Almost 20 years in this industry and more trade shows than I can count has left me a little jaded, and tough to impress, but my tiny little mind was steadily blown during a 90 minute tour Tuesday around the Montreal head office and studio of Moment Factory.
The company is, arguably, the top experiential digital media company on the planet – so busy the steady number of inbound calls from prospective customers is a problem.
Amahl Hazelton has been with the company for years and runs its public spaces group – the one that puts together fixed installations in places like shopping malls, stadiums and airports. He’s speaking tonight at the Digital Signage Federation networking mixer in Montreal, and in advance of that, kindly gave me and some DSF board colleagues a tour of the converted warehouse space north and west of downtown, in an area I think is called the Plateau.
What was blowing my mind was a darkened room off the lobby that staffers use for ideation, and sometimes for running those ideas past clients that range from builders to sports team owners to rock and pop stars.
The room is equipped with all kinds of cameras and sensors, and uses rear projection to beam a big, touch-based dashboard on a screen. That dashboard can launch a wide variety of interactive applications cooked up by interactive multimedia designers and coders.
Hazelton casually launched stuff that involved real-time animations, motion capture, infrared reveals of content and on and on. They were mostly visuals you had to see to appreciate.
The room helps Moment Factory staffers work out ideas and mash up tech that might be applied to whatever experience a project could use to tell a story and create a memorable moment.
The company has rapidly grown to 330 people – 75 of them coders. In its early stages, when the head count was much smaller, the majority of what Moment Factory did was special events, like short-term projection mapping shows. That changed with jobs like the international terminal at LAX, and signage jobs like Oakley’s flagship in NYC.
Now, 90% of what Moment Factory does is fixed installations.
You would not call Moment Factory a digital signage company. They’re an experiential digital media company that happens to do digital signage on some jobs, and uses a lot of display and projection technology.
If you are in this business, you should pay attention to Moment Factory’s work and how its brilliant creatives are steadily pushing the possibilities for big digital canvases.
There’s still time to register for the DSF mixer in old Montreal tonight. If you are going, see you there.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.