Time to throw big money on Holograms in China?

From pure e-commerce giants to traditional conglomerates, it is said many big players are willing to throw big money on the idea of hologram for their flagship store, concept store, showroom, experience center, amusement park, or whatever the fancy name you would like to describe them, just for the sake of creating the ultimate science fiction moment to capture their customers’ attention. For instance, we talked about UK’s luxury e-commerce unicorn, Farfetch’s future of store a while ago, and the hologram is one of the key elements in it (see link). In China, the trend is also full blown. According to Bloomberg, the water show, light show, and any high tech show behind some of the largest theme parks in the country, are craving to deploy the technology to excite thrill among viewers. The fanfare is gradually spreading to other sectors such as shopping malls, dining, and property developers. A restaurant in Shanghai which offers an immersive dining experience using lights and sound can cost you RMB 10,000 per guest.The fundamental rule is an ideal 3D display should not rely on any form of glasses, headset or gadget; that partly explains why current VR has not been gaining substantial traction quickly. 

 

Hologram is a technique that records the light scattered from an object, instead of an image formed by a lens, then represents it in a way that appears three-dimensional, which can be seen without the aid of special glasses. It is a 3D virtual object that isn’t actually “there,” but looks as if it were, moving in our physical environment. The pioneer concept first emerged as early as in the 40s, and it has been working in progress, though still encounters huge limitations. One great bottleneck now is you would need a projector in the air to reflect the laser light into the viewer’s eyes. Hardware usually carries high costs, but it does not stop startups commercializing on this opportunity. It is estimated that holographic display market will at least worth USD3 billion by 2020.

 

A company like Kino-mo, backed by famous investor Sir Richard Brandson, is currently selling the solution worldwide. It is said each of its projector costs at least USD3000, but it does not intimidate those affluent clients out there to test such new excitement. See video demo below.

 

 

A Danish company Realfiction also hopes to push the holograms to the retail sector. Experts suggest that those flashy concept stores often do not need to worry about ROI, and all they need is looking better than their competitors. Hologram might be one toy for them to lavish upon.

In China, a local startup Dseelab is working on a similar offer, a holographic projection generated by a spinning fan-like blade and LEDs. Its naked-eye display has different sizes with price ranging from USD 300 to USD1500. 

 

 

Nevertheless, none of these holograms mentioned above can be defined as the true 3D image floating in the air which can be seen from different angles. They do not recreate a true 3D image, rather they project light onto a 2D surface to deceive our eye. If you step aside, the magic vision would become flat or simply disappear. Of course groundbreaking science advancement is taking a leap, but still in a very crude prototyping stage.

 

 

So in order to stir the “WOW” for your customer engagement, we only can stick to the makeshift solution at high costs at this stage.

Author: Cecilia wu