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Custom Design and Manufacturing is Easier Than You Think
A Retail Case Study - int-AR-act
When int-AR-act needed a partner to create a customer queue management system, they turned to Black Diamond Solutions and we delivered. Our process - rapidly design a prototype, test it in-store, and build the final products. In fact, over 10,000 products were delivered to their deadline just to start.
Queue management systems move shoppers efficiently through a bank-style checkout lane. To be effective, they need to be robust and reliable, or they create more confusion than guidance.
"Our research quickly revealed that there were huge opportunities to improve upon the existing products," said Tucker McLane, President and CEO of Black Diamond Solutions. "Most retailers were using systems that relied on re-purposed garage door openers which often broke from heavy usage, needed batteries replaced regularly, and were easily lost. Furthermore, the systems serviced only a limited amount of cash registers and the indicator lights looked like they were designed in the 90's."
A customer 'call forward' system has three elements - a button for the cashier to push, a register number indicator, and a processor that ties it all together. With the bar set, we set off to create a better system.
The main processor selection was easy: "The reliability of an embedded PC is poor, its presentation capabilities limited, and its cybersecurity concerns prevent it from being used on a retailer's in-store internet," said Leo Iodice, Chief Technology Officer at Black Diamond Solutions. "So there was no question that we would use BrightSign. Coupled with function-dedicated, internet-secure Linux OS and customizable video presentation, the BrightSign creates a compelling visual presentation. It is easily updated over a retail store's networks and has the highest reliability of any product of its kind."
Next, the register number needed to be redesigned. This is one of the products the customer sees so it is important for it to look contemporary. Using RGB LEDs we created a light source for the register number display to work inside int-AR-act's position indicator. They can be programmed to block or hold any color in the rainbow.
Using a proximity detector, we created the perfect button for the system. It senses a person's finger with no moving parts for a very, very long life. We integrated that with a transmitter so the buttons can signal the controller wirelessly for easier installation and added dedicated power so that no batteries were required.
"That's the kind of change you can make if you have the ability to develop and manufacture from scratch," said Tucker.
The Q-buster system, driven by technology that was previously unavailable in the queue management marketplace, is currently in place in over 1500 stores and will be implemented in more than 3000 North American stores by early 2018.