Kaon Launches Free COVID-19 Space Planning Tool to Help Small Businesses

Kaon Interactive COVID-19 Space Planning Tool for Small to Medium Businesses (SMB)

Yesterday, Kaon launched a free space planning tool based on our widely used enterprise lab and space configuration tool. This application is designed to help small and medium businesses around the world reopen safely while following internationally recommended physical distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Current space planning methods include manual (paper) approaches, tape measures and paid software. However, due to the rapid evolution of guidelines worldwide for reopening restaurants, bars, gyms, offices, schools, and other public-facing organizations, owners and managers need a more agile tool that allows them to adapt quickly to new and shifting guidelines and government requirements. 

According to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey, as businesses begin to make adaptations, including requiring six feet of distance, more than six in 10 (62%) are concerned about the risks the virus poses to their employees and customers. 

In response, we have built a first-of-its-kind interactive tool for COVID-19 space planning that uses the power of the Kaon platform and 3D technology to design and visualize floor-plan configurations to implement safe distancing. 

The user-friendly Kaon COVID-19 Space Planning Tool enables users to start with their business’ exact floor plan and square footage. Once the floor plan has been established, unmovable features (such as walls, windows, doors, fixed furniture, etc.) and furnishings may be added from a library of objects using a simple drag-and-drop action. Objects that indicate the presence of a person (e.g. a chair in a restaurant, or a floor decal indicating where people should stand in line in a store) automatically flag to the user when they are closer than six feet apart. Once completed, the 2D floor plan can transition to 3D immersive and interactive experiences at the touch of a button. 

This space planning tool also can demonstrate space evolutions by comparing existing and new layouts, allowing users to easily scale capacity up or down. Various versions of floor plans can be saved and shared with multiple constituents for review and validation. 

Start planning now! Try the free Kaon COVID-19 Space Planning Tool yourself. And contact us with any questions or inquiries.

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Increasing Demand for Kaon’s Digital Customer Engagement Platform Results in Significant Team Growth

The shift to exclusively virtual business interactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the need and demand for digital sales and marketing customer engagement solutions, like those offered by Kaon Interactive, that are agile enough to remain relevant in the post-COVID-19 era. This acceleration, as well as a strategic company expansion into Europe, mandated the growth of our Kaon team.

Keep reading to meet the those who joined us in 2020, and check back on this post as we continue to grow our Kaon family!

Thomas Scheerder | Senior Director of Strategic Accounts, Europe

Thomas Scheerder, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Since the beginning of his career, Thomas has worked in international B2B sales within the exhibition/interior design, telecommunications, and meeting/event/congress industries. This work has sent him around the world searching for prospects and new clients. He strongly believes that when the product or service is good, people should listen to his story so as to not miss out on a beneficial opportunity. Thomas is of Dutch nationality, meaning that he is a straight-forward guy who speaks directly and will help his customers, whenever needed, during the buying process.

Thomas will be overseeing European business for Kaon Interactive, based in Amsterdam. He is looking forward to interacting with Kaon clients and prospects in Europe and prospects.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

I feel privileged to start up the European division, together with a great set of colleagues on the other side of the ocean.

Michael Guillemette | Applications Software Developer

Michael Guillemette, Kaon Interactive Applications Software Developer

Michael joined the Kaon application development team at the beginning of the year. He is excited to be working alongside such an exemplary group of programmers to create compelling, useful and performant applications. With a background in customer-facing roles and experience working as a graphic designer, he strives to bring thoughtful, creative energy to each project with a focus on client success. 

Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending time on a variety of hobbies, including gaming, cooking and running. Having completed his first half marathon at the age of 29, he hopes to finish a marathon in the next five years. 

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

My favorite part about the culture at Kaon is the incredible support that exudes from all parts of the organization, from management to the production team and beyond.

Mike Vasios | Applications Software Developer

Mike Vasios, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Michael hails from Arlington, MA, and joined Kaon’s application development team at the beginning of the year. His previous experience is a combination of roles in both front-end development and online retail. Mike’s favorite hobbies are traveling and exploring the great outdoors.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

The variety of projects and clientele keeps the work here far from monotonous. This is an outstanding learning environment for any front-end developer.

