• Smartlink: A Made in America Success Story

    Today DJ Jennings, Chief Revenue Officer for Outdoorlink talks about how the company’s Smartlink product helps out of home companies cut costs and improve service.

    Smarklink Founder Dwight Jennings

    Smartlink is an amazing made in America success story.

    It started with my father Dwight Jennings.  He started in the industry in 1971 when he was right out of college.  He was 22 years old.  He started as a bill poster for Creative Displays…He was with them for about 15 years…When they sold in 1983 he took his stock and he started Jennings Outdoor here in North Alabama.  Jennings outdoor grew to 600 faces then in 1997 he sold to OCI…  My dad was reading a magazine one day and he saw this article on how utility companies had developed this collar that they would put on the load center of houses and if the accounts were delinquent…they’d just drive by and hit a button and would kill the power…they didn’t have to get out and physically go to the house…He thought it would be a good application for billboards…He developed a product for combatting the rising utility costs we face, the unreliable time clocks that are always going bad and need to be reset, and being able to turn off unsold faces…We started as a lighting controller and we’ve evolved into much more…digital signs, tri-faces and now we are on everything from solar to restaurant management, property management groups and our newest division is transit – bus shelters, airports.  We have 600-700 clients.  That’s everybody from large clients to people who have one billboard….Everything we do is local in the United States.  We have a sales office in Seattle and our lighting crews…are spread out throughout the country…Our corporate office is here in Huntsville.

    DJ Jennings Chief Revenue Officer, Smartlink

    How does Smartlink work?

    Smartlink is a computer and it has a cell phone in it.  It interacts with our web portal and you can send commands for it to monitor lighting, digital displays, solar consumption…it is monitoring your asset 24/7 to let you know if there are any issues…like bulb outages, power losses…a player locks up or freezes…so you just have total control…

    What are the benefits for out of home operators.

    Every operator finds something unique…If you would have asked me that 10 years ago I would have said utility savings.  When we take off a timer or photocell you can expect to see anywhere from 25-75% utility savings…To some clients it’s the fact that they don’t have to ride lights any more or it’s the peace of mind knowing they don’t have to wake up in the morning…and get a call from an upset client because lights aren’t working…People love the fact that it enables them to be in control of everything…Whenever a photocell goes bad it goes bad in the on position so you don’t find out until you have a $400 utility bill…or if you have a timeclock and the site loses power you have a time delay…what our unit does is…every night it checks in, it gets it’s sunrise and sunset times based on its gps coordinates and that makes sure you are getting that illumination to the minute for the area that board is in.

    Intrusion Detection

    This is a benefit of smartlink that we didn’t find out until some of these things started happening…if someone were to hack or take over the unit the smartlink operates totally independent…you can blackout the screen, shut it down, whatever you need to do to respond immediately.  We have camera system that can detect, motion detectors that can detect if somebody’s been there…

    Smartlink and solar.

    We have solutions for ongrid and off grid solar.  On-grid we’ll measure what’s been produced versus what’s been consumed…For off-grid battery powered locations we do a lot of solar powered bus shelters…what the unit does it is monitors the battery levels and it can adjust those lights to make up for it, it can reduce the burn time, it can send alerts to you.

    Smartlink’s crews help out of home companies with lighting retrofits.

    Outdoorlink installation services has 14 two man crews.  Each crew has a bucket truck.  They travel the country doing LED upgrades, installing smartlink.  They’s been doing it for 6-7 years.  They install ladder safety systems, upgrades to digital displays.  I think they’ve installed 200,000 upgrades to LED fixtures…I’m pretty sure that we can do it faster cheaper and high quality than just about anybody out there…

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