Freeman, PSAV Make Key Tech Acquisitions

November 14, 2017

A brand experience company and an event technology service provider recently have made key acquisitions.

In an effort to enhance its interactive experience capabilities, Freeman has acquired Helios Interactive, the latest in a series of commitments Freeman has made since forming Freeman Digital Ventures, a fund set up to accelerate innovation and provide investments and partnerships supporting the increasing impact technology and digital advances are having on the brand experience category.

The acquisition of Helios will allow Freeman to improve its ability to integrate technologies including touch and gesture sensing, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), according to Freeman officials.

“We are just beginning to see how exciting and immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality are enhancing brand storytelling, and you’re only going to see demand increase over time as brands look for new ways to engage and inspire their audiences,” said Mike Schaiman, managing director of Helios.

He added, “The growth opportunity for AR and VR is immense, and the event industry is taking notice.”

As a San Francisco-based experience design studio known for being at the center of many popular and interactive fan, consumer and business-to-business experiences, Helios has worked with popular events including the NBA Finals, CES and Comic-Con International in San Diego.

From dropping visitors into crucial scenes in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” to creating a VR cycling tour for IBM’s Watson at SXSW, Helios has worked to find innovative ways to use advanced technologies to create memorable brand stories.

With Helios’ capabilities now incorporated into Freeman’s offerings, clients will be able to work with a single provider to bring their brand story to life with exhibits that combine the latest technologies, smart strategy and seamless execution.

“At SAP, we have worked with both Helios and Freeman on numerous large-scale events, and we’ve always looked forward to seeing what new and exciting aspects the companies can offer to make each show better than the last,” said David Martinez, SAP director of global sponsorships.

He continued, “With the news of this acquisition, we anticipate our future events will thrive with Helios’ AR and VR capabilities now rolled into Freeman’s leading brand experience offerings.”

According to Freeman officials, the Helios acquisition positions Freeman as a one-stop shop for integrated brand engagement and experience, enabling it to understand a brand’s needs, messaging and goals and then translate that into a customized and immersive event.

“Creating unique and actionable brand experiences that inspire results is what we all strive for, and with the technology available today, there are more ways than ever to do this,” said Richard Maranville, executive vice president and chief digital officer of Freeman.

He added, “Our acquisition of Helios expands our digital capabilities and equips us to better meet our customers’ future needs.”

PSAV, a global provider of audiovisual and event technology services, has acquired Concise Ltd., provider of interactive event software applications.

Concise has served the live event industry for more than 20 years and has developed a proprietary advanced software platform that enables event planners to deliver engaging experiences and capture actionable event intelligence.

For example, Chime is Concise’s second-screen event application with broad functionality that can be used to stage events and offers additional capabilities including note-taking, polling, surveying, Q&A, dynamic personalized agendas, collaboration tools and a document library, while the company’s Chime Check-In solution provides event planners with an onsite check-in app than includes a user-friendly seating planner tool.

“We’re thrilled to partner with industry veterans who have developed incredible event application products with strong customer loyalty,” said Mike McIlwain, PSAV president and CEO.

He added, “Concise will help us address our customers’ continued desire to leverage technology to improve audience engagement and event execution with a clear return on investment.”

Headquartered in London, U.K., Concise serves clients globally from six offices on four continents.

Phil O’Brien, Simon Mannes and James Shepheard-Walwyn will continue to lead Concise’s talented team of more than 60 project managers, software engineers, designers, sales managers and technicians, with the company’s in-house team of software engineers configuring the application with custom branding, messaging and content to meet the unique needs of every event.

“We are incredibly excited to be joining PSAV where our products can be introduced to tens of thousands of potential new customers and supported by talented professionals working in PSAV’s 1,500 venues,” said Phil O’Brien, Concise CEO.

He continued, “I am so proud of what our team has done thus far and look forward to combining forces with an industry leader who recognizes the importance of offering a strong digital solution.”

PSAV’s acquisition of Concise is the second transaction the company has made in two months and the sixth since January 2015.


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