An AR and mixed media marketing company is following up on its success in designing an augmented reality mural for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans by expanding into a new space.
MVP Interactive acquired the 2,000-square-foot Old City space, 8 S. Letitia St., in February with the goal of using it to showcase new technology and provide a demonstration space for its clients to see that tech in action, CEO James Giglio said.
“A lot of the demonstration is going to be what we’re now calling our touchless experiences,” he told Technical.ly. “We can do a range of simulated sporting activity games driven by the movement of your body. We’re looking to have a staged area to experience a host of games that have been developed.”
The building, purchased with the help of a 504 real estate loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, will also have a podcast studio built with which MVP Interactive can host its own podcast series and possibly even start leasing the space to other individuals who hope to launch their own podcasts. A staged a production area with a green screen will allow for people to create audio visual projects in the basement, too.
Giglio described a new holographic technology MVP Interactive will showcase at its new building: By using a large kiosk unit with a transparent LED screen, images of an individual such as a professional athlete or other celebrity could be transported to another location.
“We’re about three to four months from that being available to us,” he said. “That would be the perfect example of technology moving forward in our marketplace.”
MVP Interactive is also looking to double its team — currently around 14 employees — and is actively searching for a creative technologist to lead the creation of its tech advancements and prototypes, as well as adding to its sales team.
Expanding into a larger location during a pandemic has not been without its challenges. Giglio said that while attrition among clients during the pandemic has been high and many businesses had good reason to end activity during the pandemic, failure was simply not an option for his nine-year-old company.
By continuing design work with clients like Cornell University, MVP interactive has found ways to continue work, like using touchscreen technology to illustrate the history of Cornell’s wrestling program and providing an additional tool for the Ivy League institution to use when recruiting student athletes for that program.
“Cornell University went through renovation of their wrestling facility and mapped out what the future could look like from a design standpoint,” he said. “We used touchscreen tech to illustrate history of wrestling at Cornell, and it can now be used as a recruitment tool.”
Giglio recommends that leaders of other companies hoping to expand during the pandemic do their research first and remain transparent about their company’s strengths and weaknesses. At the very beginning of the pandemic, MVP Interactive ran a SWOT analysis of its business that provided valuable insight on what was working, or not, at critical time.
“After regrouping and having an honest conversation with ourselves, we knew we had skills we hadn’t explored in the past,” he said.
The move into the new building signifies a doubling down on MVP’s IRL culture. During the pandemic, the company has been using a hybrid model, with some employees 100% remote and others phasing back into the office, subject to certain guidelines.
As a proponent of in-person work, Giglio is hopeful that his colleagues and professionals elsewhere can have the option of safely returning to the office soon. He noted companies like Google that quickly shifted to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic have recently released new remote work guidelines, while Salesforce has plans for its employees to continue working remotely even after the pandemic.
“It changed the culture of what office space is, and I do envision a scenario where the hybrid model will be consistent,” he said. “The office is a great workspace and place to do business, while there has been a shift in understanding how people work. I’m a big culture person and would be remiss to say our culture hasn’t been impacted by remote. I would hope more companies moving forward like Google or Salesforce that aren’t going back [can say that] culture is just as important as the skill set.”
P.S. Interested in discussing the future of work, including post-pandemic office trends? Join the Technical.ly newsroom on Friday, April 23, at noon for a public Slack conversation.
Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.