LiveTitles is a complex product that I designed and engineered to be completely simple for the end user. But vital to the adoption of the product and growth of the company is an experience tailored to many different groups of users that have very different goals.
It was important to design beyond just the system for end users but also design a platform so the product could be scaled and sold to other venues in need of providing accessibility products.
In order to have a large reach and wide scale roll out of the product, I realized I would have to team up with vendors of A/V systems, that further employ sales agents.
So I designed and built internal tools to serve these different use cases.
For example, when a sales rep makes an on-site sales call to a venue’s physical location, I wanted to enable the salesperson to easily demonstrate exactly how the product works. Also, maybe a potential buyer walks into a vendor’s showroom, and there needs to be a LiveTitles model on display. These are the type of ideas I consider when building a product and scaling a company around it.
A quick, clear demo that can show a potential buyer exactly how the product works and clearly convey the value – show rather than tell – makes all the difference.
I envisioned a portable version of the LiveTitles system to be able to be brought with a salesperson on a sales call, to give a live, real-time demo along with a sense of what the product would look like installed in their venue.
Here’s what that completed hardware demo box looks like:
A completely portable model of what can be installed on the back of chair or an appropriate location in a venue.
This was an engineering feat, complete with hardware that comes with a built in WiFi hotspot, and a high capacity onboard battery keeping the unit alive for hours at a time before recharging via USB..
Importantly, I needed to design ancillary software that would compliment this physical demo unit and allow the sales person to easily create a product demonstration, personalized to the potential buyer.
Since this is just a demo of the audio system, I wanted to enable the sales person to recreate the exact experience of what it would be like to actually be seeing the LiveTitles system live with all the product’s transcription services working properly.
I’ve learned through years of experience that building different types of service Apps that empower sales people and make their job easier is the one of the best things that can be done for them, and in fact critical to a growth strategy in a company that relies on outside sales.
I don’t expect sales people to be tech geniuses. They probably shouldn’t be. They should be able to work technology with confidence, but they’re hired to be experts at demonstrating the product and closing deals, not handling complex IT tasks. Sales people are experts at selling and the best sales people make the process so natural that it doesn’t even feel like a “sale” to the buyer.
So showing a vendor how easy the system is to operate is a differentiator in and of itself.
Therefore, designed an App that replicates the functionality of a house audio system right on the salesperson’s smartphone. With this App, they can speak into the Mic on the phone (like speakerphone) and have the spoken word transcribed and appear on the demo unit screen in real time. This is the ultimate product demonstration. “Look how easy this is” and in a split second, the prospect just “gets it.”
This is what the smartphone App looks like:
The product is already impactful, but the demo has to be EASY. Works on Android and iOS, allows the salesperson to select the type of venue, select a pre-scripted event to show the swipe functionality, and only 2 buttons, a “Push-to-Talk” button that streams spoken word to the server, and a Clear Screens button to set all screens to blank. It also includes a viewer of a 1-to-1 mirror of the text that is appearing on the Demo Unit and iPad screens.
To be clear, the audio is not being transcribed on the phone in this demo scenario. The phone is acting as an audio server analogous to the hardware that would be connected to the venues house audio system and network to send audio to a firebase server for transcription service. The finished transcription is then rocketed back to the displays.
But I also wanted the demonstration to be a little more personal. I always push for that extra “wow factor.” Let’s really sell this thing.
So I designed and implemented an interface to allow sales people to easily set personalized screen saver slideshow images just for the venue where they are making a sales call and even preload a custom script perfectly personalized to aid in the demonstration for the venue. Sales call at a performing arts center? No problem, let’s set an image of their interior as the screen saver and let’s load up part of the script for one of their recent productions. Hamilton next month? Let’s load it in.
Once they’re on site, they just open the demo box, open the phone on their App, hand the iPad controller to the prospect and boom, seeing is believing. A portable unit with all the power of a full fledged system.