How Does Your Brand Surprise And Delight Your Customers?

WestJet-Christmas-Miracle-surprised-guest-feature

Brands want people to share their story. How do you get someone to share? By inspiring them, surprising them and delighting them with your brand or product. There are many good examples out there and this recent WestJet video shows how they surprised a plane full of customers at the Christmas holidays. Obviously, capturing all of the video and posting it to YouTube has inspired and delighted many of us enough to share the story. My wife shared it with me after her co-workers shared it with her. See it below.

What makes someone want to share? In the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” author Dr. Jonah Berger states: “Awe is the sense of wonder and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, sublimity, or might. It’s the experience of confronting something greater than yourself. Awe expands ones frame of reference and drives self-transcendence. Awe is a complex motion and frequently involves a sense of surprise, unexpectedness or mystery.” Awe also inspires sharing. For example, Jonah and his team determined that awe-inspiring articles were 30% more likely to make the “Most Emailed” list.

As a developer of self service kiosks, interactive and mobile I especially enjoyed the “Santa Station” that WestJet setup in the terminal to allow customers to talk “Live” to Santa. Notice the carpet where people should stand to be in the full view of the camera. This illustrates that any sort of photobooth kiosk needs to be more than just the enclosure. A kiosk is the enclosure and everything around it used to draw attention to the kiosk including signage, floor branding, surrounding product, etc. Ensure your kiosk is not just a screen on a stick or on the wall. Think of your kiosk as the entire environment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk

Touch-Screen Display Allows Library Visitors to Interact with a Piece of Cincinnati History

For Immediate Release                   May 24, 2011

Electronic Art provides Interactive display for Cincinnati Public Library’s Riverfront Panorama of 1848


CINCINNATI
— Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com), a Cincinnati interactive agency specializing in touch-screen kiosks, digital signage, and integrated websites, announces their contribution to a new exhibit at the Cincinnati Library. Electronic Art has integrated two large-scale digital touch-screen displays into the Cincinnati Library’s much-anticipated exhibit showcasing the restored Cincinnati Riverfront Panorama of 1848 daguerreotype.

The daguerreotype consists of eight slides covering two miles of Cincinnati’s riverfront in 1848. Charles Fontayne and William Porter took the photographs on a rooftop in Newport, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The daguerreotype, invented in 1839 as the first practical method of photography, captured images with a very high resolution.

Electronic Art installed two 52-inch flat-panel interactive touch-screens that will allow library visitors to view the images in high definition, and zoom in, much like on an iPad, to see the detail and clarity of the photographs. Visitors will also be able to touch certain areas on the screen to learn more about the photo, view life in mid-nineteenth century Cincinnati, and gain more insight into the city’s then developing neighborhoods.

“The Library has had this daguerreotype for a long period of time, and we knew we had to showcase it. The question was, how do we display it in a way that both protects it and also enables people to appreciate the historic value and relevance of this remarkable piece of Cincinnati history?” said Jason Buydos, Cincinnati Library Assistant Director of Support Services & Project Manager for the daguerreotype display. “That’s where Electronic Art came in. Together we came up with a flat touch-screen display that would allow visitors to tap on the screen to zoom in for a closer look and more information. I am very happy with the result.”

Electronic Art also contracted with Harlan Graphic Arts Services, who helped build the enclosure.

“We installed the enclosure around the daguerreotype and kiosk, and created the display graphics. It was definitely and honor and pleasure to work with such a priceless piece of Cincinnati history. Electronic Art and everybody at the library were great to work with. I am proud to be a part of it,” said Dave Johnson, Managing Director, Harlan Graphic Arts Services.

“We enjoyed the challenge of using a multi-touch interface on a grand scale to enable guests to interact with the art,” said Tim Burke, President of Electronic Art. “Our staff faced many challenges, such as working with large file sizes. We had to implement high-end machines with 12GB of memory, and determine a technique to allow the best interaction with the high-resolution images. A database enables staff to add points of interest in an overlay layer within the Adobe Flash-based application, which brings a rich educational component.”

