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30 Innovators to Watch 2021

North American Company Danavation Technologies Corp.™ Continues to Lead Micro E-Paper Displays Segment, Creating Sustainable and Profitable Business for Shareholders

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“We have introduced our solution to retailers across North America, including big box and boutique grocers, while also targeting new markets including healthcare providers, manufacturing and logistics companies, etc.”

Danavation Technologies Corp.™ is a Canadian IoT technology company and provider of Digital Smart Labels™, or micro e-paper displays, to organizations across North America.

Digital Smart Labels™ enable companies across sectors to automate labelling, pricing, product information, and promotions in real time, enhancing data accuracy and improving performance by removing high labor costs and low productivity associated with traditional labor-intensive workflows.

The company was founded in 2018 and is based in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada.

To highlight and further understand what Danavation Technologies Corp.™ stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with  founder John Ricci, who serves as the company’s President & CEO.

Below is an excerpt.

Q. What are the challenges you had to overcome during the initial stage?

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During the initial years, the biggest obstacle was getting our potential customers’ heads around using the Digital Smart Labels™ system, as it can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the technology. Their first thought tends to be whether our system is right for their business, followed by questions around what’s involved from a tech and labor perspective, and how easy it is to use. To answer these questions, we give product demos and take them to stores that we work with—and soon enough, it becomes incredibly easy for them to understand.

Digital Smart Labels™ are an easy, user-friendly system. We’ve made it amazingly simple for potential customers to overcome the tech obstacles as well as the intimidation factor. We have customers from all walks of life, some are young, some are older, and some are even multi-generational, that have had 100% success running the system.

Moreover, we have now produced a do-it-yourself installation kit. In some cases, we send our customers the data strips, the specified Digital Smart Labels™, the Basestation required to power the labels, and a video tutorial on how to install the system. We also download the software on the cloud for them to make it even easier.

Q. Can you tell us about your solution’s impact on inventory management?

It is a growing market segment for us. For instance, in the grocery market, inventory management lags and most retailers are still using 40-year-old archaic systems. Nothing has changed with their labels either. The same goes for inventory distribution centers and warehouses. In a nutshell, keeping track of inventory is a lot easier on Digital Smart Labels™, which will be replacing paper tags soon.

Q. How well-poised are Digital Smart Labels™ to revolutionize the retail segment?

Our Digital Smart Labels™ offer a class-leading high resolution, high contrast, wide-viewability, and vibrant color display designed to enhance the retail shopping experience and update pricing and product information in real time. Simply put, it’s all set to revolutionize the retail segment.

By empowering the adoption of smart retail, smart cities, and industry 4.0, our goal is to create a sustainable and profitable business for shareholders while advancing sound environmental, social, and governance practices, including by significantly reducing paper usage. We have introduced our solution to retailers across North America, including big box and boutique grocers, while also targeting new markets including healthcare providers and manufacturing and logistics companies.

Q. Specialized services often come with an expensive price tag. How do you manage to maintain your affordability and profitability?

Danavation was grounded and founded in Canada and that is what makes us unique. We started in 2018 and we design and engineer our hardware and software internally, making us an in-house entity when it comes to engineering and development. This allows us to keep our software costs low because it is our design, and we don’t rely on anyone on the outside. We also have three OEM facilities that manufacture for us, allowing us to have a tight grip on our supply chain and price points.

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Q. How do you recruit the right talent to consistently deliver the best services?

We’re entrenched in a local university in a number of IT programs and advertise a lot to recruit candidates. We recently pulled a couple of interns for the summer that we’ve turned into full-time employees. Danavation is a very tech-heavy and software-heavy company. We go where the tech people are, and in a lot of cases, they search us out. We’re having very good success with people coming to us.

There are also instances when people from outside of North America reach out to us inquiring about jobs. Finding a healthy balance when building a talent pipeline can be tricky in this scenario. Hence, we focus to groom local talent. And we have access to some brilliant up-and-coming minds in Canada.

Q. Do you have any new services that are ready to launch?

Yes, a couple, but I can’t reveal them at this time. We applied for three different patents, which are in the application stage before they get filed. We’re always in R&D mode. Our tech team spends 20 percent of their time on R&D, so we have some fantastic software coming out. We’ve also signed a big software deal with a major retailer in Canada—it’s our own software that we are building for them. We’ve also introduced our new re-engineered tags that are on the market now. In the next couple of weeks, we have some new installs coming up. We’re also planning to launch a new interactive brand advertising portal in early 2022.

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

We’re excited because the adoption rate in the retail food sector is about five percent in North America. Our vertical markets include retail, grocery, healthcare facilities, distribution warehouses, military distribution warehouses, animal shelters, hospitals, pharmacies, furniture companies, office furniture resellers, and more. We even have a system that synchronizes your Outlook or desktop calendar onto a Digital Smart Label™ outside your office, allowing you to see a person’s activity for the whole day. As people go back to the office and start using different workstations, their workstations can be personalized daily.

There are also different markets that we’re opening up in. There’s a low adoption rate, but we have a very good digital marketing presence. We get four to six new inquiries daily, on top of our organic knocking on doors, cold calling, etc. It’s a growing market and we’re excited about the market share that we’re going to be able to capture. We have some exciting new customers coming up that we will be announcing shortly.

Q. Is there anything else you want us to highlight that we might have missed?

I tell all our customers that when you work with Danavation, we give you one thing that no one can give you: home-field advantage. And it goes a long way. Our system is here and we’re ready to help. We’re not one-dimensional and we don’t work on a single-lane highway. We’re constantly working on different projects and solving issues or pain points that our customers are facing. And that’s what defines our company. We react to whatever the customer needs and we are always willing to meet any challenge that comes to us.

“Our Digital Smart Labels™ offer a class-leading high resolution, high contrast, wide-viewability, and vibrant color display designed to enhance the retail shopping experience and update pricing and product information in real time. Simply put, it’s all set to revolutionize the retail segment.”