LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA—Let’s face it: Meetings are an integral part of business, and that’s only increased as time has gone by. “In the 1960s, executives spent less than 10 hours per week in a meeting. Today, the average is 23. As more people are having more meetings, it’s clear that the market is looking for a simple way to organize and reserve conference rooms,” said Matej Zalar, CEO of Visionect, the force behind the plug-and-play signage concept and maker of Joan.
Joan is a meeting room booking solution that brings information to places where people need it most—right at the conference room door. In addition, it connects to all major digital calendars to display meeting information or customized content, such as wayfinding. Installing these e-paper tablets is fast and simple as their adhesive magnetic mounts attach to any surface—even glass.
As hotels continue to embrace sustainable efforts, Joan adds low-power technology to meeting and conference rooms in one solution. Business guests can book rooms for meetings without using a lot of energy, according to the company.
“Traditional digital signage solutions based on LCD or LED technology consume a significant amount of power,” said Zalar. “On top of that, these solutions do not complement the environment they are placed in. They are built to catch the eye, to emit light instead of reflecting it. Our eyes are used to processing natural, reflected light better than self-illuminated objects. That is why an alternative solution is needed.”
He added, “Conventional LED and LCD displays use 99% more power than our electronic paper solutions. Thanks to their low power consumption, Joan devices run for weeks on the amount of power it takes to brew a single cup of coffee. This allows Joan displays to be completely cordless and easily deployable with no invasive wiring, drilling or additional installation costs.”
Joan also sends a notification when the battery is low. The device can be recharged overnight and put back in its spot by the morning.
Zalar and his company are working with several global hotel brands, including Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Minor Hotels, Sonesta, Davidson Hotels & Resorts, IHG and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, to name a few.
Besides a reduction in energy usage, the Joan virtual assistant is informative and visible.
“Joan displays a room’s status and key meeting information right at the meeting room door. Meetings can be booked on the spot or reserved for later. Any meeting scheduled with Joan will also appear on the company calendar and vice versa,” he said. “You can also use the displays to show customized content such as wayfinding information, special offers or important announcements.”
What’s next for Joan? The team is readying to launch a series of software solutions that complement users’ existing audio-video equipment and tablets. According to Zalar, this means that users can use the software even if they have not bought the company’s e-paper devices.
“Joan on displays, for example, allows users to display Joan on smart TVs. This is a non-interactive solution and serves as a general information board with a list of current and upcoming meetings,” he said. “Alternatively, Joan on tablets is a spin on our real-time booking functionality. With this, you can use the same exact software we use for Joan 6 on your own tablet as well.”
He added, “Our client base is very strong. The core of our users still loves e-paper and that will never change. But when a company already invested a hefty amount of resources in new AV equipment, it’s hard to imagine they would be willing to spend some more on e-paper tablets. With Joan on displays and Joan on tablets, we would hope to reach out to these potential customers in a way that adds value to the equipment they already invested in.”