Exhibition News October 2017 - Page 45

Changing the game Orhan Ertughrul, EVP Europe for smart glass manufacturer G-Smatt, on changing the face of exhibitions Words: Nicola Macdonald O rhan Ertughrul has already worked on one product that has completely transformed an industry. “I worked on Broadband internet when it fi rst came out in the late 1990s,” he tells EN . “My group created some of the fi rst broadband products in Europe. It was the right time for something to come along that had the ability to completely transform how we looked at digital media. “I see the potential for a similar kind of transformation with smart glass technology.” Since the start of 2017, Ertughrul has been building up the new European headquarters of G-Smatt, a South Korean smart glass manufacturer. “The product itself is a media glass,” he explains. “It’s a plate of glass covered in a substance called fl uorine tin oxide, which is both transparent and conductive. We etch circuitry onto the surface of the glass, and very precisely place LEDs onto the glass. We then put cover glass on, fi ll with a resin and connect to the side of the laminate with fl exible printed circuit boards.” The company’s G-Glass can be fi tted to a surface and display anything that could be shown on a PC or TV, but on a far larger scale. From large-scale media on the side of buildings to creating fun, interactive exhibition stands, the product has a wide variety of uses. Along with displaying rich media across its surface the G-Glass can also be interactive. “We can, for instance, do things like have people dancing in front of the container and use the glass to show them dancing,” enthuses Ertughrul. “One thing I really want to do is go to one of the big water companies and transform the side of their building. We’d put our glass on there and turn it into a big pool of water, and put sensors on the ground that people can run and as they do each footstep will be like dropping a pebble in the water. There are lots of crazy, cool things we can do.” When it comes to exhibitions, the smart glass structures can be used to build eye- catching, interactive booths that allow exhibitors to make the most out of a relatively small space. “If you’ve got an exhibition space, the footprint cost is very high,” Ertughrul explains. “If you can double that footprint by standing containers on top of each other then it gives you more space for next to no cost. If you can build high, not only do you get the benefi t of people seeing you across the exhibition hall, but you can double or triple your footprint.” While the business focuses on interiors, architectural products and events, the latter is the priority for Ertughrul. “For me, events, for at least the next year and a half, will be our major focus,” he tells One of the lovely things about being part of EN. “The reason for that is that the sales cycle this organisation is that it has thought about for events is relatively short. When we get scalability, it’s built itself for rapid growth. We an architectural sale it’s a big sale – with big have the warehouse facilities and the team money – however it’s very periodic and that to enable us to grow. We have two factories, creates a cash fl ow issue. The events industry, one in South Korea and one in China. Between where we have really strong products, gives them they can turn out somewhere in the us the ability to create a more predictable region of 500,000sqm of glass per year.” revenue stream.” G-Smatt is a company with the potential While EN is talking with Ertughrul, the to fundamentally change the look of an conversation turns to the depictions of the exhibition show fl oor. Rather than fi tting a future in pop culture, which often features screen to the wall of their stands exhibitors cities and rooms covered in giant screens. (and organisers) will be able to create full- “Suddenly we’ve got these things that can length interactive screens to represent their form the façade of a building,” he muses. brands. As for Ertughrul, he is completely “They can replace the glass completely, confi dent in his product’s ability to change and on that glass we can show emergency an industry. information, information about local “At the moment there are some small transportation, parking information and displays like iPads, iPhones and other mobile adverts, or we can play rich media. technologies,” he concludes. “But we’ve got “We can do all these amazing things, and it no architecturally scaled way of displaying gives us this ability to completely transform information, until now. the way we look at the digital cityscape. Our “We’re going to be able to give people cities will change out of all proportion. something they haven’t seen before.” “Interestingly we saw a glimpse of this in the dystopian future presented by Ridley Scott in Blade Runner years and years ago. It’s interesting that artists and future thinkers are looking at the cities of the future and seeing that that is how they will look. We’re now starting to have the technology for them to look like that.” The business in Europe is relatively new; when EN speaks to Ertughrul the company has only been operating for a few weeks, having spent most of 2017 building and training the core team, fi nding a premises and perfecting the marketing and the brand image for the European market. “We’re going “In the fi rst instance we want to stabilise our position in the UK, to be able to give and grow the business here, people something then look to opportunities across Europe,” he says. “It’s they haven’t seen possible that we may be looking before” for partners in other countries in Europe-wide to work through, or – Orhan Ertughrul we may open our own offi ces in other parts of Europe if it’s appropriate . exhibitionnews.co.uk | October 2017 45