At the 2019 PIA Symposium, Revl was the talk of the skydiving industry with their high-tech video system designed to expedite photos and videos quickly, and without the need for an editor. Post-PIA, things got a little more quiet leaving me to wonder what the latest news is from Revl and what their goals are for the skydiving industry particularly as there is more competition in the marketplace.
In this post, I interviewed the new VP of Sales, Casey Dixon. Casey is the new primary point of contact for the skydiving industry. Additionally, I had a conversation with Revl’s CEO, Eric Sanchez along with Casey for an in-depth conversation about new developments, pricing and also addressed some tough questions with regard to customer service issues in 2019. The conversation was enlightening and I hope you’ll enjoy it. – James La Barrie
James: Casey, can you tell us a little about yourself? How long have you been at Revl and what’s your role with the company?
Casey: I started with Revl in March. Previously I ran the sales team for a reservation software company called the Flybook. We worked with tour and activity providers all over North America. There are actually 10 or so DZ’s using flybook to manage their online reservations. My role with Revl is the VP of Sales. I’ll be the one who people talk to when they need information about how the system works, helping people get Revl installed, and doing everything I can to make our customers successful.
James: Will you be the primary point of contact for the skydiving industry and if so, what can the industry expect from you and if they have questions, how can they contact you?
Casey: Yes, I’ll be the main point of contact for Revl. All business-related items will come through me. I welcome any questions or would love to hear how we can help the industry. People can call me or email me directly. One major goal of my job is to rapidly reduce response times from Revl.
James: The skydiving industry was excited about Revl when first introduced at PIA 2019. There have been some hiccups with communications and frankly, the industry hasn’t heard much from REVL. Can you address these issues head-on?
Casey: Absolutely. Revl is a company that hasn’t been without its challenges, as anything worth doing is always hard. The response we received from the industry was far greater than we anticipated. This, unfortunately, left some people waiting on us. We’re sorry, but we also know that we dropped the ball and have made the necessary adjustments to tackle those issues. Bringing me on to the team is a big part of improving our ability to communicate with our customers and those who have an interest in using Revl. That being said, the 20 drop zones that did get installed for Revl are very happy with our service and wouldn’t consider switching to anything else.
James: Many have felt that the initial investment for REVL to be expensive. With the challenges presented by the coronavirus, DZ’s are looking for solutions to help them make more money. Has the pricing structure of Revl changed to help add to the bottom line without such a high initial investment?
Casey: Removing barriers to entry has been a focal point for our team. Especially right now with the economic challenges every drop zone is facing. We have significantly cut the startup costs necessary to use Revl. With some of our technological breakthroughs, the cost of production things like our servers and docking station has been reduced significantly. We also have some big projects in the works that will further reduce barriers to entry by utilizing hardware drop zones already own. We are even offering some financing options to help make it easy for any drop zone to make the switch. Generally, we have reduced the cost of deployment by about 50% and we even have some financing options available to help out during COVID-19 recovery.
James: Since first learning about Revl’s tech, can you share what updates, if any, have been made to the system?
James: Can you share which DZ’s are using Revl in the US today?
Casey: Sure. We work with quite a few from coast to coast, off the top of my head folks like Long Island Skydiving Center, Falcon Skydiving, and Sky Dive San Diego, Skydive Monroe, Skydive Phoenix, and several drop zones internationally in Europe and New Zealand.
James: Many DZO’s have elected to wait and watch with this new technology as many tech companies have come and gone through the years. What assurance can you provide to the skydiving industry that Revl will be solvent and in business for years to come?
Casey: Revl has just raised a $5.5M Series A round in Silicon Valley to continue to grow it’s business. We have plenty of funds to stay in business for many years to come.
James: Revl will be able to provide excellent service to its DZ clients?
Casey: Absolutely. We already have! All of our customers are sticking with us after a full year of partnership. Our customers are what we depend on to exist. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. As we continue to improve from a technology standpoint, we are also making similar gains to our process. This means better communication, faster response, and a better experience for our customers. We’ve upgraded our customer support team and so far, our customers are very happy with our support and service.
James: Revl isn’t the only product in the market today that uses AI for editing. What is the value proposition for REVL versus other options?
Casey: There are other tools that claim to use AI for editing but still require a human to sit at a computer, fill out information, select video clips and then click go. Our editing servers don’t have keyboards, monitors, or mice. That’s how you know with 100% certainty that Revl is doing something totally different.
We’ve been hearing of many dropzones that have been misled by other systems with the promise of not needing to pay any video editors anymore only to find out later that the system they were promised to be 100% automatic really isn’t. A handful of those drop zones are switching to Revl this year. Revl’s system is truly autonomous and has the best AI in the industry. Our AI detects 28 different elements of the skydive in order to make amazing videos for your customers.
Face emotion analysis, seamless video that is different for each customer. Not just pattern matching, we are true machine learning.
