Gabriel Covarrubias
Director General
Grupo Droppin
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View from the Top

Integrated Technological Solutions in Public Services

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 13:43

Q: What are the advantages of Grupo Droppin’s devices?

A: Grupo Droppin offers an integrated solution in the form of a “Droppin.” These devices provide free drinkable water, cellphone charging and Wi-Fi in public spaces, while also video surveilling and advertising municipalities and private companies’ socially responsible actions. They are designed to counter health, safety, pollution and connectivity issues. A Droppin encourages people to drink water instead of sugary beverages, reduces the reckless use of PET by refilling water bottles, provides video surveillance and innovative advertising means and can collect bottles and connect with the emergency services through emergency buttons.

Droppin’s advertising opportunities are opportunities for private companies to publicize CSR actions and municipalities to present their social policies and programs. We use software to understand precisely how many people approach Droppins to connect, fill a water bottle or charge a cellphone and use this information to promote them among possible advertisers. Advertisements on our devices are designed to reach pedestrians and bystanders in public spaces with noteworthy foot traffic. The revenue we obtain from advertising covers the costs of water, power, internet, maintenance and liability and damage insurance.

Q: What challenges did you face meeting Puebla’s request to have Droppins installed?

A: When we presented them in 2016 at the Smart Cities conference in Puebla, the state government wanted these devices installed immediately in different public spaces of the state capital. We faced two important hurdles to achieving this: the models installed had a water tank limited to 180L and the Droppin screens were too small and not designed to work outdoors. We had to innovate and increase Droppin’s water storage capacity to 450L and changed the type and size of the screens. This reduced refill requirements and improved the picture quality of the advertisements. Depending on where they are placed, some Droppins have more users than others. Puebla’s Zocalo experiences higher and more constant foot traffic than Parque del Arte, for example.

Q: What is the strategy to gain clients in the public and private sectors?

A: The public sector is tricky. Access to internet and water are constitutional rights so city and state governments must ensure their availability. We can provide society these services on the government’s behalf in exchange for being allowed to use the space at no cost, the availability of electrical power and the civil work needed to install Droppins.

But we have faced several permit challenges. In Puebla, we suffered a six-month delay because we required a permit from INAH to install the Droppin. We also had to adapt to the security guidelines of the Department of Civil Protection and the installation of electrical power took several months. In the private sector, it is much easier. Grupo Droppin approaches a university or shopping center and installs the devices without major issues. Working with the government helps us generate a presence in the private sector when people acknowledge the advantages of having a Droppin in a public space.

Q: What alliances are you developing?

A: In the public sector, Grupo Droppin is already in negotiations with the city authorities of Guadalajara, Zacatecas and Veracruz. Also, public universities like the Distinguished Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP) and some municipalities in Mexico City show interest in leasing our products.

In the private sector, we are negotiating with Anahuac University in Puebla. The company would like to place Droppins in large hotels, gastronomic corridors, sport centers, airports, shopping centers, subway and bus stations and parking lots, and expects to do so soon. Our company has the ability to produce up to four Droppins a day and adapt them to the specific needs of clients.