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Our Technical Director Dean Ward shares his learnings from his visit to the McDonald’s global conference in Orlando, USA.

While for many the highlight of a fascinating three days stateside would have been private access to Universal Studios and a show from J-Lo, for me the trip gave me some amazing insights into how technology and design are shaping the future.

It was fascinating to see McDonald’s focus on delivering the ‘Experience of the Future’ and how deeply rooted innovation is in their brand values. They have a real understanding of how crucial it is to leverage technological advances to continually improve every aspect of their business.

It’s great that we’re being welcomed in and treated as a thought leadership partner, rather than just a hardware supplier. Being design led, we’re able to proactively develop new products and solutions to fit with McDonald’s brand values and overall company vision.

Held every two years, the conference is a showpiece event for the company and no expense is spared in the delivery – which, it has to be said, was absolutely first class.

We’ve been working closely with McDonalds for almost 18 months now within the UK so for Simon Taylor (evoke’s head of customer accounts) and I, it was an invaluable chance to head out to the US and immerse ourselves in their organisational culture.

Almost 20,000 delegates descended on the Orange County Convention centre for the three day conference.

McDonald’s understanding of the importance of technology in providing a great experience was immediately apparent. There was a bespoke app and social media platform to keep us informed of the itinerary and it really did seem as though everything had been thought of.

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On the Wednesday evening we were treated to a rather special experience. Universal Studios was hired for our exclusive use and we had complete access to all of the attractions. As if that wasn’t enough, the conference was closed on the Thursday by J-Lo performing live!

During the day, the central area of the conference played host to McDonald’s corporate staff delivering presentations and demonstrations, with the outer zones occupied by our fellow suppliers – everything from microwaves to burger buns.

In addition to celebrating innovation and best practice, the conference is also a shop window of sorts for franchisees (or ‘owner operators’ as McDonalds term them) from around the world to see the latest technology currently being trialled.

Although there are more than 30,000 locations worldwide, only 2,000 or so have the kind of technological innovation that we’re helping to drive at Evoke. So, for the rest of the owner operators, it’s a great chance to see what is in the pipeline and how it can benefit their businesses.

The return on investment of these innovations in technology was continually driven home. With more than 80 per cent of McDonald’s restaurants being franchisee owned – ultimately the bottom line is all important.

In addition to improving the customer experience, the data and algorithms that go hand-in-hand with the hardware, allow for massive increases in efficiency and reduction in waste.

It was great to meet the global partners, representatives and franchisees from around the world and establish the relationships we can hopefully build on in years to come.

It was also fascinating to see how a global organisation with almost two million employees handles employee engagement from a HR point of view. They get their people to buy into the ethos of delivering a brilliant customer experience, as well as understand that that improvements in technology doesn’t actually mean less jobs – but more.

The improved customer experience that results from shorter queues and a better quality of food ultimately translates to more return business. And more business can only be a good thing for staffing levels.

Making it faster, making it fresher and making it better – all of these efficiencies are only possible because of technological innovation and data.

In addition to displaying the current technological offering, the conference gave us an invaluable insight into what is in the pipeline for McDonald’s and we came away with exciting internal discussions to have in terms of how we continue to add value with our offering to them.

We’re already looking forward to the 2018 conference and I’m excited to see how our relationship develops with McDonalds over the next two years.

Further reading

Our kiosks supporting McDonald’s ‘Experience of the Future’ in the press recently.

Evoke are pleased to have had the opportunity to sponsor local juniors at Knutsford Rugby Club for their end of season tour. 170 players along with parents and coaches joined the tour in April 2016.

Evoke’s Commercial Director Neil Clark who is Chairman of the junior section said “This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our support of the community and show our company commitment to investing in our local area”.

Evoke Creative has scooped the Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Award at Business Insider’s Made the in North West awards which celebrate the best manufacturers that the region has to offer.

Miri Thomas, editorial director at Insider, described the overall standard of entries as: “Fantastic, a real showcase in innovation, ambition and vision.”

Evoke Creative stood out amongst their fellow nominees, with the judges recognising the company’s ability to meet the demands of supplying to blue-chip companies while retaining its bespoke, design-led ideology.

Judges said evoke displayed a “fantastic level of high tech” and praised its success in selling into large organisations.

The company also received a ‘highly commended’ in the Manufacturing Innovation Award.

Dean Ward, Technical Director, said: “These awards cap a great year for everyone at Evoke and are a sign of direction we’re headed in. Our headcount has grown 40% to 49 staff over the last year and the next few months promise to be an incredibly exciting time for all of us.

The level of demand from our customers shows no signs of slowing down. We’re being continually asked to innovate and to collaborate with global companies to provide the technology that can optimise their customers’ experiences.”

Driven by soaring demand from a number of blue-chip clients, including fast food group McDonald’s, Travelodge, JD Sports and Google, evoke’s turnover has rocketed 40% in the last two years to £8.9m and is forecast to jump to £15m in the year to March 31 2017.

The company is now exploring possible growth in overseas markets including the US and is also investigating opening a second office and showroom in the London area.

Evoke Creative has reported a milestone year of employee and turnover growth, and is expecting to hit even greater heights in the coming 12 months.

Driven by demand from a number of blue chip clients, including fast food group McDonald’s, Travelodge, JD Sports and Google, Evoke’s turnover has rocketed 40% in the last two years to £8.9m and is forecast to jump to £15m in its current financial year.
Staff numbers at the Wirral business have also risen to keep up with demand – by 40% to 49% in the last year.

