Q&A WITH SOL ROGERS, CEO & FOUNDER, REWIND
TELL US ABOUT REWIND - WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO:
REWIND is a real-time spatial experience company focused on bringing the physical and digital closer together. The award-winning team combines technical expertise and creativity to create next-gen immersive experiences in the worlds of sport, music, film, and fashion.
IN A YEAR OF INCREDIBLE CHALLENGES, CAN YOU SHARE SOME POSITIVE NEWS THAT’S HAPPENED FOR REWIND OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS?
We have been involved in an exciting, pioneering immersive project with a world-famous artist and record label. Unfortunately, we can’t say much more at the moment...watch this space!
We have also taken Weavr to the next level. Weavr is a groundbreaking technology platform that uses live and historic data to create meaningful and highly personalised cross-reality experiences for esports and sports fans alike. It’s part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund audience for the future programme. We are working alongside ESL, the University of York, and other members of the consortium to revolutionise the way fans experience esports.
As a business, we have taken the leap to offer our staff a permanently fully flexible working environment. From now on, all staff have the choice to work in the studio full-time, part-time or 100% from home. This has opened up our talent pool and given our staff the ability to plan for their future with confidence.
WHO SHOULD HAVE REWIND ON THEIR ‘ONES TO WATCH’ LIST?
Anyone who wants to engage audiences in new ways, from brands and production companies to media owners and broadcasters.
We work directly with creatives and designers and with technology manufacturers and software companies. Companies that are future-focused and obsessed with audience engagement will find a kindred spirit in REWIND!
WHAT NEW OR EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW AND WHY?
Epic’s MetaHuman Creator is a tipping point in digital human artistry. The recently announced tool will let anyone create hyper-realistic digital humans quickly and without compromising on quality. The level of realism promised is a literal game-changer for those working in the immersive industries – especially independent creators. Epic has not only crossed the uncanny valley but democratised the creation of digital humans.
I’m also fascinated by Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs). Hands-free control of computers and entering data using the brain alone represents a turning point for a number of industries—and is seen as probable, not improbable. The potential of BCIs to revolutionise the way we interact with the world is huge and so I am excited about Valve’s partnership with OpenBCI as they are exploring how neuro technology can create adaptive gameplay able to respond to the emotions or ability of the player. Digital empathy is the next big thing. When tech can understand our moods and learn to respond appropriately we can expect richer and more rewarding human-machine interaction.
I’ve always been passionate about mixed reality as the next transformative medium so Microsoft Mesh is super interesting. It’s a new mixed-reality platform that allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences on many kinds of devices. It’s the future, right now.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR REWIND OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
Attracting and retaining top talent. We are a respected and highly regarded company doing great work, but it’s hard to compete with the likes of the global tech giants and this can be a problem. However our fully flexible working policy has immediately and dramatically opened up our talent pool, so we are very optimistic about the next 12 months.
WHO IS ON YOUR ‘ ONES TO WATCH’ LIST AT THE MOMENT AND WHY?
We are on the Department for International Trade (DIT) SXSW mission with some fantastic and inspiring companies, including Charisma Ai—they are firmly on my 'Ones to Watch'.
Charisma Ai allows television producers to create interactive extension stories and characters that audiences can engage with beyond the screen. They are transforming linear video entertainment with immersive storytelling and artificial intelligence. Whilst AI has been a hot topic in the tech world for decades, we are only just beginning to tap its potential as a tool for storytelling, and Charisma Ai is doing great work in this space.
Silicon Valley: Inside the Hacker Hostel - HBO
○ Emmy nominated - Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within a Scripted Program, 2018
○ Cannes Lion - Digital Craft, Form - UI, 2018
○ Clio Awards - Silver Winner, 2018
○ Webby’s - People’s Voice - 2019
Magic Butterfly - Welsh National Opera
○ VR Expo Awards - Immersive Heritage & Leisure, 2017
○ Be Connected Awards - Gold in Creative Technology, 2017
○ VR Expo Awards - Immersive Art, 2017
Home: A VR Spacewalk - the BBC
○ Alternate Realities VR award at Sheffield Doc/Fest, 2016
○ Best Immersive Experience at Binge Watch, 2016
○ A Silver award in the VR Category at The Lovies, 2016
○ The Jury Award at Future of Storytelling, 2016
○ ‘Best Interactive VR Experience’ award at Byron Bay International Film Festival, 2016
○ A Webby Award - Film & Video for VR Gaming, Interactive or Real-time, 2017
○ A Silver Digital Craft Lion at Cannes, 2017
○ A Drum Dadi award for ‘Use of VR’, 2017
○ Bronze Caples Award ‘Digital B2C’, 2018
I-PACE Concept Launch - Imagination for Jaguar
○ The Drum DADI Awards - Use of VR, 2017
○ BIMA Awards - Immersive Innovation, 2017
○ London Design Awards - Gold Winner, 2017
Curfew: Join The Race
● Gold at the AEAF awards, 2019
Universal Monsters Presents: Bride of Frankenstein Holoride
● Winner of Best in Location-Based Entertainment in the Auggie Awards, 2020
● BIMA Advanced Award for Dynamic Business of the Year, 2018
London and LA
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT REWIND
BBC Home: A VR Spacewalk. Source: REWIND