Tag Archives: Technology

Technology: RFID Changing Promotional Products

Author’s note: When I originally wrote this blog post, it was purely informational. Currently, my daughter is on a spring break trip with her school to Peru. The idea of RFID-blocking gear just became VITALLY important to our family.

21st century technology is making a big impact on the promotional products industry. The need for RFID security is changing the internal workings of promotional products. RFID, Radio-frequency Identification, is the wireless use of radio frequency to access information and transfer data. If you have stayed in a hotel recently and used your card to “tap” into your room rather than sliding your card, you are using RFID technology.

RFID has launched a whole new type of crime in the form of hacking. Wired Magazine has covered the increase and ease of theft numerous times since this technology emerged into the market. “They can steal your smartcard, lift your passport, jack your car, even clone the chip in your arm. And you won’t feel a thing.” Now, RFID technology, and the ability to block the RFID signal, is making its way into customizable products as varied as wearables, gear and promotional bags.

Promotional product manufacturers and suppliers have worked together to provide marketing professionals with quality and RFID-safe products. Here are a few examples:

walletYou can customize the Travelpro Travelsmart Passport Wallet with your corporate logo. Developed with the airline travelers and professionals in mind, special RFID Technology encases belongings to protect them from ID theft. This deluxe Passport Wallet contains a flip up boarding pass holder, quick access passport pocket, three credit card slots, and a privacy mesh ID holder.

zebraNot only does the Zebra Convertible Computer Messenger Bag come with padded, scratch-resistant 10″ and 15″ tablet pockets for protecting your technology, but it also has a zippered pocket with RFID-blocking technology preventing unauthorized access to personal information.

Soon enough, RFID technology will be in wearables and gear. The ability to host a QR code on a branded tote bag has been around for a while. We’ll soon be able to insert an RFID patch into a customized reusable bag for a conference taking your swag bag to a whole new level by making it an entry ticket, attendance recorder, and participation tracker.

The possibilities are endless for the marriage of technology and promotional products!

Pinnacle Promotions

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Pinnacle Promotions

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Megan’s Product Pick of the Week: Touchscreen Spandex Gloves

It seems like everyone around me is on his or her ipad, droid, kindle…you name it! How did we survive without them for so long?

One of the hot gift ideas for 2012 are gloves that allow you to work on your devices! The Touchscreen Spandex Gloves are functional and fashionable. Now you can wait for the subway, hang out at the park; enjoy your daily activities outside in the elements without your hands freezing and be able to work your electronic gadgets at the same time!

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Launchpad Calling Mission Control: We’re Headed into an iCloud

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Trending Topic Tuesday,” where we share our take on what’s going on in the world and what promotional products would appropriately (or inappropriately) market the subject matter.Moscone Center
Steve Jobs addressed a crowd of 5,200 developers at the 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday, and while he didn’t announce the release of the iPhone 5 (which members of the tech world had already guessed), he did speak about a number of updates to the company’s software that will improve functionality – and, likely, sales – of Apple’s already easy-to-use products such as the MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. And if you’ve always wanted to be a pilot or an astronaut, I’m sure that some of these new products and services will catch your ear.

Indeed, some of the features of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion sound like they were developed by NASA: we’ve got Mission Control, which makes it easy for Mac users to quickly navigate among apps and spaces; Launchpad, which allows users to find and launch apps from where they left off the last time they were closed; and iCloud, Apple’s own cloud-based file storage system that gives users the ability to access music, videos, images and more from any Apple device without having to upload them from their Mac to their iPod to their iPad (and so on).

iOS 5, the operating system used by mobile devices (the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad), also features a number of significant changes that make things both easier and more efficient for users. The camera is accessible via a shortcut from the lock screen, and all devices will be equipped with iMessenger, a conversation platform that allows individuals to carry on a single conversation (free of charge) between various iOS devices. Much like Blackberry’s BBM platform, iMessenger facilitates communication between iOS users via Wi-Fi or 3G to cut back on text messages.

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iPad Hits Stores – and the Promotional Products Market

Yep that’s Apple’s new iPad, featured in its first television commercial that debuted during the Academy Awards on March 7th. Finally released on April 3, more than 300,000 iPads were sold on that first day alone, with more than 1 million apps and 250,000 e-books downloaded by users as well. One of my coworkers in the Web Development Department here at Pinnacle exclaimed last week how he was excited to be getting his tax refund as he was taking it straight to the Apple store to pick up his very own. I think I responded by saying very politely that I thought the iPad was “neat” but that I wasn’t quite sure the purpose it would serve for me (or the excuse I could use to spend the money to purchase one) as I already own an iPhone and MacBook. His response was some version of, “Me neither. I just want it.”

That answer my friends, is what brings us to one of the causes for what will inevitably be the success of the iPad, and anything else Apple conjures up for that matter – brand loyalty – to the point where Apple consumers can even define themselves by a connection to the brand (case in point – Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign). After all, it’s not every company that has consumers sleeping outside their stores just to be one of the first to buy their new product (recall the craze for Apple’s iPhone release back in summer 07). While I haven’t heard of anyone pulling out their sleeping bags yet, it seems to be just about on par with sales of its other devices and the Apple brand and its loyal consumers seem to be just as strong as ever.

