Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Friday, 6 May 2016

skignz in the USA...


skignz visited the USA earlier in the month. Co-Founder Si Brown, Jamie Clarke and David Murphy caught the flight out of Manchester into NYC.  

Upon our arrival we were greeted with the now customary US Security checks, which seemed to take an age!

Travel was smooth, and the flight was made quickly by the team meeting which took place on the flight, ensuring that they were prepared and ready for what the US held in store for

Upon arrival into the Big Apple, it was straight into meetings..  No time for sightseeing just yet.

The guys met with our partners at the British Consulate to discuss raising the profile of skignz in the states.  The meeting went extremely well, with lots of positives and further actions coming out of it.

Then it was back to the Hotel for some well earned rest. The dreaded Jet Lag had decided to raise its head and the guys were feeling it!

Si Brown said "The thing about the USA is this (and especially NYC); the way in which new things are received is with a refreshing dose of excitement and energy and focusses on the possibilities, rather than looking to find ways it can fail. 

The energy the states has for tech of this kind is so exciting, it makes you realise just why it's a world leader in this area".

The guys had another 3 days of meetings booked in across NYC, catching up with friends of skignz, making sure people knew they were around and generally enjoying the energy of the people they met. 

The weather was kinda nice, the City was awesome and the links made will benefit skignz long term. 

One close call was the terrible fire right next to team skignz's hotel, very sad to see a beautiful old cathedral burn through the night, nobody was hurt we are glad to say, just such a shame to see the old building smoldering and smoking as we left.

Overall, a successful trip to NYC… But there's more… The guys then flew from NYC into Atlanta. 


Arriving in Atlanta the guys were greeted by blazing sunshine and the friendly faces of Team, Choose:ATL, Atlanta's Chamber of Commerce.

The guys from Choose:ATL had met Si and Jamie at SxSW back in April, and had struck up a great relationship. 

There have been many occasions where our friends across the pond have been a strong advocates for skignz in the US, and in particular Atlanta.  

They had set up several meetings in Atlanta for skignz to build further relationships.  With a packed agenda, we even scheduled in some time for the Guys to help out at a junior football (Soccer) club by delivering a coaching session.  

The highlight of the trip to Atlanta was the 'Hard Hat Tour' of the new $1.5B stadium.  

The skignz team met with the General manager, who became increasingly impressed by the possibilities of using the skignz technology as an enhancement to their 'Fan Experience' on match/game days. 

The stadium will be shared by the City NFL Franchise the Atlanta Falcons, and the brand new MLS Franchise Atlanta United.

The links made here will prove extremely useful to the
skignz brand and allow the stadium to embrace technology to give visiting and home fans a truly complete Match Day Experience.

The hospitality shown by everyone in Atlanta was second to none, with the guys being invited to a Southern style BBQ. 

David Murphy summed up the experience by saying “The effort and goodwill shown by everyone in the team in Atlanta was nothing short of perfect.  

They welcomed us into their Network, City and even their homes with open arms.

This City has had a lasting effect on me and I know the guys feel the same way”.

Negotiations are now taking place for a return visit to firm up some of the ideas and meetings which took place. Watch this space for further updates!!

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

First Visit to Toronto for skignz

My 1st ever visit to Toronto started with an early flight flying out of La Guardia, New York. An hour & a half later; 2 cans of Red Bull down I landed at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. 

Stepping off the plane, if felt like I had just landed back on Teesside… cold, wet and windy!! However, not even the grim weather could dampen my enthusiasm as I looked forward to a busy couple of days ahead.

After a 30 minute taxi drive I was checking in to the Delta hotel on Maple Leaf Square, a stones through away from the Air Canada Centre. No time to rest though, I was picked up from the hotel by an old teammate & good friend who now lives in Toronto, was able to show me around and act as my host throughout my short stay in the city.

1st port of call was to the official Toronto FC bar where we watched Portland Timbers v Toronto with all the local and very passionate fans. It was a real family friendly environment with everyone having a good time & supporting their team in the right way.

After watching Toronto FC narrowly lose 2-1 to the Timbers, we made our way to the Air Canada Centre as I was invited as a guest to watch the deciding play off game between Toronto Raptors v Indian Pacers. 

This was my 1st experience of an NBA Basketball game and everyone kept telling me that I couldn’t have chosen a better game to attend. The atmosphere was electric as the Raptors hadn’t been past this stage in 15 years!

It was a star-studded event, with big names such as Drake and Didier Drogba in attendance. Whilst at the game, I was introduced to some very influential people who loved the concept of skignz and the almost endless possibilities that it offers. Watch this space!

