A revolutionary concept in multimedia retail design made its debut during Milan Fashion Week in March 2007 with visual technology from projectiondesign playing a key role. A multi-sensory booth was the brainchild of the global IT giant, IBM. It is intended as a revolutionary new way for retailers to stage promotions, allowing customers to hear, see, and even smell new product presentations. To achieve this goal, the booth uses a combination of stereoscopic 3D video projection, 5.1-channel surround sound, and olfactory systems.

While IBM Italia provided the computing systems for the booth, additional technology was supplied by AGMultivision (video projection), PFM Multimedia (stereoscopic 3D production) and the Trieste-based retail consultancy M-Cube (scent production). AGMultivision supplied two projectiondesign F20 SXGA+ projectors. These were used with a Cyviz Viz3D processor to reproduce the stereoscopic effects, and projected onto a 120-inch silver projection screen from Stewart Filmscreen.

“We are very proud that we were able to contribute to such an innovative project using advanced technologies from projectiondesign, whose products we distribute in Italy,” comments Anna Dossi, marketing manager at AGMultivision. “This was the first time anywhere in the world that a multi-sensory experience has been created using stereoscopic projection combined with sounds and scents.”

The 6m by 3m multi-sensory booth was installed on a women’s fashion floor at La Rinascente, one of Milan’s most prestigious department stores. Visitors to the booth, who included large numbers of VIPs from the fashion industry as well as ordinary shoppers, were treated to a 1.5-minute stereo 3D video produced by PFM Multimedia, which had earlier recorded the fashion shows of, among others, Alberta Ferretti and Moschino. The clip contained a number of special effects – such as the Moschino logo appearing to come out of the screen – as well as synchronised scents which, for example, allowed the smell of leather to enter the Booth when the video focused on a pair of shoes.

“The concept behind the multi-sensory booth is to offer customers an unforgettable experience by touching their human senses,” says Luca Recalcati of IBM Italia. “After the fantastic reaction we received during Milan Fashion Week, we have decided to offer the Booth as part of our IBM product/solution proposition, and will be offering it to customers through our sales force.”

Guido Villa, sales manager for Southern Europe at projectiondesign, concludes: “The IBM multi-sensory booth is a prime example of how our high-quality, extremely dependable and easy-to-configure projectors can be used in the most demanding and unusual of retail applications. The booth has demonstrated its effectiveness to hundreds of CEOs from some of the world’s leading fashion brands, as well as wowing members of the general public—a tremendous vote of confidence in our technologies.”