More Information About the Daguerreotype

Conservators at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York , cleaned and stabilized the photos, digitized the images, and remounted them in their original antique frame. Along with being the first and most well-known daguerreotype to depict an American city, this photo is also one of the most famous in the history of the medium. It was displayed in the Crystal Palace at the first World’s Fair in London, and is widely considered to be the “Mona Lisa” of daguerreotypes. It contains the first photographic images of steamboats, a railroad station, and one of the country’s earliest astronomical observatories.

The Cincinnati Riverfront Panorama of 1848 is now on permanent display in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Library. For more information, visit www.cincinnatilibrary.org.

For more information about Electronic Art LLC, contact Tim Burke at (513) 321-1771 or visit www.ElectronicArt.com.

About Electronic Art

Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com) is a Cincinnati-based interactive agency specializing in computer kiosks and digital signage, as well as many related online interactive services. Originally founded in 1998, Electronic Art began primarily as a Web studio, offering high-end custom programming, ecommerce, and design. Today, Electronic Art provides custom solutions for many industries via kiosks, digital signage, and website development.

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Agency Contact
Bethany Miller
O’Keeffe PR
(513) 221-1526
bethany@okeeffepr.com

Electronic Art Provides Interactive for Invisible Slavery Exhibition at the Freedom Center

CINCINNATI — Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com) is announcing its contribution to Invisible: Slavery Today, a new exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Electronic Art created and installed the digital interactive displays and many of the video components of the exhibit. The exhibit includes 17 hi-definition touch-screen displays and several digital kiosks, including a 55-inch touch screen display that allows visitors to access statistics on modern slavery from the United States State Department.

“Museum exhibits are starting to move towards more interactive, digital content,” said Tim Burke, President of Electronic Art. “Museum goers have come to expect leading-edge technology as well as some element of interaction to be a part of the overall experience. We’re honored that we could contribute to Invisible: Slavery Today and use technology to bring awareness to this issue and help it resonate with people. This exhibit was created in a very short time frame, yet we were able to deliver quality design and programming for the exhibit opening.”

“Electronic Art was a tremendous partner in putting this exhibit together,” said Paul Bernish, Director of Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiatives at the Freedom Center. “We’ve had a longstanding collaboration with them for our website design. Their work on this exhibit is a tribute to their versatility. I would recommend them without hesitation.”

Invisible: Slavery Today is a museum-quality, permanent exhibition on the subjects of modern-day slavery and human trafficking that occupies some 4,000 square feet in the Freedom Center’s east pavilion. Through a variety of techniques and media, including videos, sounds, and touch-screen presentations, Invisible offers a comprehensive examination of slavery in the modern world through the life experiences of five individuals who were caught up in one of the five most common forms of exploitation.

The concluding section of the exhibition is devoted to anti-slavery activities underway around the world, including efforts from the Freedom Center’s partners in the exhibition: Free the Slaves, Goodweave, International Justice Mission, and Polaris Project. Visitors are also asked to make a personal commitment to be 21st Century Abolitionists in the cause of freedom by adding their commitment to touch screen kiosks, which are digitally integrated into large format content.

The exhibition opened on Oct. 9 and will be a permanent addition to the museum.  The Freedom Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Access to Invisible is included in the regular price of admission.

For more information about Electronic Art LLC, contact Tim Burke at (513) 321-1771 or tburke@electronicart.com, or visit www.ElectronicArt.com.

About Electronic Art

Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com) is a Cincinnati-based interactive agency specializing in computer kiosks and digital signage, as well as many related online interactive services. Originally founded in 1998, Electronic Art began primarily as a Web studio offering high-end custom programming, ecommerce, and design. Today, Electronic Art provides custom solutions for many industries via kiosks, digital signage, and website development.