Hans Wernke | Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Hans Wernke, Vice President, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

After driving sales efforts at the interactive division of a large, international medical education agency for eight years, followed by another eight years doing the same at LA-based Inhance Digital (eight seems to be the magic number), Hans joined the Kaon sales team in January of this year. Hans has been closely involved in the sale and deployment of a broad range of interactive and immersive experiences for trade shows, briefing centers, trainings, and live events for companies such as GE Healthcare, Merck, FM Global, Honeywell, Otis, and Pratt & Whitney. Ultimately, he views it as his job to help clients tell their stories, engage their audiences, and make a meaningful, lasting impact. His aim is to always bring value to his clients, not just by delivering successful projects, but by being a source of strategic insights, new ideas, and inspiration.

Hans lives in Stamford, CT, with his wife, two boys (11 and 18), dog, and bearded dragon. Despite having lived in the U.S. for more 20 years, he is still a citizen of The Netherlands and never quite lost his love for Dutch fried food and soccer (or voetbal).

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

What I love most about Kaon is the incredible talent and collaborative spirit.

Paris Lopez| Applications Software Developer

Paris Lopez, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Beginning at Kaon as an intern, Paris started as a full-time application software developer in January. Along with the talented designers and project managers, she develops applications to the specifications of our clients.

Before joining the Kaon team, Paris attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

I love how everyone is kind, and they always have a positive attitude about each other and their work at Kaon.

Dana Polihovsky | Marketing Coordinator, Europe

Dana Polihovsky, Marketing Coordinator, Europe at Kaon Interactive

Having interned at Kaon since May 2019, Dana officially joined the team full-time in February as the marketing coordinator for Europe. She graduated from Bentley University in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a minor in law. Having lived in Russia, Israel, Spain, and the U.S., Dana is very excited to be able to combine her passion for global outreach with her marketing experience.

In college, Dana was an award-winning captain of the Moot Court team, competing nationally in legal oral argument. She also served as a writing center tutor and a first-year seminar peer leader, helping freshmen adjust to college in a class co-taught with a Bentley professor. She had the opportunity to teach a marketing class in Spanish, intern for a cryptocurrency company, and work for a non-profit in Barcelona, providing free education to children of low-income families.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

Jen (marketing colleague).

Charles Howard | Director, Strategic Accounts

Charles Howard, Director, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Joining the Kaon sales organization in the spring, Charles is an award-winning, creative business leader who has defined and managed the delivery of cross-platform digital media strategies, experiential design, 3D/VR/AR/MR, and more for Fortune 500 companies. He is ever excited by the challenge of finding a fresh approach to building an audience, forging stimulating client partnerships and enhancing the user experience.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

The thing I love most about working at Kaon is my connection with the people behind the amazing technology that we develop and deliver to our clients.

Brandon Lee | Director, Strategic Accounts

Brandon Lee, Director, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Prior to joining Kaon Interactive this spring, Brandon spent the past 20 years in various sales and leadership positions for global enterprise software companies such as PeopleSoft, SAP, Verizon, and JDA. During that time, he led sales teams in rapidly changing environments focusing on internet-enabled SaaS platforms and mobile and cloud computing, consistently exceeding goals. Brandon is recognized as a proven mentor, leader, and sales executive receiving numerous Chairman’s, President’s Club and Winner’s Circle achievements for exceeding sales revenue.

Marc McFatter | Applications Software Developer

Marc McFatter, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Marc graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a minor in interactive media and game development. He joined the Kaon team soon after as a front-end developer.

From Canton, MA, Marc has previously worked at Amadeus as a web development intern and at Cornerstone at Canton as an on-hands server and activities coordinator.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

I’ve only worked here a few months and, due to the pandemic, the work that I’ve done has all been remote. Despite all of my interactions with my co-workers being virtual, the sense of community at Kaon is palpable. Everyone I’ve worked with is kind, understanding, and friendly, and it makes me glad to be a part of it.

