Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bond, Beer and UrtheCast; Heineken Builds Event to Take "Selfies from Space"

          By Brian Orlotti

As part of a global marketing campaign for the recent James Bond film, 'SPECTRE,' powerhouse beer brewer Heineken International held a contest utilizing ultra HD satellite imagery provided by Urthecast Inc. of Vancouver, BC. The contest is an example of NewSpace firms reaching out to untapped, non-traditional markets for space technology.

Neither Bond nor "M" nor even "Basil Exposition," but useful background material nonetheless. Futurist Peter Diamandis discusses why we haven't gone back to the Moon or sent people to Mars and why this state of affairs will likely change soon because of innovative NewSpace companies like UrtheCast in this March 5th, 2016 video titled, "Why Don't We Explore More." Screen shot c/o Google Lunar XPRIZE.

As outlined in the March 7th, 2016 Marketing post, "Direct mail case study: Taking a selfie from space," back in November 2015, Heineken invited over 200 guests (including journalists, social media stars and other "opinion influencers") to a private party held at the Hoover Dam.

Organizers, using Urthecast's Deimos-2 satellite as well as its "Iris" camera mounted on the International Space Station (ISS), took ultra HD imagery of the party from space. In an innovative twist, the cameras were used in tandem to create satellite images of individuals. Proclaiming this to be the "first selfie from space,"

Heineken has dubbed this the "spyfie" and party guests were able to post their "spyfies" on social media.

The November 6th, 2015 Broadway World post, "Heineken Celebrates James Bond with World's First Selfie from Space Dubbed 'Spyfie'," quoted Urthecast CEO Scott Larson as  stating:
When Heineken approached us with the idea earlier this year, capturing a SELFIE from space was not something we'd ever attempted, but we were delighted to lend our technological expertise. 
This "Spyfie" showcases the capabilities of Deimos-2 in a truly original way, and highlights precisely what our camera and web technology provides tools for change and creative collaboration.
Urthecast's and Heineken's unique application of space technology to wow a non-technical/scientific audience is a definite change of tack. Traditional efforts at promoting space products and services have tended to focus on their technical/scientific merits rather than framing them as something (in the words of Steve Jobs), "insanely great."

Brian Orlotti.
Just as over decades of improvement and innovation computers and telecom gear evolved from arcane geek's toys to the hipster fetish items of today, so too must space tech.

Brian Orlotti is a network operations centre analyst at Shomi, a Canadian provider of on-demand internet streaming media and a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

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