31 Dec , 2013

With the end of 2013 only a few hours away I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on lilitab's accomplishments this year and to give thanks to all of our loyal customers for making 2013 such a knock-out success for lilitab. Without you Lilitab literally would not exist.

We had a few exciting milestones this year including our largest single deployment to every single Sephora store in North America. We moved into a new facility at the beginning of the year and completed our build out of the space, making it the third space we have occupied in our three years in business. We brought on some key team members and completed the launch of our generation 2.0 tablet kiosk product range with the stunning MagDOCK feature and the ability to support many different tablets in the same enclosure. The design, engineering and launch of the Lilitab 2.0 iPad kiosk system has really been a team effort from everyone here at Lilitab. It just wouldn't be possible without the huge amount of hard work, dedication and skill employed by the entire Lilitab team. And for that, I give thanks. All in all 2013 has been a great year and I'm very happy I started down this path.

However it hasn't been without it's challenges, 

I started Lilitab in early 2011 with an eye towards enabling self-service for markets that traditional kiosks did not serve well. At the time it was hard to predict how successful this venture would be and with almost 20 years of traditional kiosk development and deployments under my belt it was a big risk to focus my efforts solely on an iPad kiosk product.  At the time iPad kiosks were an unproven concept and the products that did exist left a lot to be desired. They were mostly hap-hazard sheet metal boxes that were just smaller versions of traditional kiosks. There was an opening to design and engineer a solution that encapsulated all I had learned from my time with traditional kiosks and address the needs of the market that were not being answered. So I ran with it.

As the project moved forward and key team members joined it started to gather momentum and by the end of 2011 we had launched our first generation 1.0 product range; a floor standing kiosk and a wall/ counter mount kiosk. We debuted the product at the iMenu sub show at the IHMRS in the Javits center in November of 2011 and the responses we got were highly encouraging. As we returned to San Francisco we ran into our first big challenge. As an Apple MFI participant we have to adhere to their program guidelines and one of those had come back to bite us in the butt. Some of our long time customers may remember that back then our company and product was called Lilipad. It was a nice name, it referenced the fact that our product worked with a "pad" and also the elegance of a flower which we aspired to. However, it turned out Apple did not. After reviewing and approving the product and company name on many occasions they all of a sudden changed their mind and decided that they did not like the fact that Lilipad contained the word iPad. They threatened excommunication from the program if we did not comply immediately. Now this was not an easy thing for us at the time. Our product and corporate name was baked into the product, literally indented into the head housing. All of our packaging, branding and corporate collateral and web-site bore the now verboten name. If we wanted to continue to sell products that bore the "made for iPad" badge and continue to have the right to develop connected accessories we had to change all of that. Not so great for a tiny startup that was just receiving it's first shipment of parts from vendors all over the world. Thankfully Apple gave us a few months to get all the changes made and rolled out and by March of 2012 we were officially Lilitab iPad kiosks.

In the end I think it worked out better for us, our generation 2.0 products now support many different tablets, not just the iPad and as such the name Lilitab is just a better fit. So thanks Apple, sometimes a detour from your expected path can make you a better company.

Here's hoping 2014 brings continued success and happiness to all our customers and friends. Remember, YOLO & The best is yet to come ;-)

Happy New Year.

Adam Aronson


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