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New Kiosk Hardware Catalog Coming Soon

For years we have offered hundreds of hardware options to our clients but have found it difficult to show everything we offer on our site. So we’ve been working in the background to build an online catalog that will enable us to fully showcase the different kiosk hardware and digital signage hardware components in our line card.
This includes everything from full kiosk enclosures, panel pc’s, LCD panels, mounts, stands and more. Everything from IBM & Samsung to Ergotron and Premier mounts.
So keep an eye out for our updates coming in the next few weeks. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask… we probably sell it.

Self-Service Kiosks for Kroger Personal Finance

krogerpfkiosk2We recently completed a kiosk application for Kroger Personal Finance that will allow customers to learn, manage, and apply for several financial products including insurance, mortgage refinancing, and credit cards.

The kiosks are located in the New KPF Money Stores being added to many of the grocery chain stores, one kiosk will be public facing while another will be in office where a representative can help consumers with the offers.

The kiosks are currently in a pilot phase at the newly opened Kroger location in Norwood.  If you live in Cincinnati, stop by and check them out.

A few more images below

Continue reading

KioskCom Las Vegas 2009 Review

The Kioskcom.com show last week was really good.  We were nervous going into it because of the economy.  We wondered if customers would come out to the show.  We were happy to see a great turn out by VP’s and decision makers with real projects in hand.  In years past you would see multiple team members from a brand attend, perhaps marketing folks, IT staff and VP’s.  Kind of a “design by committee” mentality. But this year, they seemed to not need to bring the whole committee out, just the decision makers, which all of the vendors appreciated.  We met with folks from Motorolla, Ikea, Target, Ceasars Palace, Delta, American Airlines and many more.

Our booth showcased the new Lobstr application on a 37″ touch screen, the new Zebra Kiosk Print Station with our “Hike & Bike” kiosk concept,  as well as our demo kiosk of various past customer implementations.  Our partners at 5Point also showcased Lobstr on their newest enclosure for Interactive Digital Signage (IDS) Platform, the Concierge.  Our app looked so cool on their 40″ screens that we are partnering with them to have this as our default hardware option for Lobstr. More to come on that soon.

Our booth chotsky was a full pack of Orbitz gum.  I figured it was better than most of the squeeze balls and pens given out by many vendors.  And also the obvious reason which is that I was tired of talking to people with bad breath.   Hmmm, I think Orbitz just found their next commercial idea!  Now if only I could brand the packaging with my company information it would have been perfect.

The educational break out sessions and tech talks were a big hit with attendees.  DT Research gave a session on “Interactive Digital Merchandising: Expanding brand and product impact and creating customer engagement.” which is a topic we can get behind.  Andrew Fischer did a great job in this session.   Another session was titled “Return on Message – Optimizing your digital signage network for success. ” which was giving by Keith Kelson who is the Chairman of the Content Best Practices committee of the Digital Signage Association along with Roger Sanford of the MediaTile company.  Return on Message (ROM) is the new buzzword in our industry and a methodology that  provides standards based processes to guide companies through complex variables that must be considered for a successful digital signage deployment.   This also showcased many of the best practices laid out by the association in the past years.

Speaking of the DSA (Digital Signage Association) of which I sit on the advisory board: we had our board meeting the night before the show at the M resort just south of the strip.  This new Casino / Hotel was only 62 days old and our board members were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the facility and the technology used by their VP of IT services.  I doubt I will ever get to see the NOC and security areas of another Casino in my lifetime, it was very interesting to see and learn about how they operate and how they use Digital Signage for both customer facing areas of the facility and also employee facing messages.  I appreciate the hospitality of the M Resort in Las Vegas.   During this meeting we did a review of several committees, discussed goals, events and recapped the past year’s success.  I am now the chairman of the PR & Marketing committee for the Digital Signage Association.   We have some good people on the committee already, so I’m excited about working with them to help promote the association, drive awareness and education, and help increase membership of the DSA.

