Six-year-old Poppy Blacow was on the Hyde Park lawn in London looking at a distant stage where Black Sabbath, the English rock band led by infamous lyricist Ozzy Osbourne, was playing.
She was accompanied by her father, Rik Blacow, who wanted to get closer seats. But upgrading their tickets was a decidedly "classic rock" experience in need of a "modern rock" upgrade.
You either watch the [band] on a huge screen from two miles away...or to buy a premium ticket youd be working your way back through 57,000 people who are rooted in their spot and most likely drunk, said Blacow, a senior product and innovation analyst at Sage Pay, a payment services provider based in the U.K. Thats when I thought of the idea thatd it be great if there was an app that allowed me to pay for a seat upgrade at events right from where you are.
After the concert, Blacow took the idea to his team, which entered the ZappHack Revive Retail hackathon in early July and won. ZappHack is sponsored by Zapp, a mobile commerce vendor.
The team created a location-aware mobile ticketing app that can detect when users are at or close to an event and prompt them to purchase a seat upgrade. The app integrates into the Zapp application programming interface (API) and allows users to pay for the upgrade from a mobile phone. A virtual ticket is then sent to the user to show to event staff.
The mobile app could also be used to send relevant offers such as discounted food and drinks, Blacow said.
Zapp is a unit of Vocalink, operator of the U.K. national payment infrastructure. Zapp's service runs on an interbank network and allows users to send funds from one bank account to another in real time. This system is similar in structure to the automated clearing house (ACH) network in the U.S.
This location-aware app, which could use Bluetooth beacon technology or WiFi signals, might also be used to pay for camping and parking passes.
The wider application for this service is any kind of situation where your presence in an area is the product, Blacow said.