Kentucky Derby And Churchill Downs Use Lua Mobile Enterprise Communications
Churchill Downs and Lua partnered for the 141st annual Kentucky Derby to implement mobile enterprise communications software to handle staff-related internal communications throughout the prestigious horse racetrack. Come Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2, the sport event operations team has to use reliable and secure technology to communicate before, during and after, the greatest two minutes in sports. Visualize 165,000 cheering fans in the grandstands and around the horse track, most all connected to some type of digital device. The need for staff at Churchill Downs to ensure open lines of communication and transparency, especially for security related issues is paramount. Lua delivered the tech to make it so for 2015. The Sports Techie community blog chatted with Michael DeFranco, CEO and co-founder, about Lua and the Derby.
According to DeFranco, on Monday of Derby Week as the mourning wore on before a mini-race it became apparent to the host committee and stadium operators they needed more valets attendants and parking spots to handle the overflow crowd. Churchill Downs management executed the order using the internal directory and the staff handled the issues with precision and no added stress because of Lua’s solution.
The Derby continues to make changes to security and ticketing to ensure the safety for all patrons. Lua is positioned to become a trusted security resource that allows critical employees to stay in real-time touch regardless of the severity of issues at hand. Evacuation orders and first responder briefings are critical to saving lives and can be compromised when dated technology is relied upon. Lua is also in place to secure beverage scheduling by Church Downs and Levy Restaurants.
For those of you interested in the #KyDerby this Saturday on NBC, check out the TV viewing schedule. Watch Live Extra. Preview Churchill Downs Seat 3D Virtual Tour. Watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby live through TwinSpires.com and TwinSpiresTV. See Live Odds.
Readers and followers can read our #SportsTechie piece about the Panasonic Video Board installed at Churchill Downs last year to enhance races, the fan experience and sponsor ROI via this link, here.
With Lua you can keep every staff member connected. Knowing communication will happen in real time helps make operations run smoother and under a calm atmosphere. Handling emergencies takes a lot of moving pieces, Lua helps reduce the load and virtually eliminates the worry of knowing if the person on the other end got your message or not. Users can easily loop in external organizations to the closed environment.
People currently distribute information and talk over a phone line, the Internet or a private channel with little accountability as to whether the receiver opened any messages and attachments. People often stop checking emails the closer an event or game gets to the start.
Sports organizations, events and any sized business can replace the operational challenges walkie-talkies, emails and text messages cause as communication tools by instead using Lua’s three simple taps to send secure real-time messages with attachments or set up group calls. The solutions three screens open up the directory, file sharing and messaging calling.
With Lua’s intuitive software users are shown who has read each message and it drills down further into whether the attachment was opened. The company found all these features led to an average message read rate of 98 percent with all clients. Compared to email read rates averaging between 20 and 50 percent, it is no wonder Lua will be relied upon on during the action packed Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs and other large venues may need to evacuate for any of a number of reasons such as fire, terrorism or act of god. Lua’s use case has grown to include a variety of verticals including tours and music concerts. In 2012, DeFranco mentioned that military cross agency experience as their first mobile communication system helped shape the future of products and opened up other business development opportunities. An Amazon government cloud data center together with Lua operates with the right DoD certification.
A few days before Super Bowl XLVIII, an anthrax scare required venue safety protocols at MetLife Stadium to be issued by the host committee command center before the area was declared clear of danger. DeFranco said because of the bad weather scare before SB 48, half of the volunteers didn’t show so new people needed to be trained as first time users of LUA by virtual customer support.
Lua also helped with presale of season tickets and suite sales at the new Barclays Center because their core communications needed to be moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, saving them from transferring data manually, printing out docs and emailing messages.
Lua works with all iOS and Android devices. DeFranco stated, “Both platforms are optimized at the same level as is the web app on smart watches and tablets.” Smartphone communications often gets hacked when data is intercepted so Lua encrypts and re-encrypts all content. The software is certified for HIPPA healthcare compliance.
This mobile technology was designed to be an enterprise messaging solution usable “out of the box” to connect every staff member in the corporate office or out in the field. Users can include 40 per conference call but conversations are unlimited. Pricing per use is $12 per person, per month. Smaller events may qualify for preferred pricing.
Founded in 2010 in New York City, Lua is the mobile-first communication solution for high-performance organizations. Lua offers an intuitive and cross-platform solution that includes secure messaging, instant group calling, an interactive directory, and accountability across a team through essential ReadReports. Insights, Lua’s proprietary analytics dashboard, synthesizes communication data to provide actionable insights for managers to boost effectiveness within the organization.
Backed by investors including Abundance Partners, IA Ventures, Strauss Zelnick, Aaron Stone and John Maloney, Lua delivers powerful communication to enterprises across a range of verticals, including healthcare, logistics, hospitality, and retail. Lua also provides government-grade protection as a trusted vendor for the Department of Defense. For more information, please visit: https://getlua.com/
About Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 2, 2015. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found at http://www.ChurchillDowns.com.
Sports Techie, bravo to the operational team at Churchill Downs for exploring new ways to advance mobile communications at this racing gem of an event. Whether ticketing sales, food and beverage or guest relations need a single change speaking tool; Lua helps all departments to galvanize mobile communication. If operations needs to share info about unruly guests, has training needs or wants to be on top of trash build up, practically the entire org can be run with Lua in the power of your hand.
DeFranco enjoys working with sports teams. He said, “They get it, always on the run and demand a calm customer.” Sports organizations often understand the need to eliminate radios and communicate silently in order to serve better and pay attention to immediate needs. Lua works with the MLS Cup, Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas MLS teams, as well as the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, KC Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. The Nets are considered NBA super users. The Texas AM football program, Georgia Tech and other universities are other Lua clients. More NBA and NFL teams are in the pipeline. I asked about the FIFA World Cup 2016 or the 2018 Olympics and DeFranco said they those are the kind of clients they want to get in touch with.
Professional teams and athletes are asking if Lua can deliver playbooks, video and access to trainers or travel itineraries. DeFranco shared the news that Lua are in pilot programs with certain teams to explore this opportunity.
If you need to send and receive notifications, weather updates and security protocols, LUA can do this while helping to eliminate customer friction and questions about verbal communications.
Enjoy the Derby and horses while resting assured the Churchill Down staff is securely talking with each other on Lua over the roar of the jacked up crowd.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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