Let’s Immerse Ourselves in New ExperiencesThe trend for people to value experiences over things was first identified as a Millennial trait. But as time has passed, it has become clear that the desire to enjoy, learn and be entertained by experiences is universal.
For Millenials there was a desire to spend their hard-earned money on travel or fresh experiences, rather than buying and owning homes, cars or fashion items. The expression “You Only Live Once”, shortened to YOLO, was the slogan of this generation as it threw off the ties of convention. But as time has passed, it has become clear that the desire to enjoy, learn and be entertained by experiences is universal. It may be seen more clearly in the young but there are definite signs that the interest is cross generational. For example, retired people, pre-pandemic, were spending more time than ever before travelling and visiting theatres, museums and art galleries. As well as experiencing these things for themselves, another important facet of the trend is the importance of sharing this experience with friends, family and on social media. The ability to be instantly instagrammable.
Although access to and the affordability of global travel has been a major driver for the experience trend, the development of technology and its ability to create increasingly immersive experiences is another fundamental enabler.
Advances in computer-driven audio visual technology are helping to bring history to life in museums. It’s enabling the great artworks of the world to be shared and experienced by people in ways never seen before and it’s bringing forward new forms of entertainment never considered possible. It has been suggested that this type of innovation could be the spark that opens up history, the arts and culture to an even wider audience as the interactive nature of the exhibits dispels the myths about the dull or elitist nature of the venues. Some have even branded this approach as Edu-tainment, Info-tainment or Art-tainment. I’m not sure these terms will necessarily catch-on but there can be no doubt that there are fascinating new opportunities in all these areas.
Panasonic has been a pioneer in creating these immersive experiences. As far back as 2017, we supported the staging of the “Giudizio Universale (Last Judgement)” by Balich, an amazing immersive theatre experience explaining the life of Michel Angelo and the secrets of the Sistine Chapel.
Today that innovation continues. Panasonic has recently been named the official technology partner of Illuminarium Experiences. It’s a collaboration that aims to reimagine immersive entertainment with cutting edge technology to bring experiences to life.
Illuminarium's first experience will be WILD: The World's First Virtual Safari. Opening in Atlanta in mid-2021, this interactive spectacle will showcase the beauty and splendour of the world's most exotic animals in their natural habitats. Using the power of Panasonic's advanced native 4K laser projection technology, visitors will be transported to Africa.
Illuminarium Experiences will open its first three venues in the US, with further venues following in big cities and tourism destinations around the world. The venues will host 46 4K laser projectors in their main spaces, projection mapping over three billion pixels. With venues of approximately 25,000 square feet and 25+ foot high ceilings, Illuminariums are reprogrammable immersive theatres that surround visitors in a sensory space of sight, sound and scale unlike any other.
Similar transformations are also happening in the art world. The work of Van Gogh was used as the basis for a creative and immersive exhibition at a disused newspaper printing building in Toronto, Canada. The exhibit was purpose built for the space. Panasonic technology was used to projection map giant images onto the floors, pillars and walls of the industrial site to music. Visitors were able to experience the artist’s work in ways never seen before, as they drove their car or walked through the venue.
As we emerge from the current pandemic, changes in society may see these types of immersive experiences grow even faster in popularity. For some time, people will no doubt still be hesitant to travel long distances and the ability to turn disused spaces, such as industrial warehouses, into local entertainment or touring cultural venues could be attractive. We have, to a certain extent, already seen this approach taken by many of the new Escape Room venues that were popular pre-pandemic. In addition, our retail centres look to be changing, with more physical stores closing as online sales increase. It may be that empty real estate in our city centres could be converted and used as permanent venues for this type of immersive experience use.
The opportunity to engage, educate and entertain our next generation using this technology is a concept that excites me and drives our team to continue to develop the AV capabilities behind these new immersive experiences. For me personally, the opportunities this technology offers to attract and interest a younger and wider audience in culture, such as the arts and theatre, is something I find incredibly motivating.
As we move forward, the technology will continue to develop. There will be a need for increased brightness and higher resolution projection, as people come ever closer to the visual displays. There will also increasingly be the need to project seamlessly from floor to ceiling and on ever more curved and unusual shaped backdrops. All this alongside the need to be able to easily transport and set-up equipment, as well the increasing desire for sustainable technology and solutions. At Panasonic, the benefits of the immersive experiences that we are beginning to see is what drives us. We strive to use all our experience and design engineering capabilities to deliver these next generation AV capabilities. I hope you and your family enjoy them, whether it’s a trip to the next generation museum, art gallery, theatre or illuminarium!
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