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How Rockwell Automation Created an Immersive Digital Experience to Pivot Its Annual Automation Fair – and More

Over 100 years ago, inventive Lynde Bradley joined entrepreneurial Dr. Stanton Allen and mechanical genius Harry Bradley to establish the first motor control company with an initial investment of $1,000 and a prototype. Today, it has become the largest company in the world dedicated to industrial automation and information, with annual revenue of $6.7 billion. Rockwell Automation takes the knowledge it has gained over the last century to connect the imaginations of people with the potential of technology to expand what's possible, making the world more productive and sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Rockwell employs 23,000 problem-solvers dedicated to customers in 100+ countries.

Reimaging the Virtual Tradeshow: How to Create Immersive Digital Experiences

It was in the spirit of this long history of innovation that Rockwell reimagined it renown annual Automation Fair last year in the wake of a global pandemic. The customer event went virtual. As so many have learned, there are challenges in pivoting from a traditional in-person event to an all-virtual event -- logistics, content, attendee engagement, success measurement.

Over the past year, attendance at virtual events had been high, but attendee engagement and satisfaction are low. But, if marketers rethink virtual events, they offer opportunities for those brave enough to go beyond digitizing a physical booth to create imaginative, immersive experiences that generate educated and enthusiastic (and global) prospects. "Rockwell Automation at Home" is a prime example. It's an interactive application, created by Kaon Interactive, that transforms the virtual event from passive viewing to active engagement at every touchpoint, immersing the anticipated 12,000 users from 75 countries into a photo-realistic tour of the Rockwell Milwaukee headquarters.

The immersive digital experience hosted thousands of global user sessions during the three-day event. Attendees “walk” through the spaces (three replicas of full floors within the physical headquarters), explore interactive displays to learn about Rockwell solutions, and talk to subject-matter experts via live video conferencing. It’s the same experience as being on the tradeshow floor without leaving your home.

Experience the fair yourself, until June 1, 2021.

Setting Attainable Objectives for Your Virtual Experience

The Rockwell team had three goals in transitioning their in-person event to a virtual one:

#1 Give customers, partners, and distant employees a chance to tour the updated headquarters and learn about the latest company innovations.

#2 Drive conversations and leads at their most important annual event for engaging customers.

#3 Create a digital interactive experience that can be used for years, for events (virtual or in-person), marketing campaigns, and a virtual briefing center.

To achieve these goals, Rockwell required not just a highly engaging virtual experience, but a full-scale, agile platform on which to deliver it. They turned to the Kaon Interactive High Velocity Marketing Platform to overcome their challenge. The platform provided Rockwell with a holistic experience that is device-agnostic, available online or offline, easily updated via the cloud, measurable (with real-time engagement metrics), and accessible to unlimited users. As a leader in building and deploying interactive B2B sales and marketing applications, Kaon is the expert in creating and deploying engaging and business-relevant customer applications to drive and elevate buying conversations.

Finding Meaningful Engagement in Digital Experiences

The Rockwell Automation at Home event and digital experience exceeded expectations, providing a lifelike event for Rockwell's customers, partners, and employees, with 24,833 attendees across 107 countries -- netting out to more than 2,000 hours of actual hands-on engagement across hundreds of thousands of interactions. In terms of measurable engagement, 33% of those attendees actively interacted with the event and content for more than three minutes.

The purpose of any brand event is to drive conversion and move leads through the sales cycle. The Rockwell Automation Fair at Home resulted in more than $50 million in opportunities, with just over $3 million closed so far.

And counting. The advantage of this virtual immersive experience is the event doesn’t have to end in three or four days. Marketing and sales can direct customers and partners to the application post-event, while it is simultaneously being explored by organic website visitors. In the three weeks after the event, the digital experience attracted more than 1,100 user sessions in 64 countries, with a 44% capture rate (sessions with engagement of three minutes or more). The capture rate is a vital metric as it measures highly engaged users as they interact with the application and, independently, move further down the buying funnel, indicating intent. Rockwell was able to curate 11 customer-guided virtual tours, three analyst tours, and more – all virtually.

