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Sunday, May 24, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Making a tablet best-of-show

Tablet computers such as the iPad and Playbook have revolutionized the way we access information, and a local Elmira company is looking to corner the market on how that information is made available to the public. The Armodilo tablet display stand has been called the world’s most versatile tablet kiosk system, and was designed specifically for the tradeshow and exhibit industry.

Launched in March, it has already garnered international attention as it captured the Buyers Choice Award for best new product at the EXHIBITOR2012 conference and exhibition held in Las Vegas.

“Tablet kiosks are still fairly new, so to get not only the wonderful feedback but to win an award on top of that was really cool,” said Armodilo founder and CEO Iles Guran, who moved to Elmira from Waterloo with his wife last May.

The Armodilo is an aluminum stand that can safely house a range of tablets, including the iPad 1,2 or 3, the Blackberry Playbook, Motorola Xoom and Samsung Tab. Their patent pending three-in-one design allows exhibitors to easily adjust the configuration to suit their requirements, easily transforming from a floor to a desktop or to a semi-permanent wall mount configuration.

The tablets can then be used to provide product information, sales data, slideshows, videos, or run whatever apps the user chooses.

It is available in two designs; the Armodilo(ex), which features the three-in-one capabilities along with a carrying case and retails for $1,049. The total package also weighs less than 15 kilograms, making transportation to and from tradeshows easy.

There second line is  called the Armodilo(rt) which offers consumers the choice of either the wall, floor or table-mounted version, and no carrying case. Prices range from $349 for the wall-mount to $549 for the free-standing model.

The units are also customized with a keyboard tray, graphic panels, a rotating head, and, in the near future, a card reader.

For Guran, who has 15 years of design and marketing experience, what initially started out as a side project for one of his clients has morphed into a business that now draws some 90 per cent of his time and energy.

“It was supposed to be a part-time thing, but we’ve gotten such a good response. We’re selling a lot of the units, and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I get to use my talents both as a designer and as a business owner and entrepreneur. I get to do the design, but also the marketing and branding of it, which I love.”

The units are made of aluminum, which allows the company to keep the kiosks lightweight as well as durable and recyclable. The colour is customizable, and then powder coated for a high quality, durable finish. Even the company’s name was chosen to convey a sense of strength and stability, drawing upon the armadillo and its famed armoured shell.

“We spent a lot of time going through prototyping and manufacturing processes to find the best materials and the way things assemble.”

The production is also kept local, with the units constructed just down the road in Waterloo. It may be slightly more expensive than producing them overseas, but by building them here in Waterloo Region Guran said he not only helps keep local jobs, but it allows him greater control over manufacturing process and any quality issues or concerns that might arise.

“I’m probably at the production plant every day looking at issues and whatever is going on.”

The CEO said that while kiosk systems may look like a very niche market at first, there are seemingly endless possibilities for the future of the product.

Despite only launching a few months ago the product has begun to garner interest from major companies across the continent, names that Guran cannot disclose at this time but includes major banks and business chains. With traditional information kiosks the overhead costs are enormous for the programming, engineering, installation, and eventual removal of the units. His units, however, provide all functionality of traditional systems, but with way more convenience and at a fraction of the price

“Every day we run into more clients that have ideas that we never even thought of. There’s, what, 500,000 apps in the app store? If you can think of it you can do it with this.”

For more information on the Armodilo tablet kiosk display, visit www.armodilo.com.

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