D2 Sales creates custom kiosks

The visual projects that Mequon-based D2 Sales LLC creates tend to be larger than life, according to founder and chief executive officer Sandy Nix.

The small firm that, established in 2002, once consisted of only Nix and a rented single office space currently operates in a 20,000-square-foot facility and does business with clients such as Yahoo!, Home Depot and Burger King on a national scale. 

D2 Sales LLC, located at 6000 W. Executive Drive in Mequon, designs, produces, installs and supports custom-made interactive kiosks and digital signage for their clients.

“Our clients tend to be large companies that are extremely brand focused and place a significant amount of importance on their brand and their image with their clients,” said Nix.    

According to Nix, the product designed should be an extension of the client’s brand. To express that point and force the client to begin thinking outside of the box, D2 designed a kiosk for themselves called the Tree of Knowledge.

“I designed it when I started the business to make a point that a kiosk doesn’t have to be a box,” Nix said. “In our industry kiosks tend to be variations of the ATM theme; a big metal box that lends itself well to easy production.”

The Tree of Knowledge features all the same components of a typical kiosk: a computer, speakers and a touch screen, but visually tells an interesting story of the brand. The kiosk itself looks like a tree, with a very narrow base and the components of the kiosk nestled in the “branches.”

The philosophy of D2, according to Nix, is that a kiosk should be whatever the brand and image call for. It should integrate seamlessly with the content, provide one consistent message, and appropriately set the expectations of the user as they approach it, she said.

“The tree has been designed in such a way that the aesthetic and the technology complement each other.”  

Each client goes through the same process with a D2 team. D2 employees first sit down with a client and define what the business case is and what the goals for success are.

“Once we know what that company’s goals for success are, we can design and build to that,” said Nix. “We work with our clients on a very collaborative basis, and the process usually defines the solution.”

The D2 team goes through the discussion process and follows up with a design for the unit, the production of a pilot for the unit, and then production for the field. They handle integrating the units with the company’s current systems. They also offer field maintenance and help desk services for the lifetime of the product.

“We continue to partner with the client as long as the units are in the field,” said Nix. “Every help desk service we offer is locally staffed by our own individuals in-house at our own facility. We think that is a very important component of the premium level service that we offer to our clients.”

From that point on, the relationship between D2 and the company becomes an ongoing and evolving one, said Nix. The goal of D2 is to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“Our goal, because the process is so complicated and demanding, is to do the heavy lifting for our clients,” said Nix.  “We provide them with an extension of their own staff, through our internal team, so we can implement their vision the way that they want it executed.” 

Since its establishment in 2002, D2 has created kiosks and digital signage for big name companies.

In 2003, D2 did a project for Yahoo! Inc. that featured a series of interactive bus shelters and way finding devices placed throughout downtown metropolitan areas in California. The stations featured 42-inch plasma screens, computers with broadband, and printers in an unprotected open weather environment. The following year, they did another project for Yahoo! that consisted of a store within a store.

Another larger-then-life project came when Palm Inc., developed the Treo 380 smart phone. D2 sales essentially created a larger then life digital sign on the side of a building in Times Square. According to Nix, the D2 team faced many challenges because they had to wrap the entire building in signage and install the product over the top of a subway platform.

Joining kiosk projects for Burger King and Home Depot is D2’s newest project. The My Patient Passport Express is one of the only stock option kiosks available at D2 and did not start out that way.

“Two and half years ago, we met with some people in the health care industry and a health care software provider, and determined that there were some challenges being unanswered in regards to registration and check in processes,” said Nix.

According to Nix, D2 went through the process and came up with a custom solution for health care registration.

“We realized, after providing it to a small number of health care providers, that there were applications for this product throughout the health care industry.”

The kiosk allows patients to check in for appointments, update medical records, and make co-payments in a quicker and more private manner than dealing with the hospital front desk. According to Nix it also allows for medical workers to provide better care and assistance to those with special needs and circumstances. 

The My Patient Passport Express is, according to Nix, the fastest deploying product of D2 and has the potential to be the biggest product in numbers as well. 

“We currently have 38 hospitals in pilot or with full installations of the My Patient Passport Express across the U.S, and another 30 or so slated for 2009,” said Nix.

Prior to establishing the company, Nix previously served as vice president for a point-of-purchase company and, according to her, was interested in how technology could take branding and a company to the next step.

“I started D2 in order to offer not only technology based display that would provide an interactive experience but to also provide a full customer support from beginning to end of project,” Nix said. “I didn’t just want to be another production company.”

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