Project: ComQi & CTM’s Ettractions.com ExploreBoardBrief overview of the project/technology:
Client: CTM Media Group Inc.
Submitted by: ComQi
CTM’s core business is providing place-based advertising through brochure distribution in over 11,000 locations throughout North America. CTM also provides a trip-planning website that reaches the tourist and traveler with information prior to reaching their destination, called ettractions.com.
CTM needed to find a way to combine the immediacy and depth of its online digital platform with the in-market benefits of its place based advertising channel. A cutting-edge, modern solution was necessary, complete with a “wow” coolness that also functioned in a simple, fast way that was appropriate for an audience that was looking to go enjoy their trip. This solution would increase reach to its younger “digital” demographic traveler as well as provide solutions for upscale, forward-thinking hotels and tourism-based locations looking to enhance their guest services.
ComQi & CTM’s Ettractions.com ExploreBoard provides a sleek, modern, state-of-the-art digital capability that enhances a visitor’s perception of the location, whether that is a hotel lobby, airport, visitor center, or retail environment. In addition, the solution has proven popular with the travel and tourism consumer. It has quickly become a fun and informative way to browse the many sights and services available within a particular area.
The touch screen solution is deployed in locations targeted to reach the traveler and tourist: hotels, attractions, transportation centers, and consumer retail outlets. The ExploreBoard is placed within these locations where there is the greatest opportunity for interaction with the traveler seeking out information about where to go, what to see, and what to do.
Objectives of the deployment or the technology:
CTM saw how the use of location-based digital technology could help create a new visitor experience that was meaningful and enjoyable. Further, they understood the benefits to their advertising clients of providing content that could be updated remotely on a daily basis, allowing them to highlight special offers, changes in exhibits or productions, or new items on their menu. As the advertiser is able to deliver more up-to-date information, the consumer is better able to make their choices of what to do.
The first objective and challenge was to devise a digital solution that delivers the primary benefits of the traditional brochure-based solution. The digital solution should appear as comfortable and familiar as brochures. It should be as intuitive and easy to use as simply selecting the appropriate brochure. Most importantly: the information provided by the system should be as portable as a brochure, allowing a guest or visitor to take it with them.
The second objective was to respond to the growing sophistication of consumers. Cell phones and tablets, for example, now routinely feature a touch screen interface, and this is, for many, the preferred way of interacting with technology.
The third objective was to create an appropriate linkage between the kiosk user interface and CTM’s digitally stored content. The content needed to be presented logically and intuitively in order to allow the user to explore quickly and in depth.
The main content screen would have to provide as much content as possible without becoming overwhelming and cluttered. Each profile would include further details including: pictures, video, descriptions, map, hours of operation, contact and booking information. The entire advertiser’s information could then be transmitted to the user’s mobile device via email or a mobile tag, allowing the consumer to take the information with them.
Results achieved relative to the objectives:
The objectives of reaching familiarity and accessibility were reached in the overall system design, making extensive use of Flash to create a user interface that was welcoming, and ensuring that the available content was presented logically and clearly such that a user could readily identify how to access the desired information.
The objective of the inherent portability of brochure-based information was addressed with the provision of the ability to have information sent from the CTM system as an SMS or email to the user’s cell phone or other portable electronic device. Responding to the challenge of how consumers increasingly prefer to interact with information was achieved with the use of 42” NEC display screens with a touch screen capability.
We also reached our objective of linking the user with CTM’s extensive information database by taking advantage of the unique flexibility of the API (Application Programming Interface) of Engage – ComQi’s digital signage content management system – that allowed the rapid development of a fast communication channel between the screen and the content database. ComQi provided extensive consulting to CTM in both the development of the Flash-based user interface and in the use of the Engage API.
The solution developed by CTM known as the Ettraction ExploreBoard Touch Screen has delivered on all of CTM’s objectives. It has been installed in 50 locations, with a total of 80 installations expected by the end of the year. The solution is deployed in kiosks in the high traffic lobbies of the major hotels in key cities - such as the Sheraton in Toronto and the Midway Airport Chicago - providing a state-of-the-art digital capability that enhances both the lobby area and guest perception of the quality of the hotel. Guest information is now provided in a highly intuitive, accessible form, personalized to each user, and is relevant, up-to-date and engaging and provides a highly viable alternative to brochure-based content.
Size and geographic location(s) of the deployment:
Ettraction ExploreBoard Touch Screen has been installed in 50 locations, with a total of 80 installations expected by the end of the year. It is in multiple cities all east of the Mississippi in major markets such as Toronto, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and more. It is a rolling deployment with up to 50 installations and the potential network size is 300 plus.
|Stuart Armstrong of ComQi accepts the award from Janet Webster, DSA EVP - Self-Service Kiosks.
Selected judges’ comments:
- This is a good kiosk. The large format display is an excellent way to allow multiple ways to display a lot of information and still give an easy to use interface. This kiosk takes all of the standard print attraction capabilities and adds features and functions to make it more relevant all while giving the user multiple options on how to receive the data. The digital connection gives this unit the capability to update and add new information or specific data and deals. Good work!
- This kiosk certainly appeals to the consumers' every changing desire to view things electronically and interact with information. What a great way to ensure you're not missing any points of interest while you are traveling.
- Great addition to support concierge services. Nice use of technology.
- This looks to be a great user experience - both with the UI and the accessibility of information on your phone. Every port or resort destination should have this unit.
- If I were a concierge, I'd be worried about my job. This is a wonderful 24/7 solution for busy travelers and hotel guests. I believe CTM Media is correct when they say this will appeal to a younger demographic, but I also think older folks will appreciate it. It is visually appealing - and the consumer doesn't have to wait in line for the concierge to give them his/her attention. I like the concept and will look for the units in my travels.