25 November 2021
EngageRM Founder Brett Yorgey explains why new digital identity solutions that offer major benefits to consumers and event operators can provide a gateway to mainstream adoption of a decentralised approach across the sector.
Make no mistake: decentralised digital identities (DDIs) have the potential to transform our industry.
The technology may not have arrived for everyone yet, but as 2021 draws to a close, the direction of travel is clear.
The collective value of tokens held on decentralised exchanges worldwide has rocketed tenfold since the start of last year, according to The Economist.
Decentralised finance (DeFi) products have become an ever-more intriguing proposition for investors, covered with increasing relish by respected publications like the Financial Times, Australian Financial Review and Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, on the ground level, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which also rely on blockchain technology, have burst onto the scene in art and gaming whilst offering limitless future possibilities in sports and entertainment.
Quite simply, the growth of digital decentralisation as a concept has become impossible to ignore.
But the speed at which DDIs become commonplace will depend on broader support. Buy-in is needed from consumers, as well as companies, to accelerate this evolution.
And that is where I believe our sector can play a vital role.
Enhancing event experiences
We work in a passionate space that creates vivid memories through live experiences.
It is also a space that has been battered by the pandemic, with those who love live events inevitably pivoting more to digital media.
Although there is evidence of a rebound for live, in-person events in some markets as 2021 draws to a close, the outlook remains challenging for many in our industry.
In fact, a recent report by Live DMA, funded by the Creative European Programme of the European Union, estimated that the impact on live music, excluding some subsidies, will actually be worse this year than in 2020.
So, it is obvious that event operators will need to work harder to engage target markets and retain fans or customers in the future.
With that in mind, any technological developments that can enhance the experience of live events will be absolutely vital.
Starting with identity
Identity verification credentials should be the starting point, as this is where the technology can have immediate, practical benefits for everyone involved in the customer journey.
The foundation of DDIs is the idea that consumers have control over their own identities whilst enjoying enhanced security and a frictionless experience.
In the future, the club, venue, or organization will issue consumers with credentials that will be added to their wallet and every interaction stored on the blockchain. In short, this removes the need for complex vendor integrations and introduces an entire new level of loyalty reward, as the user is verified without their personal data moving to other databases.
The user can just walk up and tap their digital wallet at different vendors to get what they want, without the input of intermediaries. So, they are firmly in the driving seat.
This fits with the growing appetite of individuals to enjoy content and experiences on their terms in an increasingly digital world.
However, a more frictionless customer journey is also beneficial to the venue and event operator. Aside from providing a smoother experience, they can then focus on tailoring rewards for the individual’s loyalty based on optimised CRM strategies.
These real-life benefits of DDI technology need to be experienced by consumers and events to drive adoption.
A lingering caution surrounding this tech from some quarters is borne out of a lack of understanding and familiarity. But that is hardly surprising.
For many people, blockchain and DDIs are part of a concept that is can be complicated to grasp.
Therefore, there needs to be a big educational play across our industry as the shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 gathers pace over the next 12 months to two years.
At EngageRM, we are embracing these new technological opportunities, because we see the immense potential benefits for all concerned in live events.
The onus is on our industry to find ways to ease consumers along this journey of discovery so that game-changing technology can gain a solid foothold sooner rather than later.
Look out for the second article in the series by Brett Yorgey in the coming weeks on the impact NFTs can have on ticketing and live events.