Can you explain the idea behind NavCat?
Sure. We knew that a lot of folks have 3-D CAD drawings or files in their engineering archives that they don¼t know what to do with. They¼d like to show them to their customers, but they don¼t know how. The purpose of NavCat is to take what they have—videos, still shots, animated files, PowerPoint presentations, just about anything—and repackage it into a unified presentation of their products and services on a single CD. Think about all of the sales and technical information that¼s generated for one-time use, and then it¼s forgotten, when it can actually be used time and time again. And that’s the whole idea behind NavCat: to get this archived information out into the open, so that it’s available right at your customer’s fingertips, with just one or two clicks of the mouse.
I’m especially impressed with the 3-D graphics. How do you go about producing them?
All we need is a customer¼s dxf files off of their engineering computer and we can transform them into multidirectional images for the CD. What we do is take the files, put them into a solid modeling program where we apply the various textures, and then we set a virtual camera loose, which takes some 1,200 photos of the object. What that allows the user to do is to basically create his own movie in real time, rotating the image on his screen and looking at it from various aspects. For an engineered product, it can’t be beat.
And it incorporates basically every form of media that’s currently in use, right?
That¼s right. We’ve broken down the barriers between media. You¼ve got people who do Web sites, and people who produce videos, and people who are involved in print, but they don¼t tend to cross-think. NavCat breaks down the barriers between them and brings it all together in one place. Also, when you insert the NavCat disk, it searches your hard drive for the components it needs, and if it doesn’t find them, it’ll install them for you. All it needs are Acrobat Reader and Quicktime, though, which most people already have.
How is the program put together?
NavCat is based on PDF—portable document format—and you can make a PDF out of anything, including an Excel file, a Word file, a Pagemaker or Quark file, a CAD file, even a blueprint file. So instead of using some mysterious program that our clients aren’t familiar with, we’re using PDFs, which they deal with every day. Plus, once we’ve produced the CD, we give the client a secured version to reproduce and send out to their customers, and an unsecured version that they can edit and update themselves. They can send it through the mail, link it from their Web site, or take it to Kinko’s and print out the whole thing, or even sections and individual pages. It¼s very, very flexible. And since the capacity for a CD is more than 10,000 pages and over an hour¼s worth of video—all of which can be accessed from a table of contents, directly and instantaneously, instead of having to scroll through the whole thing—virtually any size catalog or presentation will fit.
How did you come up with this idea?
We were working on a 300-page print catalog for one of our clients, Stellram, and it had to be ready for a trade show in Europe. But this is a global company, with a lot of people involved in such a project, and for various reasons it became clear that it wouldn’t be ready in time, which would¼ve been a major disaster. So we said „tell you what, we can put it all on a CD, and you can take it along to show your customers on a computer monitor, which they did. Well, it was a major hit, and we ended up combining every one of their catalogs into a single NavCat CD. They’ve put the whole thing on their website, in fact, and it gets 2,700 downloads a month, which is saving them $10,000 in printing and distribution charges–every single month.
How much does producing a NavCat CD cost, and how many have purchased them so far?
We launched it in 2001, and there are already more than 30 of them out in the marketplace. Costs range from a low of about $5,000 to just a little over $30,000. But we showed the $30,000 CD to a division of Rockwell Automation recently, and their people thought it cost $300,000! And they thought it took us six months to produce, when it only took six weeks. They were pretty amazed.
How else can NavCat be used?
Drake Manufacturing has been very savvy with the NavCat CD we produced for them. They took the mailing list of an industry magazine that goes out to 116,000 people, honed it down to the exact 5,200 companies they wanted to reach, and then ran an ad with a CD attached to it. In a magazine ad, all you can do is show the tip of the iceberg. With NavCat, you can show the whole thing.
MORE INFORMATION A longtime marketing professional, Dave Pumphrey has designed NavCat: a revolutionary new way for companies to utilize pre-existing CAD, 3-D, video, and animated files to promote their services and products. For more information, or to request a free NavCat CD, call Dave Pumphrey at (216) 464-9687, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit online at www.pumphreymktg.com.