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Rethinking a Marketing Strategy: Promotional Products and Social Media Synergy

A study of Internet usage released by The Nielsen Company shows that Americans nearly tripled the amount of time they spend on social media sites and blogs between August 2008 and that same month one year later. Over the course of that time, people developed and altered the way that they gain information. Not only are consumers turning to online news sources such as CNN.com or the New York Times online, but also people are garnering more of their news from sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This means that hard news stories- about the earthquake in Haiti or the latest status update on healthcare reform- are cluttered with personal status updates, such as what John Smith ate for dinner last night or the color of Jane Doe’s new hat. What’s more, consumers are hearing the news through secondary sources that cannot help but add their own personal bias.

Personal bias about online news also applies to brands. Social media sites provide an easy and uncensored outlet for shoppers to share their likes and dislikes about certain products, companies and customer service experiences. Thus, as consumers spend more and more time on these sites, effectively changing the way they share and acquire information, marketers are forced to shift their campaigns as well. And they are. The same Nielsen study reveals that while the time consumers spent on these sites tripled, the amount of money that businesses spent advertising online increased 119 percent during that same time span.
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Flash Drives. Yum.

Flash drives are nothing new to the promotional products industry (you can find Pinnacle’s most popular USB flash drives online at The USB Drive Shop) Companies everywhere have been snagging up these little items imprinted with their business’ name and logo to give away to customers and to use internally for their own data storage and transfer needs. But it seems that a new wave of USB flash drives is emerging care of a Korean company (the website is all in Korean but it appears to be called EARLYSHOP) that hand makes little flash drives to appear as tiny replicas of different types of food. Yummy. Continue reading…

Thoughts from a Novice Promotional Products Marketer: Room for Fish of All Sizes in the Blogosphere Pond

OrigamiancyAs a newcomer to the world of blogging and online marketing in general, yesterday’s exchange on our very own Pinnacle Promotions blog blew me away. Just to recap, a correspondence took place between my extremely talented, but also fairly new to the realm of blogging, coworker Acree Graham, and a blogger that I consider to be one of the most prolific social media thought leaders, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert. In my mind, this exchange exemplifies the phenomenon of blogs and their power to spark high level interactions between newbie marketers and established industry experts in a matter of hours. As a recent college graduate, I feel that my generation is extremely fortunate: the wealth of information available to us, faster than ever before, is one benefit that we have over generations past, but furthermore, it is the accessibility to people whom we admire and respect in our lines of work that is an even greater privilege, should we have the confidence and courage to reach out to them.

“What makes marketing the best career in the world is that is it ever evolving. There’s always a new insight, new tool or tactic. So if you want to be at the top of your game and really be someone your clients love and rely on — keep learning. Read, write, listen. Every day.”

-Drew McLellan, author of the blog Drew’s Marketing Minute.

Dana
Team Lead – Social Media
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Mood-Sensing Promotional Products: What Will They Think of Next?

Leopard PrintReading Acree’s blog yesterday did make me a bit nostalgic about college life. My sadness did not last long, however, as a late afternoon brainstorming session with my coworkers left me giddy with excitement about all of the creative ideas that we hope to bring to fruition. Today, as I write this blog, I am slightly overwhelmed by the blank document on my computer screen, but I am hopeful that after jotting down my thoughts and organizing them in a logical progression, anyone who stumbles upon this post will be left feeling satisfied and intrigued.

The sheer number of emotions that we experience on an hourly, and even minute-by-minute, basis is mind-boggling. One of the downright coolest websites I have seen in a long time (other than Pinnacle Promotions, of course!) is Trendhunter.com, recommended to me by Pinnacle’s Relationship Manager, Natasha. Trend Hunter garners over 9 million monthly views and claims to be “the world’s largest, most popular trend community”. With over 61,000 posted trends, this site is an incredible resource for anyone interested in innovative gadgets, concepts, and campaigns.

But enough about Trend Hunter and onto the real inspiration behind today’s ramblings. My first paragraph with distinctive feelings bolded and underlined relates to a Trend Hunter slideshow called “34 Emotion-Based Innovations.” While I am not sure whether inventions like the TouchMan cellphone, which allows for visual sharing of emotions during phone conversations, will be met with widespread acceptance, there are some products on the list that may take the world by storm.

The LadyBag, designed by Canadian researchers, uses RFID technology to detect the contents of the purse- if it detects an absence of a certain item, a visual icon representing the missing item appears on the external LED display. When every RFID-tagged item specified by the user is detected, a smiley face graphic shows up on the outside display. The LadyBag also determines the user’s emotional state via physical sensors, and visually depicts the emotions on the outside display as well. I’m not sure how I feel about literally wearing my emotions, but the RFID detection technology would be useful, to say the least!

The mood pen, created by electronics powerhouse Philips, features sensors in its shaft to monitor the user’s heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature and pressure. The inks and shape of the writing tip adapt to the emotions detected, so written words will appear different depending on whether the writer is happy or sad. The emotion-sensing technology could be turned off if the user decides not to put his or her feelings on display. My question is, if users are going to turn off that special feature, why wouldn’t they just opt for regular promotional pens?

The general public may not be ready for some of these innovations just yet, but it is fascinating to think about how emotion-detecting technology will affect communication channels and marketing. Someday in the future, will marketers be able to capture and analyze consumers’ emotional reactions to billboards, television commercials, and point of purchase displays? The examples in the slideshow seem to point to “yes,” but it will be exciting to observe the developments as they infiltrate mainstream outlets.
Dana
Team Lead – Social Media
view my bio!

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