Friday, 28 February 2014

skignz is 'Born in the USA'

skignz are delighted to announce that we have now opened an office in the US, not just anywhere in the US but Las Vegas! As part of skignz ambitious growth plans we have been looking at key places across the globe to establish the skignz brand yet provide an unrivalled and enhanced customer experience.

Las Vegas is perfect for skignz; a destination for millions of people year on year and one so huge it's hard to find your way around. skignz is here to help you never get lost in Las Vegas again!

skignz: Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada, US
Whether you are looking for somewhere nice to eat, a different environment to gamble or somewhere nice to shop? All of these places are a plenty in Las Vegas, so by using skignz, you will be able to find your way around, access special offers, interesting & interactive content and even use the App to find each other if you get lost?

Getting lost in a crowd is a problem all over the world, but in Las Vegas it's magnified a thousandfold due to the amount of people, the scale of the place you are in and all those bright lights and attractions to divert your attention!

skignz helps you find somewhere or someone in such a way that it can only be compared to, 'If all the electricity went off in Las Vegas and all the lights went out ... then a spotlight appeared above the place or person you are looking for, surely that will help you find that needle in a haystack!'

Si Brown, Co-Founder & CMO, skignz says: 
"Nick's background in providing leading edge technologies to increase event and customer experience and engagement, so he is the perfect fit for skignz, as skignz aims to take this whole concept completely off the scale!

We have been establishing a relationship with Nick for nearly a year now, but it struck us very early on that Nick could really get the skignz message across and explore the possibilities across a range of sectors in the US, such as Leisure & Tourism, Live Events, Education and Corporate Hospitality. All of these sectors Nick has already got experience in and we look forward to supporting him and his team in showcasing skignz incredible capabilities to them." 

Las Vegas Panorama
Las Vegas:  It's easy to 'get lost in a crowd' here or find that 'needle in a haystack'
So now you know why Las Vegas? The 'Who' is just as important! We are very proud to announce that leading our US team will be a guy with over 20 years experience of living and working in Las Vegas and across the US, please take a bow; Mr Nick Vilardell, EVP, US Business Operations & Sales.

Nick Vilardell EVP, US Operations & Sales says:
"When I first came across skignz it was through their blog online, quite by accident when I was researching some new technology. Their video blog was funny but got me thinking I wanted to know more about these guys! The more I looked at them and read about them the more I was conviced that this was a company with a great future and undoubtedly some incredible ground breaking technology, that maybe others had touched on but nothing that had been put together and packaged in this way. 

From my inital conversation with Simon I was sold on their vision and since then I've been working closely with Simon and the rest of the skignz team to define the offering not only for Las Vegas, and its obvious potential, but also for a number of other markets and sectors I have contacts and experience but whilst still focussing in the US.

I actually feel quite lucky to be working with skignz at such an exciting time in their growth. I look forward to helping Si and Gary move forward, especially at the rate they are growing and attracting other prominent people into the business, the brands and companies coming onboard, this business will prove to be a phenomenal part of the future digital landscape. 

I could not be more excited at what lies ahead for skignz and the opening of the office in Las Vegas is the next logical step and a clear indication of skignz's ambition"

skignz at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club
Nick already has a number of companies and organisations keen to take up the skignz offering, a number of the key brands on the 'famous Las Vegas strip' are already in the process of looking at how they can pilot it across their facilities. One skignz environment is already in place, at the Rhodes Ranch Golf Club where Nick is a member. 

Nick is currently working to utilize the skignz platform across many different aspects of their business, providing a simply awesome showcase for others to come along and experience.

Rhodes Ranch Golf Club, Las Vegas
Although it's early days for skignz in the US, the future looks to be an exciting and interesting one as Nick and his team showcase the power of what skignz can do across Las Vegas, Nevada and in time the wider US. 

So if you would like to talk to Nick and his team about how skignz can work for you in Las Vegas or elsewhere in the US, then please contact them on or call on +1 (702) 433 3889

Why wouldn't you sell? What's your price?

Many things have been happening lately that seem strange to us and we cannot understand. One of them being the founders of Snapchat turning down the $3bn offer they got which resulted in a lot of people talking about it.

