David Little thinks less is more. Little, the director of business development at interactive digital signage systems maker and integrator Key West Technology, says its experience with two home builders suggests that builders can sell more efficiently if prospective buyers can access more information interactively in the model home.
To date, several Beazer Homes communities in Florida and Wichita, Kan., custom builder Randy Dean Construction have installed Key West’s MediaXtreme Media Server, a touchscreen interface on a 32-inch LCD flat-panel display, and custom content developed by DSX Media that lets buyers take 360-degree virtual tours of homes, print floor plans, and access the builders’ website, interactively and unassisted.
The proposition comes with a feature that the builders found hard to resist: DSX Media helped the builders sell ads on the interactive program to several of their vendors, including mortgage and title companies. Little says that the advertising covered the price of the interactive digital signage systems, which typically cost about $10,000 for a turnkey system, in less than a year.
The system is a hybrid that marries the playlist management and AV playback of a digital signage system with the interactivity of a digital kiosk. The digital sign plays a three-minute commercial for the builder followed by 30-second commercials for paid advertising until a prospective home buyer touches the screen. The system then shifts into kiosk mode so buyers can interactively retrieve the information they want.
“It’s been a great differentiating factor,” says Alan Beulah, sales manager for Beazer’s Florida division in Tampa. “If the new-home counselor is already working with a customer, the touchscreen can engage someone else waiting much better than magazines or brochures can.” Beazer currently has systems in two Tampa communities.