Sony 4K tech drives Bentley showroom with no cars17 June 2016
Sony and integration partner AVEX have created a novel experience for visitors to Bentley’s high-end showroom in a high-end Amsterdam hotel. Clients can watch videos, browse brochures – and even configure the car of their dreams in Bentley’s first ‘car-less showroom’ powered by Vision Presenter, Sony’s interactive multi-source display solution.
The dealership is located in Amsterdam’s 5-star Conservatorium Hotel. The central location is perfect for attracting discerning clients – but the 78sqm lounge doesn’t offer the same space as a full-sized showroom to display the carmaker’s vehicle range. It was also impractical to accommodate cars in this central city site.
Bentley Amsterdam is owned and operated by Pon Luxury Cars BV, which wanted to create a high-value brand experience for its Bentley customers. Believing firmly in interactive digital media as the future of auto retailing, the company engaged Sony to create the world’s first all-digital automotive brand experience based on 4K audiovisual display technology.
Over 1.3 billion different model configurations available make it impossible to show customers the tiniest fraction of the possibilities on offer. Allowing customers to ‘try before they buy’, the idea of virtual car configurators isn’t new. However Bentley wanted to dramatically exceed the limitations of conveying the visual experience of a luxurious full-size car on a tiny laptop screen.
At the heart of the solution is Vision Presenter, Sony’s content management and interactive display solution that handles multiple AV content sources. The PWA-VP100 Vision Presenter system is teamed with a VPL-GTZ1 4K Ultra Short Throw laser projector to create a flexible solution for visual presentation and information sharing. Audio is handled by an STR-DN1070 AV receiver and two SS-NA2ES Hi-Res Audio floor-standing speakers.
With Vision Presenter, retail staff can instantly summon and display product videos, digital brochures, images, web pages and more – under fingertip control from a Sony Xperia Tablet that may be ‘driven’ by store staff or customers themselves.
Star of the show is the vehicle configurator. Store visitors can pick their preferred Bentley model – Mulsanne, Continental, Flying Spur or Bentayga – and customise it on-screen with their personal choice of body colours, wheels, interiors and extras.
The high-resolution ‘montage’ of video and still image sources from Vision Presenter is beamed onto a 3.5m screen on one wall of the store. The 2000-lumen brightness of the projector means there’s no need to lower the showroom’s blinds or dim the lights while staff engage with customers. Additionally, the energy-efficient laser light source drives down ownership costs and needs almost no maintenance.
“Images from Vision Presenter displayed on the Sony 4K laser projector are just amazing quality: it’s almost like seeing reality,” said Anouk van Splunteren, brand representative, Bentley Amsterdam/Pon Luxury Cars. “If you walk into an ordinary car dealership, the chances that you’ll find your exact model – specified precisely the way you want it – are pretty non-existent. Digital content is definitely the future of car retailing. Our virtual configurator is a really great way to give customers an accurate experience of how their actual car will look. The very first customer to try the configurator in our store said that he felt like he was actually witnessing the birth of his new Bentley!”