The rolling virtual event will remain available on the web for employees, customers, and partners to access and explore. Explore it now.

To find out how Kaon Interactive can help you plan for and achieve attendee engagement and knowledge retention at your next virtual, hybrid, or in-person event, contact us.

Digital Customer Engagement Platform Increased Demand Results in Significant Kaon Team Growth

The shift to exclusively virtual business interactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the need and demand for digital customer engagement platform solutions for sales and marketing, like those offered by Kaon Interactive, that are agile enough to remain relevant in the post-COVID-19 era. This acceleration, as well as a strategic company expansion into Europe, mandated the growth of our Kaon team.

Keep reading to meet the those who joined us in 2020, and check back on this post as we continue to grow our Kaon family!

Thomas Scheerder | Senior Director of Strategic Accounts, Europe

Thomas Scheerder, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Since the beginning of his career, Thomas has worked in international B2B sales within the exhibition/interior design, telecommunications, and meeting/event/congress industries. This work has sent him around the world searching for prospects and new clients. He strongly believes that when the product or service is good, people should listen to his story so as to not miss out on a beneficial opportunity. Thomas is of Dutch nationality, meaning that he is a straight-forward guy who speaks directly and will help his customers, whenever needed, during the buying process.

Thomas will be overseeing European business for Kaon Interactive, based in Amsterdam. He is looking forward to interacting with Kaon clients and prospects in Europe and prospects.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I feel privileged to start up the European division, together with a great set of colleagues on the other side of the ocean.

Michael Guillemette | Applications Software Developer

Michael Guillemette, Kaon Interactive Applications Software Developer

Michael joined the Kaon application development team at the beginning of the year. He is excited to be working alongside such an exemplary group of programmers to create compelling, useful and performant applications. With a background in customer-facing roles and experience working as a graphic designer, he strives to bring thoughtful, creative energy to each project with a focus on client success.

Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending time on a variety of hobbies, including gaming, cooking and running. Having completed his first half marathon at the age of 29, he hopes to finish a marathon in the next five years.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

My favorite part about the culture at Kaon is the incredible support that exudes from all parts of the organization, from management to the production team and beyond.

Mike Vasios | Applications Software Developer

Mike Vasios, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Michael hails from Arlington, MA, and joined Kaon’s application development team at the beginning of the year. His previous experience is a combination of roles in both front-end development and online retail. Mike’s favorite hobbies are traveling and exploring the great outdoors.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
The variety of projects and clientele keeps the work here far from monotonous. This is an outstanding learning environment for any front-end developer.

Hans Wernke | Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Hans Wernke, Vice President, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

After driving sales efforts at the interactive division of a large, international medical education agency for eight years, followed by another eight years doing the same at LA-based Inhance Digital (eight seems to be the magic number), Hans joined the Kaon sales team in January of this year. Hans has been closely involved in the sale and deployment of a broad range of interactive and immersive experiences for trade shows, briefing centers, trainings, and live events for companies such as GE Healthcare, Merck, FM Global, Honeywell, Otis, and Pratt & Whitney. Ultimately, he views it as his job to help clients tell their stories, engage their audiences, and make a meaningful, lasting impact. His aim is to always bring value to his clients, not just by delivering successful projects, but by being a source of strategic insights, new ideas, and inspiration.

Hans lives in Stamford, CT, with his wife, two boys (11 and 18), dog, and bearded dragon. Despite having lived in the U.S. for more 20 years, he is still a citizen of The Netherlands and never quite lost his love for Dutch fried food and soccer (or voetbal).

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
What I love most about Kaon is the incredible talent and collaborative spirit.

Paris Lopez| Applications Software Developer

Paris Lopez, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Beginning at Kaon as an intern, Paris started as a full-time application software developer in January. Along with the talented designers and project managers, she develops applications to the specifications of our clients.

Before joining the Kaon team, Paris attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I love how everyone is kind, and they always have a positive attitude about each other and their work at Kaon.

