A crowd of young professionals packed Philips Arena’s Comcast Business Zone on Wednesday, Jan. 24, to hear Jason Parker discuss the facility’s use of Israeli technology.
As the vice president of customer service and operations for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, Parker handles roles including guest services, ushering and premium services. He told a Conexx: America Israel Business Connector group about the everyday uses of Israeli-developed tech by the team and the arena.
To manage traffic for events, Philips uses the Google-owned navigation app Waze, which Parker said most people are familiar with. “In this market, of the people who drive, roughly 30 percent of the people who come to our events use Waze.”
Waze offered the arena free input for traffic plans and notifications and data regarding traffic patterns to learn where people were coming from and going to before and after each event.
That information had multiple benefits for the organization, Parker said, such as reducing the time fans spend in traffic by 15 percent to 20 percent. Reducing driving time has boosted sales.
“If your traffic experience is better, you are more likely to come to the arena and more likely to spend money,” Parker said. “Everyone who comes here earlier, that’s another $6 in our pocket. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you calculate that across 1.5 or 2 million people over the course of the year, it adds up.”
Philips Arena also uses Mobi, which places counters using Bluetooth technology on street corners. What separates Mobi from Waze is that Mobi tells Parker about issues in the last mile before people arrive at Philips.
Mobi provides real-time data showing exactly how many cars are at an intersection at any moment.
An additional technology the Hawks are exploring is the use of MyPlay. The company installs high-definition cameras on courts to enable coaches to edit and mark up everything recorded during a game.
The Hawks are considering installing a number of cameras on courts used by high schools throughout the city of Atlanta. The technology helps improve player performance and makes it easier for coaches to post highlight reels on YouTube to attract college scouts.
Philips is looking at other technologies as part of the arena’s transformation, which is $75 million to $80 million into a $200 million renovation.
“A lot of where we are providing the leverage is from the technology perspective,” Parker said.
The biggest competition the Hawks face is for the audience, Parker said, because people believe that they can get a better view of a game by watching on TV. But Parker said screens can’t offer the human interaction and live environment of the arena.
That live environment involved a 108-93 Hawks loss to the Toronto Raptors after the Conexx networking and Parker presentation Jan. 24.
Parker, who is Jewish, worked as regional director at Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake in New York. He then decided to leave the nonprofit world. He eventually was hired by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks despite a lack of knowledge about the sports industry.
The program was the first of 2018 and the eighth overall for Conexx’s young professionals group.