Area Firm Pioneers 3-D Advertising

Floating above a retail display in an Oregon supermarket, the image of the Coke can looks realistic enough to grab. But it's only a hologram: a full-color, high-resolution image created by Provision Interactive Technologies, the Chatsworth-based company that is pioneering the use of 3-D videos and images for commercial advertising.

"A marketing genius came up with the name 3DEO," said Provision Chief Executive Officer Curt Thornton. "Back in the early-1900s, there was audio. In the 1970s and '80s, we have video. In 2000, we have 3DEO."

Among Provision's latest products is the 3DEO Media Center or kiosk. Kiosks - each projecting the image of a floating soda can - are being installed at 29 Fred Meyer Stores in Portland, Ore.

"What's new and different is that, thanks to 3DEO's proprietary technology, your product will be floating in space and rotating in the third dimension. The effect is compelling and traffic-stopping," said Lynn Gust, executive vice president of merchandising and advertising for Fred Meyer Stores.

"Besides the 3-D display, the 3DEO unit also has a user interface and can dispense coupons."

Thornton said the 3DEO units will be installed this summer at 47 independent Hispanic markets in Southern California. With market research showing that 70percent of purchasing decisions are made in-store, the high-tech kiosks are designed to influence impulse buyers.

"Most Hispanic consumers don't shop by themselves. They go with their family, so if they have a child, automatically he is a buyer, too," said Ben Remez, president of Clear TV Inc., which is working with Provision on the new kiosks.
Provision started in 2001 as a hardware company that sold products like black boxes and displays. It expanded in 2006 to digital media and now has a dozen employees.

Although Provision has implemented 3DEO technology for retail advertising - its clients include Adidas, Kodak, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Disney, and Johnson & Johnson - Thornton said it could be adapted for education and other uses.

"It can be used for a medical X-ray or body scan in 3-D, government homeland security and flight avionics. People who fly in 3-D space need 3-D displays."

Thornton said his company's technology works for video games and could someday be adapted for television. There also are plans to bring three-dimensional technology to the automotive industry. Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota, hired Provision last year to create a holographic dashboard that presents 3-D warnings and vehicle notifications.

"The Tokyo Motor Show launched the concept car, and it was the hit of show," Thornton said.

But Thornton cautioned that it will be years before Provision can launch its technology in forms other than kiosks.

"The American market doesn't adopt technology as quickly as the foreign market. It is less of a risk taker and wants to see the product proved," Thornton said.

By Melissa Lambarena, DailyNews Los Angeles