A disruptive technology, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen who coined the term, is one that displaces an established technology, shaking up the industry, or a ground-breaking technology that creates a new industry.
By the Electrosonic Technology Design Team
In this context, disruptive technology could be a variety of innovations. For instance, 5G, RFID and AI used for personalisation in a retail or hotel setting. These can stream demographic-relevant content to each individual. It could also be Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality helmets, immersive higher pixel density displays or transparent displays.
Other examples are drones or invisible technologies, such as high fibre connectivity for higher quality transportation of content.
There are a number of considerations that need to be addressed with disruptive technology, particularly in critical environments. This is true whether it is a theme park that attracts thousands of visitors or an oil and gas control room which requires uptime 24/7.
It is advisable in these circumstances to balance new, leading-edge innovations with established, tried and tested technology. Adopting disruptive technologies early on comes with an element of risk. For example, any teething problems or bugs are likely to be discovered and ironed out further along in the process. Therefore, early adopters could experience reliability issues.
Creating immersive experiences
It’s not just reliability a designer needs to think about when installing new tech. VR has the potential to create impressive immersive experiences, however, the helmets can be isolating. There can also be issues around health and safety, and hygiene if hundreds and hundreds of people are going to use them continuously.
It must be stressed that the suitability of the technology needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Its compatibility with the existing tech in the environment also needs to be taken into account.
Where there is a tight time schedule, it may make better sense to go with tried and tested technology. Installing a piece of cutting-edge tech could require lengthy design, testing and implementation to ensure it meets its purpose.
When making a decision about the technology to use in a project, we assess it according to a number of factors. These are its readiness, its suitability and its fitness for purpose. We also look at where it fits in the client’s AV technology road map.
It is of key importance to look at the practical implications of new technology, and its ability to scale for use in large attractions. For example, in museums and theme parks, where large numbers of people will be using it constantly.
Another important consideration is the need for high-quality content to complement/ accompany the new technology.
At the heart of this process is technology master planning, something evidenced in our recent projects incorporating disruptive technologies.
MGM Cotai – The Spectacle
At the MGM Cotai Hotel, the Electrosonic team met and overcame the profound technical challenges of the world’s largest free-span glazed roof. The team creates an impactful digital art experience a year in advance of anything else on the market in terms of innovation and technology.
The project leverages the latest 4K displays, sufficiently bright to counteract background light in public environments. It shows the team’s capacity to optimize presentation for crisp videowalls. These can display cinematic portraits, big scenic shots of skylines, and multiple vignettes of attractions.
Electrosonic’s innovative multisensory experience takes place around the atrium. It highlights a global array of digital art. It also utilises true 4K LED processing of the media walls, creating ‘digital wallpaper’.
International Spy Museum
Another notable project is the Spy Museum, Washington DC, winner of 33 separate awards for outstanding museum achievement.
Here, RFID technology allows each visitor to interact in different ways with the exhibits. It provides a limitless variety of new experiences, regardless of the number of visits made.
To make the experience repeatable, many of the challenges have an interactive nature. For example, the lie-detection interrogation, where visitors can play both the suspect and the interrogator. There is also a surveillance mission testing powers of observation. As well as this, visitors can enjoy the special ops gallery. This challenges them to make their way through a tunnel while avoiding moving laser beams.
The National Comedy Center
The National Comedy Center, named by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as “one of the best museums in the country” was ranked second in a list of 20 best new US attractions by USA Today in January, as well as being crowned top museum and top ticketed attraction.
Electrosonic’s AV Integration showcases ground-breaking innovative, interactive technology, with content from more than 50 immersive experiences. These that take visitors on a journey through comedy history at the NCC. The museum covers everything from early vaudeville acts to the latest viral memes.
An RFID ‘Laugh band’ personalises each visitor’s journey. The band stores a humour profile created on entry, so they see content according to their personal tastes.
The ‘Comedy Continuum’, where content explores an extensive web of connections, is a 60-feet-wide touchscreen wall. It enables an unlimited number of visitors to engage with it simultaneously, while facial recognition software forms the basis of a comedy game. Here, participants face-off to see who can make their opponent laugh first.
‘Prop Stars’ is an interactive table. It recognises and explores a collection of physical props and their usage in comedy across the years.
‘Make a Meme’ allows guests to do exactly that, sharing their creation on social media.
The Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre
The Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Kuwait is the largest museum project in the world. It comprises four science museums. The 2019 Commercial Integrator Integration Award in the Best Museum category went to Electrosonic for its work here. The company designed and installed more than 250 AV exhibits.
The Race against the ‘Stars’ exhibit in the Healthy Living gallery showcases disruptive technology. It uses sixteen 80” screens mounted side by side in portrait mode. This creates a virtual running track where participants can race against the world’s elite athletes.
A further exhibit is a 20-seater spherical dark ride theatre. It has a six-metre screen and 4D full motion seating. This is part of an immersive adventure experience through the human body.
250 West 57th Street Lobby, USA
The 57th street lobby project was one where an essentially unprepossessing lobby was redefined a striking, ever-shifting art installation; an integral transition point between interior and exterior with the use of seamlessly integrated technology.
In partnership with lighting artist Marc Brickman and digital artist Lindsay Scoggins, Electrosonic installed a 76’ ft by 8’ ft screen to the ceiling. Here generative, customisable images flow in a ceaseless cycle of abstract art, news, galaxy and weather depictions. The same images never reveal themselves twice.
In each of these projects, the importance of selecting the right technology is key. It must be sustainable as well as fitting the timeline and budget.
Disruptive technology must be assessed and tested to iron out any bugs. It needs to blend with existing elements. Technology master planning and design is at the heart of this process.
This is an extensive end-to-end process, comprising conceptualization, design and planning through implementation and 360-degree support services.
AV is never considered in isolation but as one of the pillars of a fusion of architecture, technology and storytelling.
Electrosonic’s Technology Master Plan, a dynamic methodology for creating the desired guest experience for any business, means clients can be confident of a seamless audiovisual deployment that is fully integrated and operational from the project’s inception.