Then comes the new game Flappy Birds, which has become so popular with everyone and addictive, that the founder of Flappy Birds then decided to shut the game down and refuse to sell it. Why would they want to do this? We struggle to know but let’s see if we can find out why. Do they an ulterior motive?

Flappy Birds became the number one top app. Everyone was playing it, no matter how tired they were or sick of it, they still played it, simply because it was addictive. 

Just look at how much people are talking about it. So many people on twitter were showing just how addicted they were to that game and how much it was affecting their lives. Whether they hated it and were sick of playing the game, they would still want to play it. 

With it being such a simple game yet so hard to play, they needed to accomplish themselves of beating their own score or beating other peoples score. It would go on and on, until someone got a higher score then it comes around again where they need to go higher and so on to keep being the best.

So I guess what we all want to know is why did he shut the game down and refuse to sell it when it was doing so well. Dong Nguyen was making $55k a day in revenues from the game. He could have easily become one of the richest men around and nothing was stopping him. 

Although there was a dispute that Nintendo were giving a lawsuit to Flappy Birds for copying off the design of Super Mario Bros pipes used in his games. However Dong Nguyen denied that this was why he had taken the game down, he simply stated that he just wanted a simple lifestyle and did not like how complicated his life had become since he had designed the game and it became so popular.

Since taking the game down, people have seen this as a way to make themselves some money. The game is that popular that people have been selling their phones with the game on for certain amounts of money, starting from small amounts leading to around £75,000!

Knowing how popular the game was, we think that there must have been a better reason that Dong Nguyen took the game down and decided not to sell just to have a simple lifestyle. Look at other companies that have been in similar positions and decided not to sell to others. Snapchat turned down $3bn for their app because they probably most likely think that it is worth more and they will be able to do more with it. 

This thought must have entered Dong Nguyen’s thoughts at the time. Maybe he will take the game down and see how much havoc it causes, then realising how popular it is he will bring the game back up again or think about selling it to people who believe the game could make more in the future.

To not sell an app that is so obviously popular within the market they must have a very good reason behind it. We, however, are struggling to see what these reasons are? It doesn't seem logical to us not to sell something you don’t wish to have anymore and just close it down or turn down an lucrative offer. We can't help but think there is an ulterior motive behind it. (But hey, that's just our opinion!). We don’t know what this is yet but let's hope this will be revealed.

What would stop you taking $3bn or stop you making $55k a day revenues?

What do you think the reason behind Flappy Birds not selling and just shutting the game down is? Feel free to leave your comments below and have a discussion on this!

However it shows that a few weeks is a long time in the tech world, or no time at all, no soon as we have been amazed by the turning down of an offer by Snapchat and the closing down of the Flappy Birds game ... it's all well and truly gazumped by Facebook again making (and succeeding this time) a multi-billion dollar offer on another company, but this time they not only went a few billion dollars over what they offered for Snapchat, but they have bought 'WhatsApp' for the astounding amount of $19 billion (yes spelt correctly, your eyes are not failing you).
Now it's been a week or so since this was announced and it's certainly put the 'cat among the pigeons', where company valuations are concerned! The guys who owned WhatsApp are now multi billionaires, but according to reports just over five years ago they were looking for jobs at Facebook now they are senior directors with huge amounts of stock! 
Something that may have gone a little under the radar is that their investment partner Sequoia Capital has probably closed out the biggest investment return in history, also in record time! All of this should level the score with Facebook as they were the ones that got away nearly 10 years ago from Sequoia Capital when Mark Zuckerberg turned them down. It's estimated that Sequoia Capital will see a return of between $3-$7billion from their reported $60m investment in WhatsApp!
Below is an infographic from 'We Are Social' outlining some of the reasons why WhatsApp became so attractive to Facebook, however the pricetag remains to be seen whether it's a bargain or ridiculously over priced - only time will tell, it was not so long ago (2013) that everyone was borking at the $1billion paid for Instagram!
Sources: We are Social / WhatsApp. / Deloite

Never mind WhatsApp, Whats next? What will be the next technology company snapped up by the likes of Facebook, Apple, Google etc ... and for how much? How far away are we from the first $50billion or even a $100billion purchase by one of the giants? 

What do you think? Please share your thoughts with us?

