Cashless solutions can increase revenue and reduce cost for family entertainment centres, says Dan Hudson, Global Head of Sales at Embed Image Credit: Supplied

The family entertainment industry needs to accelerate its move towards cashless payments, says Embed, a leading cashless solutions provider for the amusement, entertainment and leisure industries since 2001. The value of cashless solutions has been proven worldwide, and its growth has been even more rapid after the Covid pandemic, explains Dan Hudson, Global Head of Sales at Embed, which is participating at Deal 2023 taking place in Dubai’s World Trade Centre until March 16. “It is absolutely crucial that operators of family entertainment centres move to cashless solutions,” he says. “There’s no denying that they are the way to increase revenue and reduce cost. After the pandemic, customers and guests of family entertainment centres are used to cashless solutions and they’ve come to expect it when they go to different venues.”

Family entertainment centres (FECs) were slow to digitalise by embracing technology business solutions. When the pandemic hit, FECs were still bound by semi-manual processes, usually centred on POS systems, which are inflexible and affect the consumer experience. As digitalisation eliminates overlaps, gaps and errors in processes and operations, cashless solutions help maximise operational efficiency when it comes to costs, manpower and maintenance.

Hudson says this is where brands like Embed come in by providing integrated hardware and software solutions. “Cashless will revolutionise the sector. It is already revolutionising the sector. It also helps operators grow their revenue through solutions that Embed brings to the industry, things such as our mobile wallet technology that allows guests to reload online. It will absolutely drive revenue when customers are in the zone and they’re having fun with their families and friends. Being able to just pick up a device and reload a card or media enables them to keep going with the fun and they tend to spend more money, so it is very important.”

With an aim to transform FECs’ operations, revenue landscape and consumer journey, Embed has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to create a business intelligence dashboard that will offer insights to operators. Called STATS, this software as a service solution promises to solve most of the challenges faced by FEC operators in the industry’s transition from coins to cashless and from traditional to digital systems.

“Our partnership with Amazon has been fantastic,” says Hudson. “Amazon Web Services is one of the biggest names in the world. Working with AWS, it’s nice to be able to harness the technologies that they can bring into that product. It has allowed us to offer dashboards with stats that bring clean and easy-to-understand visualisations for operators so that they can access those visualisations anywhere because it’s in the cloud. And they’re able to make decisions that can impact their ability to earn revenue and save on costs.”

Hudson also recommends that FEC operators do more than just adopt today’s tech so that they can future-proof their businesses. Operators should consistently tune in to consumers’ ever-changing tastes and preferences. Upon entering a venue, an AI or virtual assistant can be used to help guide guests’ decision-making by ordering and receiving products, prizes, or food orders anytime, anywhere in the FEC. The guest experience can also start even before guests enter the FEC through their smartphones. Technology like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can be used to produce flexible and heightened experiences such as projections on screens, floors, walls and ceilings, creating an ever-changing ambient experience.

Embed too has been continually investing in technology to set itself apart from its competitors. “It’s no secret that we continue to put money into harnessing technologies that are out there and being at the forefront of bringing them into our industry,” he says. Having an office in Dubai also offers a distinct advantage as it enables the company to service customers in the region better than others.

Customers can get a first-hand experience of Embed’s solutions like STATS at Deal 2023. “They can also come down and get a demonstration of our mobile wallet technology that we developed in partnership with Apple and Google to allow our game card to go into the Apple and Google native wallets and people’s mobile devices,” says Hudson. “We’re the only company that has that technology available so they can come down, check it out, and we’d love to give them a demo.”