Caloundra man saw the signs, invented a mobile solution

By Nicky Moffatt 20 October 2015

IGNORANCE might be bliss. But for Caloundra’s David Ranger, it meant invention, after his lack of technology know-how led to the creation of a world-first product.

WAYO mobile digital signs look like big iPads or tablet computers – wireless, controlled remotely in “cloud-based” software, and completely mobile.

The product has huge potential and is being snapped up by the likes of Virgin Australia, where WAYOs are used to entertain customers with flight updates and global weather forecasts, among other uses.

Zambrero’s Mexican restaurants also use the signs to advertise daily specials outside some of their shops. The idea for WAYO signs arrived five years ago when Mr Ranger’s daughter tripped over an A-frame mobile billboard that was parked on the street.

His daughter had been furious, saying, “Why doesn’t somebody just do something and bring them into the 21st century?”

Why, indeed.

David Ranger from Wayo has developed a digital mobile sign. David shows off the sign to George Bon Mansour (left) from Zahtar Restaurant, Maroochydore.

David Ranger from Wayo has developed a digital mobile sign. David shows off the sign to George Bon Mansour (left) from Zahtar Restaurant, Maroochydore.

It was the beginning of a five-year process that saw the carpet cleaning business owner venture into the rapidly evolving world of electronics.

“Because I wasn’t technically minded, I didn’t actually realise that it couldn’t be done,” he said.  “So I just went ahead and did it.”

In retrospect, Mr Ranger said, if he had known how much work it would be to create the fully patented product he released to the market in July, he probably wouldn’t have done it.

Five years ago, technology hadn’t enabled this kind of development, but it had since changed rapidly.

“I went knocking on doors trying to find somebody who knew more about technology than I did,” Mr Ranger said. “I knocked on about 25 doors.”

In 2013, he nearly signed a contract with a Brisbane company just before its facility burned down. Then he showed his product to Elexon Electronics, based at Brendale, north of Brisbane.

“They loved it. Absolutely loved it,” he said. “They saw the potential and literally signed a contract within the next two weeks.”

Elexon provided Mr Ranger with capital, staff, technology, and facilities.

Mr Ranger said the electronic and design engineers “took my ideas out of my head and tested them” for 18 months. In that time, major advancements such as Tesla’s release of its lithium-ion battery technology dramatically expanded mobile technology options.

A saleable product was released in July and Mr Ranger says he’s not looking back now.

 

Source:Sunshine Coast Daily