Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

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Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby EMSC » Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:30 pm

Admin recently published an article on the latest & greatest apps for primarily resort skiers. http://www.firsttracksonline.com/News/2010/9/2/Smartphone-Apps-for-Skiers-and-Snowboarders/

I was lucky enough to hear Vail's recent discussion of the Epic Mix app which records every lift you ride based on RF technology (and thus vertical) and pushes that heavily to social aspects of earning 'digital pins' for various things as well as to Facebook and Twitter. To the point that you could conceivably hook up with friends by seeing which mtn and lifts they are skiing 'live' (it's all opt-in for the various aspects of the App). I've been waiting for a more comprehensive mobile app to be released by someone (not for me really, but for the general public). Vail certainly thinks they have the beginnings of a 'game changing' app that will promote their brand, promote the social aspects of skiing which may draw in more of your friends at some point even, etc...

As long as you opt in and sign up on the epic mix web page the whole thing is free. Vail says surveys show 60% of their users already have Facebook pages to push the ski data and updates to (if they choose). I get the feeling most of the forum users here will not be much excited about such an app's existence, but what about for the industry in general? Do you see the average local interested in the technology? How about for the average family from Atlanta doing their one week annual trip?

It seems its a solid initial step, but still has a ways to go IMO. I thought for sure an app with GPS tracking of your descents and runs taken would be part of the landscape for smart phones by now. However, Vail went a very different direction for now since GPS chews up battery life (esp in cold), and it requires you to remember to activate/end it vs the totally passive way the data collection can be done by RF scans of your ticket/pass. Although again, ski hounds care about verts and descent rates, etc.. but do average skiers? This seems to be the only reason to incorporate 'digital pins' into the mix is to try to interest the average Joe. Of course then there are the kids for whom technology is so prominent. Will this entice more of them to show up knowing the interactivity and online tracking they can point to, play with, etc.. later? How about the potential for parents being able to check in on kids throughout the day with less worry (once they hit that age that is)? Too big brother-ish for that use? At least one thing missing in the world of mobile ski apps IMO - an interactive Map of open runs (possibly tied to GPS for instantly zooming the area on the map you are currently located). For early or late season skiers being able to know what is open, groomed (or even interactive with the time of day for stuff that closes early). It would be so much better than perusing the long lists of trails that are open, etc... as people have to wade through now online. And yes some resorts print up daily maps of groomers or etc..., but I still think it would be better for the average skier to see it 'live'.

All that said, here is the web page and short video about the Vail app http://www.snow.com/epicmix/home.aspx?cmpid=PARMX00001

What do you think about the direction and social network tie ins? I await the first person fired for streaming live updates to Facebook while having called in sick #-o :lol:
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby Admin » Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:40 pm

VR is really pushing EpicMix hard in social media circles right now. I follow some 700-odd mostly industry types via Twitter and we have around 1250 followers, and the buzz over EpicMix is somewhat remarkable. Part of it is VR hype, but a good chunk is legitimate interest, too. Then again, these are the same type of folks using stuff like Foursquare and Gowalla, so of course it's going to interest them the most.

For anyone interested in following FTO on Twitter, it's @FirstTracksMag (http://www.twitter.com/FirstTracksMag).
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby EMSC » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:19 pm

Admin wrote:VR is really pushing EpicMix hard in social media circles right now.


Yeah. They launched it in NYC to the tech media and not to the ski/travel media. To boot they are spending ~$80M in capital this year and they are hyping this item by far the most to anyone who will listen. Of course it is a good idea to be consistently on-point with the media in order to get your desired message out there...

I got the impression that the concept/design is final but that a chunk of the app code has yet to be built/tested. They are scurrying to hit the Keystone opening date at this point IMO.
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby Geoff » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:17 pm

Admin wrote:VR is really pushing EpicMix hard in social media circles right now. I follow some 700-odd mostly industry types via Twitter and we have around 1250 followers, and the buzz over EpicMix is somewhat remarkable. Part of it is VR hype, but a good chunk is legitimate interest, too. Then again, these are the same type of folks using stuff like Foursquare and Gowalla, so of course it's going to interest them the most.

For anyone interested in following FTO on Twitter, it's @FirstTracksMag (http://www.twitter.com/FirstTracksMag).


No way in the world I would risk my boss seeing online data for my daily vertical. I also would rather not participate in the "my house is empty, please break into it" social networking information feed.
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby BigSpencer » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:51 am

Tools for creative minds...to create stealthy income will always be happenning...imho. Maybe not on epicmix...etc, but the minds are there...in some department of some corporation/firm.
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby Marc_C » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:28 pm

Admin wrote:For anyone interested in following FTO on Twitter, it's @FirstTracksMag (http://www.twitter.com/FirstTracksMag).


twitter (n.): 1) a short burst of inconsequential information; 2) chirps from birds.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

San Antonio-based market research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a 2-week period in August 2009 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CST) and separated them into six categories:[42]

* Pointless babble — 40%
* Conversational — 38%
* Pass-along value — 9%
* Self-promotion — 6%
* Spam — 4%
* News — 4%[42]

Social networking researcher Danah Boyd responded to the Pear Analytics survey by arguing that what the Pear researchers labelled "pointless babble" is better characterized as "social grooming"...
-marc
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby EMSC » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:06 am

The Vail Inc answer is in --- for season one anyway.

From their PR dept... 100K skiers signed up on the website to look at their stats, 45% went for the 'public' option of revealing their data to the world, and 40K downloaded the mobile app. They claim that it represents a 15% adoption rate of their customer base. Tseeb will also have the opportunity to play with Epic Mix at Northstar starting next season.

I always recall that while Hollywood shows and the media always depict nearly everyone in the US to be extreme outgoing and social, the reality is that the US is actually made up of roughly 50/50 as to those that are/need to be social butterflies and those that have little or no need for such interaction. I'd be surprised if over time the numbers ever get very far above ~50% adoption.
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby Marc_C » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:22 am

EMSC wrote:From their PR dept... 100K skiers signed up on the website to look at their stats, 45% went for the 'public' option of revealing their data to the world, and 40K downloaded the mobile app.

Out of curiosity, is the public setting opt-in or opt-out? If the latter, then it's very likely that a certain percentage of that 45% neglected to do so (if the app doesn't explicitly ask if you want to keep the the public setting). However the number suggests that it's opt-in (default settings that require opt-out usually result in higher uptake if the user isn't explicitly asked what they want to do).

Number of downloads is more or less a little meaningless - it indicates initial interest only and is no metric for actual usage. Still, it's very interesting watching the social media space and seeing who is being relatively successful at leveraging it somehow.
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Re: Mobile Apps and Social Networks - Changing the industry?

Postby EMSC » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:40 pm

Marc_C wrote:Out of curiosity, is the public setting opt-in or opt-out?


Vail has been very cognizant of privacy issues with this whole thing as far as I can tell, and have heard them talk about it...

Nearly all of it is opt-in: you have to sign up after you use a ticket or pass online, aka opt in, to see any of it at all; you have to opt in again to share the info publicly, etc... If you want, you can specifically request a non-RFID paper ticket too; though that would be more of an opt-out since by default the passes and most tickets have the chip... Interestingly paper tickets are exactly what I got each and every time I skied at VR places this season... so no Epic Mix for me.

Edit: Huh.... I sure thought my 1000th post here would be more ... something... Oh well, yay, I hit 1000!
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