John Robson, managing director of Aztec Event Services, Mitcham, Surrey, U.K., is another industry executive who quickly seized the opportunity to fill a gap in his company’s rental fleet after seeing Christie Digital Systems’ MicroTiles launch at February’s ISE Show in Amsterdam.
“I surround myself with good technical people, but my strength is seeing opportunities – that’s my niche,” says Robson, who has a marketing background. “There was clearly a buzz surrounding MicroTiles, and I could see immediately it was the product I had been looking for.”
Aztec was originally formed in 1989 but Robson took over one of its divisions in 2006. Around half of its work is in the exhibition sector and while it sees huge opportunities for MicroTiles in this area, last year it also set up a creative arm, Aztec Digital, enabling it to develop its own media.
These two factors presented a compelling argument for investing in 70 of the new MicroTiles.
“It came at the right time as we had been considering investing in seamless LCD/plasma,” says Robson. “We get a fair bit of demand for display walls in the exhibition sector, but I held off because of brightness and resolution issues, and the fact that they (Other products previously considered. Ed.) are big and bulky, making handling very difficult.”
There were other technical factors – such as colour balancing, matrix mounting on a grid, and limited lifetime – that also counted against seamless technology.
Robson says that he had hoped something would come along, and Christie MicroTiles were his solution.
“MicroTiles not only look fantastic but they have been really well thought through – how they lock together, talk to each other, and their constant colour balancing,” he says.
Aztec’s initial order is based on having sufficient tiles to replicate a 4 x 4 seamless plasma wall although it also plans to use them in many other shapes and configurations at corporate events.
Robson consulted his senior technical personnel, and having decided on the strength of the display media, Aztec turned their attention to creating high-quality media.
“This was the challenge, and we knew with this knowledge we could provide an end-to-end solution,” he says.
Aztec developed a business plan, acknowledging the cutbacks in exhibition stand budgets, but recognising MicroTiles’ potential at corporate events on stage, complementing projection to create different shapes.
“We have also done a lot of work in museums like the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where there are issues with footprint,” Robson says. “The MicroTiles modules are relatively small (408mm x 306mm) and without much need for bracing. They are also robust, can be assembled very quickly, and the front screen of each tile is easy to replace in situ, should we ever need to.”
On the basis that MicroTiles are also simple to lock together and to construct on a small footprint, Aztec also envisages a vibrant dry hire market.
Robson is preparing a product showcase at the Emirates Stadium in the autumn and says that he’s optimistic.
“We already have orders and are itching to get our hands on the MicroTiles,” he says.