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Artificial intelligence will help you get snacks faster at Indiana Pacers games

pacers waittime concessions ai screen shot 2016 10 at 11 22 43 am
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You shouldn’t have to miss a buzzer-beater just to get a beer. And now, the Indiana Pacers want to help you beat the crowd to the concession stand so you can help cheer the team on to beating their opponents. Thanks to a new partnership with WaitTime, this NBA team is hoping to shorten the wait time for your burgers, beverages, and even bathrooms by way of artificial intelligence.

The brand-new system photographs lines at concession stands around the arena at the impressive rate of 10 times per second, and then analyzes these images to give you details about wait times, order completion times, and how often people decide their desire to watch the game is outpaced by their desire to quench their thirst (or empty their bladders). You can check out all this information on a mobile app and head to the stand where wait times are shortest, and what food order will force you to wait the least amount of time.

It’s quite the investment for the Pacers, who will have to pay a $150,000 installation fee for WaitTime, as well as a $9,000 monthly fee. But if the Pacers play it right, the new technology could be well worth it. The goal, after all, is to make fans’ game experience more enjoyable and more efficient, encouraging them to buy more, and buy more often. In fact, a report this year from Oracle Corp. suggested that fan spending in games would go up 42 percent if wait times were halved. And on the facilities side, if the arena and its staff know where they need the most help, it could improve the overall customer service aspect of Pacers games, too.

“We want to have the best guest experience in the country,” said Mel Raines, the Pacers’ senior vice president of facilities operations. “This will take us to the next level.”

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