by Matthew Allred, Cosm
Powering more than 2,000 immersive experiences across 50 countries and achieving 25 million visitors to these experiences, leading immersive technology company Cosm helps its global clients deliver best-in-class experiences that stimulate customer retention and audience engagement. To remain competitive in the experience economy, today’s science centers, museums, theaters, theme parks and other attractions must have compelling offerings not easily replicated at home. This will enable them to obtain new guests, and bring those guests back again and again.
A shift in values and spending
Now more than ever, consumers are seeking out inspiring and unique experiences. Over the last two decades, spending behavior has seen an uptick favoring experiences over tangible goods, with more than three in four (78 percent) millennials choosing to spend their leisure dollars on an experience or event over buying material goods. For this generation, whose spending power now exceeds $2.5 trillion, happiness isn’t obtained through accolades or possessions, but rather by creating, sharing, and capturing memories though meaningful experiences.
This global shift in consumer spending, in conjunction with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased consumer desire for human connection and propelled the experience economy forward exponentially. While the post-pandemic audience favors meaningful experiences with others, there was a significant uptick in at-home media consumption during the first years of the pandemic that is still thriving today. We must reclaim the power of compelling, in-person experiences. Accordingly, attractions and institutions are improving their experiential offerings in hopes of motivating consumers to discover fresh, unique, out-of- home experiences.
The opportunity of Shared Reality
Whether institutional or commercial, operators are increasingly turning to reality technologies – such as VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and XR (mixed reality) to transport guests into new experiences without the need to travel to exotic destinations. But the feat is not simple – to deliver a truly rich and seamless guest experience, the technology itself must virtually disappear so guests can easily suspend their disbelief and be transported to a completely different world. Invisible tech equals visible magic.
As an immersive technology company, Cosm has developed a new type of reality technology it calls “Shared Reality.” Combining the best of the virtual and physical worlds, Shared Reality brings immersive experiences to expansive physical spaces, as opposed to personal VR headsets or TV and phone screens. Cosm’s technology completely envelops the audience in the content they love within a physical and social environment. “Equal parts reality technology and exciting social experience, Shared Reality is the future of immersive entertainment,” Cosm Chief Technology Officer Devin Poolman explained. “Imagine sitting courtside and cheering on your favorite team during a playoff game, or dancing in the front row of a sold-out concert with your friends – that powerful energy invites an electrifying communal experience that is impossible to replicate at home.”
Best seat in the house
Differing from an in-person communal experience such as that of a movie theater or fine arts performance where audiences are advised to sit quietly and avoid interacting with the person they’re next to, Shared Reality speaks to the human desire to witness and validate experiences with others, while in the moment, acting as a conduit for a collective, shared experience, not an individual one.
The best part about a Shared Reality experience is that any type of fan can experience their favorite content in a way that has never been done before and they are guaranteed the best seat in the house, every time. In addition, Cosm’s technology enables content to be changed at the press of a button, enabling attractions to entice new audiences with minimal operative lift.
With a single investment in Shared Reality technology, institutions and attractions have a significant opportunity to both grow their audiences and continue to usher them back time after time. The Shared Reality technology draws upon decades of R&D, innovation and achievement by the companies now united under the Cosm umbrella. Building the first fully immersive and interactive Shared Reality experience is a direct result of expertise in immersive dome design, image processing and calibration, 3D realtime computer graphics, and high-resolution video workflows.
Cosm at the forefront
Cosm itself was born from the fusion of some of the greatest innovators in the history of technology: Evans & Sutherland, Spitz, Inc., LiveLikeVR (now Cosm Immersive), and most recently C360, creating a vertically integrated entertainment, media, and technology solution to power the immersive experiences of the future. Built on decades of innovation, Cosm has achieved many “firsts” in the industry, such as delivering the world’s first immersive 8K livestream during the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. The company has also secured major content partnerships such as the NBA, and additionally has unveiled plans to open public-facing, immersive entertainment venues in Los Angeles (Hollywood Park) and Dallas (Grandscape), with more venues to come.
“For 75 years, Cosm companies have been at the forefront of innovation in immersive technology,” Cosm’s Executive Vice President Kirk Johnson explained. “We strongly believe in the power of Shared Reality, backed by our advanced full-service suite of immersive technology and content capabilities that are unavailable anywhere else in the market. We are excited about Cosm’s future as we continue to power immersive experiences for world-class attractions and institutions, secure partnerships with major content creators and distributors, and deliver live, immersive content to our partners around the world.”
The CX System – best-in-class immersion
To power some of the world’s most iconic experiences, Cosm developed its CX System, an end-to-end technology suite that creates and drives larger-than-life experiences by integrating custom-engineered, compound curved LED displays, known as Cosm’s CX Display, and industry-leading software, Cosm’s CX Engine, that boasts highly advanced calibration and blending capabilities while seamlessly integrating with realtime rendering engines like Unreal Engine and Unity for endless unique, interactive Shared Reality opportunities. This technology allows Cosm to produce and stream live events in immersive 8K to partner attractions and institutions across the globe. In addition, the immersive, realtime content can be created by the existing studio industry or easily developed in-house for custom experiences, delivering the multi-sensory and interactive experience consumers seek.
By empowering global partners to deliver best-in-class immersive experiences on an unprecedented scale, Cosm brings consumers the future of entertainment, today. Through its proprietary technology, enterprise-level platform, and world-class media – rivaling anything else on the market – audiences can interact with a simulated environment like never before. Consumers continue to desire savvy and awe-inspiring experiences, and it has been proven time after time, that early adopters and innovators of new technologies – such as Cosm’s immersive Shared Reality technology – tend to be rewarded with increased market presence, prolonged business operations, repeat customers, and continued technological advancement. Cosm’s end-to-end technology powers the next generation of immersive experiences, ensuring its clients capitalize on the ever-changing trends in today’s experience economy. • • •
With expertise in marketing, brand development, and design paired with strong leadership and a deep knowledge of the many industries Cosm serves, Matthew has been instrumental in introducing Cosm and its mission to redefine the way people experience content.