Can a technology solution replace post-it notes?

Post it image use
Yellow post-it stuck on wall

Experience has become a core focus for the AV industry. Along with new working methodologies and trends, a completely reimagined set of tools needs to be provided to modern day corporate spaces. Peter Coman, managing director of Indesign Technologies, discusses the AV consultant’s recent partnership with Hoylu and how it seeks to accomplish the aforementioned.

The humble post-it is a staple in offices. From start-ups to conglomerates, companies use them to organise, strategise and catalogue their activities.

Surprisingly, the advance of technology has not been able to devise a suitable substitute. The allure of post-it notes lies in the experience they provide and their functionality. The tactile experience of writing on a post-it, along with the freedom to arrange them as desired, only constrained by the limits of space, is hard to replicate for digital alternatives.

Post-its do however have their limitations. Coman details: “The analogue and tactile experience of writing on a post-it is good. But the problem with using post-it notes is that eventually you end up with a wall full of them with notes on them. If you want to take that information with you users have to take a photo or implement some other workaround. And eventually, you have to either pull them down or relocate them. This is the unpleasant part of the experience of using post-it notes.”

At present, businesses are willing to overlook this shortcoming as Coman found out via personal experience. He narrates: “For a number of years we have been looking for a solution for our clients that can digitise agile meetings. When we were working for Suncorp we found that their agile meetings and scrums were based on an analogue process. When they would walk into a meeting space it would have these coloured post-it notes all over the wall."

"When we were working with the Suncorp AV and tech team we discussed their meeting process with them and explored avenues to digitise it.”

Unfortunately, the experience and functionality of the tech options were unable to match up to post-its. Coman says: “We had a look at a number of products and different technology options that enabled multiple interactive whiteboards or canvasses and then maybe use multiple projectors to visualise them. We looked at virtual post-its. There were many times where I thought I had found a solution for the client. But a key message from Suncrop was that they wanted the users to actually be able to ‘write’. None of the solutions offered that. To get your notes or message onto a wall you would have to type it into an iPad or laptop.”

Coman didn’t give up the chase and says: “I was at ISE 2019 and I was walking past the Hoylu booth and saw this solution and at first I thought it was going to be like the rest. I told them our biggest problem with our client which was that they wanted the ability to ‘write’ and they said their platform could do that. For there onwards I kept listing requirements and they checked all the boxes.”

Coman expands on how the platform from Hoylu provides the writing experience: “The post-its for Connected Workspaces come with a special pen which can be connected via Bluetooth. With this you can write on the digital post-it notes and as soon as you write it down it is available up on the board. The post-its are available in different sizes and colours and have a unique pattern on them to allow the pen to work. No other solution I have seen seems to offer this functionality.”

When Hoylu’s platform sets itself apart from post-it notes is the digital realm. Coman details: “Writing is one thing, but when you have convert-to-text functionality built it opens a lot of new doors. Firstly, if the writing is not very legible it can be converted to text and that makes it easy for everyone to read. Once the writing is brought into the digital realm you can start to perform searches for specific words and phrases" 

"Once the writing is brought into the digital realm you can start to perform searches for specific words and phrases."

"Sometimes when you are working in the analogue world, workshops or scrums or agile meetings can become very large and it becomes difficult to actually find certain pieces of content. Having a search function really helps.”

Being in the digital realm also allows for remote participants to join in. Coman says: “I could be in a room with my team and we are working together and I want to share our work with you in Singapore. You can join a session and you can interact with what we are doing. Or we can have you join as a guest by sharing the URL which you can access via your browser. The Hoylu platform is very versatile. There is a voting system which people can use to make group decisions. It also has emojis which is very current and enables a modern way of communication. The emojis are also searchable.”

Indesign Technologies and Hoylu have entered into a reseller agreement for Australia and New Zealand. Coman talks about what this means for the consultancy and what changes it will bring: “We saw an opportunity to complement what we do. As consultants, we are out there talking to the end users all the time, listening to their frustrations and we know what they are after. So, we felt that Hoylu was a really good company to partner with and they have a great product and they are flexible. They are open to feedback and product improvement.”

He concludes: “We think it is a great opportunity for us to diversify and offer additional services to our clients and to create more value in what we do. We are a tech solution provider, whether that is software or hardware, whether it is solutions that we design and deliver in the shape of our MoCoWs or our consulting services or design services. At the end of the day we are providing technology solutions and we see this new step as another piece in that puzzle that we are trying to complete for our clients.”