The Magic of Creating Immersive Experiences with AV TechnologyApril 6, 2020
Over the past five to ten years we’ve seen a major shift in the experience economy that has impacted massively on the attraction market. Families now have more disposable income and so they’re choosing to spend their time and money on attractions. Be it family entertainment centres or theme parks, people are excited by the opportunity of experiencing new things again.
We’ve also seen a shift in the work-life balance, and it has allowed the experience sector to really come alive. More companies are now willing to invest further into family entertainment centres (FECs) and attractions and expand their family-friendly offerings which is great to see and be a part of. With this shift in people’s desire to experience, there are also greater expectations, where customers want a higher standard of service from even the simplest of experiences.
One of my goals when creating an experience is to make the visitors feel part of the story, rather than feeling like a stranger or passenger on the journey. Take a karaoke taxi for example, without the karaoke it’ll just be another taxi ride, but when you add in karaoke it becomes an unforgettable experience. We want guests at our attractions to understand and invest in the story, rather than feeling alienated, lost, or even worse, bored! After all, an attraction wouldn’t be doing its job if people weren’t attracted to visiting it.
In recent years, I’ve also seen a real improvement in the screens and projector systems available to us. The last step up to 4K resolution has been available to us for the last 7 years now, which has been a godsend for the larger projection formats. 8K projectors have recently become available to our field, and although they sound like a dream, they do unearth new challenges, with media production houses having to gear up with new technology to support the greater resolution. These new formats usually take a few years to catch up in the consumer world, but most professionals in our industry are constantly upgrading and producing to cater for the changes in technology, including us here at Technically Creative. We can currently render 16K and even 32K resolutions on larger format canvases.
Thanks to new technology in the audio world, we can also achieve so much more than was once possible. Digital audio networking along with better synchronisation and interfacing are my favourite advances in audio technology. We no longer require additional cabling for audio and serial communications, which were once a nightmare! I am of the age where I grew up with emerging new technology, where my first PC read data from a standard audio tape drive and look where we are now!
New audio technology also brings fresh challenges to our industry. When we create exhibits that have several focus points for visitors to move past, we must ensure that the audio doesn’t overlap, leaving the visitors hearing unwanted noise. I don’t like to use headphones because it creates a first-person experience, rather than one that families and friends can share together, and let’s face it, most of us have the distraction of headphones already in our lives. I’ve found using a series of very local, low power speakers and visual attractions help attract and maintain the attention of the listener. I love the use of passive infrared sensors (PIR) that trigger audio, that can get the attention of someone with just a whisper.
I recently attended Integrated Systems Europe, the World’s biggest Pro AV expo. It was exciting to see how integrators and creatives can use AV technology in different ways, thinking outside the natural box to deliver new experiences with software, AV hardware and lighting.
We’ve got great faith in the market at Technically Creative, and we are always on the lookout for experience partners to invest and create the ultimate in experiences with.