Anybody who has sold digital signage product and had conversations with brand marketers has probably had rent-versus-buy questions thrown at them from people who like what they saw, but only needed it for a few weeks, not a few years.
That’s stopped many projects and ideas in their tracks, because the options to rent a solution have been very, very limited.
That’s changing, at least in my neck of the woods. A company in Toronto called Big Digital does video walls and totems and related work for event marketers, and a different firm announced today it is offering a turnkey digital kiosk rental program.
IdeaLab Innovation Corp, also based in Toronto, is offering what it calls a complete solution that includes a wide variety of elegantly designed interactive, touchscreen kiosks that come with built-in Windows-based media players and integrated Wi-Fi and/or 4G LTE for connectivity.
The offer also rolls in a cloud-based content management system, as well as optional services such as creative, interactive programming and even digital printing to clad the enclosures in branded vinyl graphics. From what I see online, it appears the offer rolls in L Squared’s Hub platform (L Squared is also local to Toronto).
“We’ve really taken the time to get it right,” notes Chester Niziol, IdeaLab’s CEO. “We conducted thorough market research and undertook extensive business planning including consulting with industry experts and dealer partners on what the market was asking for. This helped shaped our total solution offering and informed the feature set integrated into our advanced digital kiosks systems.”
IdeaLab says it has been in beta mode since January 2015 working with select dealers to tweak the offering and ensure their end user needs were being fully addressed from technology, creative services and support standpoints.
The product range for networked, multi-touch interactive digital kiosks includes AC and battery-powered models ranging in size from 22-inch tablet-like kiosks to 46-inch free standing units.
“The response from our beta dealers to our complete cross-rental program has been tremendous,” says Rick Norris, IdeaLab’s head of business development.
The company has been working with Stephen Dorsey, well-known in Toronto signage circles through his own creative services firm. Dorsey helped shape the product strategy, as well as a new creative division called IdeaLab Studios. “IdeaLab’s complete technology and creative services offering within a cross rental program is a game-changer for dealers looking for an easy to position turnkey solution,” Dorsey suggests.
There’s a need out there, and I’ve said as much to Niziol, who has been doggedly building out a product line of interactive digital screens for many years. The really interesting stuff has been with screens that run just on batteries, as through a pile of R&D Niziol’s team has developed slick-looking big-screen fixtures that can be wheeled around retail and event areas and turned on to run for full days off internal Lithium batteries, and then get recharged overnight.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.