satis&fy launches LIFT, an Elevating Consumer Experience, at the Dögelmühle
Goosebumps at Dragonbirth
I'm standing in one of the satis&fy complex’s halls surrounded by silence, engulfed in darkness. “Countdown to the show – three, two, one.” Tens of thousands of LEDs ignite in a whirling explosion of light. They converge, gradually congealing into the contours of a human body. Enormous, luminous and as agile as a living creature, this radiant vision sends goose bumps down on my back.
This is not just a fiesta for the eyes; there is also scrumptious candy for the ears. The deep thump of bass-heavy music hits my body with a force that vibrates the viscera. A soft voice emanating from everywhere and nowhere attempts to explain to the awestruck author what’s happening here. It’s all down to a fusion of Holoplot and Dragon, a symbiosis of two technologies that were not intended to go together. The former is a one-of-a-kind audio system that uses wave field synthesis to personalize sound reinforcement. The latter is a volumetric LED lighting system. A unique medium for 3D imagery was born of this pairing – Dragon O. The appended O is short for organic. An apt choice, for its renderings are not static or matrix-like. The images ‘feel’ alive, so much closer to being animatedly existent than artificial renderings are wont to be.
The lights break formation only to instantly regroup. Suddenly a magnificent steed gallops in place, kicking up kaleidoscopic puffs of dust when the creature’s virtual hooves graze the poly floor. The luminous horse collapses into itself, morphing first into a ball, then a skull, and finally into an abstract object.
This bewitching display comes courtesy of 144,000 LED lights strung tightly on countless, three-meter strands spaced across a two-by-three meter cube-like frame. It renders any moving imagery in unprecedented ways. Equipped with Microsoft Kinect, its motion-sensing-and-capture capabilities extend to real-world objects. It tracks their movements for the strands inside the extensible cube to mimic.
Dragon O featured prominently at satis&fy’s first staging of LIFT, an elevating consumer experience for visiting customers, fellow industry professionals, family, friends and other interested parties at the company's Karben headquarters. Debuting on April 2 and 3, 2019, this new event format presented a cross-section of the company’s daily activities to some 500 visitors. Some chores are mundane, other just plain crazy, but all are done with the same credo in mind: Give it all you got to make even wildest of customer wishes come true.
Sometimes satis&fy achieves this ambitious goal by developing entirely new technologies. At others, the company takes legacy tech to the next level. And at still others, it combines familiar things in fresh ways, putting it into a new context to create something unprecedented for customers and their events.
The date for the first LIFT was well chosen to coincide with Prolight & Sound, probably the most important international convention for event technologies and services – that is, all the stuff that makes shows and entertainment fun. Many satis&fy customers and partners trek to the Main River metropolis for this fair anyway, as do agencies’ head honchos and creative types, so a brief excursion to Karben would be an exercise in convenience.
Higher, faster, further
Impressing industry insiders is not quite so easy. The people in this line of business are by no means jaded – it’s just that you need an army of creative minds, inventors, techies and nerds to win the entertainment wars. Their numbers are legion in this game. Many have wonderful ideas of their own. Others are eternally on the prowl, hunting for new inspiration all over the world. This is a tough audience, but satis&fy managed to wow it at the company’s homecoming event with high-tech gear and gimmickry, the wonderful Dragon O, and a handful of other highlights:
Shop Window 2.0
satis&fy doesn’t usually play favorites, but Shop Window 2.0 is definitely the pick of the litter, one reason being that it was born of the company’s ideas. The name is misleading. The only thing it has in common with ordinary window dressing is that it displays goods. The similarities end there. Developed by satis&fy, Shop Window 2.0 tech turns a ho-hum store display into a sparkling product showcase with a screen for product info and advertising tailored to fit, charm and delight the viewer.
Its growing pains are a distant memory, Shop Window 2.0 is available now. It is particularly well-suited for upmarket stores that sell premium products such as jewelry.
A shop window is coated in milky, opaque white, its featured products unrecognizable behind the glass. Instead, product information and oversized images flickers across the hazy window as sparkling points of light dot the surface. Then the shop window parts in places to afford tunnel-vision views of the treasures behind it. Exquisite rings, elegant necklaces, and exclusive ladies' watches are illuminated, framed and featured under a glittering shower of stars. It’s breathtaking – just wow. Merchants may also equip their personalized windows with AirXTouch technology. Like a touchscreen, it lets shoppers operate a monitor behind even the thickest glass to transform the showcase into a sales case. Navigate, select, click, buy – it’s a 2.0 consumer experience at the window shopper’s fingertips. Exclusive, unique and very pricey, it’s worth every penny.
More than a gimmick
Visitors were welcome see, touch and try this and so much more during the two days of the event. It would take an epic novel to describe each of the 22 showcases. This is a short story, so here are just a few highlights:
Magical: The Ultrasphere, an interactive spherical projection system, now serves up even higher definition images.
Fascinating: The Vennetilator conjures king cobras, lettering, Spiderman and other free-floating images.
Astonishing: If you want to create the illusion of dinosaurs and life-size Lego men stomping through your garden, DeepFrame is the way to go
Colorful: Living Building maps animated illuminations to facades.
Playful: You need sunglasses to play the king-size Tetris on a wall of 420 ultra-bright AX5 Astera LED luminaires.
Delightful: The Diamond display case from the Danish development team RealFiction reflects logos, product images and other info into its interior using mirrors and a special coating.
Exciting: Monitors beam a laser sword battle fought in the virtual realm into the real world. The fighting entertained gamers equipped with VR glasses. And the flailing players’ strange, silent dance was no less entertaining for spectators.
Refreshing: The unique satis-Cooler refrigerators’ doors serve as screens for any kind of imagery.
Unbreakable: The titanium fiber-optic cable developed by satis even holds up to the knot test.
Not a vanity fair
Open-house exhibitions and similar customer events are a popular and effective way of showing a company’s chops off to interested parties, partners, customers, employees and families. The first LIFT was indeed an elevating consumer experience. An in-house showcase can be a vanity fair, an exercise in cheap navel-gazing, but this was none of that. Inspiring, informative and innovative, it was a (non-psychotropic) mind-expanding event.
LIFT is a great format for staging a smallish demonstration of what we can do together with our capable innovation partners. It’s an event worth repeating and bringing to other locations to ignite the same fires of enthusiasm we saw burning at the Dögelmühle. The excitement is merited – this showcase affords insight into what satis&fy can do today and an outlook on what will be possible tomorrow.
Devoid of gung-ho speeches by executives and persuasive pitches by sales staff, this was purely about products and impressions. The sound and lighting effects spoke for themselves. That’s all it took, apart from the heart and soul that the satis&fy people poured into LIFT. In that respect, this gig was like any other, small or large. That’s the only way satis&fy knows how to do what it does best – create unique, jaw-dropping effects and installations. And that’s why customers value and trust these specialists for live communication.
Photos by Anna Imm Photography