I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool here and I’m still learning to swim. Until two years ago I was the founding director of a design and engineering company specialising in light-based sculpture, products and technologies called Haberdashery (www.haberdashery.com). From my time at Hab (as we affectional refer to it) came a technology that I felt was so compelling and right for the present moment, that I jumped ship, and left Haberdashery to become CEO of Lightvert Ltd., a digital out of home media technology company whose first product is a revolutionary new type of digital outdoor display technology.
It’s the kind of challenge I love, I like meeting new characters, I like uncovering the politics and battlelines within their industries and working to align interests. But the digital out of home advertising market and, to perhaps a lesser but somewhat similar extent, the events industry are up against a challenge:
How to make a screen be more than a screen, how can a screen be more engaging and more immersive.
It is an uphill battle against human behaviour that up to now has been fought primarily through the generation of compelling full motion content. But increasingly, it is being fought through technologies such as the Peppers Ghost effect, or through the more recently introduced volumetric laser display systems or even through high speed dynamic focusing laser convergence imaging systems that literally explode the air point by point to make moving point cloud imagery in space (all be it loud and somewhat dangerous).
The battlelines around competing display mediums and technology are quickly superseding those of content and moving into that of futuristic technologies. We will see the pendulum swing back again towards content, as new mediums are accepted into the public realm. We at Lightvert (www.lightvert.com) are hoping it will be our ECHO medium, but I’m certain we will be up against other media competing for viewers’ attentions.
In the end though, it all comes down to which medium offers the greatest breadth for creative expression and presents a compelling viewer engagement proposition. I keep coming back to the late great Marshall McLuhan quote: “The medium Is the message.”
All media have a specific message about them, one that is conveyed by their inherent properties and the natural use behaviours the medium evokes from the user. I’ve got my money (and my sweat) squarely placed on Lightvert of course, but I’m biased. The questing is, what would you bet on?
Having been around the block a once or twice now, it is clear that viewers are open to consuming media in new ways, media is increasingly becoming more like a stream and less like an archival lake that keeps filling up. Twitter and Snapchat are clear examples of how individuals are choosing to treat data and communications as an experience to be dipped into and out of rather than stored for later reference. Media consumers are more interested in the experience where “You had to be there” or better yet, “you should have been there!” and if you’re not paying attention, you will miss it! We are in the business of selling an experience and experience is now not solely driven by content but more and more by media technology. In this new whirlpool of technology and content, who is going to rise to the top and where do you place your bets?
Daniel Siden is CEO of Lightvert