Commercial Display Holography: A History of Failure?

Ian M Lancaster
Reconnaissance International, United Kingdom

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Full parallax, full colour display holograms are regarded by most holographers as the ultimate in holography – and the ultimate in illustration and representation of the world. Everyone who sees a high quality display hologram is impressed – awestruck even. The recent revival of mega-shows of display holograms demonstrate this public fascination with and response to holograms.

So why has it proved so difficult to produce these holograms successfully in a commercial context? Why have so many companies which were established to make and market display holograms succeeded at the making but failed in the marketing. Or more specifically, failed in the selling. Why don’t display holograms sell in commercially viable quantities?

In this paper I will give a history of companies producing display holograms with commercial intent, showing that the successes are heavily outnumbered by the failures. I will examine the factors which appear to influence this history, from the holograms and the business side.

And I will try to propose a route to success for the future by drawing out the lessons from the successes and the failures and examining what it takes to establish and survive as a business in the field of display holography.
As the founder and original CEO of an initially successful but ultimately failed display hologram producer company, the editor of Holography News® for over 20 years, and the holder of a post-graduate business qualification, I hope I will bring a valuable perspective and insight to this topic.