The closing of the year usually brings reflection about the challenges and achievements. On a global scale, if there is one takeaway from 2023, that would be the new-found enthusiasm for technology’s potential to drive progress and transform our lives. While the spotlight was largely on AI, other cutting-edge advancements, such as holograms, AR/VR, and XR, are going through an exciting evolution. And the stats don’t lie: McKinsey estimates immersive technologies will generate $4 to $5 trillion by 2030.
Zooming in on ARHT and looking back at what we’ve accomplished in 2023, there have been many significant milestones. From implementing cutting-edge Cloud turn servers for streaming high-quality video and audio to providing round-the-clock support in English and Mandarin, our team was dedicated to optimizing our technology and service. We’ve also forged stronger connections with leading global organizations like PepsiCo and secured new business with endorsements from prominent businesses like PWC, Accenture, Morgan Stanley, and Netflix. And beyond our day-to-day operations, we’ve given ARHT a fresh look introducing new branding and website.
In an exclusive interview with ARHT’s CEO, Larry O’Reilly, we’ll take you behind the scenes of the 2023 journey, sharing our triumphs and challenges, revealing his vision for the future, and exploring the ever-evolving world of holographic technology.
Q: Can you share some of the biggest challenges ARHT has faced this year?
Larry O’Reilly: One of the biggest challenges this year has been navigating the Proof-of-Concept process and establishing partnerships with various enterprise organizations. Each organization has unique criteria, making the process more time-consuming than anticipated. However, it’s crucial we lay the groundwork for the company’s future growth. We’ve also seen a shift in our client base from focusing solely on events to exploring permanent installations. This transition involves engaging with departments beyond marketing and event management, leading to a lengthier onboarding process. Despite these challenges, throughout 2023, we’ve built the foundation for significant expansion with numerous clients.
Q: What are some notable achievements for ARHT in the past year?
Larry O’Reilly: There’s a lot to celebrate this year! The launch of our new ISO is a game changer: it provides the scalability, reliability, and functionality that enterprises need. Our new Quick Connect system makes our product more user-friendly and reliable. Additionally, our implementation of Cloud turn servers allows for professional-grade streaming of 4K video and rich audio, offering a complete holographic network all over the world. Another major accomplishment is the global certification of our ARHT CAPSULE display, which is crucial for large-scale adoption by enterprises. We are also excited about our 24/7 network operations center (NOC), available in English and Mandarin Chinese, where skilled technicians vigilantly monitor and support diverse networks using advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) software, ensuring uninterrupted performance across all units worldwide.
Q: What clients and partnerships are you most proud of?
Larry: O’Reilly: Our client-related achievements include a successful digital innovation month with PepsiCo and expanding our relationship with a major luxury fashion brand to include installations in their headquarters worldwide. Furthermore, we have won the business of Encore, the world’s largest AV rental house, and gained the endorsement of Diversified, the largest global player in AV equipment integration. Collaborations with consulting firms like PWC, Morgan Stanley, and Accenture, and our evolving channel partner programs are essential for our future growth. This year, we launched three new international strategic partnerships that have greatly expanded our global network: L’ANTENNE in Paris, France, Newtonlab Space in Barcelona and Coruña, Spain, and Africa Union Technologies, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. Additionally, our first installations in travel retail are a major highlight with the support of leading players like Paradies Lagardère. Despite a tough year in revenue, we have laid a strong foundation for significant growth in the coming year, planting many seeds that will blossom in the upcoming months.
Q: What do you consider to be your personal biggest achievement as CEO?
Larry O’Reilly: I believe my greatest achievement this year has been the resilience demonstrated during unexpected challenges. Despite our initial projections for increased revenue and subsequent investment in personnel and technology, the revenue growth has taken longer than anticipated. Adapting to this reality and aligning our business operations accordingly while steering the company through this transition period has been a demanding task but also a personal highlight. I’m proud that we endured the challenges as a team with relentless enthusiasm and dedication.
Q: What are the biggest trends you saw evolving more in 2023?
Larry O’Reilly: A major trend we’ve observed is the increased focus of large organizations on implementing technology to enhance efficiency and reduce costs, particularly in terms of travel and minimizing their carbon footprint. Holographic technology is increasingly recognized as part of this larger technological innovation ecosystem, with organizations exploring its applications alongside AI and AR/VR. Consulting firms have been recommending our technology based on positive feedback from their clients, emphasizing the growing interest in holographic technology within the business landscape.
Q: What is the biggest strength of ARHT at the moment?
Larry O’Reilly: Our greatest strength lies in our people and our unwavering commitment to ensuring our clients’ satisfaction. We have transitioned from a solely event-focused business to a combination of events and installations, paving the way for comprehensive growth opportunities. Our holographic innovations, a global network of clients and partners, and expertise further consolidate our competitive advantages. Scalability is also our strong point, both from a product and people perspective. On the product side, we offer a range of innovative solutions, including NOC and CMS, with continuous R&D work and powerful integrations.
Q: Looking forward, what do you envision for ARHT in the coming year?
Larry O’Reilly: Our company is continuously growing and evolving, with more employees taking ownership of their areas and collaborating effectively across different departments. I believe our channel sales will generate significant revenue as we build partnerships and expand into new markets worldwide. We have all the right ingredients to achieve more success. Additionally, we see great potential in the retail sector, where our holographic technology can provide engaging experiences and draw customers back into physical stores. As for my role, I’m focusing on areas where I can bring the most value, typically in sales.
Q: Where are we going to witness the rise of holograms in the coming year?
Larry O’Reilly: The two areas where we will witness the biggest rise of holograms will be in retail and all forms of education (both formal and ongoing). Looking ahead to 2024, remote education is a growing trend globally, and we expect to see further expansion in this field. I foresee a significant increase in educational institutions using holographic displays to enhance remote education and optimize distance learning. We have already secured deals with various institutions facing a shortage of teachers, enabling them to offer more engaging educational experiences. Our collaborations with Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, the University of Southern California, HEC, IMD, and Carleton University, have shown that holographic instruction yields better results and higher student engagement than other technologies.
Q: How do you see holographic technology evolving related to other emerging technologies such as AI and VR/AR?
Larry O’Reilly: Holographic technology offers a unique advantage in providing a natural and engaging communication experience, particularly in language and cultural preservation contexts. While AI and other technologies play crucial roles in enhancing various aspects of business and education, incorporating holographic displays into a broader technological framework offers multi-functional benefits, from improving sales and marketing to transforming learning and development programs. I envision holographic displays becoming integral to corporate boardrooms, executive briefing centers, and classrooms across diverse organizations, amplifying their impact through immersive live holographic presentations.
Looking back on the past year, it’s clear that despite the challenges, ARHT has reached significant milestones and set the stage for even greater growth in the year ahead. The future looks bright, and we’re so ready for it!