As for new technology, there was a lot of the same hardware at the show that has been seen before.  I got a sneak peak at a new product from MicroVision which is a Pico Projector (ultra small projector) about the size of an Iphone.  Useful in our industry for some small digital signage applications for rear projection, etc.  However the brightness and resolution are the only current drawbacks I could see.  This may be addressed in the second and third generations of this unique laser projector called ShowWX.  See their site for a preview and watch for it to be launched later this year.  The projector is unique becuase of an ultra tiny red, blue & green laser that allows the image to be in focus at any distance.  It was really nice, but the first generation will likely be a consumer model.  They are interested in finding new products they could embed the engine into, such as a cell phone, or other device.

We enjoyed the opportunities to talk with many customers about their projects, hardware or software needs and to explain to them once again, that no… we are not THAT Electronic Arts company in California.   The “S” at the end of their name is short for dollar signs and no, our firm does not make games for the Playstation or Nintendo.   You have to love our name, but the similarities do make it confusing.  I’m pretty sure the lady at the Paris Casino was treating me really good because she thought that was our company when she saw my shirt.  For a free drink… I didn’t correct her.

Win an Ipod Nano at KioskCom May 6 & 7th

We are pleased to announce that our partnership with Zebra technologies has provided us with an opportunity to play a part in their trade show give away of an Ipod Nano and Itunes cards at KioskCom to showcase the new Kiosk Print Station. Visit their booth and our booth (829) to win.  Details are as follows:

Zebra Kiosk Print Station

Zebra Kiosk Print Station

With reliable Zebra® kiosk printing solutions—together with the software and integration expertise of Zebra’s technology partners such as Electronic Art —you get the key to an effortless, complete kiosk solution.

See for yourself at the KioskCom Self Service Expo May 6th & 7th, 2009:
1) Visit Zebra’s booth #615 to pick up a “Key to a Kiosk Full Solution” passport card.
2) Visit five of Zebra’s featured partners and get your “passport” card validated at their booths.
3) Return to Zebra’s booth #615 with your completed passport and your business card to ENTER OUR DRAWING.
You could win one of five $25 gift cards…or an Apple® iPod® nano!

See contest rules at Zebra’s Booth #615.

Example of an Ipod Nano

Example of an Ipod Nano

Digital Signage Expo in Review

The Digital Signage Expo 2009 was described as “successful” by several retailers in attendance, according to event organizers. The conference and trade show at the Las Vegas convention center, which ran in February drew just over 3,000 attendees, down from last year’s 3,500, and 188 exhibitors, a record number. The trade show floor was 19 percent larger than 2008, with over 58,000 square feet of exhibitions.  I’ve attended this show for years and could not see all of the expo booths in the short time I was there.  But what I did see was great, so I’ll share with you some of my favorite items from the show. I was posting a lot of what I saw on Twitter that day and by the end my feet were sore and my eyes were bleeding from all of the signage.

We did not exhibit at this show due to time and budget constraints, but we will be exhibiting and speaking at the upcoming KioskCom.com  Self Service Expo May 6-7th, 2009, also in Las Vegas.  KioskCom has a broader audience of both kiosks and digital signage as many deployments utilize both technologies.  There is a lot of crossover in the two technologies, which is why agencies such as ours attend, since we offer solutions in both segments.  By the way,  I wish the show management would pick some others venues from time to time.  Seems like I’m always in Vegas and that town can wear you down.  But I digress.

Digital Signage Association MeetingThe DSE show was much larger than the DSE east show in Philadelphia back in October 2008.  That event was very small and didn’t have much traffic.  Disappointing to everyone.  But the Vegas show always seems to be huge.  I went to Vegas early to attend the Digital Signage Association’s bi-annual advisory board meeting, of which I’ve been a member since the beginning.  We had some new board members from Target and Six Flags Inc..  who added to the lively discussions on how to improve the mission and structure of the organization.   It was good to see many of my peers in the industry and I was fortunate enough to share some drinks after with several of them.

