Taodyne is looking to breathe new life into outdoor advertising with 3D technology. The French startup, which develops interactive presentation and display software and can also create content for customers, is aiming to become world number one in this field.
Interactive displays might be a good way to regain the attention of consumers who have become largely inured to advertising posters and screens. This approach could increase engagement rates by 80%, suggests Christophe de Dinechin, co-founder of the French startup Taodyne, which was one of the exhibitors at the Laval Virtual international conference on technologies and uses held on 9-13 April at Laval in north-west France. “And if we add 3D features to interactive 2D advertising, it will have even greater impact,” he adds, pointing to the results of a number of surveys on the subject. What is special about Tao, the software developed and marketed by Taodyne, is that it can integrate all facets of 3D – combining programming interfaces, 3D models, 3D movies shot on location or constructed with computer-generated imagery, plus added 3D effects – and display them with or without 3D glasses. “A 3D display is a real visual differentiator, but it is also a must for some customers to be able to display in 2D without changing the content,” points out the Taodyne President. With the company’s support, advertisers can therefore opt to install a 3D screen at a strategic spot and less costly 2D screens elsewhere.
A complete glasses-free 3D solution
In addition to its technology solutions, the Taodyne can also create actual content to help a customer produce a visualisation of its brand universe. “We’re looking to supply a complete solution for three-dimensional advertising displays,” explains de Dinechin. You don’t need special glasses because the technology the company uses is based on autostereoscopy, a method whereby a ‘barrier’ or a special film is placed between the display and the audience. The two most common technological approaches to autostereoscopy are a parallax barrier and lenticular lenses. Taodyne is currently working with screens from a range of manufacturers – Alioscopy, United Entertain, Dimenco/Philips and Tridelity – that use a lenticular display. This consists of sending adjacent pixels in slightly different directions so that at a distance the light from one image goes to the right eye and the other to the left. The software handles the pixels so as to combine multiple images on the screen, with each eye only receiving one image at a given time. Your brain then combines the images and interprets them for you as a three-dimensional image. The company also offers a content creation kit under licence for 3D software developers. Taodyne is now thinking of offering professional sophisticated 3D presentations on a subscription basis in the near future.
French market still resistant
Christophe de Dinechin underlines that “there’s a short window of opportunity in this market segment, which is very small today, but is growing very fast.” He is quite clear about his ambitions: he wants his company to become the world leader in the 3D advertising display market. For the moment, Taodyne is focusing hard on Germany and recently signed a marketing contract with a German display advertising provider, whose name he does not wish to divulge at the moment. Next step is the United States and then China, where the company is eyeing the thousands of interactive screens already in use. However, the ‘home’ market remains problematic. “We are attacking the French market but it’s a real SOB! – there’s a lot of resistance,” de Dinechin reveals. In fact digital displays are relatively uncommon in France, totalling just 1- 2% of all public displays and there are legal barriers due to environmental concerns. The general rules applicable to any advertising, signage and displayed directions (except for some specific exceptions) which are visible from any public thoroughfare in France come under the Environment Code, and outdoor advertising is forbidden outside urban areas in order to preserve the rural environment. Meanwhile in cities too, says Christophe de Dinechin, “JC Decaux* has warned us that there are electricity issues, especially at bus shelters, where the power is fed from the street lighting network, which suffers outages.” L’Atelier contacted JC Decaux, who declined to comment.
*a Paris-based multinational outdoor advertising specialist