Vancouver-based Tangible Interaction Design has branched out from the world of interactive art installations to create a new company focused on solutions and products for event designers: Crowd Activation.
Alex Beim, Tangible’s founder/creative director, started the company in 2007 focused on creating interesting, interactive art installs, but ended up creating a number of projects for the event world.
“We wanted to create cool experiences for people, to bring them together, to create a community and conversations, to bring a sense of wonder back to experiences that we felt were getting lost. Tangible started more on the art side, and we did some brand activation that wasn’t really for events. We wanted to separate the two and leave Tangible as a company that focuses more on R&D and art installations and coming up with ideas, and we created the Crowd Activation platform for things that could be products,” Beim says.
“It’s a lot simpler to understand. We felt it would be better to start something new, specifically for products for the event industry and make it easy to understand what we do.”
Crowd Activation has three event solution products, with more on the horizon.
Zygote Balls are large inflatable balls that lights up when touched by the crowd, and they have proven to be a big hit at concerts and other events with large crowds. These balls have been deployed at large events in Europe, launching 20 balls at a time in stadium-sized venues of 40,000 to 80,000 people. The Blue Man Group has incorporated the balls into its Las Vegas, Boston and Chicago shows
“They create an interactive lighting experience for the audience, and people live them,” Beim says.
Crowd Activation’s Social Mosa solution ties real-time Instagram and Twitter feeds into event presentations. The solution was created for a one-off event, but it has exploded in popularity because it combines the visuals of Instagram with the content of Twitter. The application runs on large screens inside a venue and is powered by attendees using social media hashtags for content.
“We use it a lot for brand and product launches. We collect photos and tweets, and combine them with beautiful animations where you see the photos flying by mixed with the comments and then they switch out,” Beim says.
All of the content on the screen is monitored by a separate application, so a brand manager can approve the content that is broadcast to the screen. The photos also act as pixels that periodically come together to render an image or graphic message tied to a specific brand or event.
“It makes a lot of sense for brands to use it because it allows for participation from the audience, what they are saying will be seen by all their friends and followers, people love seeing themselves onscreen and you bring it all together by bringing those images together and rendering a logo or graphic,” Beim says.
Currently, Crowd Activation goes to event locations with a computer, installs the application and runs it for clients. Eventually, the technology will be moved to a cloud-based server to allow for more locations and remote service.
Social Mosa can be used with projection screens or traditional monitors, and different hashtags can also be displayed in different rooms or screens within the same event
The Graffiti Wall is an interactive display that has been seen at many events and trade shows over the past few years. Graffiti Wall works with infrared cameras that sense the users’ motions and rear-projection screens. The technology fuses interactive technology and street art, allowing users to create their own messages, use branded stencils and create art on a backdrop of the client’s choosing. They can also share their creations via email and social media outlets directly from the screen. A camera-free LCD version of the product for 65 to 80-inch LCD screens is on the way in 2013.
These solutions are available for rental only, but the rental program is customized from project to project, Beim says, to allow for flexibility.
One of the biggest draws for Crowd Interaction’s products is that they are completely white label—none of the solutions are branded, so they blend seamlessly into event spaces.
“I think a lot of companies like working with us because it seems like it was custom-made for their event,” Beim says.