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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 1, January 2013, Posted On: 1/24/2013


Digital Centre Continues On Path Of Photobooth Innovation; Share Secure ID Protection And Expressions 3.0 Are Latest Enhancements


Hank Schlesinger
swag@earthlink.net
TAGS: Josep Tarres, Digital Centre, Digital Center photo booth, photo booth, photobooth, DC photo booth, Dr. Face, Dr. Fashion, Crazy Doctor, Pix-Mix Factory, Photo-ID, Mega Strip photo booth, social media photo booth, QR-Photo photo booth, Expressions 3.0 photobooth software, vending machine, coin-operated photo device, automatic photo vending


Share Secure identity protection and Expressions 3.0 are latest enhancements

MIAMI -- By consistently pursuing a strategy of continual innovation, Digital Centre has established itself as a global leader in coin-operated photobooth design and manufacture. The company now is introducing the latest version of its system software and convenient Share Secure identity-protection technology, both of which are expected to improve the consumer experience.

Since debuting its first unit, Dr. Face, in 1997, Digital Centre -- known around the world as DC -- has gone on to create such international photobooth hits as Dr. Fashion, Crazy Doctor, Pix-Mix Factory, Photo-ID and Ping-Pong Kombat, as well as the New Generation line in blue, pink brown and black versions and the novel Baby Boom model. The new Mega Combo delivers four individual images printed on large (6"x16") strips. Rounding out the line is a variety of event models including the Party'N'Go, Fold'N'Go, the Strip, Wall Strip and Mega Strip. Also in the DC lineup is the Instant Photo Souvenir kiosk that transmits photos from consumers' digital still cameras to a printer, email accounts and/or social media.

DC chief executive Josep Tarres recalled that the company's first photobooth, Dr. Face, was a worldwide hit and remains in operation in some Dave & Buster's stores and other top locations. It allows users to superimpose their faces on fanciful bodies of their choice. "The patron can place his or her face on a different body and the software automatically adjusts the chosen image's skin color to the color of the face," Tarres explained. "Dr. Face was a true photobooth innovation."

The company's latest photobooth software supports a wider range of options for photo types and sizes. Rolling out this fall, the Expression 3.0 suite incorporates state-of-the-art face-recognition software and features an improved main menu interface. After the initial vend is delivered, the patron is invited to print additional images, in different sizes, as an upsell. And all prints generated through Expression 3.0 software are imprinted with exclusive quick-response QR-Photo codes that allow the patron to access them on his or her smartphone, print them again and share them through email and social media.

The DC booths have social media, email and video messaging options, and the new models are equipped with Share Secure. When the patron chooses one of the sharing options, DC's Share Secure software sends the photos to his or her smartphone, so it is not necessary to type email addresses and passwords at a public terminal; logging on to Facebook or Twitter is done from the privacy of the customer's own mobile device.

DIGITAL CENTre PHOTO BOOTH, vending This feature meets a growing need, Tarres told VT. An increasing number of contemporary photobooths can send photos over the Internet, but this raises privacy concerns. "Imagine you and a friend are at a booth, and you want to send the photo to your email address or share it on Facebook," he instanced. "Many booths make you enter your personal data, or log in to your account; you're typing personal information in a public terminal where third parties could steal data, and you're exposing passwords in the presence of another person. Share Secure reduces the risk of identity and password theft by allowing the customer to complete a sharing transaction on a personal device."

Extending the new software suite are two mobile applications, one for operators and the other for patrons. The operator app, PhotoBooth, allows an owner or manager to identify every photobooth on location and, if desired, to display them on a map. They can also use it to retrieve transaction reports and receive alerts from the equipment when the print stock is low or the cashbox is full.

The customer app, MyPhotoCode, brings a new dimension to photobooth operations. It works with the Share Secure software and the QR Photo code imprinted on each strip vended; the patron need only scan that code with a smartphone to load the images down to the phone, then share them in a variety of ways. A "Wall & Vote" feature enables customers to invite their friends to vote on shared pictures.

DC customers also receive a personal QR-ID code. A patron can use the camera in a photobooth to scan this code, which brings up an archive of all the images he or she has purchased, and buy reprints. This can be especially valuable if a particular strip has been lost.


LOOKING THE PART

Digital Centre also has pioneered the use of nontraditional photobooth cabinet designs. Often looking more like videogames, the cabinets not only boast a smaller footprint than traditional photobooth formats but come in attention-getting designs. The company's well-remembered Baby Boom model (which used photo compositing software to predict what a couple's offspring might look like) was heart-shaped; the present line includes the distinctive Strip and Strip Wall "open roof" offer a small footprint and attention getting style.

hoto booth, Digital Center, Josep Tarres, vending

"Creativity and innovation have always been the best points at DC," said Tarres. "But we believe we need to bring that innovation to operators at the right price, so they can profit from operating photobooths. One example that differentiates us from the competition is the Mega Strip, which prints a giant 6" x 16" strip, compared to the usual 2" x 6" strips."


COMPETITIVE EDGE

Today, with the photobooth market on the upswing and competition tougher than ever, DC continues to emphasize innovation as the answer to maintaining an edge. DC's New Generation line, for example, combines a classic cabinet style with an array of novel features. Measuring in at a slim 29" W. x 37" L. x77" H., the unit weighs only 370 lbs. Its programmable features include the ability to offer seasonal backgrounds for holidays such as Valentine's Day, Halloween, Christmas and Independence Day, and the software gives users an extensive choice of frames and customizable hairstyles, as well as the option of printing images in color or black and white, and in vertical or horizontal formats. The Windows-based operating system controls a Mitsubishi dye-sublimation printer delivering 600 vends per photo paper roll.

"The industry has changed a lot. The new digital options have brought a lot of new functions to the market," Tarres observed. "Most important is the flexibility that operators now have to customize their equipment, and the Internet functionality to send the pictures to Facebook and other sites."

The new Mega Strip, which also is in a classic photobooth cabinet, measures 76" H. x 56" L. x 34" D. In addition to a full line of image-modification options, such as wigs and hairstyles selected with a 22" touchscreen interface, the unit features an exterior camera.

photo booth, Digital Center, Josep Tarres, vending

PHOTO: DC chief executive Josep Tarres shows off 6” x 16” photo strips.

The new Strip, by contrast, is a novel small-footprint module that recalls the nostalgic "four-for-a-quarter" photo strip with a vertical array of four flatscreen monitors. Designed for portability and installation flexibility, Strip measures 80" H. x 22" W. x 24" D. The companion Wall Strip is formed of three Strip units side by side, presenting an impressive 12-screen matrix. Both are well suited for event rentals as well as pay-per-use installation in location types previously difficult to serve.

"The size and design are great for any location," Tarres noted. "The Strip can fit into any fashionable store, even a small jewelry shop or similar specialty retailer."

Designed specifically for events is the Fold 'N'Go, a full-featured portable booth that folds to a compact size.

Digital Centre, with offices in Barcelona, Spain, and Miami, FL, sells its photobooths through a network of authorized dealers around the world. Information can be had by visiting digital-centre.com, or calling the Miami headquarters at (305) 387-5005.


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