Our industry is dedicated to enriching lives through the creation of captivating spaces and experiences. The challenge lies in making these experiences more Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, and Accessible (IDEA). Embracing these principles can foster innovation within businesses and ensure that our offerings resonate with people from all walks of life. For consumers to identify with a corporation’s values, it’s important that the business proactively demonstrates its commitment to people and shares its vision for a better world.
The foundation of IDEA is rooted in the narratives we share. It is essential to amplify diverse creative voices that challenge unconscious biases and stereotypes in our content. Although progress has been made in bringing inclusive stories to broader audiences, there is progress to be made. In fact, studies suggest that UK businesses miss out on a lot of revenue each month due to inadequate services that deter people with disabilities.
The global pandemic has catalyzed a fresh perspective on IDEA for operators, particularly with respect to accessibility. Some are expanding on-site experiences to include virtual audiences, which is good news for anyone who might find in-person attendance difficult. Others are reimagining spatial environments by incorporating AR/XR elements and collaborating with technology partners skilled in supporting inclusive and diverse events. Let’s explore some of these strategies below.
1. Breaking Down Spatial Barriers
Projection technology offers a unique advantage by transcending spatial limitations and adapting to various shapes and surfaces to deliver captivating and accessible visual experiences. The magic of the moving image is no longer confined to dark rooms, and today, projectors can be found everywhere, from hospitals (where soothing images calm anxious children) to outdoor public spaces. Technological advancements have empowered a single projector to cover entire building facades, making outdoor attractions affordable for businesses while improving accessibility for people with limited mobility.
An inspiring example of this transformative capability is Refik Anadol’s recent project, which turned Barcelona’s Casa Batlló into a multisensory canvas. This dynamic AI data sculpture graced public spaces worldwide, including Rockefeller Square in New York City, uniting people from all cultural backgrounds in art without boundaries.
2. Embracing an AR/VR Future
Beyond accessibility, AR/VR and live-streaming technology has the potential to foster a more nuanced understanding of cultural diversity and perspectives on a global scale. Implementing high-quality AR/VR or streaming solutions is more attainable than you might think, especially with the right technology partner. For example, several years ago, special needs children had the opportunity to dive into the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 through portable VR projection domes brought to their schools. Experts envision that the same immersive technology will one day allow athletes to compete in composited virtual arenas, providing an inclusive experience for all, regardless of physical location.
3. Promoting Wider Participation
Real-time tracking projection-mapping systems, such as the ET-SWR10 Software Development Kit from Panasonic Connect, are capable of projecting digital content onto fast-moving objects at 240 Hz and hold tremendous IDEA potential. This technology combines analog movement with digital elements and promises to level the playing field in attractions that rely on physical interaction, particularly for those with mobility limitations. The tech opens the door to a new breed of edutainment attraction that allows everyone to participate equitably.
4. Innovating Accessibility
During the pandemic, the “Gogh by car” concept at the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition in Toronto capitalized on the revival of the drive-in movie phenomenon to allow the public to enjoy entertainment despite the social restrictions in place at the time. It allowed guests to drive into the heart of a stunning projection-mapped show, making immersive entertainment accessible to those with mobility challenges, families with infants, and seniors.
Museums are at the forefront of this trend, with many now offering personalized virtual tours that attract an enthusiastic online following. This concept is evolving towards an ecosystem of remote cameras, projectors, and IT/IP platforms like KAIROS to enable people to explore exhibitions or attend festivals, conferencing events, and attractions from anywhere in the world using dedicated apps independently and seamlessly.
5. Prioritize Operation & Maintenance (O&M)
Whether your attraction operates on-site or in the virtual realm, maintaining consistent image quality is essential for guest comfort. This underscores the importance of effective Operation & Maintenance (O&M). Issues like focus aberration, image distortion, or brightness and color fluctuations can diminish the quality of the experience and cause discomfort. Ensuring that assets maintain consistently high image quality over extended periods requires vigilance and resources.
When selecting a projector, consider features such as real-time focus optimization, automatic color uniformity, image misalignment correction, and constant brightness capabilities. Additionally, monitoring equipment remotely and receiving predictive warnings of potential issues is invaluable for ensuring accessibility and quality. Effective maintenance can be resource-intensive, making expert assistance a valuable asset.
As evident from these strategies, the convergence of IDEA principles, content diversity, and innovative technology knows no bounds. If you're curious about how immersive technologies can advance IDEA and eliminate barriers to unforgettable experiences, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chad Kunimoto is the Global Business Development Manager for Themed Entertainment and Immersive Experiences at Panasonic Connect.