cashless alternatives.

At Oveit, we’ve decided to upgrade our closed-loop payment solution and add two additional features, very relevant in the given context. These two are related to real-time footfall tracking capabilities and an App which enables attendees to act as their own cashiers.

End user App (Wallet) for Cashless Payments

Without an end-user App, attendees would still have to visit a physical top-up point to add money to their digital wallets. After many years of experience and feedback coming from our partners, we concluded that building an end-user App (wallet) can bring more value in return, for both event organizers and participants. The purpose of this App is to create a seamless top up process for the end-user (attendees), allowing them to use their own smartphones for comfort and security purposes.

For the event organizer, this alternative decreases the number of cashiers required on-site and therefore reduces the event costs. Attendees are empowered to act as their own cashiers with the entire process being automated. Moreover, by activating the ‘Auto top-up’ feature, participants can assure that their digital balance will never fall under a pre-defined amount.

Also, the withdrawal process is simplified. Traditionally, the process required attendees to visit physical top-up points and receive cash in exchange. The top-up was done by either card or cash payment, but the only option to withdraw the remaining amount was by receiving cash back. The end-user App (wallet) removes this step and enables participants to withdraw the remaining balance on their own or even use it at another event. 

Footfall Tracking

Recently, we’ve received a request from one of our clients. He wanted to know if it’s possible to track in real time the number of attendees in specific areas of the venue. 

With the current social distancing rules in place, we believe that being able to track footfall in real-time can contribute to a safe and responsible event. This way, you can benefit from a modern alternative to control the number of attendees inside a venue. How does it work?

1.       Attendees arrive at the event with their electronic tickets ready to be scanned

2.       A designated staff member hands in NFC wristbands/cards/badges for every participant

3.       By using the Oveit Pay App on an Android device, a staff member simply scans the QR code on the ticket and pairs it with a wristband/card/badge

4.       Before passing the entry point, participants are required to tap their NFC tags on an NFC enabled reader

5.       The same process applies for check out. Participants tap their NFC tags on NFC enabled readers placed at all exit points

Final Thoughts

Among event professionals, we’ve seen continuous debates on whether the event industry will change in the future and how it will change. As retailers get back and running, B2C and B2B interactions look different, with several precautionary measures in place. It’s the aftermath of a global pandemic and it’s our responsibility to act accordingly.

As we are eager to see events coming back to normal, we strongly believe that Oveit can contribute to a safe and responsible way of hosting large gatherings. Of course, other parties must get involved to achieve that, but in terms of safe payment practices and access control, we got you covered!

Top 4 ways to monetize a podcast

In the past year, we’ve seen a considerable increase in terms of podcast consumption. As we speak, there are 62 million Americans listening to audio content each week. Around the world, there are 800,000 active podcasts with over 54 million episodes available. Due to a low cost of entry, a record of 192,000 new shows were launched in 2019.

This considerable increase in audio consumption is mainly due to innovative gadgets such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s AirPods. As more people are attracted by this relatively new trend, content creators keep on finding effective ways to monetize podcasts. Even if there are many was for that, we couldn’t find a dedicated platform capable of accepting several income sources and methods.

In this article, the focus will shift towards common and efficient ways in which content creators can begin to monetize their own podcasts.

1. Podcast Sponsorships

This seems to be the most common way to monetize podcasts. Popular shows can generate thousands of dollars per month through sponsorships. However, some creators and listeners feel like including sponsorship slots within their shows can get annoying. For this reason, it is important to contract sponsors that can relate with the presented content in your show.

If you start a podcast today, do not expect sponsors to line up at your doorstep tomorrow. Like most things in our lives, it takes time to reach a desired level. First, begin to host free podcasts in a niche you are passionate and knowledgeable about. The key is to be consistent, to build a captive and engaged audience before monetizing content through sponsorships.  So, what are the common standards for Podcast Sponsorships? Based on the CPM (cost per one thousand visitors), content creators can monetize through sponsorship based on the number of downloads (listens). Therefore, sponsors will pay different amounts for Pre-roll, Mid-roll, and Post-roll slots.

