With its installations and the help of scents, images, light and audio, technological design agency Ocular plays on all your senses. Experience is the code word.
Mixologist of engaging interactive experiences is the new slogan of Ocular in Zwevezele. ‘We stimulate all the senses. We see our installations as a cocktail of technology ‘blended’ into a single, total experience, supported with all possible audio-visual resources’, says CEO Nicolas Vanden Avenne.
Phygital is the connecting thread in our companyNicolas Vanden Avenne, CEO
Recently Ocular organized the Techpeditie for imec. It is a travelling pop-up exposition about smart technology that makes our lives better, healthier and more sustainable. ‘Infrared sensors measure your height and your weight, a 3D camera recognizes your gestures. We want to make the experience as impressive as possible, without revealing to the visitor how much technology is involved. We bring the best of the digital and the physical world together in one experience and in one set-up. Phygital is the connecting thread in our company. Compare it with a scale model of a battlefield, depicting a battle. For a carpet manufacturer we made an installation which enabled visitors to digitally walk through the collection while carpet samples on the walls were lighting up.’
Dialogue in Riyad
Ten years ago, Ocular started collaborating with a Norwegian manufacturer of specialized projectors. Barco took over that company and since then Ocular and the world market leader in display technology from Kortrijk work closely together. Vanden Avenne: ‘We use Barco technology in our installations, but we are also working with their engineers to optimize applications.’
Both companies recently joined forces to build an installation in a visitor centre in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), portraying the dialogue between 13 Berber tribes. Vanden Avenne : ‘Our shared solution was unique in the world, with projections that were aesthetically quite demanding. For example, the distance between the screen and the projector was minimal.’
Ocular was also responsible for the multimedia section of the Zwin nature park’s visitors centre. Via five Experiences (movies, interactive games, …) visitors get to know the birds of the Zwin and the way they live. Also in the Ypres In Flanders Fields Museum Ocular developed both the hardware and software of all interactive audio-visual exhibits. ‘Including the illusion that you’re flying in an observation balloon above the battlefield, via a 180° projection. We built the installation with Barco technology and it has been running for six years without any technical flaw. ‘
Experience as a service
Ocular notices that more and more companies and museums inquire about phygital solutions. Today, in addition to custom installations, the company also develops experience as a service, making it more accessible for customers, because they don’t have to invest in an expensive customized project. ‘The museum in Riyadh will run on our service platform, on which we offer experience as a service.’
According to Vanden Avenne, the museums of the future should really focus on the personal experience of the visitor. ‘Museums have a scientific mission, but are evolving more and more towards the leisure industry, which means that they must attract and entertain an audience. They need to better understand their visitors, ensure they stay longer, come back and recommend the museum to their friends. This can only be successful by continuing to captivate and by enlarging the experience.’
Museums are evolving towards the leisure industry and have to entertain their audiencesNicolas Vanden Avenne, CEO
The technological design agency now also explores the world of augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), but is still looking for a really useful application. ‘We want to go beyond the gimmick . Just putting on VR glasses makes the magic disappear a bit. Visiting a museum or a leisure environment is usually a group experience. And the VR and AR experience is still very individual.’