Get your copy of skignz now:

The Teams Work: Nick Vilardell

I’m an entrepreneur and a business developer at heart. In 2006 I co-founded 360Brandvision in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. A leading holographic display firm specialising in designing new ways to hold and capture an audiences attention for major brands.

As the VP of Business Development I was responsible for marketing the concept to companies such as Google, BMW and Siemens as well as marketing to the casinos. Working with MGM Resorts, Venetian and Planet Hollywood. 

360 Brand Vision 

I attended Cal State Long Beach (California, USA) focussed on strategic marketing and business. I’ve overseen teams of employees as well as interns helping set career development paths with strong goals and objectives. 

So how do I fit with skignz? Having been in the tech field for the last 15 years it's very rare you come across a technology like Skignz ... I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of bringing this unique technology to the US. 

Also I was very keen on their focus on working with graduates and interns to harness the power of the young energetic and creative minds, to deliver skignz in a way that relates to its audiences in a more dynamic way. Their work with universities, student interns and graduates is very much akin to my way of thinking and further enforced my inital impression of them.

Las Vegas is seen at the 'global capital of gambling' and my experience of working with the casino groups on increasing their customer experiences; skignz provides a solution to the casino's biggest challenge! Which is getting people from the Las Vegas strip to come into their casinos ... skignz will change the way casinos enage with their customers allowing them to promote their loyalty programs, free play and other promotions.

Conventions centres can now offer skingz as part of the exhibition show attendees package: the skingz app to download and view upcoming events, major sponsor parties and things that are going on within the conference, this opens up a whole new world of data and engagement outside of the event that until now the convention companies or even the exhibiting companies have not been able to measure!

My interests focus on brand building and market strategy as well as emerging new technologies. Although my professional and personal lives intersect, I’m also passionate about traveling, film, staying active, golf and meeting new exciting people.

skignz are changing University Campuses forever!

University campuses are changing every day. With the constant updates in technology it is essential that Universities make sure they adapt to that change to meet every need of their students and provide them with the best experience and education available. 

skignz can help speed up that change, as it can provide all services that a student needs for when they are at University and even beyond the campus. I will explain how skignz can help in more detail below.

Teesside University Main Campus
Let me just start off with informing you about the work that skignz has currently provided for Teesside University by working with them to adapt to the changing needs of the University campus and students themselves. skignz is a new way for students to navigate around campus. It is a free app that everyone can download to their mobile devices. 

skignz provides students with a lot less worry for when they arrive at Teesside University. Prior to coming they will download the app and ensure that everything is set up for when they arrive. To find where they need to be on campus they can simply navigate through loading up skignz on their phone and scanning the campus environment to see where the building is they need to locate. 

Teesside University Enhanced by skignz
It simply is a sign in the sky. Teesside University were the first to use skignz and have ensured that it is a huge benefit for everyone to the University; staff, students and visitors, providing them with the simplicity of being reassured when on the campus. 

No need to try and understand them maps anymore! Students can download the app as soon as they get the offer letter from their university.

Checkout this short video for you to see how skignz works:
Don't just take our word for it, here a few students tell us what they think about skignz being on the Teesside University Campus:

Abigail Allick - 2nd Year Degree Student
“I’m not very good at navigating myself around, especially if I don’t know the area”

“I find the app a lot more easier, like getting myself around Uni and different places where I actually am”
Timi Odeyemi – MA Student

“If you think about the fact that a lot of students come here relatively clueless, and you want to know where buildings are, you want to know what exactly is going on”
“To meet and discover, wow, this is being set up right here. It just sort of gave that potential, made it feel real, that certain things can be developed”

“It’s essentially like a visual google or something of the sort”
As you can see from above, students who have experienced skignz already on campus have said how much it really helps for people attending University.

“It’s essentially like a visual google or something of the sort”

Freshers at Teesside University
skignz has provided a new exciting, interesting and essential service to current and new students, including everyone at Teesside University. It is new technology developed and Teesside University have jumped right on board of taking advantage to be the first to use this, and they have done right to do so! The difference it has already made is fantastic.
So what are the benefits of skignz?
skignz has many benefits to what it provides. I could talk about them all and go into much detail; the possibilities of where it could go and what it could do are vast.

skignz provides a new way for 'EVERYONE' to navigate about. It doesn’t just have a certain place it can be used or a certain audience that can use it, it is for everyone. You no longer need to be lost. You no longer need to feel alone. You can now prepare and know where you are at all times. Plus it is not boring like looking and trying to read or understand a map. It is simply straight there on your device. It is always with you wherever you are. No need to go in search of a map or some form of location help.
Whats in it for you? The social side of skignz!
And there's more ... skignz is not just for navigating. It has a whole social side to it beyond University campus. It is the social element of taking skignz into other parts of your life. 

