A non-profit association in California promotes bingo games that provide much-needed funding for dozens of charities. The association runs a bingo hall that hosts both paper and e-bingo games seven days a week, primarily benefitting local athletic boosters and a seniors’ club.
Because the hall is so active, the people who run the hall were constantly changing and rewriting the cardboard ticket information signs for the different clubs and games—a tedious, time-consuming task. The president of the association knew there had to be a better way and thought technology was the answer. This led him to contact Kevin Wall of Sound Environments, a local company specializing in home theaters, lighting, sound systems, and more.
In the spring of 2009, Mr. Wall received a Black Box® Digital Signage Solutions catalog. Familiar with digital signage, Mr. Wall was impressed with the capabilities and affordability of the iCOMPEL™ system featured in the catalog. Two days later, the president of the bingo association called.
Mr. Wall toured the bingo hall and learned how much time the people at the association spent making and changing cardboard signs and posting them. The president of the association wanted Mr. Wall to set up an automated slide show that he could run on a laptop. While that was a do-able option, Mr. Wall suggested a much more flexible and entertaining solution—iCOMPEL digital signage.
He explained how digital signage content (ticket information for the different groups) could be loaded and scheduled into the iCOMPEL system depending on the day, the time, and the group.
“I really liked the flexibility of the iCOMPEL system,” explains Mr. Wall. “It has multiple zones and if I want to add live feeds, local news, the time, etc., I can. This was my first experience with Black Box but not my first with digital signage. So I called Tech Support before we bought the system to make sure it would do what we wanted. And it does.”
Visually entertaining and a money maker
The original plan included six 26" monitors mounted around the hall to display game information. Soon 6 monitors became 10 monitors. Then, as Mr. Wall was installing security cameras, the idea came up to install cameras for live feeds of the bingo blower so patrons could see the ball capture.
That led to another 12 monitors mounted around the hall, for a total of 22. The reaction so far has been tremendous. “It’s visual entertainment,” says Mr. Wall.
As the president of the association became more familiar with the system, he saw another way to put iCOMPEL to work for him. He contracted local businesses to run monthly sponsorship ads on the system. This enabled him to expand the system from one iCOMPEL unit to three units. Now, he can run three sets of ads concurrently around the room on different monitors, show the live ball capture, and the game information.
Autopilot, easy operation, and unexpected benefits
Mr. Wall set up the iCOMPEL system so that association personnel could just flip a switch on the weekends, their busiest time, and iCOMPEL would run automatically.
”The weekends are basically on autopilot,” says Mr. Wall. ”Everything is locked up, so all the bingo operators have to do is push a button.”
During the week, a graphic designer at the association, takes care of content management. After receiving some initial training, ”She picked it up right out of the box,” said Mr. Wall. ”If she has questions, she just calls Black Box Tech Support and gets the answers.”
Patron reaction to the iCOMPEL system has been so good that the association is planning to expand it into another room at the hall.
While iCOMPEL accomplished its original mission of saving time, it has also brought about two unexpected benefits. The first is the technical modernization and visual enhancement in the bingo hall. The second is a new revenue stream the association would have never had with a laptop slide show.