Laser tag: Ukrainian high-tech solutions that unite people in teams around the world
If one has ever tuned in to the renowned TV series "How I Met Your Mother," they may recall the characters engaging in iconic laser tag battles. The excitement, anticipation, and sense of unity portrayed in the show contribute to what makes laser tag an enduring experience. It's important to recognize that laser tag is more than just a fictional diversion for sitcom characters. It materializes as an adventure that has not only captivated the affections of millions but has also piqued the interest of entrepreneurs and manufacturers who stay behind the creation of futuristic laser technologies.
What is the problem?
The development of entertainment entrepreneurship has faced a crisis in recent years. Initially, the world was engulfed by the Covid-19 epidemic, and as society adapted to it, a full-scale war in Ukraine began. However, the NETRONIC company from Ukraine, has transitioned from a local paintball club to a globally recognized manufacturer of laser tag equipment, VR attractions, and inflatable bunkers over the last 15 years . The company exports its equipment to 79 countries worldwide.
There are numerous challenges, including the need to maintain competitiveness in the global entertainment market and distinguish itself from other players, the task of sustaining the trust of customers who may be cautious about ordering equipment from a company operating in a country at war.
In this article, we will unveil the details of laser technology development, the intricacies of building an entertainment business, and the creation of innovative solutions for the entertainment and sports industry.
What is the solution?
NETRONIC is a group of companies encompassing the following directions: manufacturing outdoor laser tag equipment (Lasertag.net), indoor laser tag equipment (Galaxy), immersive VR attractions (Vion VR), inflatable bunkers for outdoor activities (Airbunker).
When the company began operations, only a few people in Ukraine were familiar with the game of laser tag, and, moreover, there were no manufacturers of such equipment. NETRONIC initiated and propelled the development of this business in the country. Nowadays, the company sees its mission as creating high-tech solutions that unite people in teams worldwide.
- Solution #1: Fulfill obligations to the client
In March 2022, the company shipped its first order to Japan. The client was very surprised that the manufacturer was able to fulfill the contract in the conditions that we and the whole country were in. The contract was for 40 laser game kits, which include blasters, software and sensors that detect when the laser hits the player. During the year, this customer ordered 115 more kits from NETRONIC.
The company tried to maintain a brand of reliable supplier among customers in Europe and the US by sending them photos of the orders they had made despite the war in Ukraine.
- Solution #2: Diversified service and technical support
The company provides services across four continents, with 4 worldwide strategically positioned service and 21 dealer centers. In the rare event of one center facing issues, another remains operational.
A significant advantage is the availability of multilingual technical support. At NETRONIC, specialists proficient in multiple languages conduct remote diagnostics of equipment, resolving malfunctions within seven days.
- Solution #3: Comprehensive business offer
Entrepreneurs find it convenient to access comprehensive support from a single source, much like shopping for all necessary products in one supermarket. For instance, an entrepreneur with an indoor location looking to establish a laser tag arena can expand their offerings by incorporating VR attractions. If there's available outdoor space, NETRONIC can provide outdoor laser tag equipment and inflatable bunkers for a diversified entertainment experience.
The Ukrainian company not only offers a range of services but also extends comprehensive business support at every stage — from calculating Return on Investment (ROI) to the grand opening of an entertainment center, followed by ongoing promotional efforts.
- Solution #4: Product first
Product innovation is the key to setting oneself apart in the competitive market. For instance, given that this is primarily a team-based active game, particularly favored by children, it was crucial for the company to design equipment that doesn't adopt a militaristic style but leans towards a more futuristic look, avoiding the appearance of weaponry or firearms. A substantial difference, both in design and functionality, is evident when comparing photos of NETRONIC's equipment from ten years ago to the present day.
The company was the first on the market to invent impulse recoil for the taggers (laser tag guns) and the shock band that players wear on the wrist, providing vibration when competitors are hit during the game.
- Solution #5: Clients feedback
Websites featuring reviews from bots and non-existent individuals, often purchased, have long been ineffective and untrustworthy. Genuine customer experiences, along with their advice and recommendations for colleagues in the industry, are the content people seek. It lacks aggressive advertising. Therefore, the company initiated the NetronicTalks video project, where partners and clients share their business launch experiences, highlight factors they considered when choosing a supplier, provide advice they would have given themselves a few years ago, and underscore crucial considerations for newcomers in the industry.
How does it work?
Today, the manufacturer's equipment is utilized in over 2,000 projects across more than 70 countries worldwide, including prominent locations like Diriyah Season in Saudi Arabia and Dezerland Park, the largest entertainment complex in Florida, USA.
To sustain its position and broaden its client portfolio, NETRONIC consistently engages in global industry exhibitions and updates its products. Offline events remain a crucial avenue for securing new deals with clients. However, success is not guaranteed in every instance. The manufacturer has encountered situations where one exhibition resulted in sixteen new orders, while another, even larger one, yielded none.
Does it really work?
Amidst the full-scale war, the company retained and even expanded its team, relocating it from the East of Ukraine to a safer region. Remarkably, 95% of NETRONIC's product sales are exported. The manufacturer takes particular satisfaction when customers compare equipment from different suppliers and acknowledge that Ukrainian laser tag stands out as superior to others.