Rockbot is an all-in-one entertainment platform for companies that allows for customers and visitors to engage with a restaurant’s music, TV display, social media, and promotions, right from their smartphones. Customers use a mobile app to select music the company has approved, vote on the playlist, see custom promotions, and share their activity on social media. Companies manage the level of customer control and customize the experience with messaging and social media content. Rockbot also enables a digital signage component which displays the music playing, customer interactions, and branded content.
Bedrock Real Estate Services, a company that owns more than 70 properties with over 10 million square feet of real estate in downtown Detroit, is in the same family of companies as Rock Ventures. The company decided to include Rockbot in all Bedrock buildings.
“We were using all different sorts of technologies to put music in our lobbies,” says Lynette Boyle, VP of Property Management for Bedrock. “We had everything from CD players with speakers where we were manually changing out CDs and trying to control content, to Muzak in the lobby with a new disc every month. So we were looking for alternatives.” The challenge was to bring a better quality of music without offending anyone with risqué subject matter or inappropriate lyrics.
Keeping things in the family, Rock Ventures approached Bedrock with its new Rockbot technology. Bedrock installed Rockbot in eight of their major buildings, including corporate offices and residential spaces. Bedrock was able to screen out music that might be offensive, as well as select custom playlists based around holidays like Halloween, and music can be controlled remotely in case changes to playlists need to be made quickly.
Customers, team members, and visitors in the space that have the Rockbot app then up-vote to choose which music will be played, providing an open, free, and versatile solution that fits well with Bedrock’s mission. While the people choose the content, Bedrock can still decide at which times throughout the day volume should be lowered, raised, or cut off altogether (such as overnight or during prime work hours).
A third member of the Bedrock/Rockbot family tree is Quicken Loans, who saw their own installation of Rockbot throughout their corporate office in Detroit.
“We have one building that has Rockbot in the workspace. That’s it right now, it’s four floors, it’s the 1001 building,” says Lynsey Flynn, a member of the AV Team for Quicken Loans. “Team members are able to give something a thumbs up or a thumbs down, so if a song is getting too many thumbs down it doesn’t play and is replaced with the next song on the queue. It’s something fun for team members to do throughout the day. We have had a little bit of Rockbot wars here and there, so it’s definitely like a beta testing in that workspace, to see if we want to introduce it to other parts of the company.”
As far as setting up Rockbot and putting it in the buildings, Flynn says the task was incredibly simple. A player the size of a small notebook with an outlet for HDMI hooks up to a television that acts as the interface, displaying the song playing and whether or not people like it. An eighth inch audio cable plugs into the speakers from the player. The player comes with an SD card that already holds song files, and Rockbot is able to update the card regularly. While the system can be set up through Wi-Fi, for Quicken Loans’ purposes hard lining through Cat5 was best.
As with Bedrock, Quicken Loans can override song choices and give music free periods throughout the day. When employees request the system stay on when working late, or that the system be shut off to instead play the Tigers game over the sound system, the AV Team can do so remotely and easily from their desk. In the workspace, playing music throughout the office is a new practice that came with the installation of Rockbot.
“Everybody seems to enjoy it,” says Flynn. “At first it was very difficult to find a balance as far as volume goes, where everyone was happy. That took a bit of trying on our part to get the volume at a comfortable level for everyone. But once we hit that magic number everyone has seemed to be happy with it.”
“I’ll tell a quick story,” says Boyle, “When we first put them outside of the buildings on the sidewalks, people that didn’t know about Rockbot would speak up. This one man from Ann Arbor was visiting Detroit and said that he was offended because he hated country music, and he would walk by the building and country music would always be playing. ‘What makes you think people want to hear that?’ And I said, ‘But you pick the music.’ And once I explained to him that it was like an outdoor jukebox he raved about what a good idea it was.
“Once people learn what it is and how it works, the feedback is very positive.”