Ultimate Fan-Zone Experience Demonstrates Dynamic Place-Based Media
In Winter 2010, Bell Canada provided the ultimate fan-zone experience in Vancouver, British Columbia, using dynamic place-based media called the Bell Ice Cube. The Bell Ice Cube was located in the epicenter of an international sporting event where visitors watched teams compete live in HD, cheered on athletes, listened to live music and met some of the world’s best athletes, all under one roof.
Housed in a 3,000-square-foot temporary structure, the unique high-tech design of the Bell Ice Cube served as a magical space to create a memorable experience for all ages while adding credence to Bell’s world-class brand. The center attracted more than 4,000 visitors each day during the two-and-a-half week sporting event.
“Bell wanted to create an experience that would allow the public to connect to the spirit of a great event in a way that no other place could offer,” said Kara Kingston, Associate Director, Bell Sponsorship. “With more than 20 digital screens using 10 discrete HD feeds, plus our own dedicated live feeds, the Bell Ice Cube enabled visitors to view, interact and learn within an experiential environment that became a natural meeting place for people coming into the center of the city.”
The interactive and responsive video environment was designed and engineered by Scala Certified Partner Jigsaw Interaction Design Lab to tell the story, invite participation, deliver surprises and motivate physical stimuli between visual media, software and hardware.
“In a project of this importance, there is simply no room for a solution that is not rock solid,” explained Shaun Mavronicolas, Creative/Technical Director, Jigsaw. “The combination of our diVA™ platform and Scala 5 gave us everything we could possibly need to use technology in an unrestrictive, creative way to deliver the kind of experience today’s audiences expect, without sacrificing reliability.
“Simplicity, from the user’s perspective, coupled with a wow factor achieved by mixing the right technologies, became possible. Software, all sorts of hardware (including lighting) and content working in perfect harmony created an environment that felt magical when you entered. It drew you in to interact and engage with the space,” Mavronicolas added.
As visitors entered the Bell Ice Cube, they were greeted with Bell-endorsed ear buds to interact with myriad eye-catching technology. Once inside, visitors had the opportunity to engage with the space while constantly being entertained and delighted by visual and physical stimuli. The center of the room hosted, 12 “Smart Cubes,” which each incorporated a 22-inch Samsung LCD screen.
The cubes acted as self-contained interactive kiosks that responded to users’ simple hand-hover actions. The cubes also responded to visitors’ movements throughout the space. The LED-illuminated white cubes would switch to a glowing blue cycle when someone was within a certain distance of it, and then back to white as he or she moved away. Sensors ensured a 360-degree detection radius. The visual result produced the illusion that the cubes followed visitors through the space. When users stood within two feet of the front of a cube, the glowing cube would turn to a solid blue, and the onscreen content would switch from a screensaver to a short three-second visual animation. The animation showed users where to hover their hands to select from a unique set of videos, and where to plug in their ear buds. As the users walked away, the cube would return to its default state.
diVA™, Jigsaw’s custom software and hardware platform, was used to manage and assemble the entire interactive experience while working in tandem with Scala 5 via Jigsaw’s custom API.
Scala 5 provided the reliable, controllable HD media playback engine, and Scala 5 Network Manager provided valuable remote monitoring of the computer hardware and playback engine. Together, the two-way communication delivered the robust solution needed for all hardware and sensors to respond to the environment and user actions. The end result was a remotely monitored, multi-dimensional user experience.
Along with the construction and installation of the smart cubes, Jigsaw also created a unique display in the center’s lobby, which was made up of eleven Samsung Omnia II phones. The phones played perfectly synchronized video, in essence creating a large video canvas. A custom application to synchronize and trigger, on cue, video content across the phones proved to be quite the challenge. This was not so much in writing the application, but in the “fail-safes” implemented because the phones were never designed to run 24/7.
“Fireworks Marketing Group, which was hired by Bell to execute the project, was able to transform the ordinary into a powerful memorable experience,” said Andy McRae, General Manager, Scala Canada. “The Bell Ice Cube was a great example of achieving a user experience that was new, innovative and delivered on the client’s objective. We have our partner Jigsaw to thank for that, and they continue to deliver top-notch solutions. ”
Headquartered in Montréal, Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs, including Bell Mobility wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite television, Bell Home phone local and long distance, and IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For information on Bell’s products and services, visit www.bell.ca. For corporate information on BCE, please visit www.bce.ca.
About Fireworks Marketing Group
The Fireworks Marketing Group is an experiential marketing agency that designs and implements internal and external programs that help build business and customer loyalty. We have been creating and managing incentive programs, live events, branded environments, event-based promotions and sponsorship and hospitality programs internationally since 1988. Across Canada and abroad, the Fireworks team handles the planning, logistics and execution of complex projects and programs of any scale. We create memorable, meaningful and magical face-to-face experiences for the audiences that mean the most to your business or organization.
About Jigsaw Interaction Design Lab
Jigsaw Interaction Design (a division of 2C Visual Communications), transforms spaces, be they at events, retail stores, museums, corporate offices, or trade shows, into inspiring physical environments that engage and entertain audiences through participation, interaction, play and surprise. They blur the boundaries between design, physical environments, technology and storytelling. The audience in the space and what you’d like to accomplish drives the process. For more information about Jigsaw’s products and services please visit www.jigsawinteraction.com.