I’m always surprised by who I spend the most time with at shows like InfoComm.
I can say ‘always’ because out of the one whole InfoComm show I’ve been to yet in my budding career, I’ve been surprised one full time. That’s 100%.
Many things were new to me at InfoComm, but the biggest surprises were the people I met who I hadn’t scheduled meetings with, the companies that impressed me that I’d underestimated, and above all, the amount of time I spent talking to one CEO of a small company I’d never heard of.
That small company is called iSIGN Media Solutions. Easy to get lost in the mumbo jumbo of company names that sound similar, and even easier to be skipped over on the ever-busy tradeshow floor, iSIGN did not stand out to me right away. But I was drawn into the booth by a friendly face and two very interesting looking gadgets.
Alex Romanov is the CEO of iSIGN. He welcomed me with a tempting chair and the undivided attention that is rare to get at such a bustling show, especially from a CEO. Instead of immediately pushing the products, he told an eloquent and captivating tale of the history of the company, and how they are trying to change the nature of commercial advertising.
You know we’re in the midst of a shift in traditional advertising practices. I know it. iSIGN CEO Alex Romanov knows it, and is ready on the forefront of the revolution. Today’s advertising and marketing landscape is riddled with iPhones, social media, targeted ad campaigns, and more data than we know what to do with. And the commercial integration market is brimming with technologies we can apply to this landscape. Think about it—we’ve got digital signage hardware and software, mobile platforms, remote network management… the possibilities may in fact be endless.
Enter iSIGN Media Solutions. A Canadian company, iSIGN manufactures interactive mobile advertising solutions designed to serve advertisers, manufacturers, retailers and advertising agencies. The company’s newest products are called the Smart Player and Smart Antenna.
No longer than a foot in size, the Smart Player’s purpose is twofold. iSIGN’s recently patented software enables the Smart Player to manage content on up to two digital signs while also delivering messages to mobile devices in proximity to the Player.
What? That’s what I said. No, you don’t have to install an app on your phone in order to receive the messages. The Smart Player doesn’t need your telephone number, name, or email address. It is designed to achieve the highest level of privacy possible while still communicating directly with a customer. All it needs is your cell phone’s MAC (Media Access Control) address, which it registers when both Bluetooth and WiFi are turned on. When you connect with the Player’s WiFi network and launch a web browser, you receive a message.
Romanov had me try it out. “Want a chocolate bar?” Yes, of course. He tells me to go stand a little ways outside the booth. Within minutes I receive a message with a coupon for a free chocolate bar, which I received upon returning to the booth. Delicious.
What does this mean? Let’s say one of your clients is a retail store at a mall. When customers walk by, the store can push a message out to their cell phones advertising a sale at that store. 50% off jeans, ten cents off every gallon of gas. Advertising works best when users are in close proximity of the product, says Romanov.