When Daktornics works with AV integrators, some amazing things can happen. One integrator we recently worked with is called ImageNet Consulting, a group that also had the opportunity to visit our factory in Brookings, SD. To hear from their perspective on what it’s like working with Daktronics, Kyle Kempf, CTS-I Directory of Commercial Audio Video for ImageNet, joined The Daktronics Experience podcast. Keep reading for some of the details of that conversation.
Justin Ochsner, Daktronics Marketing
Hi, Kyle! Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your position with Image Net?
Kyle Kempf, ImageNet Consulting
Sure. So I’ve been in the AV world for around close to 15 years here, beginning in the church world. So I was kind of a tinkerer, tech guy, worship leader back when basically the digital transformation happened in the industry. So it’s an interesting time to learn. We moved up to Illinois during that time frame and I went from a worship leader to helping with the technical aspects of all the different campuses we had.
We had 12 campuses. And then I went into post-production audio and then the multi-site broadcast and production director. So that was a busy season of life. My wife was actually the creative director at that time, and we just had a lot of hours, lots of opportunities, lots of different ways to integrate things, and it eventually kind of led to this position down here in Tulsa with ImageNet in the world of multi-offering company.
Can you tell us a little bit more about ImageNet and how that company got started?
Yeah, ImageNet is a family-owned and operated business here in Oklahoma with headquarters here beginning in 1956, believe it or not, servicing typewriters in the back of our founders’ garage. So now we kind of consider ourselves a business technologies company. We offer anything that is technology in the office space to the local printer, managed IT services, maybe some electronic content paperless workflows or displays.
We went paperless as a company 17 years ago and that kicked us into the diversify mode where, instead of doing something that’s going to go away in print, we started adding things that might help diversify as technology continues into that next step. So paperless workflows and managed IT services and AV were all kind of a natural part of that.
And we began doing AV about eight years ago as a company, and we’ve refined it and added some more things to it. Now we’re a full-blown design-build, integrate-all-the-way-to-the-end company.
How did you hear about Daktronics or had you heard about Daktronics before going to ImageNet?
Yeah, I’ve heard about that Daktronics a lot in the years past, just with the sports world and JumboTrons, I was always into the big video things. I would look up information on them. And then, when I moved back from Illinois to the integrator here in Tulsa, they did a lot of work with the casinos in the area and the casinos were really great about using Daktronics.
So I kind of got to learn a little bit more about them just being on the other side of projects. And I was just trying to search for a standard moving forward. I was looking through all the companies that I knew because I’ve worked with a lot of them. And I was just passing through Daktronics website and it said something about narrow pixel pitch and I thought they’d only done maybe six-millimeter outdoor, you know, why would they have a narrow line?
I looked and, lo and behold, you guys went all the way down to point seven millimeters at the time. So, I immediately put in my inquiry and within a day I got connected to our current account manager, Mr. Quinn Rice, and it’s kind of been off to the races since then.
Matt Anderson, Daktronics Marketing
How did that end up growing from that initial outreach that you did?
We live in a sub-two-millimeter world, so on our side, we’re looking at high-impact spaces, boardrooms, these multipurpose training areas where people are within 6 to 10 feet of the screen. So when we had our initial conversation, I discussed that with Glenn at the time and said, “Hey, this is what we’re doing. This is what we’d like to do. This is kind of our roadmap moving forward.”
We just started developing that relationship and I got to meet other people involved. We had a lot of conversations about what are we looking for, what are we and what are the big selling points to our clients?
Because, as a consultant, we’re looking at them from a holistic perspective. We’re trying to make them better. We’re trying to increase their bottom line in general. So we’re looking at refining and making everything as smooth as possible, whether that’s print or manage print workflows so that we’re not printing a ton of papers, workflows or AV that can solve a problem or be an investment.
So we really leaned in and dove in on the investment side of what Daktronics does for the R&D and how they do their test facility and our test lab and all of that as well. It kind of naturally just kept playing out to be a situation where we need to get people up there, whether it’s clients to start with or technicians to start learning the best way to put things up on the wall.
Then you came and visited our facilities. Did you come up by yourself or with a group of people? And what was your reaction?
We came up with a group of seven and we all piled in a suburban and headed straight north from where we are. And I was kind of blown away. You hear all about the size of the company and you assume that they’ve got to have a pretty big site.
But man, when we just pulled into the hotel, there were just Daktronics buildings as far as you could see. So we pulled in right behind Building 2 and were immediately sidetracked thinking, “Now we have to drive around and check this thing out.”
So we drove around and looked at all the different buildings. We were just blown away by that. Just the square footage that’s involved in something like Daktronics.
While you’re here, did you have a tour or did you have some meetings?
We kind of did all the things. We did some factory-certified training for our technicians. So we brought six technicians up and then myself. So I kind of did all of the working, watched them kind of do that. And then I know Quinn and I had some different meetings set up as well to kind of discuss some other interesting portions of the business that we’re beginning to get into. So it was kind of an all-in-one type scenario.
With your background in technology and whatnot, is there anything that you learned or anyone from your group learned during your trip up here that kind of helped them out once you guys left?
Yeah, I think just getting to see the reliability lab was the most interesting thing. Just taking each component piece by piece, getting to see how they’re tested, why they’re tested, what happens when they break, what they’ve done to mitigate RF interference and electromagnetic interference – it’s interesting that people don’t really think about some of the technical sides of things.
They just see this 200-foot-wide screen at a football stadium and they don’t think it’s just one giant piece of electromagnetic interference that could cause issues or could have other things cause issues. So knowing that’s all engineered from the ground up to be reliable is a big deal. And getting to see that in person in practice to see all the freeze machines and the heat machines and the sun machine – all those things and the panels running underwater, that’s all pretty fascinating. So that side of it is pretty cool. But you know, the factory training, that was really cool.
So this is a unique approach that kind of flips it around the other way where we just bring everybody in and it’s very focused, very intentional, very best practice-oriented.
For the details of the collaboration between Daktronics and ImageNet on a project in Texas, click here to listen to the full podcast.