The history and future of Bever LED Price displays

From the Netherlands to Germany, France and Spain. From South-America to Australia and from Africa to the Far East: all over the world petrol station owners and their customers can benefit from the unique advantages of the Bever LED price displays, which are available in any size, font and colour and guarantee optimal visibility and management. At the basis of all LED displays is the 7-segment I-Catcher LED price display that was introduced to the market in 2004. Together with Erwin Dingemanse, commercial director of Bever Innovations, we look back on 18 years of development and innovation. But also ahead, to the innovations of the future.

Bever Innovations started in 1996 with the maintenance and service of a large number of electronic roller blind displays at filling stations. "During their work, founders Remko Delfgaauw and Michel den Brabander saw a great need for more automation. For example, to facilitate processes and to improve contact with (passing) customers," says Erwin Dingemanse. "That is why they developed a specific data communication technique, with which the data from the tank computer could be presented simply and clearly on the price totems. This technique turned out to be the starting point for numerous new developments, such as the I-Catcher LED price display and our latest showpiece: the InMotion (InMo) Video LED display."

The reason for the development of the I-Catcher LED display was a request from Esso. This oil company was looking, via a signmaker, for an LED display for various petrol stations in Germany and Norway. "Our first I-Catcher LED display was a 7-segment Esso display in the colour red", says Erwin. Other oil companies soon showed interest, such as Tango, Shell, BP, Total and Q8. "Not surprisingly, because LED attracts much more attention than a roller blind display. In order to offer a suitable solution for every oil company, several sizes and colours of displays were soon added to our product range."

Multi-segment and full-graphic display

In 2006, Shell expressed the need for a new corporate identity and wanted to replace its roller blind system. "We developed a new display with a specific font (character) especially for Shell at the time," says Erwin. "At that time we also realised that more character sets were needed. After all, all oil companies prefer to communicate in their own, unique corporate style. This led to the development of a multi-segment display with which we could easily create other types of fonts, by switching the LEDs in the corners on or off. From extremely straight to a bevelled font. Later we developed this into a full-graphic I-Catcher LED price display, where each individual LED can be switched on or off, so it can create all kind of styles."

Bever Innovations now offers more than 300 variants of the I-Catcher LED display. Both in hardware, fonts, colours and dot positions, with which oil companies worldwide can customize LED Price Displays into their preferred fonts.

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High reliability, long service life

Eighteen years after their introduction, Esso's first LED displays are still in use, emphasises Erwin. "And Shell's first LED displays are also just being replaced at the moment. The high reliability and long life span have therefore been characteristic of our products right from the start. Moreover, by choosing a specific type of LED, excellent visibility is guaranteed. From every viewing point and under all circumstances."

Software-based optimisations

The examples mentioned above all concern hardware developments. But Bever Innovations has not been idle on the software front either, according to Erwin. "Initially, cashiers still used a remote control to walk up to the price displays and adjust the prices with the help of four push buttons. With an eye on efficiency, control and safety, we developed several new techniques for this as well. First of all using a data cable from the cash register to the price display, but later also wirelessly via RF technology."

Price display, information column and marketing tool in one

Bever Innovations' most recent development is the InMotion (InMo) LED Video display, which achieves optimum attention value. "During our visits to petrol stations, we regularly noticed that banners were stretched over the price totems to display promotions or discounts," says Erwin. "This is aesthetically not so pleasing, but also requires a lot of effort from the filling station managers and/or (technical) staff. The banners not only have to be designed, printed and attached, but they also have to be removed again after a while. The InMo LED screen offers a simple and very attractive solution to this problem. The screen can be built into the price totem by using modular parts, after which it functions as a LED price display, information column and marketing tool in one. On the LED screen, fuel prices, discounts and marketing campaigns can easily be highlighted. Both in text and in image, with a suitable message for every moment. Thanks to a POS link and a price projection on top of the screen image, the most up-to-date prices are always displayed. The combination with a very large and detailed colour range makes the InMo LED screen an eye-catcher in all circumstances."

LEDs connect the future

In the coming years, Bever Innovations wants to install its I-Catcher LED displays and InMotion (InMo) Video LED screens at even more petrol stations, says Erwin. "One ambition is also to integrate all LED displays and other Bever products into a wireless EOS network which enables efficient and secure data connection to third parties. The result is a filling station location that can be fully remotely monitored and managed, and where visibility, safety and energy efficiency go hand in hand. We work on that every day.
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