Sandra Velema-Hijnen | Executive Director, Head of Account Management, Europe

Sandra Velema-Hijnen, Executive Director, Head of Account Management, Europe

Sandra joined Kaon in July to support clients in Europe. She brings 14 years of business development, marketing and account management experience from working at international B2B companies. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in management from Stenden University, she held commercial roles in London, Dubai and Amsterdam. In her last position as head of business development, she had the opportunity to build a team responsible for sales, creative concept development, and marketing.

Sandra currently lives in The Netherlands, near Amsterdam, with her husband and nine-month-old daughter. She likes a challenge and helping clients with theirs in the field of sales, marketing, change, and strategy. Currently, she is enrolled in a part-time MBA program at Warwick Business School. And when that is all (semi)done, she enjoys a good glass of wine, playing tennis, reading, traveling sunny places, and skiing.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

I enjoy the team’s passion for the clients’ success, turning their strategy into reality! Their drive and diverse experiences make an environment in which there is something new to learn each day.

Sheila McNeil | Senior Director of Strategic Accounts

Sheila McNeil, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Sheila joined the Kaon sales organization in late August and brings with her more than 20 years of experience. Sheila started her career running her own business for a period of eight years, prior to moving into the technology industry. She has held a variety of positions including worldwide GM, senior enterprise sales director and director of the East region. In these roles, she had the opportunity to work for a variety of organizations from Silicon Valley startups — like PowerReviews and Punchtab — to established enterprises — including Asymetrix, Interwise, SAS, and Zift Solutions.

Sheila resides in the greater Boston area and enjoys international travel, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, dance classes, and spending time with family.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

What I love most about working at Kaon is the supportive culture and true collaborative working environment.

Rachel Mitchell | Director of Customer Success

Rachel Mitchell, Director of Customer Success at Kaon Interactive

In October, Rachel joined the marketing team at Kaon with more than 10 years of experience in various aspects of marketing and marketing research. She most recently held customer-facing roles as a consultant at Forrester Research and as the head of research at GreatBlue Research. Her focus in each role has been building and enhancing relationships, while delivering on expectations and developing talent. She has a knack for creating efficiencies and identifying growth opportunities.

Rachel holds a degree in marketing from Boston College and an MBA in accounting from Sacred Heart University.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

I love the warm welcome and the contagious spirit of collaboration and team.

Danielle Wilson | Project Manager

Danielle Wilson, Project Manager at Kaon Interactive

Prior to joining Kaon in October, Danielle spent more than 20 years working in a number of industries including consumer packaged goods, higher education, community banking, medical software and, most recently, retirement services. In these industries, she has held a number of different positions including project management, account management, and marketing, allowing her to build strong client relationships and manage projects with an eye toward the end user.

Danielle holds a degree in communications from Marist College and a MBA from Western New England University. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, watching her children play sports, and hiking with her family’s new dog, Maisey.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

I love to see an idea start from a client, combine that with the superb talent of the team and see a project come to life.

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Why You Need a 3D Product Strategy Post-COVID-19

Credit: Pixabay

When businesses reopen following the COVID-19 shutdowns, they have to adjust to new realities. While there’s a certain comfort in the idea that reopening is itself a return to normal, actual business practices are unlikely to be the same for some time yet. And one of the shifts we’re likely to see is that companies pitching products to one another may no longer be as able or willing to do so in person.

This is a point that’s being discussed frequently concerning B2C relationships. It’s expected that consumers won’t feel comfortable returning to places of business for some time, and, that when they do, companies will need to adjust to new safety needs. But in a sense, the same is true of B2B contact. With many inclined to avoid travel and in-person contact, companies will need to provide alternatives that both incentivize ongoing business and approximate ordinary practices safely.

The good news is that there are countless steps companies can take to address these issues. Among the most effective though is the implementation of a virtual 3D product strategy. This can mean a few different things, but, by and large, we’re referring to company efforts to preset their products via interactive 3D representations of materials or experiences. This can effectively allow businesses to continue pitching and assessing products, and there are several reasons it makes a significant difference in the current climate.

The Promise of Customer Experience

We mentioned above that businesses will need to provide something of an incentive to spur a return to ordinary activity. Primarily, this means making it abundantly clear that business can proceed without any risk to the health of anyone involved. Additionally, though, companies will need to make their counterparts in the business world want to interact again. There will have to be specific reasons to inch back toward normal, beyond the idea that things will have gotten somewhat safer.