Pre-roll – In this stage, the host will talk about the sponsor’s product or service for 15 seconds before jumping into the main content. To give you an idea, a 15-second Pre-roll generates around $18/1000 listeners.

Mid-roll – This one comes with more flexibility and is included around the 40 – 70% mark of the podcast episode. It lasts for 60 seconds and the host talks about a specific product or service, most of the time sharing a personal story where possible, covering some of the features and benefits. Sponsors are willing to pay more for Mid-roll exposure and it tends to generate $25/1000 listeners.

Post-roll – This stage represents the last call to action your listeners will hear. It lasts around 15 to 30 seconds and purchasing behaviors are influenced the most within this stage, because of the final call to action. For 30 seconds of Post-roll exposure, sponsors pay $10/1000 listeners.

2. Ask for donations

Asking for donations might be the simplest way to monetize a podcast. If you are confident that your content is valued by listeners, you are set to succeed in terms of receiving contributions. Of course, it will only come from engaged, loyal and passionate audiences. Monetizing through donations is a good way to avoid giving portions of podcasts to advertisers. The simplest and most common way to receive donations from listeners is by adding a ‘donate’ button to your podcast page. Before asking for donations, make sure that your followers are well informed and aware of where the money goes. To keep inspiring them, you’ll certainly need to invest in equipment and other tools to deliver better and better content. Therefore, create an authentic call to action that makes it clear where you’ll spend money coming from donations and for what purposes.

As a host, you can receive donations by simply adding a PayPal button or by creating a Stripe account and add it to your page. At Streams.live, we have well-established partnerships with both PayPal and Stripe and opening up an account enables you as a host to receive donations within the platform.

3. Paid premium podcast content

Let’s say that you have some audio content that you’ve worked really hard on. This can be a longer podcast that provides high-value content for listeners. This is where you can add another layer of monetization and create paid membership tiers. Of course that reaching this level will take some time before your listeners pitch in to access such content.

Price customization is under the host’s complete control and the available platforms usually take a small percentage from the revenue earned. With Streams.live, you can add this small percentage on the customer’s side, meaning that you as a creator will end up with nothing to pay in exchange. Usually, creators consider lessons, bonus series, exclusive interviews and more to fall under the ‘exclusive content’ umbrella.

4. Sell products during your podcasts

According to a recent study, 65% of US listeners are very likely to further look into a company they find out about during a podcast and 64% of them have actually bought a presented product or service they’ve heard about during an audio show. It seems that audio tends to be a successful medium for sales due to its intimate relationship it creates between brand and listener. Without any images displayed, listeners can only imagine what is presented during a podcast, making them eager to see it for themselves. The one-on-one relationship audio creates is much stronger and effective than a 30 second TV commercial. There are different ways and techniques for selling products within podcasts and these are:

  • Branded Podcasts

With this method, there is no need to pay for external advertising and you can get as creative as it gets with the narrative of your podcast. Starbucks is among those using this method and it presents several stories about ordinary people doing impressive things, to create positive change. Afterwards, the important brand is immediately associated with positive social causes.

  • ‘Supply & Demand’ Podcasts

To fully take advantage of this method, you need to know what your customers like. This way, you can build a podcast around a theme which meets their interests. With ‘supply & demand’ podcasts you can even sell affiliate products which you are not in competition with. It is a great way to form collaborations that create a mutual benefit.

  • Podcast Guests

If you are hosting podcasts, you can have dedicated sessions for guests. You can give them the opportunity to market themselves as a brand and be an authority in a given sector. As a host, you can simply negotiate with your guests and receive a percentage from every sale that takes place during your sessions.

At Streams.live, our mission is to create a platform that enables content creator to easily monetize their passions and hard work. By looking more into the podcast world, we’ve identified a gap in terms of a dedicated platform designed to accommodate several monetization methods. Our goal is to accommodate these needs in a user friendly and intuitive environment.