Eye Candy With An Actual Business Model

April 2, 2019 by Dave Haynes

One of the experiences repeated over and over again each year at Digital Signage Expo is checking in with industry vets and asking if they saw anything I needed to see.

As outlined in other posts, going to numerous trade shows in a matter of weeks means it is hard, by DSE time, to find much that wasn’t already launched or showcased at NRF, ISE and so on.

When put in my two cents last week, I said what was different and interesting to me was down at the LVCC south hall, where the Nightclub and Bar Show was on. It is a trade show focused on that industry, and is legendary for stall after stall of liquor brands pouring free samples.

I managed to scoot by all the same offers – and decided against trying my hand at axe throwing – and saw that whole show in 30 minutes. It is not something you really need to “do” if you are at the LVCC for DSE, unless you have a need to get wrecked.

At the front of that hall, before you got into the exhibit area, a Las Vegas startup called Holocryptics was showcasing its take on that old visual trick called Pepper’s Ghost – essentially a reflection/projection onto a transparent screen, creating what is loosely called a hologram. It’s not a true hologram, but whatever …

I have seen companies trying this sort of thing for several years, and thought it was kinda cool but had short-term Wow Factor and no obvious business model.

What this company is doing is different – in that the business model is obvious and pretty compelling. The idea is to make available to bars, nightclubs and other kinds of venues a pretty damn life-like HD projection and audio performance by a selected DJ, without actually having the DJ on site.

So … a DJ that normally plays clubs in Ibiza and Miami and somehow gets as much as $100K to bop around behind a mixing board and tweak some knobs can be booked, as well, to appear in Bemidji, Minnesota or Motherwell, Scotland for a fraction of that cost. So these places could – in theory – promote a 2-hour set on Saturday night from Diplo or Deadmau5.

I looked those up, by the way. This whole DJ thing is as familiar to me as Bacterial Science.

The idea is to offer club operators a curated library of DJ sets, and a web app for smartphones and tablets that venue managers can use to select, pay for, launch and manage performances on demand. It is store and forward to the playback device, so streaming hiccups are not an issue.

I had a quick conversation with the CEO, who explained the main vertical was the bar business, but said it could also be used for distance learning. I said I thought this was a way for political candidates to make it to locales they’d not otherwise get to – sorta solving the whole “Hilary never went to Wisconsin” thing.

Holocryptics says it put a lot of effort into the video capture and rendering, so this looks a lot more life-like than some of the projections I have seen that look very one-dimensional. It touts a 120-degree visual radius, and the small footprint that only requires only 3.5 feet of depth behind the projection glass or film (assume it is film on glass).

I like. Eye candy with a viable business model. What a concept!

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