As I watched Apple's keynote introducing the iPad, late one night back in January, lights went on in my head. "These things will revolutionize our tradeshows and presentations; do you realize what we can do with this technology?!", I yelled to my sleeping wife. The disappointing news was that we would have to wait until April for the shipments. I quickly preordered three units and tried to go to sleep. The next day the idea was presented to the licensing and sales teams, who quickly embraced it with excitement. An amazing brainstorm session proceeded.
The iPads arrived as ordered and the art department began testing applications and busily loading them with our complete archive of nearly 100,000 images with over 300 artists. The iPads had no trouble with the amount of data storage, though problems began to occur with the application we were using and the amount of individual files the program could handle. Back and forth calls with the development company quickly escalated the issues to their VP. "We have never encountered anyone pushing the limits of our software as you are," explained the developers. We worked over a month with them as they added some enhancements; the software became more robust and we completed the transfer of our massive archive - just in time for the tradeshow season.
If you haven't been to our shows, Applejack traditionally reserves a three unit booth at the SURTEX show, one of the largest of spaces on the floor. We’d setup three tables and roll in three large carts containing our entire library of printed portfolios. The portfolios are used to show artwork to clients, artists, and manufacturers. The portfolios contain thumbnails of each image in our archive and the books are flipped through like a catalog. If you do the math you'll realize to hold our entire portfolio of artists, custom collections and some duplicate books you'll need over 10,000 pages! That’s quite a lot of printing, sorting, assembly and weight for our staff to carry around and this all comes at a cost as well. Because we have so much new content daily, the books were instantly outdated and completely obsolete by the next year.
The iPads completely replaced all of this in one fell swoop and made for a much better presentation! We no longer need the books, saving weeks of work for our art dept staff, saving transportation costs in renting a van for the heavy carts, and reducing our booth space to two units. Add the fact that the iPads can be updated by our staff while at the show means that the sales managers have the most up to date images.
The SURTEX show and the iPads were a complete success! We were one of the first companies at the show to feature this new technology and the feedback was amazing. I think Apple sales tripled overnight due to our showing (if only we had worked out a commission plan with Apple prior to the show...). By the next show, Licensing International, many other companies had adopted iPads to replace their technology and were showing their artwork and creations with the iPad. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.