Concerning the B2C issues alluded to above, one article about consumers’ return to brick-and-mortar stores took an interesting approach to solving this problem, making a comparison to Disneyland. The point was that yes, a person could purchase Mickey Mouse ears at Disneyland, but the real draw is the experience. It’s suggested that stores and shopping centers will need to mimic this principle. The draw to consumers has to be an experience, rather than just a store full of products.

This is something businesses should take to heart whether they’re dealing with consumers or other businesses. An interactive 3D product strategy can provide just the type of experience that brings some excitement to the idea of returning to normal. As an example, companies pitching products might be able to set up photo-realistic 3D product tours and augmented reality demonstrations that enable potential partners to interact with said products in a lifelike manner. Without the need to travel, meet in-person, or even handle a product (if it is something physical), businesses can exchange visuals, go over in-depth specifications, negotiate adjustments, and, ultimately, close deals. Specifics, of course, can vary greatly. But, with properly engaging 3D materials or applications, businesses can entice their potential partners by providing a whole new experience, as opposed to just something adequate within the new normal.

Increased Marketing and Sales Conversions

Looking beyond the clear need to coax potential partners back from the bizarre days of COVID-19, there’s also the simple fact that companies using interactive experiences are known to garner more attention – often with consumers, but with business counterparts as well. Online, for instance, interactive content can generate four-to-five times as many page views as static content. This means that 3D product tours, demonstrations and videos are more likely to engage potential partners than other types of static content.

B2B Website Session Duration Infographic

It’s also said that interactive experiences are more than 33% more effective at “educating buyers,” which can be the difference between generating a conversion or failing to do so. This can be the case both in-person and online. In either case, a prospective buyer, who may be out of the habit of meeting and assessing products or services in person, may come to learn about a given option and, ultimately, make a purchase.

We know that visually engaging and interactive applications lead to more conversions, and, with businesses of all kinds operating on tight margins in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to take advantage of this idea.

New Angles on Familiar Products

Presenting 3D product tours also allows businesses to present new angles on existing products. In other words, a 3D product can be used to explain or portray a new product in a way that people haven’t necessarily seen or considered before — thus making said product more interesting and potentially boosting appeal. Examples come to mind across industries.

Kaon application on MultiTaction iWall at Siemens
Using the Siemens 3D, interactive, solution storytelling application, created by Kaon Interactive, on MultiTaction’s iWall in one of Siemens’ boardrooms.

Where industrial projects are concerned, we know that related industries have gotten a boost from technologies like augmented and virtual reality. For instance, augmented reality plays a role in architecture already, in that it can help to present models of buildings or neighborhoods in realistic and interactive ways. From there, it’s not a big leap to consider how 3D representations of various industrial projects and designs can serve as all the material that related businesses need to make decisions. They’ll be able to see how the product or design at hand will look and operate within a given environment, all without any contact or in-person assessment.

In tech- and science-related sectors meanwhile, a greater focus on 3D product strategies may provide a new ability to look “inside” various items in a way that hasn’t been easy (or necessarily possible) in the past. To this point, it’s worth noting that 3D measuring in designer programs is already very much part of the process in electronics manufacturing. Engineers use software to plan and design circuit boards, processing chips, and the like, all to make devices capable of functioning the way we need and want them to. This is already a field in which in-depth 3D models are part of the process, and, with a deeper focus on 3D product strategy, some businesses could make those 3D models part of the sales pitch to prospective partners. Showing off how electronics work, and providing walkthroughs of visual representations of the design process, will make the actual devices seem that much more sophisticated and desirable.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Invitrogen Attune NxT Cytometer 3D Product Tour

Examples could go on, but it’s clear that while businesses focus on 3D strategies post-COVID-19, there may be frequent opportunities to make products more alluring through new angles and insights.

