he latest Watches and Wonders show, which was entirely digital this year due to the pandemic, served as a large-scale test for a new plug & play solution developed by Brandstorm, a Swiss studio specialising in brand architecture. Visiodome, a compact video production studio, is one initiative aimed at making it easier to present timepieces at a distance – a particularly pressing challenge since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Indeed, many of us discovered the existence of Zoom and Teams for the first time in March 2020, and the first online presentations were less than impressive!
The luxury industry is a demanding environment, even online; off-the-peg or improvised solutions won’t cut it. This is the promising gap that that Raphaël Henry, founder of Brandstorm, intends to exploit – after all, we are still in the very early days of digital learning in watchmaking. In “normal” times he is a well-known designer of boutiques and pop-ups, as well as booths and stands for major annual watchmaking gatherings (e.g. Baselworld or SIHH – read this portrait from 2003). This year’s 100% digital Watches & Wonders show provided him with an opportunity to unveil another facet of his activity, through Visiodome.
- Brandstorm’s Visiodome was used during the Watches and Wonders digital showcase in April.
During the show, the organising teams as well as several participating brands used the Visiodome, which is roughly the size of a small suitcase (60cm x 40cm x 30cm and 15kg), to produce digital content and present their new releases via videoconference. It’s a solution that “allows all types of products to be discovered remotely and in HD thanks to its lighting dome, its quality of light and a high-performance camera system.”
“The future of trade shows will be a mix of physical and digital experiences, offering the feeling of being on-site, even if you’re not. Digital solutions must be at the service of the human experience, not the other way around.”
“It’s vital to remain focused on what the user wants, and not be sucked in by the technology,” Raphaël Henry emphasises. “We offer a compact and easy-to-use solution, onto which more advanced augmented reality functions are grafted.” The brand image specialist draws a parallel with the arrival of the Polaroid: “It was all-in-one photography of good quality for its time. The Visiodome is in some ways a modern day Polaroid.”
In a matter of seconds, the aluminium case can be opened, set up, connected, or put away. “The Visiodome makes it possible to achieve highly realistic lighting conditions and superlative visual quality in a videoconference, without having to invest in a professional photo studio,” continues Raphaël Henry. “The box is compatible with most videoconferencing software. The idea is to enable every company to adapt it to their own digital channels and existing IT systems.”
- The solution comes equipped with a lighting dome to provide high-quality lighting, and a camera system to capture static or moving images of a watch being handled.
Since January, Brandstorm has sold around fifty of these solutions, priced at under CHF 10,000 each, to more than twenty brands: “Some use it to present their watches to customers or the press, others for in-house technical workshops or remote training.” Two initial production sites in Europe will soon be followed by a new unit in China.
- The case (60cm x 40cm x 30cm, 15kg) containing the Visiodome is portable.
“The future of trade shows will be a mix of physical and digital experiences, offering the feeling of being on-site, even if you’re not. Digital solutions must be at the service of the human experience, and not the other way around,” concludes Raphaël Henry.