To top the evening off, the Raptors won the game 89-84, leaving a party atmosphere in and around the venue, but it was back to the hotel for me as I had a busy day ahead…

Day 2 in Toronto began with my standard hotel breakfast, Eggs Benedict! With a full stomach and a much needed caffeine fix (Red Bull), I was off to my 1st meeting of the day. 

After some very positive and productive discussions, my friend picked me up and I was fortunate enough to experience the famous Soho House Members club of Toronto for lunch. It’s very much an 'up market' establishment in which members are very selectively chosen.

After an interesting lunch meeting with some promising new business contacts, it was time for my final meeting before catching my flight back to New York.

All in all, I had a great time in the city of Toronto and made some exciting new contacts that will hopefully have a major part to play in taking skignz forward in Canada.

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Monday, 4 April 2016

SXSW - AR/VR Track...

...we were underwhelmed to say the least!

Before I go any further, it's not SXSW that left us underwhelmed, SXSW was a fantastic experience not only personally but also from a skignz point of view. 

We met with many important and exciting people, providing skignz with some quite exciting opportunities going forward.

That said where the underwhelming feelings come from is that related to the AR/VR track at SXSW, the panels, the presentations and the demo area. 

As most of them were focussed for the Wednesday (Most Interactive related parties closing parties happened on the Monday) it seemed wedged between the Interactive, the Film & Music. 

Sort of an afterthought fitted in to 'pay lip service' to the these 'two areas of tech' despite them being two of the 'the' biggest areas of advance in tech.

Let's consider this in a little more detail. AR/VR may be 'the NKOTB' to the majority, yet both have been around for decades... Then you could argue, if they have been around this long, why give them any consideration at all and if so why now?

Writing this article I realise that my thoughts and questions only bring up more thoughts and questions as I seek to answer each of them. That I now believe is because of the conflicting stories across the media, hype in areas that is unsustainable, the majorities actual understanding of VR and AR and been the difference between the two, not to mention all of the 'fringe' technologies that are reported to be one or the other but are actually neither.

'Breaking down my feelings of being underwhelmed into a few key areas may help you understand where I'm coming from?'

Panel Discussions:
I attended quite a few of these focussed on AR/VR and one or two other panels where it was discussed. I seemed to get the feeling that VR 'was here now' but more focussed on Gaming, Simulation and Sex (Porn). Also most of the panels didn't really reveal anything new, discuss any real 'gritty issues' more a soapbox for individuals to wax lyrical about their own careers and companies they worked for.

Nobody really engaged the other panel members in real debate or even the audience, who's questions seemed 'very pithy' and more about how the person asking the question could get to work with the guys on the panel.

Experiences & Presentations:
Across Austin there were a number of 'VR experiences and demo lounges' all of the ones we saw and engaged with were VR focussed with, if their were any AR ones, we either didn't see them or couldn't find them amongst all the noise and activity of SXSW itself.

Demo Area:
One of the most underwhelming experiences, of SXSW. Imagine walking into a large conference room, with a 15-20 'areas/stalls/stands' (can't describe them exactly as their wasn't an exact offering) littered (best word I can use to describe the layout) around the perimeter.

Each of these 'areas' were populated with a range of people from 1-2 up to 5-10 all wearing VR headsets, small queues of people waiting for their 1-5min experience. 

I have experienced VR and all the progression/regression this has shown over the last 20 years and taking my time to engage with a few different offerings.

It's clear that the tech has improved significantly over the last 2-3 years more so in the previous 17-20 years. The content was engaging and interesting in part and the feelings of motion sickness, latency reduced and rendering/lighting being the biggest improvements that I noticed.

I think the scene before me was extremely odd because you had so many people engaging with a very 'personal/individual' experience, all in the same space, when in reality these people would be using this tech in their own home or place of work on their own. 

It's like watching a 'silent disco', where each person is listening to totally different tracks whilst dancing to them.

So If you picture the room full of people with large headsets on, walking and moving around like it's the first time they had ever wore varifocal lenses listening to a 'silent disco' then you may come close to the surreal view laid out before me.

If you couple this with the queues of people waiting for their turn on each VR Headset, the layout of each brand's demo area and lack of engagement with each other, I hope you could forgive me for being underwhelmed.

Because the VR experience is very personal and singular, the experience around that experience is for me the underwhelming part. Growing up I enjoyed going in those giant hemisphere tents that projected 'a virtual ride on a roller coaster', the small simulators at fairs and theme parks with a small number of people who sit inside an immersive experience.

Even through to my early days in VR in the late 1990's, early Noughties, using the Universities Hemi-Spherion, nothing though prepared me for the SXSW16 VR experience.

