02/03/2015 - Blogs

ISE2015: new technological advancements for OOH

Talon’s Richard Simkins on his recent visit to ISE2015. 4K, Projection Mapping, Hologram techniques, Touch Screens, Directional Speakers and Gaming Chairs to offer traction to great ideas in OOH.

Last week I took a trip to Amsterdam to attend ISE2015 – Integrated Systems Europe. For us geeks, Amsterdam’s Integrated Systems Europe 2015 convention is actually more interesting that it sounds, as it is the largest European exhibition and trade show for audio visual and digital technologies.  The ambition was to find new technologies and techniques that could potentially be integrated into our clients’ OOH campaigns.

Much like at IBC last year there were 4K screens everywhere.  Dozens of ISE exhibitors showed off their incredible, enormous 4K LED screens with increasingly tiny pitch (distance between pixels).  Current OOH LED screens typically have a pitch of 6 to 10 millimetres which offers pretty fantastic resolution (think Waterloo Motion, Primesight’s D48s etc).  These LED screens tend to perform better in direct sunlight than LCD screens, and so for OOH locations with shorter viewing distances these Ultra HD LED screens will make any content look stunning.

Alongside the beautiful 4K LED screens were lower res - but transparent - LED screens.   Designed for large installations these can only really be viewed at distance, and are currently being built into stage design, and lobbies and fascias of buildings.  Although there is a claimed 75-95% transparency the technology is ok ish… you can’t really achieve transparency and high quality imagery, so these are probably better for installations and effects than high quality branding.

Projection mapping is a technology that many brands have used over recent years. Projections on buildings, projections on cars, projections on cars on buildings.  These always look fantastic, but brands now have to work harder to stand out with this technique.   At ISE many companies were displaying their projection mapping technologies, and one that stood out was Christie’s real-time object mapping in partnership with Publitec’s Pandora’s Box Server.  This system could digitally scan a (pre-determined) 3D object in any orientation, and within 20 seconds it could create an accurate, new projected overlay.  This has interesting applications for retail and OOH installations that are mapping 3D objects.

One day it may be possible to project in real-time on any moving object – to get a feel of how stunning this can look check out Box and Omote.

On this theme d3 technologies collaborated with Panasonic and Tesla to projection map the latter’s Model S.  The high-profile #teslamapping project was designed to show off d3’s mapping capabilities, but the end content was a little disappointing.

We've seen hologram techniques deployed as content platforms for several years now. This is the appearance of a floating image or video, achieved by projecting content onto an invisible pane of glass or foil (for history geeks the technique is familiarly called 'Pepper's Ghost' and first appeared on stage in the mid 1800s).  At a small scale these are normally slightly underwhelming and require very low ambient light. However Realfiction displayed its Dreamoc series of displays with a physical product inside the display, resulting in a creative interplay between the physical and the virtual, which perhaps offers a glimpse of what Microsoft's HoloLens can achieve.

Other tech that caught the eye included: A screen frame ('bezel') from IRTouch that can turn any surface into a multi-touch screen. Put this around your poster or screen and plug the USB cable into a nearby computer, and the Infrared enabled frame will track where your fingers are touching within it. Similar tech exists, but this is the first time we’d seen it built into a bezel.

An interesting directional speaker from K-Array called “OWL” that has been built into a coaxial mount for remote control, and a camera so you can see where you're 'aiming' your sound. Perfect for audio-based OOH stunts and special effects.

There were a few interesting laser installations on show. Whilst tricky to work with safely in an OOH installation they look great and offer something different to other techniques, so I think we'll see more laser work over the coming years.

And my personal favourite - a hydraulic gaming chair that responds to the player's movements for a more realistic experience (such as with this F1 demo). This tech would also work with a virtual reality experience.

So lots of inspiring tech on show, but as I walked around the great-and-the-not-so-good stands I was continually reminded that with all this kit, the best OOH campaigns are those that start with a great idea and match it with the appropriate technology.