Low-Contact Customer Engagement

Perhaps the clearest benefit of implementing a 3D product strategy is that it will help with the transition to the new way of life we’re all facing. The low-contact economy is something that’s mentioned often about consumer-facing businesses, but the reality is that companies of all kinds will need to find ways to perform ordinary operations in new ways. While specific practices will vary from place to place, and between companies, businesses should generally expect a different kind of experience. There will be new office designs, new expectations for workforces, fewer in-person meetings, and new standards for the handling or exchange of physical products and material.

3D product showcases can’t address all of these needs, but it can certainly provide ways of interacting with products without any need for meetings, physical touch, or close contact of any kind. Other benefits include:

  • Increased access to hard-to-get products for virtual demonstrations
  • Putting customers in the driver’s seat to zoom/spin/animate products, increasing their knowledge retention
  • Significantly reduced product shipping costs at in-person events or sales meetings
  • Elevated customer engagements at virtual events, transferring enthusiasm

Using the example of electronic products discussed above, potential buyers could look through extensive 3D product catalogs to observe features without having to pass physical products back and forth. Considering industrial products, interactive 3D showcases can help businesses to negotiate and come to agreements without gathering at work sites or in factories or facilities.

Conclusion

Kaon Buyers Journey

In summary, 3D product strategies and showcases can help to address a lot of the needs businesses will have as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. These strategies can provide new experiences, boost conversions, show products in new and interesting ways, and help to minimize in-person contact. It will be fascinating to see the specific ways in which different businesses make use of these general concepts. But even the broad sense of what 3D presentations can do for businesses invites some post-COVID-19 hope.

Get started with your 3D product strategy here!

Article written by Claire Allen

Exclusively for kaon.com

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Explosive Growth and Opportunity Fuel Kaon’s European Expansion

Kaon-white-logo

Kaon Interactive, whose interactive sales and marketing applications are used in nearly 150 countries, has announced its expansion into Europe to strengthen the company’s partnerships with global B2B organizations. Kaon has appointed two new executives to help facilitate the EU expansion and has added leading European companies, such as Theo FÖRCH GmbH & Co. KG, as new clients.

“Based on our aggregated user data for digital sales and marketing applications, European companies saw precipitous declines in B2B sales activity immediately following their countries’ lockdown orders and did not make a swift transition to virtual selling environments. Many European companies are still struggling with developing and implementing strategies to adapt to a predominantly digital customer engagement model. This European expansion is an opportunity for Kaon to help enterprise customers thrive through and beyond this crisis,” said Gavin Finn, President & CEO at Kaon Interactive. 

One of Kaon’s innovative European clients, FÖRCH, was challenged to easily showcase the demand-and-consumption flexibility of their VARO shelving, storage, and rack solutions and  commissioned Kaon Interactive to both configure and visually lay out each customer solution.

“Prior to using the Kaon Interactive Space Planning Tool application, we were following standard industry practice in manually developing specifications and proposals to design systems configured within our customers’ environments,” said Alexander Emmert, Business Unit Manager Digital Business International at FÖRCH. “Today, we have automated much of that process, improving the customer’s solutions and dramatically reducing the sales cycle and customer lead time. The system automatically creates consistent visuals to represent a common and correct understanding between the customer, sales, our inventory system, all the way through delivery and installation. The pandemic has highlighted the value of this digital strategy, because the efficiencies and interactive nature of this application have brilliantly transformed our sellers’ ability to effectively engage customers and communicate complex product offerings. It is a game changer.”

To follow growing demand in Europe, Kaon made two new hires in the Netherlands:

Thomas Scheerder, senior directorThomas Scheerder, Senior Director, Strategic Accounts, has held various sales positions for emerging technology, event, and software companies.

Sandra Velema-Hijnen, Executive Director – Head of Account ManagementSandra Velema-Hijnen, Executive Director – Head of Account Management, is a highly effective sales and business development leader who has built a successful career in driving growth through B2B consultative partnerships with clients.

Kaon has seen a 55% increase in its application usage, highlighting the power of a digital transformation platform in today’s global climate, the importance of agility in business and customer engagement, and the need for a growth mindset in both short- and long-term business continuity planning. Kaon is excited to deliver continued growth and success for its clients through this European expansion.

Click here to learn more about these award-winning applications that can accelerate your marketing and sales efforts — virtually or face-to-face!

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