- The Philadelphia Phillies are trying a new way to order drinks directly to your seat.
- The system uses Apple’s iMessage and a feature called Business Chat.
- Chatbots are a very competitive technology: Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are working on competing products.
At most ballparks, if you’re seated and want a refreshing beverage, you simply shout to the vendor: “Hey beer man!”
But starting today, at Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies play, you’ll be able to order beer and water with a text message – if you’re seated in the right section and you have an iPhone with up-to-date software.
It’s part of a new pilot program that Aramark is trying out using Apple’s Business Chat.
Basically, you scan a QR code on the back of your seat, and that brings you to an iMessage conversation that will let you order beers and water. You pay with your phone, and someone brings the refreshments to your seat.
It’s a new use for Apple Business Chat, which the company announced last summer to compete with other chat bots, like those that run on Facebook Messenger. Microsoft and Amazon have heavily invested in chatbots as well.
The idea behind Business Chat is that it’s designed to improve customer service by letting iPhone users schedule appointments, make purchases, and ask questions directly through a chat interface.
One big improvement is that you don’t have to download an app – all you have to do is use the Camera app on your iPhone.
Apple has announced a handful of Business Chat partners, including big brands like Home Depot, Marriott, and Wells Fargo, but the Aramark partnership is one of the first applications that I can see using.
Here’s how it works:
The pilot is only taking place in a few sections (142, 143, 144 and 145) and only during 10 games this season.
If you’re in the right section during the right game, you might find a QR code on the seat in front of you. Scan it with the Camera app on your iPhone. It will look like this:
That QR code will open up the Messages application and start a conversation.
The chat will bring up a menu of drinks.
You enter your row and seat, and pay with Apple Pay.
Then, someone will bring your beverages to your seat so you can enjoy the game.
If you’re catching a home Phillies game from July 20-25 or August 2-5, you should check it out.