Overall approach to VR/AR:
The total lack of an AR presence! This for me was one of the biggest shocks in as much as not only was there no AR presence (other than skignz all around you - you need the skignz app to access the content) but very little was discussed around AR.

Yes, we all understand VR is the buzzword and popular theme at the moment that said 2016 seems to be developing into the year where AR is more widely discussed as VR roles out.

You will see from our other blog posts.... What skignz brought to SXSW and demoed in UK@SXSW Great Britain House, so I won't go over that ground, or try to draw comparisons.

Suffice to say, even skignz could have done more to improve the visitors of SXSW experience, but we cannot do that alone...

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Friday, 26 February 2016

skignz announced as UKTi Tech Ambassadors at SXSW

skignz are proud to be travelling to Austin, Texas, US as UKTI Tech Ambassadors at the upcoming South by South West (SXSW) Interactive Festival. 

skignz have been planning for weeks to ensure that we take this opportunity to grow our network and increase opportunities across the US, as well as being lucky enough to exhibit what skignz can do, how we can work with others and showcasing the potential of our technology.

Co-Founder, Si Brown and Head of DV Partnerships, Jamie Clarke will fly out to the US in March to ensure that the current momentum continues, and new networks and markets are opened up and joined by our growing list of European partners.

The week long trip to the states will consist of exhibiting skignz at the ‘British House’, where UK tech companies have an opportunity to showcase their expertise, speak with US counterparts and build relationships.

Co-Founder and CMO Si Brown said, “We are excited to be attending the biggest event of the year in the tech Industry.  We have been fortunate enough to work with UKTI to enable skignz to be in a position to increase our global network by attending SXSW.  This is an important phase in our growth strategy and the timing is perfect for us”.

SXSW is the largest Interactive festival in the world, with businesses travelling from all over the globe with the hope and expectation of increasing their network of business contacts, whilst showcasing the excellence on offer from UK based technology companies.  

An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2016 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line-up of special programmes showcasing the best new websites, video games and start-up ideas the technology community has to offer. 

From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to discover the technology of tomorrow today.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are predicted to be the breakout technologies of 2016 — So the buzz surrounding these two concepts will be significant at SXSW 2016. None more so at the ‘British House’, ran by UKTI, where skignz will be based throughout our trip. 
This really is an opportunity to grasp, and the team have been working hard to plan our visit, ensuring that we take full advantage of all opportunities.

We will keep you up to date throughout the week via our usual media channels, with pictures and commentary on the trip.

For mor einformation on UKTI@SXSW please visit:

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

skignz: In Boston MA, USA

By the time you read this our Co-Founder & CMO will be showcasing skignz to a range of esteemed audiences in Boston Massachusetts, US.

The trip organised through UKTi  and the British American Business Council of New England (BABCNE) is a great opportunity for skignz to demonstrate its technology to a range of audiences.

skignz is looking to establish a number of relationships through this trip that will ultimately help with skignz rapid growth plans. These growth plans have gone into over drive of late due to a number of key projects being finalised. More on this soon.

Back to Boston, some people refer it to as a Mini New York but after many discussions and much reading it seems like an extremely interesting and cultural city. Big enough to be a city but not to big that you can't take in a lot during a short trip.

After doing further research, we came across various ways to describe Boston,

"Boston, first incorporated as a town in 1630, and as a city in 1822, is one of America's oldest cities, with a rich economic and social history. What began as a homesteading community eventually evolved into a center for social and political change. Boston has since become the economic and cultural hub of New England.

As the region's hub, Boston is home to over 617,000 residents, many institutions of higher education, some of the world's finest inpatient hospitals, and numerous cultural and professional sports organizations. 

Boston-based jobs, primarily within the finance, health care, educational, and service areas, numbered nearly 660,000 in 2002. Millions of people visit Boston to take in its historic neighbourhoods, attend cultural or sporting events and conduct business."

We hope to take in some of the history, cultural and sport that Boston has to offer. 

But its the Business where this trip is focussed and with major US & global brands such as Microsoft, Acacia Communications, Hubspot, Wayfair, BAE Systems, Lloyds Bank, Virgin Atlantic, Astra Zenica, British Airways all supporting BABCNE and its efforts to increase and develop trade between the two nations.

skignz is looking forward increased exposure int he North/East of the US after previous successes in Nevada, in Southern America (Brazil) and in Europe & the Middle East. Our Far eastern promise increases as our Kathryn (our born Chinese team member) makes progress with interpreting skignz's activity to the Chinese people.

Hopefully when Simon returns he will be able to update us all on a wonderful trip, the experiences and the wonderful people he has met....with Christmas just around the corner it could be 2015 before you hear those tales.

If you want to find out more about our progress in Boston please check out our social media channels as we will be posting pictures & updates during the trip.

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