Just when I think I’ve seen everything in the world of inflatables, a company comes out with a product taking contained air to a whole new level. This has been a recurring thread in this blog, especially since inflatables are a major part of safety and protection in the world. Just recently I mentioned a proposed iPhone case that would inflate when dropped, protecting your screen from cracking on impact. In other areas where safety is paramount, companies are using inflatables beyond normal uses like airbags and inflatable seatbelts.
For instance, an Italian company has brought a new racing suit over to America. This would be uninteresting if the suit wasn’t made to protect bikers in case of accidents. Better yet, it does so using a inflatable system:
“… [an] electronic system identifies a fall or slide and immediately sends a trigger signal to the gas generator in the hump of the suit. This activates the internal airbag, which then inflates within 30 millieseconds [sic]. D-air Racing has a patented 3D airbag structure providing the rider with a controlled airbag expansion. It is the only airbag suit on the market that works wirelessly without any connection to a motorcycle.”
This article about the Dainese D-air Racing suit – from Motorcycle USA – also provides racing teams with racing data that may aid in performance during events. This includes not only simple lap times, but more extensive information:
“…[it can] monitor riding performance and record telemetry data, that can be downloaded and displayed on a computer. Extensive functions of the system include GPS telemetry of the bike and diagrams in relation to time: assessment of braking spaces and lines through bends. Acceleration data is also available and the system is compatible with Google Earth and enables plotting of racing lines on a mini map.”
How long do you think it will be before inflatables are built into suits for regular motorcycle riders?
Anyone with a business knows all about promotions, which are an excellent way of drawing attention towards your products, services, etc. Many promotions focus around giveaways, sales, discounts and other campaigns. However, one of the biggest trends in corporate marketing is utilizing advertising inflatables. By having a company-specific custom inflatable, you will not just turn heads, but also give your company a huge edge over competitors. Here are some of the best kinds of advertising inflatables your company should think about:
Custom Shapes – You don’t want to be a cookie-cutter company, using the same inflatables as the store down the road. Go outside the box by having your own custom-designed inflatable based on your company or business. If you have a mascot, new product or other specific idea for an inflatable, it can be made for you. Everyone will want their picture taken with it. That pays for itself.
Cash Machines – No, we’re not talking about an inflatable ATM. We’re talking about of the biggest attention-grabbing and exciting inflatable concepts ever. An inflatable cash machine puts your potential customers in a position to win handfuls of money simply by stepping in and trying to grab the cash that’s being blown around. Not only will this get you a huge audience, but you can also have your cash machine branded and shaped in any way you see fit.
Inflatable Costumes – Is there anything kids love more than meeting fun mascots and characters in costume? By having a custom inflatable costume made of your company’s mascot or newest product, you will have groups of parents and kids around your company’s trade show booth in seconds. Think about the number of pictures that will be taken with your business’s logo in them. If a picture says a thousand words, make sure one of those words is your company name with an inflatable costume.
The world of inflatables is not only large, but it is extremely inventive as well. Well beyond your car’s airbags and backyard BBQ bounce houses, there are inflatables that push the boundaries of what we know. On a regular basis, this blog shows you some of the ways inflatables are being used in different ways. As you know, inflatable jets and tanks are a personal favorite of mine, as well as inflatable pubs. I’ve discovered a few stories this week about inflatables on a totally different level. One is useful for parents and the other is all about standing up to “The Man.”
Kid-Friendly iPads – The overall consensus on Apple’s popular tablet is to keep it away from children. This is a safe bet, considering the damage the kids can do to pretty much anything. Luckily for parents with tech-savvy tykes, there is a system using inflatables to protect your iPad from getting smashed. Cnet talks about a brand new iPad accessory:
“Even the roughest toddler will have a hard time busting up your iPad once it’s strapped into CTA Digital’s Inflatable Cube. It’s simply an inflatable cube with a built-in case on one side for your iPad or Kindle Fire. Your tender tablet is recessed into the cube, so your enthusiastic little angel will have to work extra hard to damage it.”
Forget the Rat – A while back, we published an entry about inflatable rats being used as a tool for union protestors all over the United States. This week, the New York Times has a piece about a new inflatable mascot for union workers. It’s being used by union nurses and unlike the rats, this beast comes from a slightly hotter area:
“…a giant three-headed dog with fangs was the effigy on display as about 250 unionized nurses rallied outside the Midtown headquarters of the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management… the firm added 10 mostly Catholic community hospitals in the Boston area to its portfolio, promising to keep the same level of services or to provide even better services. But carrying signs that proclaimed ‘Cerberus Is a Lying Dog,’ and that urged “Get Wall Street Out of Health Care,” members of the nurses’ union, accused the firm of proving to be more like its namesake, the canine monster in Greek mythology that guarded the gates of hell.”
The inflatables industry has been hit with a number of problems in recent years, primarily due to accidents and other safety issues plaguing otherwise well-meaning activities. We have discussed a few of the more pronounced accidents that have occurred over the last few years in this blog, from two young girls in Arizona suffering concussions to a bounce house getting blown across a field in New York. Whatever the reasons are for the injuries from inflatables every year, there is one issue that needs to be discussed before the New Year – inflatable safety regulation.
More and more, states are realizing the need for laws when it comes to inflatables, especially rental inflatables. An article in the Austin American-Statesman discusses the lack government intervention when it comes to inflatables:
“The Texas Department of Insurance is legally responsible for keeping an eye on what in the industry are known as continuous airflow inflatables — and by millions of birthday party guests as bouncy houses and jumpolines…its oversight can seem underwhelming. The typical penalty for operators who consistently refuse to comply with state rules requiring that they carry liability insurance and get each of their units inspected once a year is a series of strongly worded letters under department letterhead.”
The article says that the furthest the state can go is to issue an injunction against inflatable operators, but it has never happened. Even when one inflatable company owner complained and sent in proof of non-compliance, the state basically did nothing. However, this isn’t just a problem in Texas- many states have trouble keeping inflatable companies in line. Thankfully, there is some support coming in the way of safety:
“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that bounce houses and other inflatables caused as many as 31,000 injuries receiving emergency room treatment between 2003 and 2007. Operators note most of the injuries are relatively minor — contusions, sprains, limb fractures — and more often the fault of lax adult supervision than equipment failure. Still, this summer, the nonprofit Consumers Union urged the agency ‘to investigate this emerging hazard.’”
When you rent out an inflatable for a party or other event this upcoming year, make sure the company you work with is properly certified and trained. You can never be too careful.