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The migration of the meaning of Place

It wasn’t all that many years ago that a place was only a physical geographic location where you traveled to do something. Work was a place you went to each day. You went out to socialize at places like bars and coffee shops. You went out for entertainment at places like cinemas, family entertainment centers, bowling centers, concerts, etc.

Now the physicality of place is no longer its sole meaning. The definition of place has changed due to the Internet and mobile devices, especially the smartphone. Now, no matter where you are located physically, you can go to work, socialize or be entertained without taking a single step to move to some other physical place. Work is no longer a place, but what we do anywhere. Socialization can take place with anyone located anywhere in the world at any time. We can be entertained 24/7 no matter where we are. That includes watching a movie or video, playing a game (including playing with someone else located anywhere in the world) or listening to a live concert. The smartphone and other mobile device screens have become the second place where we can work, play and socialize.

A large portion of activities that used to require a physical place have moved to the virtual world and taken much of our attention with it.

Today, depending on what survey you examine, over 2/3ds of Americans own a smartphone (comScore reports it was 68.8% for age 13+ as of March 2014).

Smartphone penetration by ageIn reality, we shouldn’t be calling them smartphones, as the phone function (talking and texting) only consumes 12% of the time it’s used. According to Flurry, during the 1st quarter of 2014, Americans spend an average of 162 minutes a day (2 hours, 42 minutes) on their mobile devices, of which 2/3rds (1 hour, 49 minutes) is spent gaming, on social media or for entertainment, all of which replace the need to go to some physical place.

2014 time spent on smartphones:mobileSo if you’re in the business of developing, owning or managing a location-based entertainment or leisure venue and you think that your only competition is other physical venues, think twice. There’s a new place people are going to, the highly convenient, inexpensive or free, seductive mobile screen, and it is taking away market share. Welcome to the Age of Disruption.

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 30-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri , has worked for over 550 clients in 36 countries in North and Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Projects the company has produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment, play and leisure facilities. Randy was featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company’s projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment. Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He has authored over 100 articles that have been published in leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker at conventions of over 20 different leisure trade groups. Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter - https://twitter.com/whitehutchinson
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