Oklahoma City-based DigiTouch creates concierge network

Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 7:00 am By: Brian Brus

The Journal Record

Ashley Amend is creating a network of digital concierges to connect the country's hotel lobbies, sports arenas, shopping malls and other public outlets through her Oklahoma City-based company.

And the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber is one of the first links in the DigiTouch Innovations master plan.

Amend is founder and majority owner of DigiTouch Innovations and developer of a digital signage product called Digierge, a digital concierge. The Digierge is a stand-alone 42-inch LCD monitor embedded with speakers and computer hardware with content- management software. Although DigiTouch can program the kiosks to display nearly anything, the basic promotional template involves a combination of news headlines, calendar, weather report, hotel and shop locations, and an interactive index of other user topics. Space is also set aside for advertisements, which will help generate revenue.

"This product offers an innovative way of displaying your in- house information as well as the ability to generate advertise sales dollars and in some cases lower overhead employee costs," according to the company's promotional materials.

Amend said the product has vast potential in nearly any industry, but DigiTouch Innovations will probably focus on sales and lease agreements with convention and visitors bureaus and related agencies first. The company sold its first three screens to the Oklahoma City chamber; they will be installed in the nonprofit organization's downtown office and taken to tourism conferences.

The screens are actually just a vehicle for the company's main thrust, she said.

"We have a Web application network that we're linking all of our signs to, so we can sell national advertisement. And we've been creating relationships with big national advertisers to allocate funds to our network once we've got it up and running," Amend said.

Ultimately, the network will be able to upload new content from other signage companies as well, she said. The company would split such advertising revenues with the local tourism agency and property owner where the screen is displayed.

But to reach that stage, the company will need to expand quickly, as opposed to slow and steady, she said.

Last year, DigiTouch Innovations joined forces with American Fidelity Corp., a multibillion-dollar Oklahoma firm, to help develop and market the company's signage products. Digitouch Innovations also is a client of i2E, the OCAST-funded nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startups. DigiTouch Innovations is currently housed within American Fidelity's Oklahoma City headquarters, where it can take advantage of the larger firm's business planning services, office facilities, administration and accounting support, Amend said.

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