Solotech was established in 1976, for the Olympic Summer Games in Montreal. Today the company is a global player in the rental, sales and integration of audio, light, video and rigging. ‘The need to experience something as a group will never go away, but the future will bring better individual event experiences’, says Francois “Frankie” Desjardins, Vice President and R & D manager of the entertainment company.
Solotech is a one-stop shop in audio, light, video and rigging (all what is needed to secure sound and light in the right place). With more than a 1,000 employees they are locally (out of Montreal, Las Vegas, Quebec and Toronto) and internationally active in a variety of markets: from concerts, sport events and cultural fairs to equipping state-of-the-art boardrooms and meeting rooms.
Light for Lady Gaga
In 2014, Solotech was responsible for the integration of light and video for Artrave: the Artpop Ball, Lady Gaga’s fourth world tour, with 76 shows and more than 920,000 tickets sold. Frankie Desjardins: ‘We used Barco’s brand new UDX projectors. At the time, we were already working with Barco for several years, but for the Lady Gaga-team it was not obvious to blindly rely on this new technology. After a few demos though, they were convinced. Our strength lay in the close collaboration between our projector specialists and the Barco team.’
Sound – light – video
Solotech saw the entertainment business change completely since the end of the seventies. First there was only sound, then – in the eighties – came the light and in the nineties it was video time. ‘For the renting business the appearance of concert video was the biggest game changer of the last thirty years,’ says Desjardins. ‘Light and video are now inextricably linked.’
In recent years, virtual and augmented reality are emerging. According to Desjardins it is a trend that will grow in the years to come: ‘Augmented reality in meeting rooms will be well established in the near future, if only to increase the productivity of meetings.’
Smell, feel, taste
He believes that in the event and concert business “people” will continue to play the leading part, with technology as a driver. ‘You can add as many gimmicks as you want, people still want to be surprised by the artist. Now we are mainly using “see and hear”, but technology can make us discover so many new things around “smell, feel and taste”.’ ‘The need to experience something together as a group will never go away, but the future will bring better individual event experiences . I will not be surprised if in the not so distant future an event – a movie, a concert, a corporate event – will be shown live and at the same time in a VR environment with a very different perception and impact on the customer.’