James: Can you share some insights on the tech? What is it that DZs would be purchasing from Revl?
Casey: Revl is a full video creation and delivery system. Jumps are recorded with our cameras, the footage is uploaded when you drop the camera into the docking bay, the footage is then edited to multiple videos automatically while making sure to pull in the highlights. Then the video is delivered to the guest via email or the Revl app. The guest can then share this video easily on their favorite social media platform, which is great for the Drop Zone as that is free branded impressions on Facebook and Instagram. We are seeing guests use the ‘share’ button in Revl 4.5 times on average!
James: Let’s chat about the cameras used for Revl. For DZ’s that purchase the Revl kit, what happens when newer cameras are released? Do DZ’s need to upgrade or is there a way to upgrade without having to pay the full retail for each upgrade?
Casey: Skydiving is always going to be at the core of Revl. It is a company built by skydivers, for skydivers. When new equipment becomes available it’s in our best interest to make sure our clients have the best equipment. We will make sure that we are doing things in a way that take care of our DZ’s where they are not having to shell out thousands of dollars to buy the newest equipment just to keep using Revl.
James: Some people prefer using GoPro cameras over the Revl cameras. What options do you have for those people?
Casey: Well Revl has always been at its core an AI video system that edits and delivers video automatically. We understand that some people prefer using DSLRs and GoPros and we are happy to say that we are working closely with GoPro to add support for their latest camera.
James: One of the features that excited me about Revl was the opportunity for post jump video sales. This seems like a key feature for generating more revenue. When will this feature be released and can you explain how it will work?
Casey: We’re always looking at ways for our customers to maximize their revenue. We’re working on some very exciting on-site after-sales products that will allow customers to engage with their content and purchase it while they’re still at the Drop Zone; that’s coming this summer. That onsite aftersales sets up some critical infrastructure for us to be able to provide drop zones the ability to capture the attention of their customers after they’ve left and purchase their video from wherever they are, so we’ll be focused on that after we release our onsite after sales product.
James: There have been questions about the storyboarding using Revl. Most DZ’s offering video services have often followed this sequence:
– interview after gear up
– capturing the student walking to the plane and boarding
– short interview on the flight to altitude
– Exit, free fall and landing
– Interview in the landing area for post-jump reaction
Can DZ’s still follow this sequence or does the sequence need to be modified?
Casey: Great question. Our AI detects 28 different elements or stages of the skydive. With our AI templates, DZ’s can completely customize their videos to fit their brand and image. They can add or remove parts that they like to make their own template unique. This is where the flexibility in Revl can really shine.
James: Some of my clients have been inquiring about seeing a more robust dashboard that gives more data and stats. Can you share if there have been any upgrades to this that allows DZO’s to see the effectiveness of REVL?
Casey: One thing we are really excited about is our new share metrics dashboard. This screen allows our users to see where, how often and how many of the videos that have been delivered are shared. These insights lead to valuable action items in their marketing strategy. If one area is responding better than another, that is valuable information the DZ can utilize to make their marketing more efficient, and to grow the business.
And we still have all the awesome features we launched with last year which help dropzones manage all of their customers, video packages, and sales, right from one screen. If a customer calls and asks for the DZ to send them their video again, it only takes 1 minute to find and resend it. It’s basically a cloud storage solution steroids, made specifically for skydiving.
James: Many dropzones are in rural areas and don’t have the fastest internet speeds. Can you share the minimum upload speed requirement? For dropzones that don’t meet this requirement are there any alternatives that can help with this or are they out of luck?
Casey: Internet speeds is one of those things like weather, that we have very little control over. We want to see a minimum speed of 10 mb upload. Several of our DZ’s are able to run this using an LTE signal with a hotspot. If you have less than that, we can still work with the operator, we just may have to get a bit creative on our execution.
James: Can you share any details of what’s coming down the pike with Revl? Any new features and upgrades?
Casey: Absolutely! We are really excited about what we have done, and what is currently being worked on. Some things that we have added recently include: DSLR Photo Support, Enhanced color modes, Advanced interview detection, Smart Photo Rates, New Music Partnership, and of course the Analytics dashboard discussed earlier. And of course the GoPro partnership.
One big feature that we are currently working on that we think will be a game changer is a video kiosk and preview system. This will allow guests to preview a portion of their video and purchase it on the spot. So for those that didn’t pre purchase, we have a way to really kick that Fear of Missing out in high gear to prompt them to purchase the video package.
James: We’ve covered a lot here, but if there was one takeaway you would want DZO’s to take from this interview, what’s the most important element you’d like to get across?
Casey: We are here for drop zones and the industry. Every business has its challenges, especially during global pandemics. We have heard the feedback we received to implement both new features in Revl as well as improving our human processes. We are excited to share those with the industry and welcome you to reach out to us.
James: If people wish to get in touch with you, what’s your contact information?
Casey: Best way to touch base is via e-mail.