The inuksuk is an important part of Canada’s indigenous history. Placed throughout the Arctic, inuksuit were hunting and navigational aids, coordination points and messaging centres. Clearly, innovative wayfinding has been a part of humanity’s culture for centuries, but now it has evolved beyond what most people can imagine. Here to usher smart companies through signage and wayfinding’s latest revolution is a company so cutting edge it is not on the cusp of the future – it is the future.
DICExp is a boutique digital interactive media integrator with over 20 years of design, engineering, integration and fabrication experience, predominantly in the industrial sector and more recently, in the commercial, retail, and entertainment environments. “DICExp stands for digital integrated consumer experience,” says Brenda Purdie, senior director, digital market development.
“We create custom digital solutions that provide firstly a return on investment (ROI), and a return on objectives (ROO) and secondly, convenience. Our solutions work in virtually any environment. We can work with you at any stage design to engineer, integrate, manufacture and service our products, providing a complete service from conception to completion.”
DICExp is the Edmonton-based company that designed, fabricated and installed the interactive directories and wayfinding kiosks in West Edmonton Mall, where you, the consumer, can get your own personalized walking path to the store you are looking for by simply touching the screen.
“There is increasing demand for content-rich, consumer facing digital solutions within spaces that wish to inform, orient and captivate. Convenience, which is what these things provide us with, is the new currency. Whatever the environment: retail, hospitality, residential, franchise, institutional or educational, DICExp can provide a custom solution,” says Purdie. “In fact, we find people are unaware of the full breadth of technology that exists today and how it can really help their business, so we now offer in-house workshops to help our clients discover what they really want and need. From there, DICExp will integrate made-to-order digital solutions into their environment.”
“Digital technology evolves all the time, so we help companies discover and recognize what is possible. We are on it so you don’t have to be. It’s our expertise,” she continues. “We attend the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas, which is the world’s largest event, exclusively dedicated to showcasing the latest innovative digital displays and interactive technologies. Some of the displays are simply mind blowing! The next generation is transparent LED screens – see-through displays. It feels like sci-fi, but these technologies are real and you can be on the cusp of it.”
She notes how quickly futuristic digital technology is coming to Edmonton.
“We are in the early stages with several large scale projects in Edmonton, including working with an architect firm to develop a mixed-use residential and retail tower in Edmonton. DICExp will integrate the smart home technology that recognizes you when you walk through the door because of signals given off by your phone and keys. The building will know who you are. The elevator will take you right to your floor. That intuitive intelligence is the way of the future, and that is very exciting.”
Purdie urges innovative companies to be aware of their options so their forward-thinking competitors don’t overtake them and leave them in the age of printed phone directories and Eaton stores. Demand is driving the worldwide digital signage market, and it is expected to grow from approximately $20 billion (as it is today) to USD 33 billion by 2023.
Purdie says companies need to ask themselves, “How much, or how little, of this technology do we want? That’s the choice the customer has to make. We focus on the consumer experience because it’s not just our customer – it’s their customer. We partner with our clients to give their clients an exceptional experience. We have designed digital signage solutions that can sense and interact seamlessly with mobile devices in close proximity. Using AI equipped cameras, sensors, NFC and Bluetooth LE, a call-to-action, coupon, or incentive can be seamlessly moved to a smart phone.
“Talking to people about their projects is exciting. It’s a new frontier for most people. Our commitment to the collaborative design process allows us to get to know their company on an intimate level. That’s fulfilling. Seeing the final product up and running, delivering on the ROI and ROO, and seeing it doing what it’s supposed to do is very rewarding.”
While DICExp’s use of intuitive technology that blurs the lines between algorithm and AI is incredibly progressive, the structure of the company itself is also very enlightened.
DICExp is a division of Benchmark International, a local company founded in engineering, design and integration. Seeing that digital wayfinding, kiosks, signage and media were growing so rapidly in the companies Benchmark works with, the firm knew its capabilities were a perfect fit for this emerging field. Thus, DICExp was created to diversify Benchmark, and to take advantage of being an early adopter of the way of the future.
Leading the charge is Purdie, the sole female on the management team. She majored in psychology at the University of Alberta, and has made a career out of building businesses through developing people, driving revenue and serving the client.
“I believe our success comes from attracting phenomenal talent,” she says. “We have invested a lot in our people. We provide development opportunities to help our team grow by understanding themselves, improving communication, and realizing bigger goals. We think of ourselves as a family. “We are incredibly thankful to our past, present and future partners,” Purdie says on behalf of the entire team.
She admits that it’s not easy pioneering in a field where some companies don’t realize the power and limitless potential of how a custom digital solution could improve their bottom line.
“You need to have a passion for what you do, believe in your team and maybe have just a little grit,” she points out how she makes her way in management and how DICExp is winning over clients like Triple Five® Worldwide Group. “You need to have staying power, a willingness to try something new, the ability to innovate, and to sometimes completely change course. By listening to all of our stakeholders, we learn when we need to adapt and make the tough decisions to keep the company growing.”
DICExp, and Purdie, are also very committed to the community in which they do business, and they support the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada – Alberta Division, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Suit Yourself, to name a few.
Progressive in business, leadership and technology, DICExp can’t wait to help change the way people live, work, play and interact, thanks to customized, high-end, leading digital technologies.
“We are also incredibly thankful to our partnership with CEO, Joseph Schuldhaus and his company, Malltec Inc. Being, an internationally recognized leader and visionary in the information technology industry, Malltec technology solutions is one of the keys to DICExp’s success.”
The young company is up and running into the future, taking as many forward-thinkers with it as possible, and like the technology it provides, the company sees a future without limits.
“Right now, we are establishing ourselves locally and within North America,” concludes Purdie. “But our parent company, Benchmark International, is well established on the international stage, so it’s only a matter of time before we take our solutions global.”