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HI-CAN, THE HI-TECH ITALIAN BED SET TO CONQUER THE WORLD
Tradition is projected into the future, thanks to Italian firm Detamobili, a Calabrian business that has given an ultra-modern revamp to the centuries old concept of the four-poster bed. All down to the “Hi-Can” project – an acronym for High Fidelity Canopy – put into action by Detamobili in collaboration with the University of Calabria. The aim of Hi-Can is to endow the traditional protagonist of the bedroom with electronic components such as speakers, computers, video projectors and other gadgets allowing users to surf the net, listen to music, see images, watch Satellite TV and play games.
This is only the beginning: thanks to the room control and touch screen, Hi-Can’s user or users can regulate the room’s lighting, control the temperature, and open or close doors, windows and blinds. All this in a domestic setting – Calabrian designer Edoardo Carlino’s creation, however, is ideally suited to a guest context, such as a hotel room. A context in which the user can choose films or documents from a database and interact directly with the reception to access a wide range of information, from the menu of the day to events organised in clubs, cinemas, theatres, museums and city halls.
These characteristics pave the way for an international distribution of the Hi-Can: “90% - confirms Ivan Tallarico, the Italian firm’s general manager – will be destined for foreign markets, because this product is much more likely to be taken up by Emerging Countries (Middle East, Russia and China) and by traditional markets such as Europe, North America and the Far East”. There are many potential outlet areas, but it seems that the USA are the market of choice. “Half of all the contacts we have received – Tallarico explains – have come from the USA. This attention has convinced us to organise the official presentation of the Hi-Can, which should be in the first quarter of 2009, in New York».
The first channel used for penetrating foreign markets will be ad hoc events like the New York presentation. The company does not put much trust in more clearly commercial events such as trade fairs, and prefers other occasions, which allow users to establish a more dynamic experience with the bed. “Our product – Tallarico continues – must be tried first-hand. This is exactly why the next step following the New York debut will be the opening of a temporary shop in our main markets, both Italian and foreign”. The Hi-Can’s high level of technological content also means innovative sales techniques. The bed will be formally purchased online thanks to an online configuration process, currently being implemented soon to be available at www.hi-can.com, which will enable the selection of various options for colour, finishes, dimensions, furnishings and other optionals.
So what is the Hi-Can’s target? “Before we talk about targets – Tallarico continues – we should think about sectors. Without doubt our solution will be of interest to luxury hotels, the nautical sector, VIP airport lounge managers and public or private healthcare providers”. In fact signs of interest have already been received “from both Italian and foreign potential partners”. These are the sectors where the product could be sold. But to who, exactly? “Our ideal user is a high-spender, from a young age range and who pays great attention to fashion and technological innovation.”
Detamobili has already received many requests, for example from Hollywood producers, entrepreneurs, investment fund managers, architects and musicians. A wide range of potential purchasers, who the company is counting on for their first sales, reached not via any planned strategy but due to the effect of genuine “viral marketing” spread on the web. Information about the product was circulating freely online before the project became concrete, passing via design and lifestyle blogs. “Our marketing – Tallarico explains – was initially aimed at industry professionals, looking to create industrial partnerships for the supply of hi-tech components. However, our presentation film indirectly ended up on YouTube, and to date has recorded 170 thousand contacts”.
This is how, spontaneously and nearly six months after the presentation at the University of Calabria in February 2008, the hi-tech bed is now a consolidated reality even before it’s ever actually been on sale, which will be from the beginning of 2009. Everything is ready for the start of Hi-Can’s industrialisation. Tallarico concludes, “The business plan has been shared with potential institutional investors, who are interested in supporting our project. We already have the interest of Italian investment funds, which estimate adequate returns from the commercialisation of Hi-Can from around 2012 onwards”. The project, apart from institutional investors, has already attracted first-rate industrial partners. Some preliminary agreements have already been reached, for example with JVC Professional Europe for video-projection systems. “JVC – Tallarico concludes – sees our project as an important investment opportunity to transfer “professional” applications to the consumer market”.