This guy is dragging sidewalk signs into the digital age with his unique innovation
By Gerald Ainomugisha – Aug 18, 2015
Self-confessed inventor David Ranger (pictured) has always loved tinkering with tech and testing some of his ideas.
His latest idea has led to the development of the WAYO board, a 39-inch high definition digital sign board that he believes is the world’s first mobile digital sign board that can deliver content in real-time via the Internet.
It is intended to end the reign of the traditional A-Frame boards used for advertising outside shops and other businesses.
How does the WAYO board work?
The board is locally developed, heavily patent protected, and also manufactured in Australia. It is unique because:
- it lets you create content in real-time, using text, images and video, even live feeds, either on-site or remotely, using a cloud-based content management system.
- the display content of multiple boards can be changed simultaneously via the Internet over 4G technology.
- it’s portable, running on a 15 hour battery than can be recharged in just six hours, so it can be placed anywhere (no need to be placed near a power point).
What is the story behind WAYO?
David was out for a coffee with his daughter one day and as they walked past an A-frame advertising board, she said she thought they were old and dull, just littering the streets and wondered why, in the age of mobile everything, someone hadn’t yet dragged them into the 21st century.
The wheels started turning in David’s head. He set his mind to reinventing the A-frame, lodged a US patent for an innovation and started working out how to do it.
He built several prototypes and started shopping the idea around to people who might actually use something like that.
Fortunately, David has owned a carpet cleaning franchise on the Sunshine Coast for over a decade and as a carpet cleaner, he works with a lot of real estate agents.
It turns out they were really interested in it!
So he worked on the design to make it user-friendly, attractive and functional.
The struggle of funding an invention
David initially funded the project out of his own pocket. He had applied for several local grants and entered innovation award programs without much success.
He also applied to Commercialisation Australia for a grant.
“It was an eye-opening experience, and at times quite frustrating so I got a few business experts to help me with the process and we finally got a grant.
“Going through that process and building a marketing plan really helped me understand that turning an idea into an innovation was not easy. It takes a lot of persistence, tenacity and a never-give-up attitude. Lucky I can be stubborn, and it paid off for me this time.
“The grant helped me build a good prototype which proved really valuable for demonstrating what I thought was possible with the product,” David shared with Anthill.
When he got as far as he could on his own with developing WAYO and had exhausted all the funds, David literally spent one year knocking on doors looking for a partner to invest in the WAYO board and help him take it to the next level of development.
He eventually found his way to an electronics manufacturing company, Elexon Electronics and within a week, they had an agreement and were working together to make the WAYO board a reality.
It is currently being trialed with a few customers including a V8 Supercar racing team, Virgin Airlines in Queensland, as well as at national coffee shop chain The Coffee Club and Zambrero.