Neil Clark, commercial director, said: “It is a very exciting time with strong levels of demand from our customers and some incredibly exciting opportunities on the short-term horizon.”

Evoke supplies a range of sectors, spanning retail, leisure, hospitality and libraries and has more than 15,000 products in use across more than 90 countries.

Over the last 12 months the business has invested significantly in its infrastructure and as well as creating jobs on the manufacturing side, there have been a number of hires at senior management level, with new recruits from businesses including Sainsbury’s, JD Sports Fashion and Tata Steel.

Red the full story here.

We’re very proud to have been shortlisted in two categories at this year’s Insider Media Made in the North West awards. Celebrating the region’s engineering and manufacturing prowess, we’re honoured to be amongst the contenders for these prestigious awards.

Read the full story here.

Last month our sales and design team partnered with Toshiba and Signstix at RBTE 2016 to showcase some of our new products, designed to enhance customer experience with self service, digital signage and point of sale.

Our stand featured an innovative new mirror-front kiosk incorporating touch, barcode scanning and a chip and pin reader.

The team also got chance to join some of the workshops and explore some of the other innovations on show.

Read the full story at Signstix’s website here.

Or to find out more contact us:
0151 334 3716

image: www.amsterdam.net

This year we held off the Atlantic crossing to CES & NRF to focus our attention on ISE 2016, the annual technology show in Amsterdam. The event is already shaping up to be a big occasion for evoke and our entire design department are making the trip over for the four days.

We’ve tasked ourselves with finding the best and most exciting innovations to bring to our clients so if you have something amazing to show and would like to meet up during the event please get in touch. We love new technology and so do our world leading clients, some of whom are making the crossing with us!

We’re really looking forward to the show and will be regularly reporting back on social media during the event; hopefully some great relationships will be made and existing partnerships strengthened.

Hopefully we’ll see you there!


We’ve come a long way! The past 12 years have been a whirlwind and have seen us grow from a small team of product designers to the 50-strong, world leading, multi-discipline, development company that we are today.

Our experience has led to long lasting relationships with some of the world’s biggest and best brands; these valuable relationships have driven innovation and diversification, putting customer experience at the forefront of everything we do. We felt our identity didn’t reflect the forward-thinking and revolutionary brand that we are and the solution is to move forward, creating a unified brand and identity we can proudly stand behind as we continue on our journey.

‘Delivering Extraordinary’ is at the core of everything we do and is the message behind our new, unified brand. From conception, through to realisation, it’s this message that constantly drives the team to exceed expectations and perform at the top of our game.

This new identity retains the well-established evoke name, but exudes a simpler, more modern and lasting brand image. Use of the iconic tesseract symbolically represents the dynamic, and ever-changing technology landscape and our multi-faceted approach to shaping it.

Take the time to watch our new brand film and let us know what you think. We’re hoping you see another face to evoke.

Google’s number one objective: focus on the user and all else will follow.

With this in mind, the visitor management kiosks that evoke designed and built for Google provide a straightforward and efficient user experience combined with a unique design – in keeping with Google’s famously tech-led office environments.

Our solution incorporates the ability to sign in, take a picture, print off a visitor pass and read barcode IDs in a desk-top, wall-mounted  or free-standing unit. The self-contained kiosk will alert staff that their guests have arrived, reduce waiting time at reception desks and manage visitor lists.

Following an initial approach from software company TDS, our hardware design team were excited to have the opportunity to pitch to the most well-known brand in the world. The kiosks that we created to house TDS’s software are now in use at Google offices around the world. Customers, visitors and staff use the kiosks with ease and the only maintenance required is to occasionally change a printer roll.
To date over 116,000 visitors have checked in, using 277 kiosks in 225 cities, in 52 countries.

If you ever see a copy of Audubon’s Birds of America lying around a second hand shop, you should consider buying it.

It would be hard to miss: as a double elephant folio, this enormous 100x67cm publication, with hand-coloured life-size engravings of its subjects, will probably stand out. Even by today’s standards, the vivid illustrations are impressive but when it was originally published in the 1830s it was extraordinary.

Despite its size, though, a copy may be hard to track down. All but 13 of the 120 remaining copies are held in museums, libraries and universities around the world. The University of Michigan has a copy, the University of Pittsburgh has a copy, Sheikh Saud Al-Thani of Qatar has a copy, having paid $8.8 million for it at Christie’s in 2000.

Any ornithologists local to our North-West HQ might be interested to discover that Liverpool Central Library also has a copy. Given its value and rarity, however, the library weren’t just going to keep this volume in their standard racking. The question they posed to us was how to allow visitors to experience these unique images without damaging the pages?

As the book itself is kept in a glass climate controlled case, with a new page unveiled each Monday morning only the truly dedicated are likely to get to view the whole thing. You could view it here, but you might lose the sense of scale and experience.

Our solution was a free-standing touch screen kiosk with a large screen able to display scans of each page real size in the dramatic setting of the beautifully restored Oak Room. As part of the £55m refurbishment of the Central Library, it was important that our kiosk reflect both the substantial feel of the venue and the combination of technology and history shared by the rest of the building.

With 425 plates to view, including 6 of now-extinct birds, we think the book and the kiosk are well worth a visit to Central Library, and while you’re there you can take in the views from the rooftop terrace and the famous Picton reading rooms.