Dana Polihovsky | Marketing Coordinator, Europe

Dana Polihovsky, Marketing Coordinator, Europe at Kaon Interactive

Having interned at Kaon since May 2019, Dana officially joined the team full-time in February as the marketing coordinator for Europe. She graduated from Bentley University in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a minor in law. Having lived in Russia, Israel, Spain, and the U.S., Dana is very excited to be able to combine her passion for global outreach with her marketing experience.

In college, Dana was an award-winning captain of the Moot Court team, competing nationally in legal oral argument. She also served as a writing center tutor and a first-year seminar peer leader, helping freshmen adjust to college in a class co-taught with a Bentley professor. She had the opportunity to teach a marketing class in Spanish, intern for a cryptocurrency company, and work for a non-profit in Barcelona, providing free education to children of low-income families.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
Jen (marketing colleague).

Charles Howard | Director, Strategic Accounts

Charles Howard, Director, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Joining the Kaon sales organization in the spring, Charles is an award-winning, creative business leader who has defined and managed the delivery of cross-platform digital media strategies, experiential design, 3D/VR/AR/MR, and more for Fortune 500 companies. He is ever excited by the challenge of finding a fresh approach to building an audience, forging stimulating client partnerships and enhancing the user experience.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
The thing I love most about working at Kaon is my connection with the people behind the amazing technology that we develop and deliver to our clients.

Brandon Lee | Director, Strategic Accounts

Brandon Lee, Director, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Prior to joining Kaon Interactive this spring, Brandon spent the past 20 years in various sales and leadership positions for global enterprise software companies such as PeopleSoft, SAP, Verizon, and JDA. During that time, he led sales teams in rapidly changing environments focusing on internet-enabled SaaS platforms and mobile and cloud computing, consistently exceeding goals. Brandon is recognized as a proven mentor, leader, and sales executive receiving numerous Chairman’s, President’s Club and Winner’s Circle achievements for exceeding sales revenue.

Marc McFatter | Applications Software Developer

Marc McFatter, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Marc graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a minor in interactive media and game development. He joined the Kaon team soon after as a front-end developer.

From Canton, MA, Marc has previously worked at Amadeus as a web development intern and at Cornerstone at Canton as an on-hands server and activities coordinator.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I’ve only worked here a few months and, due to the pandemic, the work that I’ve done has all been remote. Despite all of my interactions with my co-workers being virtual, the sense of community at Kaon is palpable. Everyone I’ve worked with is kind, understanding, and friendly, and it makes me glad to be a part of it.

Sandra Velema-Hijnen | Executive Director, Head of Account Management, Europe

Sandra Velema-Hijnen, Executive Director, Head of Account Management, Europe

Sandra joined Kaon in July to support clients in Europe. She brings 14 years of business development, marketing and account management experience from working at international B2B companies. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in management from Stenden University, she held commercial roles in London, Dubai and Amsterdam. In her last position as head of business development, she had the opportunity to build a team responsible for sales, creative concept development, and marketing.

Sandra currently lives in The Netherlands, near Amsterdam, with her husband and nine-month-old daughter. She likes a challenge and helping clients with theirs in the field of sales, marketing, change, and strategy. Currently, she is enrolled in a part-time MBA program at Warwick Business School. And when that is all (semi)done, she enjoys a good glass of wine, playing tennis, reading, traveling sunny places, and skiing.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I enjoy the team’s passion for the clients’ success, turning their strategy into reality! Their drive and diverse experiences make an environment in which there is something new to learn each day.

Sheila McNeil | Senior Director of Strategic Accounts

Sheila McNeil, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Sheila joined the Kaon sales organization in late August and brings with her more than 20 years of experience. Sheila started her career running her own business for a period of eight years, prior to moving into the technology industry. She has held a variety of positions including worldwide GM, senior enterprise sales director and director of the East region. In these roles, she had the opportunity to work for a variety of organizations from Silicon Valley startups — like PowerReviews and Punchtab — to established enterprises — including Asymetrix, Interwise, SAS, and Zift Solutions.