Now for the review of the products and services I enjoyed at the show:
It was interesting to see the number of 3D screens from makers such as LG, Samsung, Phillips and others.  Everyone was trying to impress with this new variation of the medium.  Photos don’t do it justice but the effect can be really interesting.  Most people I spoke to think it is a bit of a fad or gimmick and are unhappy with the shallow viewing radius.  You also must be many feet away from the screen to get the effect and not make the eyes strain.  So this is not to be hung too close to the audience.   Another consideration is that the content must be rendered in 3D using tools such as Maya or 3D studio max.  It is often more costly and time consuming to produce content in 3D.   With that said, I think the early adopters will get a lot of buzz around their use of it, if done well.  And for many brands, this point of difference is worth the investment.   We hope some of our customers will consider the use of 3D when appropriate.

Premier Mount with player shownWe met with and really like the Premier Mounts folks.  Their products incorporate a oval tubular design that gives their stands, wall mounts and ceiling mounts a upscale look.  Their easy to swivel mounts make switching between portrait and landscape modes very easy.  Check them out online at www.Mounts.com .  These guys can fabricate just about any metal mounting need you may have.

The good folks at Tightrope had a very yellow booth and were showcasing their content management tools.  We’ve never used their products but I enjoy their Twitter posts about the industry.  As I was driving to Vegas from California I was keeping up with them and several other DSE attendees. At these events there are literally dozens of management products.  Most very good, each with their own unique spin.  We are VARS for several as some are better for certain campaigns then others.  We saw our partners Scala at the show, as well as Stinova, Wirespring and Web DT.  Stinova was showing off their web based management tools which we like very much for the middle market.  This German based firm is now making headway in the USA with VARs such as Electronic Art.   Web DT have really good thin client players that we resell and they’ve made some good improvements to their software.  They also have a nice app we can offer our clients that you’ve probably seen which allows for triggers to play content.  For example if you pick up a cell phone in a wireless store, it triggers the tool to play content on screen about that particular phone device.   By utilizing this tool, we can deploy this solution much faster than building from scratch and can focus more on the content being provided.  We are excited about offering this tool and will have more details to share soon.

The guys at SpaceNet provide satellite networks for digital signage and kiosks.  They provide the network for Shell Gas & C-stores for the video content at the pump.  This solution broadcasts a variety of media (news, ads, TV shows) via multicast enabling both local and national media/ads with day parting.  Integrating this solution could also provide a retailer with a backup network should a store network ever go down.  Great idea and cool technology!

Another product which we use here at Electronic Art that was seen at DSE is LogMeIn.  This remote management tool goes way beyond remote desktop or VNC.  It provides a unique web based remoting tool that enables providers such as ourselves to help maintain remote systems, do file transfers, remote printing and even mini-meetings like WebEX.  The new product from them that I like is the LogMeIn Embedded product.  It supports the Windows XP Embedded OS found on many kiosks and digital signage players, and enables a one-to-many centralized management interface that can allow us to work in the background while users are still interacting with Kiosks or signage.  All with an 256-bit SSL encryption.  This tool is awesome.

GestureTek was back this year showing off their multi-touch table hardware.  This is similar to Microsoft Surface and their product along with many others are starting to show up in retail and hospitality.  While I liked the hardware and overall concept, the WW2 Tank game they showcased didn’t respond very well.  I was disappointed in the multi-user game that wouldn’t allow me to change direction of the tank.  Not sure why, but I’m sure it was due to being in a trade show environment.  Things go wrong.   But GestureTek has been around for a long time. I first saw them at a kiosk show in Orlando back in 2004 where they showed off the AirPoint system.  It’s good to see they are still in the marketplace and innovating.

Tek Panel touch LCDAt Electronic Art we offer a lot of commercial LCD screen options, and each were present at the show such as LG, Samsung, Phillips, and more.  But a unique screen provider that we really like is Tek Panel.  They have military grade screens with built in player PC’s and are available with touch screens.  We are big proponents of interactive digital signage to allow your customers to touch your digital signage and be ultimately measurable.  Their new thin bezel hardware enables us to give you an all-in-one signage solution much like our IBM AnyPlace kiosks are an all-in-one kiosk system.  Too often with other screens we have to have a touch overlay put onto a client’s screen, but this system is ready to go out of the box and makes for a really clean installation.  Contact us for pricing.

