Quick update keeping the current Covid19 situation in mind, before you read the below interview:
VJCV: Can we use WaitTime to check if there are people crowding in places and automatically alert the government bodies ? The need of the hour is to have something like this to ensure complete Social Distancing.
Zachary Klima: Yes, that is a great idea for sure.
Great to see WaitTime quickly acting on this and hope this helps in Crowd intelligence / management which is the need of the hour. Thank you Zachary Klima.
The interview of this Startup Founder:
One of the most disastrous situation for any Sports Fan is to miss watching the Winning Goal. That too when you have paid for the ticket and waiting in the line outside the stadium.
Zachary Klima, the founder of WaitTime, faced a similar situation 4 years back. He went for a match in which the team won their playoff game in which some key moments happened during the early part of the game. Zach missed this special ‘moment’ of the match because he under estimated the Waiting Time.
In the telephonic interview, Zachary Kilma (ZK) told me that “If there was a way in which I would have known about the waiting time at the stadium, then I could have planned better.”
“I was surprised to find that there was no instant solution available in the market” added Zach.
This gave him the idea of inventing something which will address this problem. “I had developed the idea in my mind and was convinced that with the required assistance, it will be an innovative solution” Zach talked about the initial phase of WaitTime.
WaitTime is currently being used by Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat & a lot of other major sporting Stadiums in the US.
VJCV: What is WaitTime?
ZK: WaitTime is an innovative Solution which enhances the Stadium experience for Sports fans. It uses Crowd Intelligence along with patented artificial intelligence which deliver real-time data to help fans make smart decision. A real-time traffic system of interior environment. Shorter Wait, Better Experience.
VJCV: How did you realize that there is a need for such a product in the market ?
ZK: I went to watch the Detroit Pistons game and missed the key moments of the match, as I was standing in the line to get inside the stadium. I underestimated the Waiting Time. I went home after the match and searched for Apps which could help me to not get into a similar situation in the future. I realized that there were no Solutions available at that point in time.
VJCV: Do you come from a technology background ?
ZK: I am an architect. It was not my passion to pursue a career in architecture. WaitTime helped me to discover an entrepreneurial side of myself.
VJCV: For developing a technological solution, I am sure that there would have been lot of cost involved in this. Can you tell me about the initial phase of funding ?
ZK: I was fortunate to meet Dan Gilbert, the owner of Cleveland Cavaliers. He was in the process of rebuilding Detroit City. I got enrolled to the Business Excellence Incubator program and got the Seed money to start my venture. This also helped me to meet lot of successful people.
VJCV: Can you talk about the leadership team of WaitTime ?
ZK: Doyle Mosher, COO and John Mars, CTO : These are the two key people who made sure that WaitTime saw the light of the day. Both of them come with lot of experience and expertise. John took care of building the technology part and Doyle plays a major role in getting our operations on track. It was Doyle who introduced me to John and now 3 of us are working together in giving the Sporting Community a great Solution.
VJCV: Sports related technology needs a test environment to validate the product. Where did you do the initial testing of WaitTime? How much time it took to develop WaitTime ?
ZK: We needed a game environment. So we tied up with Detroit Pistons and build WaitTime with testing and tweaking the technology. It took us one complete season to build the technology.
VJCV: Who was your second client or rather which stadium ?
ZK: We wanted to be sure that the product is accurate enough to sell it to new stadiums. Indiana Pacers were our second client. Miami Heats joined us shortly after this. From then onwards we kept getting more stadiums to associate with WaitTime.
VJCV: Is your technology used by Clients / Stadiums based outside the US ?
ZK: We are now in the US, Australia and the UK. Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground , the two renowned Cricketing stadiums now use WaitTime technology to enhance their stadium experience.
VJCV: Can you explain the technology behind WaitTime ?
ZK: To give you an overall perspective, we mount around 28-40 cameras & sensors across the stadiums. The real time data is processed by our patented AI and churns out the Waiting Time at each touch point. We have different methodologies to capture the crowd movement/density depending on the shape of the building, ceiling height, etc.
We help in providing the real time waiting time to access the restaurants, toilets & other facilities inside the stadium, which normally becomes a major worry point for the spectator while watching the game.
VJCV: Who are the key partners of WaitTime in regard with technology and implementation ?
ZK: Cisco connected stadium solution is particularly developed for Sports and Entertainment venues. Along with Cisco Stadium View , we are able to amplify the impact of venues digital signage. In addition to this we have tied up with PMY as an installation and managed services partner at varied locations including the USTA US Open and Sydney Cricket Ground.
VJCV: What is the latest offering from WaitTime?
ZK: At WaitTime, we are always innovating our AI on how we can continually disrupt and solve actual problems. This was pioneered in conjunction with our partners at PMY. Group, real-time grand stand seating capacity monitoring. In Tennis, Golf, Racing, Live Events, etc. the general admission seating is frustrating when you take a shot in the dark to go see your favorite athlete/performer and it is completely full when you get there. Our AI solves an age old problem, seeing how full the seating capacity is before you even get there. WaitTime & PMY Group have proven this ground-breaking capability and are excited to bring it to market.
VJCV: WaitTime has helped to increase the revenue of the restaurants / outlets inside the stadium ?
ZK: Sports Fans are making use of WaitTime and this in turn is giving more footfalls and revenue for the in house restaurants. Fans who previously hesitated to leave their seats are now making the purchases as they are certain about their waiting time. We have also started collaborating with restaurants outside the stadium which can attract fans while exiting the stadium.
VJCV: As a Sports fan coming into any of these stadiums, should I be concerned about my privacy ?
ZK: We are very well aware of this and take utmost care to keep our data capturing standards in line with this requirement. We do not capture facial recognition / any personal data about the fans. Our technology works on heat maps and image sensors which track only the movement of bodies.
VJCV: Are you looking to expand to areas other than Sports? How are you managing the investments ?
ZK: There is lot of interest coming in from airports, retail, events, etc. For now our focus is Sports. WaitTime is currently providing solutions for teams in NBA, AFL, and in discussion with lot of other major leagues. In regard with investments, we avoid external investment unless it is strategic money which can be used to take WaitTime to the next level.
Zachary Kilma and WaitTime have plans to enter new markets which include the Middle East, Japan and China. I feel this will be the perfect time for WaitTime to enter Japan. Tokyo Olympics 2020 is a global event and Japan is known to regard Time with utmost value. So a solution like WaitTime can be ultimate Fan Engagement.
WaitTime is also coming out with smaller models and can definitely cater to lot more sporting establishments to give a great experience for their fans.
SportsTech is gaining lot of momentum and companies like WaitTime are leading this onset of tech revolution in Sports.
Fan Engagement is the key word for all genres of sports from NFL, MLS, NBA, Cricket, Soccer, Rugby, Football, Hockey, Athletics to even the latest eSports meet ups. Clubs are going all out to get maximum attendance for each match in the stadium. WaitTime is combining well with the clubs and stadiums to make sure that each Sports Fan is spending maximum time watching the game and not standing in the line and in turn attracting more people to watch the match live in the stadium. In addition to this , WaitTime is aids in creating Digital Fan Engagement option which can be leveraged to bridge the gap between the Stadium experience and the digital experience to a certain extent. A Win Win situation for the Fans, Clubs and for tech companies like WaitTime.
The curiosity in Zachary Kilma has given the world WaitTime. I see this as a combination of Architecture and Technology – ArcTech revolution which will go a long way in changing the traditional way in which monuments, stadiums and buildings are opened up to the visitors.
This is part of PAC Talks with VJCV – Chat with brands/people who have shown that ‘Passion, Attitude & Curiosity’ is what takes you to places.