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Ecast Explores Noncoin Media Markets; Introduces IQ Info Terminal

Posted On: 10/31/2008

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SAN FRANCISCO ---- Ecast has created an interactive digital media product intended to boost its presence in markets outside the coin-op realm. The new Ecast IQ is based on the large-screen format of the EQ jukebox (see story here), but does not incorporate music and payment components. It was unveiled last month at the KioskCom Self Service Show in New York City as an informational and promotional device for retail, hotel and sports venues.

While the Ecast IQ borrows its ultramodern look and inventive three-part display area from the EQ, the resemblance ends there, the company said. "The IQ is completely different in purpose and content," they explained. "It is for promotional and informational use -- not music -- in these new markets. Because it does not accept currency or contain a preamp, it will not be going into bars and nightclubs."

Applications for the IQ might include service as a virtual hotel concierge located in a hotel lobby, where consumers can view local maps, make restaurant reservations or show photos from a recent event. It could also serve as a virtual assistant inside a retail store, where consumers could obtain detailed product reviews or view video demos. At a sports arena, the IQ might be the "info-tainment center," where fans could display photos of themselves in the stands or look up nearby restaurants for post-event dining.

"The EQ is the most exciting thing to happen to the jukebox industry in a decade and is the biggest symbol of our dedication to the coin-op market," said Ecast chief executive John Taylor, who underscored that professional operators remain the company's exclusive channel to bars and taverns. "It is important that operators understand the Ecast IQ does not in anyway compete with the EQ."

According to Taylor, expansion into new markets could also indirectly benefit operators. As a result of higher product volumes anticipated from these markets, Ecast already has aggressively priced the EQ for coin-op, he said. And these markets may eventually lead to new opportunities for operators.

"With this move, we're getting the Ecast name out there," Taylor summed up. "When people see a touchscreen device, we want them to say, 'We want an Ecast!' And that would be good news for Ecast, our hardware partners and our operators."

The EQ jukebox and IQ touchscreen media product are built with vertically oriented 40-in. flat-panel touchscreens offering 1080p high-definition image resolution, and are powered by Ecast's media platform. The form factor measures 50.25 ins. H. by 24.5 ins. W. by 7.5 ins. D. (faceplate to wall bracket). The EQ jukebox weighs approximately 110 lbs.