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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

There’s alot of talk about the future of entertainment being AR, MR, and VR, but other immersive experiences exist too. And they just got a massive upgrade.

 

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During the pandemic Disney decided to build their own holodeck to show executives around their parks – when you couldn’t actually go into them. And on a side note Gene Roddenberry’s son continued developing the Star Trek holodeck, but that’s a different story. So when a world battered by COVID-19 is eventually ready to venture back to entertainment venues, private equity-backed Dallas company Cosm wants them to visit its amazing, towering, high-tech LED domes.

 

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While movie theaters and experiential retail venues scrambled to survive a pandemic-induced decline in demand during 2020, private equity group Mirasol Capital was quietly taking one of the most prominent companies in high-tech theatrical technology private and plotting for the future.

 

 

The result is Cosm, an experiential technology company led by Jeb Terry, a former NFL lineman for the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Fox Sports vice president of emerging technology.

 

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With the backing of RealPage founder and CEO Steve Winn’s private investment arm, the company acquired Salt Lake City-based Evans and Sutherland in April for $14.5 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It also bought Evans and Sutherland subsidiary Spitz Inc. and interactive virtual reality firm LiveLike VR – all now Cosm companies. The companies are some of the earliest pioneers of virtual reality, interactive VR and planetarium projection technology.

Evans and Sutherland and Spitz have been the sole, longtime providers of dome-shaped IMAX screens since bringing them to the market in 1973. The company’s technology powers experiences at more than 2,000 theaters in 50 countries, including the Liberty Science Center, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, SeaWorld, and the Griffith Observatory.

 

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“It’s that engineering heritage that we’re able to reimagine and reinvigorate,” Terry told The Dallas Morning News.

At Evans and Sutherland’s main campus in Salt Lake City, the group has constructed what Terry refers to as the culmination of all three companies’ strengths. It’s a 65-foot tall half-dome LED construction that can be customized into different shapes called DomeX, a project that’s been in the works since 2019. Evans and Sutherland developed its own proprietary rendering software to generate the accompanying video.

 

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“We’ve been in the giant screen cinema space for a while and LED, we think, is coming down the pipeline,” Terry said. The company plans to expand beyond science and education, where it’s an industry leader, and into live sporting events and entertainment, he said.

“We’re believers in the experience economy, but we’re also big believers in fandom. And not just fandom of sports … but of the sciences or fans of Marvel,” Terry said. “Our tech is meant to enable these kind of IP creators to increase ways to experience that.”

 

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He said he believes the case for DomeX and Cosm’s tech was strong before the pandemic, but that it also uniquely suits the pandemic era.

“There’s going to be a subset of people that never want to go back to your standard theater, or never want to go back to a big arena or a big concert hall,” Terry said. “We can really deliver those big major events at a more manageable scale, and still give you the feeling of presence and being there.”

 

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Winn, who will serve as the company’s board chair, lauded Cosm in a statement.

“Great companies can only realize their full potential if they have wildly ambitious goals, a phenomenal team, and the ability to execute; and Cosm has them all,” he said.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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