The Slovenia Times

Radically Altering the Perception of Visual Information



Although traditional visual media such as posters, television, LED screens and LCD monitors may seem like totally different means of managing and conveying visual information, they nevertheless structure the relationship between the visual content on the one hand and its reception by the individual on the other in basically the same manner. Advertisers are well aware of the limitations of these media forms, realizing that the visual content of a poster, TV commercial or an LED screen can only be accessed effectively - i.e. without visual distortion - from a very limited number of perspectives. This fact is also known to anyone who has ever tried to watch television from an acute angle or had trouble discerning the time and place of an event advertised on a single poster from a moving car. Advertisers have not been alone in trying to solve the problem of the accessibility limitations of traditional media. Most of us are more than familiar with the sight of entire walls covered with posters or with the clusters of TV screens in airports showing arrival and departure times. Omny - its name is derived from the omni-directional functionality of the new product - offers an inventive solution to this problem, as it radically enhances the consumer's accessibility to visual content. With Omny, the latter always faces and follows the consumer rather than the other way around: because the visual content can be conveyed in all directions at the same time, the consumer no longer needs to change his or her perspective to access the information - it is simply accessible at any time, from any direction. Thus, the advantages of Omny over the aforementioned traditional forms of visual media can hardly be overlooked, especially if Omny is employed in situations where visual content has to be quickly and effectively disseminated to large groups of people, for example in airport terminals, railway stations, sporting events or trade fairs. Omny's patent-protected technology can, however, be put to its greatest effect within an advertising context. While people have learned how to ignore advertisers' advances through the traditional advertising media, Omny's unique and conspicuous design will certainly catch the eye of potential consumers, thereby making the visual content it conveys all the more attractive. The attractiveness of Omny for advertisers and any other content manager is further enhanced by its ability to present either static or dynamic - i.e. animated - visual content. Omny comes in two forms, incorporating two different technological solutions; the first is based upon traditional printed posters, while the second employs LED diodes in place of the posters. While posters can be easily removed and replaced, it is the latter variant that is especially interesting, as it allows for real-time manipulation of visual content, usually via computer software. In either case, the visual content conveyed by Omny is easily accessible to multiple consumers approaching it at the same time from different perspectives. As previously mentioned, Omny can be used in a variety of contexts and is certainly not limited to advertising. Although advertisers should be the first to recognize its global marketing potential when it is employed as an advertising medium, its usefulness in conveying essential information to large numbers of passengers in airports and railway stations can hardly be overstated. Whether Omny will really win the hearts of advertisers and content managers remains to be seen, but if it does, then it could soon find its way into museums, galleries, sporting events, etc. or, to make this long list a bit shorter, into all those contexts where the efficient dissemination of information to large groups of people is of essential importance to the smooth functioning of a business. The Kolektor Group is aware of the fact that the marketing phase of the product's development cycle is crucial if Omny is to successfully conquer the global market. Early marketing activities have therefore already been initiated and some potential clients contacted. The Kolektor Group expects, however, that it will enter into the intensive, 'hot phase' of Omny's marketing sometime during 2006. That is not to say, of course, that Omny has not yet been seen in action, on the contrary: it has been presented at some of the most important domestic and foreign specialized trade fairs such as SOF (Portoroz), Hevreka!05 (Ljubljana), Moto GP (Brno, Slovakia), MOS (Celje), Global Gaming Expo (Las Vegas, USA) and Visual Communication France (Paris, France). Representatives of the Kolektor Group, which funds the research and development activities, emphasize that Omny will first be tested in Slovenia, allowing the country to act as a quasi-showroom for the product. As soon as Omny's technical characteristics have been tested on the ground, the Kolektor Group will start to market it globally - this scenario is in line with the strategy that the Kolektor Group adopts with regards to other new products. As Mr Simon Strgar, the Kolektor Group's project manager, explains, this approach allows the company to make any necessary adjustments and/or modifications to the product without incurring the costs of servicing it far from the home market. The Kolektor Group has protected its intellectual property rights regarding Omny in the European Union, the United States and some Far Eastern countries (patent, registered trademark and the model). This is only understandable, as several million euros have already been invested into research as well as into the development and production of prototypes. They expect that several million more will have to be invested before they can take it to the market, but if everything goes as planned the investment should pay off by 2010. With Omny, the Kolektor Group has certainly uncovered a niche in the media market and seems determined to exploit it to its greatest effect. The company seems intent on becoming the market leader and staying there, but that will require further investment into the research and the development of new products to keep the competition at bay. In any case, the small town of Idrija, the hometown of the Kolektor Group, is set to profit from its role as the centre of intensive R&D activity, an activity sadly lacking in Slovenia as a whole.


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