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  • JW Marriott will open the 4,000-room Drew Las Vegas in 2020 at the site of the stalled Fontainebleau hotel project on Las Vegas Blvd.
  • Denver OK’d contracts for a $233-million expansion featuring an 80,000-sf rooftop ballroom and terrace at the Colorado Convention Center.
  • The latest numbers rank NAMM’s 2018 show the largest in its 117-year history with more than 115,000 attendees and nearly 2,000 exhibitors.
  • The deadline for nominations for Trade Show Executive’s Trailblazers Awards has been extended to March 16. Got to TSE Events for info.
  • International Assoc. of Amusement Parks and Attractions President and CEO Paul Noland has resigned. CFO Hal McEvoy steps in temporarily.
  • The Aria Resort & Casino $170-million expansion in Las Vegas adds 200,000 sf of flex meeting space, raising total space to 500,000 sf.
  • Gary Musich announced his retirement as Vice President of Sales for Meet AC effective March 2 after 25 years representing Atlantic City.
  • The San Diego Convention Center named ON Site, a GES company, its exclusive sound and rigging vendor and preferred audio visual provider.
  • Board members of UK-based UBM have accepted an offer from Informa for a reported 3.8 billion pounds ($5.3 billion).

Freeman Digital Ventures Acquires VR Specialist Helios Interactive

Sandi Cain
, News Editor
November 9, 2017
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Dallas — Freeman took a giant step into the burgeoning realm of augmented reality and virtual reality with its acquisition of San Francisco-based Helios Interactive, a company that has made its mark creating experiences for events like the NBA finals, San Diego Comic-Con International and The International Consumer Electronics Show and even a virtual reality cycling tour for IBM’s Watson at South by Southwest. 

“We launched virtual reality (VR) in January, and interest was exceptional, which led us to partner with Helios so we could provide a complete V solution,” said Freeman Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer Richard Maranville. He said Freeman and Helios had some clients in common, so it seemed a logical evolution. “We wanted to jump start our own capabilities in that arena,” he said.

From the Helios standpoint, Managing Director Mike Schaiman said the acquisition enables Helios to showcase their expanded capabilities. “We want to stay on the cutting edge with a continual education process to get the message across,” he said.

Both executives consider the move to be complementary: Helios has clients that ask for design/build/fabrication assistance that the company didn’t have and Freeman just launched VR in January, so Helios expertise helps Freeman provide a full solution for clients, Maranville said.

Additionally, Freeman has the ability to handle remote installations, while Helios has expertise in the scalability of digital solutions that can be customized for events large and small. “Event space won’t go away, but (we) can create more effective communication with attendees with digital (solutions),” Schaiman said.

In an interview with Trade Show Executive, the two executives also said that costs for using digital solutions vary widely, depending on what the user wants to create, and those costs aren’t necessarily more than what the clients spend now on branding. Freeman is positioning the new services as a one-stop shop for integrated brand engagement and experience. 

“Customers will be able to work with a single provider to bring their brand story to life with attention-grabbing exhibits that combine the latest technologies, smart strategy and seamless execution,” he said.

Reach Richard Maranville at (214) 445-1000 or Richard.Maranville@freemanco.com; Mike Schaiman at (415) 558-0511 or schaiman@heliosinteractive.com

 

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