Sheila resides in the greater Boston area and enjoys international travel, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, dance classes, and spending time with family.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
What I love most about working at Kaon is the supportive culture and true collaborative working environment.

Rachel Mitchell | Director of Customer Success

Rachel Mitchell, Director of Customer Success at Kaon Interactive

In October, Rachel joined the marketing team at Kaon with more than 10 years of experience in various aspects of marketing and marketing research. She most recently held customer-facing roles as a consultant at Forrester Research and as the head of research at GreatBlue Research. Her focus in each role has been building and enhancing relationships, while delivering on expectations and developing talent. She has a knack for creating efficiencies and identifying growth opportunities.

Rachel holds a degree in marketing from Boston College and an MBA in accounting from Sacred Heart University.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I love the warm welcome and the contagious spirit of collaboration and team.

Danielle Wilson | Project Manager

Danielle Wilson, Project Manager at Kaon Interactive

Prior to joining Kaon in October, Danielle spent more than 20 years working in a number of industries including consumer packaged goods, higher education, community banking, medical software and, most recently, retirement services. In these industries, she has held a number of different positions including project management, account management, and marketing, allowing her to build strong client relationships and manage projects with an eye toward the end user.

Danielle holds a degree in communications from Marist College and a MBA from Western New England University. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, watching her children play sports, and hiking with her family’s new dog, Maisey.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I love to see an idea start from a client, combine that with the superb talent of the team and see a project come to life.

Laura Sinur | Project Manager

Laura Sinur, Project Manager

Laura, who came on board to cover for an employee leave, joined the Kaon team permanently in November. Laura was able to jump in quickly and absorb information about Kaon’s clients and complex projects.

Prior to joining Kaon, Laura was a certified scrum master and agile project manager for Turbine Games in Cloud Solutions and Integration. She also was a National Marrow Donor Program-certified bone marrow transplant coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Laura was a 2012 honoree for The One Hundred, an annual event that recognizes those whose contributions advance the fight against cancer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Laura enjoys hiking, crafts, cooking, and spending time with her son, Jackson, and husband, David, in Lunenburg, Massachusetts. One of her favorite books from childhood is “The Way Things Work” — a book of diagrams, cut-aways and explanations of the inner workings of things.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
My favorite part of working at Kaon is that we create an exciting yet practical and tangible form of this type of information. By revolutionizing the way that we present ideas, we bring our customers’ products and value propositions to life. I love seeing these projects entertain the childlike fascination and curiosity in all of us.

Jordan Bryant | Art Director

Jordan Bryant, Art Director

Jordan Bryant transitioned from working as a contract art director with Kaon to officially joining the design team full-time in November. He brings a wealth of experience with concepting, UI/UX, motion graphics, and 3D in fast-paced in-house and agency environments. Jordan previously worked with brands such as A24, AT&T, Cablevision, DirecTV, Lionsgate, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Sony, Southern California Edison, Universal, and Warner Bros. creating immersive digital experiences.

Isabelle Quelhas | Project Manager

Isabelle Quelhas, Project Manager

Isabelle joined the Kaon project management team in November of 2020. She has worked in a number of industries including live events, medical publishing and technology. In all of her previous roles as a project manager and senior project manager, Isabelle enjoyed wearing many hats and handling different priorities such as actively engaging with customers, controlling budgets, negotiating subcontracts, effectively communicating, and establishing processes.

Isabelle currently lives in central New Jersey with her husband. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and is bilingual in English and Portuguese. In her spare time, she enjoys being active, cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with family.

Josh Cranmer | Art Director

Josh Cranmer, Art Director

Josh joined Kaon in November. He has been working with brands, big and small, for more than six years building extensive experience with UI/UX, motion graphics, and 3D. He’s created eye-catching video content for the web and retail, built brands from scratch, and designed the UI of digital experiences in some of your favorite stores, such as Spectrum Mobile.