While Winnipeg, with its multi railroad lines, used to be known as the hub of Canada, it’s certainly not in one of Canada’s several technological hubs, so we are quite surprised seeing a Winnipeg-based company not only doing mobile and digital signage business on a significant international scale, but also getting ready to launch two new products, one of which Glenn Tinley, company owner and president believes will be a game changer in the industry.The company is Mexia , which is officially only 18 months old, although Tinley and his small team have been working on its various products for three years.
And while Mexia already has very up-to-date mobile products as well as digital signage on the market, it is its two new products that took our interest.
The first of these two products, unofficially named Sled (for Soft LED) is a thin, flexible and extremely light weight screen which tends to immediately bring to mind comparisons with NanoLumens screens. Mexia’s screens are about 1/2” thick, P7 for 5,000 nits brightness, waterproof and sealed for use in weather down to -40. Tinley foresees their use to replace static posters (allowing customers to save money by using existing frames) and believes his main customers will be shopping malls, pharmacies and large retailers.
“Everybody who has seen Sled wants it,” says Tinley. “We have one retailers ready to wrap columns with it as soon as it’s ready for launch.”
At the moment, Sled works with AOpen’s existing media player, but, says Tinley, Taipei-based AOpen  is working on developing a flexible, ultrathin media player that will eventually be used with Sled.
“We expect to launch Sled in association with AOpen at DSE,” says Tinley.
However, the product that Tinley expects will really be a game-changer is Mexia’s customer engagement platform: an integrated dashboard that will allow a company log in online and manage all its platforms and solutions – digital signage, social media, posters, mobile and apps – from the one dashboard.
“We getting ready to test it with one customer and plan to have it ready in 120 days,” says Tinley. ”It should be ready in Beta for DSE.”
Tinley’s personal background is in publishing, and he still publishes three local magazines from Studio Group Media, a separate company: Winnipeg Men, Winnipeg Women and Marketplace. These and the mobile products now offered and in use have helped finance the new products, but we expect that Mexia will be looking for additional investment if the demand brings on the fast growth expected.
“I’ve always been interested in technology,” Tinley told us during an interview in Montreal last week where he was meeting potential clients. “Everybody who has seen what we’ll be offering wants them, so the pressure is on.”
Most of Mexia’s mobile clients are in the U.S. where decisions are made quickly and he expects that that will be the same with his new products. “Canadians have this attitude of ‘Let me consider it,’ while Americans say, ‘I want it’ immediately,” he says.
Mexia also partners with AOpen for its players and with Dynasign , based in California’s Silicon Valley, for content for its digital signage. And it’s working with Moreless, Amsterdam, with aspects of its mobile offerings.
With Mexia’s mobile solutions, once a consumer has accepted that they want to receive offers, they can easily do so via Bluetooth or they can engage even further through the Mexia closed-loop WiFI hotspot that allows for additional content to be provided, and customized offers to be set up.
Within the data measurement component of the platform, Mexia uses Bluetooth to detect when a mobile device is in the vicinity of its antennae (up to 300ft) and establishes a connection with consumers mobile device, without collecting any private data. The system then measures dwell time and over time, frequency of visits.
The company offers a combination of Bluetooth technology combined with operating system independent mobile App experiences for smartphones and consumers. This means that a retailer, for example, can not only measure data and attract new business, it can also provide App like experiences that consumers want to engage with, and not incur the development costs and management of keeping up with multiple platforms, updates, phone upgrades and more. The App is 100% customized to the retailer’s brand and with its information, offers, promotions and loyalty program capabilities.
“Our system is hyper-local, location-based,” says Tinnley.
With the installation of Mexia’s system, it creates a ‘MEXIA Hotspot’ that allows for data gathering and consumer engagement within a flexible range of 10’-300’.
A competitive advantage to the Mexia platform is its ability to connect with up to 56 devices concurrently through Bluetooth in addition to 127 devices through the WiFi component. It can aldo cluster in order to provide concurrent connections in multiples of 56 Bluetooth/127 WiFi for large events or where large crowds are.
And Near Field Communications is next on Mexia’s list.
“We’ll have NFC by the end of 2012,” Tinnley says.
The company also offers kiosks, working with with RedDotNet , Vista, California, as a reseller.
“Watch us,” said Tinnley, heading for his flight back to Winnipeg where it was -40 degrees. “Mexia is coming out of the gate!”