Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Final images

And now for a few final images to wrap up an extremely successful 2007 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show...

Part of the job at these shows is walking the docks and counting domes - ours and the competition's. Here at the FLIBS, it was no contest as KVH domes dominated.

Steve Griffin discusses airtime service packages with a customer as a live TracPhone V7 in a clear dome keeps the booth connected via Internet and VoIP telephone.

Sadly, bad weather made it difficult to make a pilgrimage to the exotic car displays so we'll just have to make do with this hand-crafted powerboat. It's a bargain at only $800,000...just $400,000 per passenger.


One of the benefits of attending a boat show or RV rally is the opportunity to work with our customers, many of who come to the show not only to look at new products but also to receive support for their existing products. Ft. Lauderdale was no different. Gary Jones of the tech support team was on hand and assisting boat owners who had vessels at the show as well as at marinas within a 30 mile radius throughout the weekend, much to the boat owners' delight (great job, Gary!). Apparently these folks get grumpy if they're missing the World Series and football on Sundays!

Ft. Lauderdale also offered an exciting opportunity for members of our team to visit one of the first boats to get a TracPhone V7 satellite communication system and the mini-VSAT Broadband service. Reports are that the system and powerful new communication service are a hit!

Rick Driscoll gets up close and personal with the TracPhone V7 modem and control unit installed on a vessel at the show

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 2...Paging Mr. Noah! Mr. Noah, please report to the electronics tent

Welcome to sunny Florida.

Good thing we're at a boat show because we're ready to float away

Despite the torrential rain, the electronics tent has thus far avoided what has always been an immutable law of the universe...tents leak. Other tents are largely underwater (or at least their carpet is). As for us, it's always a bit disconcerting when standing next to loads of powered-up electronics and you can look up and see the roof vibrating from the biblical downpour underway.

Next year, I think our free goodies should be plastic ponchos.

Images from Day 1

So, how'd it go?


The sales team, to a man, declared that this Day 1 of the show clearly outclassed the last several years. As Jim George, our national sales manager for marine products succinctly put it, "We were selling, our dealers were selling. It was a good day."

Interest in the new TracPhone systems is running high, the Tracphone M-series is popular, and by the close of the show at 7 PM, everyone was beat. But it was worth it.

Total focus - Jim George working with a customer

A TracVision towers over the boat show

Well, if you're advertising a waterproof radio, it makes sense to prove it by putting them underwater and letting people try them

Ian Palmer chats with a guest

Jim Dodez gives a TV interview and TracVision M3 demonstration for BoatTest.com

Sales Manager Ryan Smith and Project Manager Brian Arthur work on convincing a boat owner than the TracVision M3 is the right gear for him

A sleek powerboat tied up immediately outside the electronics tent and showing off its two KVH domes

Sharing a laugh at the end of the day - Technical Sales Manager Steve Buckingham, CEO Martin Kits van Heyningen, VP of Engineering Bob Balog, and Brian Arthur

Doubts dispelled

The beauty of having the electronics exhibits in a large tent rather than a building is that the satellite TV and communications systems are still able to receive the signals, enabling us to demonstrate live product. This has been a fantastic benefit as we've been providing live Internet access and Voice over IP telephone service in our booth via the TracPhone V7. And with an unlimited VoIP airtime account, it's no problem to hand a cordless phone to someone who doubts the quality of the V7's voice service with the invitation "Go ahead. Call someone. Tell them we said hi." Every time, the visitor makes the call, chats for a bit, and hands back the phone with a pleased expression and usually the comment, "Wow, that's better than I would have expected." Speaking as someone who has tried it here at the show, I can vouch for the quality, which is far superior than my cell phone service at the moment.

Project manager Brian Arthur looks on as a customer makes a call using the TracPhone V7's VoiP service

"Now, kids, pay attention to your mother and do your homework." Rick Driscoll calls home under the guise of "product quality testing"

A nip here, a tuck there, presto chango facelift!

Our two new TracPhone systems aren't the only thing and exciting KVH is unveiling here at Ft. Lauderdale. The show is also the coming out party for our all-new trade show booth. Thanks to a crash design program by the Graphics team, some innovative booth technology, and the hard work of Kevin Dean and the advance team a few days ago, our new (and older) products are showcased in a world-class, dynamic exhibit. Take a look...

The booth achieves a dynamic look thanks to subtly shifting LED lights that change colors as they highlight the products and the booth panels

52-inch flat screen TVs with KVH product movies and freestanding product presentations give visitors something to look at

Even from the back, the overhead domes advertise in the space above other firms's booths, giving KVH premium visibility throughout the electronics tent

Ian Palmer commented that a good amount of the increased traffic through the booth on Day 1 was definitely the result of the new booth and its compelling design.

Of course, nothing's perfect...but it's pretty close.

VP of Marketing & Strategic Development Jim Dodez and Creative Director Kathleen Keating discuss some refinements to make the booth for the next show

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Broadband Breakfast

Before the show even opened, we kicked off the long weekend with a major event hosted by KVH - our first-ever technology breakfast - at the Bahia Mar Hotel. With more than 100 dealers and members of the media in attendance, experts from KVH, SES Americom and ViaSat (our partners in the TracPhone V7 product and service) and Inmarsat spoke on the topic, "The Next Generation of Mobile Broadband Communications."

This event offered an invaluable opportunity to highlight what we believe are breakthrough products in the mobile communications arena. While our new TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband service were introduced in July, this is the first major show in which they've been shown. Likewise, today marks the introduction of KVH's all-new TracPhone FB250 and FB500 systems, which operate in tandem with Inmarsat's new FleetBroadband service. While these systems are all featured in our new booth (more on that later), this morning's event offered the chance to speak to leading marine electronics experts and writers from around the country in an environment that is slightly less...OK, way less...chaotic than the show itself. Plus, we picked up the tab for breakfast, and when a bottle of water on the show grounds is going for $4, that's a nice perk for the attendees.

KVH CEO Martin Kits van Heyningen reviews his presentation one final time before addressing the breakfast attendees

Amy Rocha, a member of the sales department and breakfast event coordinator extraordinaire, prepares to greet our guests

Sales manager Rick Garrison helps with some last-minute stuffing of the goody bags for the guests, including a press packet, KVH pull-over jackets, miniature computer mice courtesy of SES, and digital photo key chains from Inmarsat

Ian Palmer, KVH's executive VP for satellite sales, introduces KVH's new FleetBroadband-compatible TracPhone systems

"Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars..."
Lisa Wagner of Inmarsat describes the recent launch of one of the new, super-advanced I-4 satellites that's powering the FleetBroadband service

SES Americom's satellites provide the network for the new mini-VSAT Broadband service, explains Brent Bruun of SES

And the not-so-secret ingredient in the TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband? Spread spectrum technology from ViaSat, according to ViaSat's Bill Sullivan

And in the end, it's a packed house, literally standing room only, as there still weren't enough seats even after extra chairs were brought in