You can use it when you go shopping. Say you fancied going shopping in a new place you hadn’t been before, you can set up skignz before you go and easily locate the shops and where you need to be when you arrive. 

It saves you time from looking around and wasting valuable time what can be used to shop. You can find your car in a very busy car park. Most of us forget from time to time where we have parked, so simply set up a skignz above your car for when you having finished where you need to be and find where you have parked you will be able to see it through skignz on your mobile device. It can also be used when you are at concerts or festivals with your friends. 

Getting lost from your friends or group is very easy: going to the bar or to the toilet - how will you be sure to find them again in that huge crowd? Well, before you go to the festival you and your friends can each download skignz and set it up before you head off to your festival. Therefore when you arrive you will each already have skignz set up, so if you go to the bar and lose your friends, just load up skignz on your mobile, scan the crowd and there you will see a little sign just above your friend's head informing you of where they are.

Just like Timi Odeyemi – MA Student stated:
“Imagine going to somewhere like London or Tokyo and trying to meet someone or find jobs or anything. You could try to find bars, you could try to, well, meet people socially, that kind of thing. So, to me, I see the possibilities of this particular app to be, like, endless. It could be the next big thing, in my opinion”

skignz really is the next big thing. It has a lot of benefits for people who use it and can be used in any way you wish.
So what does skignz mean to student experience?

It provides new students who are coming to University a way to feel comforted and reassured that they are going to know where they are going when they arrive on campus. Everything will already be set up for them putting them at ease and giving them time to get used to the app. It is also available for them to download before they come to University prior to them receiving the offer letter.
TU Freshers understanding skignz!
They can also find it to find new friends. Such as students who may not be very good at making new friends, they can use it in a social way to talk to new people. They could set up a skignz for themselves to inform people that they are new, what course they are on or if anyone else is doing the same, going to the same lesson as them and so on. 

It provides a new way for them to interact with other students if they do not feel they are best at doing that.
It can help foreign students also who have mentioned to us that when they arrive on campus they are generally alone. This way they will be able to find each other and a new way to make friends who they feel comfortable with. It is not always easy for foreign students to make new friends as they have said before to the university.

Professor Eileen Martin (Deputy Vice Chancellor)
“It’s a really important tool when students first arrive on campus because it’s an easy navigation, as they are used to using mobile technologies. This is a really good addition”

As you can see above, Professor Eileen Martin of Teesside University stated that it is an important tool for when students first arrive on University campus, providing them with easy navigation to where they need to be.

Party Time with skignz at TU Students Union
skignz also provides students with excitement when they come to University. They can use skignz not only to find new friends but for nights out or if they wanted to interact with others to have some fun. 

It provides value in their learning ability as it will put them at ease to find other students who they can relate to and also to have some friends and fun for the nights out in the Student Union and around town. 

For example: if they were having a house party for new students then they could place a skignz above their house to let people know that’s where the party is or even to try a few places with new friends. If they were to go for food and a few drinks they could each set up skignz on their phone, plan out where they wish to go and then each find where they need to be.

Understanding skignz on Campus
It is a new town for some students arriving. They need to feel at home where they are and that they are well looked after by the University.
Professor Eileen Martin (Deputy Vice Chancellor)

“I guess it adds a USP (unique selling proposition/point). It brings some fun and excitement into the student experience as well”

“I think it’s a really exciting and also very innovative and creative development. And I think we’re only just starting to understand the potential and the very different ways in which we can use it, both across the social world of the student but also actually in terms of their learning as well”

skignz really is the new best piece of technology that University campuses can take on. It will provide a whole new outlook to students on University campus and improve their life in social and learning aspects. It will give the University a huge boost in providing good technology and keeping up to date in all the advancements. skignz can be used in any way anyone wishes. To sum it all up below is a short video for you to see.

skignz in a Nutshell -

Like Timi Odeyemi – MA Student says: It can be or will be…                “…the next big thing”

To find out more information on skignz then please see our websites and social media sites.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Navigation / Orientation / Induction: Scary 1st day!