Outdoor digital signageWe also saw our new large format outdoor signage hardware at the show.  Symbicon is based in Finland and makes a really nice system with built-in HVAC to keep the enclosure warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  It is water tight with built in PC and great for retail, ski resorts and more.  This sign is impressive and built to take the brutal outdoor environment that most signs just cannot live in.  Contact our sales staff for an introduction and pricing.

A much smaller screen that we liked is the AdView DM10i Smart Sign.  This retail onshelf player allows for a low cost and easy to deploy video player.  We really like the 10.4″ LCD display and multi-level drill down menus to select up to 80 different video files. It supports Mpeg, Jpeg and MP3 file formats and has a replaceable custom frame.  It even records which keys were pressed most and can export to a USB format in Excel format for a simple reporting interface.  Let us know if you’d like a demo of this really nice retail shelf talk solution.

One of my favorite items was the projection touch signage from Brain.  This film enables us to project either traditional passive content onto a glass storefront window, or provide an interactive touch film to the window to allow guests to search through interactive catalogs after hours, view specials and coupons, or play a branded game.  All through the exterior of the glass, though the film is applied to the inside of the glass.   They were showing that even with a low cost project ($600) you can get a good quality projection onto their product.  Even better with a higher quality projector, obviously, but the projectors they used were great. This is also a way to enable a multi-touch screen as described above for GestureTek.  But this enables us to fabricate a custom enclosure or simply use your existing window and contour cut the film to any shape you like.  In many ways it is better than a plasma screen! It is available in up to a 145″ diagonal size, as a wide viewing angle and is even good in high ambient light environments.  We were so impressed that we are setting up a reseller relationship to begin to offer this product to your company.

touch windows

I enjoyed catching up with some old friends so I’ll give a shout out to Ed Crowley formerly of 5Point now with OneSource, Dick Trask formerly of Scala now with StarMount,  Linda Hofflander of Wireless Ronin, Tom Nix of Dynamax, Mike Honkomp formerly with ESP now with DigiKomp, Bill Gerba & Michael Smith at Wirespring,  Jimmy Dun of DynaSign, Bob Fincher and all of the guys at Networld Alliance, and Margo Meyers formerly with the USPS and now consulting in our industry. She is a great resource and has been on the user side of interactive for years.  I enjoyed my time with each of you, even those of you who are my competitors.   It’s good to see a class act like you helping to grow our industry.

Snow Emergency in Cincinnati

With the large snowfall overnight, our staff are working from home except for a few brave souls who really wanted to test out their new snow tires. Client’s calling our main number will get the after hours message and voicemail company directory. Email is still the best way to reach us during the next day or so as we get through this snow storm. You can also use our contact form on this web site.
Speaking of snow, on a recent trip to Whistler BC I saw an interesting kiosk that relates to it’s environment. The kiosk was built into a Snowboard. The snowboard kiosk was in the customer relations office where you get your lift ticket issues resolved. The kiosk gave you pass information by scanning your season pass. This illustrates the point that a kiosk should be fun and unexpected. Using something specific to your business is a good way to customize the kiosk hardware and experience.
Please pardon the quality of the image as it was taken with a cell phone. My hands were cold… brrr.

A kiosk is often fun and unexpected such as this snowboard kiosk

A kiosk is often fun and unexpected such as this snowboard kiosk

Tactile Keyboard versus Onscreen Keyboard

The debate continues, should I use an onscreen keyboard and save myself some hardware costs and have fewer things that can go wrong with my kiosk or interactive digital signage? The answer is: “Sometimes”.
I’ve covered this topic in the past on my Kiosk Blog   and now you can watch a video interview of me discussing the topic at the KioskCom NYC 2008 trade show by going to http://www.selfservice.org where I am featured on the homepage, or the direct link to the article is at: http://www.selfservice.org/article_4457_25.php

Have a comment on this topic? Post it below or at SelfService.org’s site.