For anyone the 1st day of a new job or starting a University course can be daunting. What if you are doing this in a new town or city, this goes from daunting to scary. How about coming from a different country? Speak a different language?

A whole new culture and experience awaits you! Your senses are 'through the roof', your usual creature comforts and habits don't apply here! This for all intents and purposes, may as well be the Moon or Mars that you have landed on?

Atmosphere, landscape, colours, smells everything is different and it's that way until you settle in! Big question is, how long will that take? What parts of your life, health and peace of mind will be effected in the meantime?

Today (7th February 2014) was induction day at Teesside University Business School for some of their courses. Most of the students who started University today instead of the usual September/October intake is because they are 'top-up' students who are continuing their education from their previous course, from wherever on the planet they previously studied and 'top-up' to gain a degree or to a masters degree at Teesside University.

Kamran Tanveer, is one of those students embarking on the final year of the BA (hons) Applied Accounting & Finance Degree at TUBS (Teesside University Business School). Kamran is from Pakistan and has not previously been to the North East of England let alone Teesside. During a brief discussion with him it's apparent he's keen to learn and get on with his course, but he has not much knowledge about how to find his way around the campus or how to find his way around the surrounding local area. Something he and his new colleagues are clearly daunted by!

Kamran Tanveer:
Induction Day using skignz!
As part of their orientation and induction for new students TUBS engaged with skignz to produce a 'treasure/scavenger hunt' using the skignz technology to take the students on a hunt around the campus and surrounding town centre to help them familiarise themselves with their brand new surroundings.

Each student download skignz onto their smart phone or mobile device, then they were asked to go out onto the campus and use skignz to find the first clue, which when they found it, not only gave them some important information on that specific location, but also gave them the clue to the next location.

To prove they had visited each location the students had to take a 'selfie photo' in front of the venue and pick up something (something physical, menu, what's on leaflet, etc..) from each specific location. Only by accessing each skignz at each location would they know what they had to get from each venue.

Kamran said: "skignz was really easy to use, helpful with information and that you can zoom in and out of clues, even swipe away content to see other skignz behind them. The whole experience really helped me not only find places that I will need to go to such as supermarkets and clothes shops; but also places I would like to go to such as the Cinema, Art Gallery and the Main Library.

skignz is informative, helpful and I will certainly be telling all of my friends about it! Even when I return home to Pakistan, it will be really useful in many ways back there."

Kiersten Avery, Assistant Dean, TUBS said: "We wanted to not only help the students settle in, find their way around campus, but also provide them with a whole new interactive experience. skignz provides us with something that no other University has and we are working with them to utilise the skignz technology in many different ways for the benefit of our students. 

Kiersten Avery: 
Assistant Dean, TUBS
The feedback so far has been incredible and gives us a whole different way in which to interact and communicate with our students. Due to this successful pilot of using the technology in this way, we aim to roll this out for all students for this years September induction and orientation events".

In 2014 many of the largest brands in the world are focusing on how they can improve user/consumer/customer experience rather than just try to advertise at them and push their products on to them.

Teesside University are leading the way by using skignz technology to improve the whole student experience on campus in a way that is helpful, insightful, interesting and provides the students with something they can take out into the real world and use, alongside their studies and learning.

skignz was co-founded by two local Middlesbrough guys Gary Baker and Si Brown, the latter an Alumni of Teesside, who gained both his undergraduate and postgraduate Master Degree at Teesside University. 

As part of the induction, Teesside are showing real life examples of how students have completed their course and apply that experiences and knowledge in the real world, this demonstrates to students about how important employability and gaining work experience is, alongside their studies and gaining a formal qualification at the University.

If you would like to learn about the courses on offer at TUBS please follow this link: Teesside University Business School

If you would like to learn a little more about how skignz can work on your University Campus(es) please take a look at this short film. 

This film was actually developed and produced by varying members of the skignz team, ALL of which are ex-graduates of Teesside University, having completed an internship or placement with the company. They are now in graduate positions working on projects for some of the worlds most popular brands.

If you are interested in how skignz can help your University please either email us on or call us on +44 (0) 845 058 0519.