Scott's World -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By VERNON SCOTT, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Oct. 10, 2001 at 4:59 PM
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If your life seems humdrum, consider Edwards Technologies Inc.

ETI is dedicated to putting excitement into everyday routines and methodical lifestyles.

Brian Edwards, the company's president and CEO, campaigns for more fun and diversions wherever we go, whatever we do whenever possible.

Says ETI's guru: "We live in a multimedia society barraged by sounds, sights and images. Today's multi-taskers need challenges to keep them interested. Our job is to challenge and delight the senses, to keep them entertained and buying."

He combines the imagination of Disney with Barnum's chutzpah and Mike Todd's showmanship.

Edwards seems bent on transforming the world into one all-encompassing theme park where inhabitants are frequently amused or overwhelmed by multiple sensory stimulations.

Think about visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile and neural commotion designed eliminate ennui, depression and common blahs of daily life.

ETI specializes in design, engineering, fabrication and installation of custom audio, video, show control and software systems for theme parks, museums, retail outlets, restaurants and entertainment venues nationally and globally.

That's what it advertises.

"Never a dull minute!" could be its mantra.

In a wider sense, imagine having diverting elves, charming magicians or generous genies surrounding you when you're buying groceries, cemetery headstones, airline tickets or simply riding the bus to work.

And your workplace? A three-ring circus of enchanting activities to increase your productivity amid, say, pneumatic ballet dancers, belly dancers or apache dancers -- whatever you choose!

God forbid you should yawn, much less doze off while you're assembling widgets, writing bills of lading, repairing plumbing or selling insurance.

ETI doesn't think small, for instance a single fast-food restaurant.

The company trumpets a recent triumph:

"Riverscape -- A Five Rivers Fountain, the spectacular sound, laser and light show on the banks of the Great Miami River in Dayton, Ohio."

Yeah, even Dayton can be glammed up big time.

Another of ETI's creations is "a cutting-edge brand expression program with skating, retail and entertainment for Vans Skatepark, in Orlando, and a revolutionary interactive system for a Cerritos (Calif.) library, featuring interactive experiences."

There's a performance theater for the new Tiger Woods Center at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., and a one-of-a-kind media and interactive element at the Fort Worth Zoo.

ETI isn't talking L.A., New York, Chicago or even St., Louis, mind you.

No sir, ETI is dealing with Dayton, Cerritos, Beaverton, Fort Worth with more on the way.

It boggles the imagination. Remember our wonder the first time we saw TV or heard elevator music or, indeed, saw a moving picture show?

Don't be daft, Charlie. There's a whole new world of sizzling wonders coming to stupefy, thrill, to assail all the senses and titillate the imagination.

At its "think tank" of 40 staffers in El Segundo (Calif.) ETI has announced plans to exceed clients' objectives. These guys think big.

For instance, it has formed a sister company, Story Dept., "a turnkey environmental and media design and production studio that combines traditional storytelling techniques with innovative technologies to create unique and memorable guest experiences for clients in a variety of

location-based industries."

With emphasis on laughter, knowledge, excitement and inspiration, Edwards says, "It takes more than information to make a business successful today.

"We live in a multimedia society and are barraged by sounds, sights and images. Today's multi-taskers need challenges to keep them interested. Our job is to challenge and delight the senses, to keep them entertained and buying."

How would this apply to some unfortunate resident of, say, Buffalo, purchasing a new snow shovel at a local hardware store? Will ETI make this dreary chore less onerous, less boring?

"It depends on the retailer," Edwards says enthusiastically. "If the customer is informed, enlightened and comes away with a unique story, then everyone is satisfied and enriched."

He says digital technology makes possible all sorts of sights and sounds that enhance everyday experiences, making them special and individual adventures.

Edwards is an "idea guy" and former president of Themed Entertainment Association.

ETI's clients include Alcatraz Brewing Company, American Movie Classics, Atlanta Braves Interactives, the Disney Store, Enchanted Oasis (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), Grand Slam Canyon, Circus Circus (Las Vegas), Hoover Dam Visitor Center and a flock of LEGOLANDs.

There are dozens of others, most of them impressive.

What Edwards is doing, whether he likes it or not, is changing the way Americans live and he has expanded his operations to Europe and Asia.

The result is a combination of business and entertainment designed for the ultimate pleasure of doing business in new venues, increasing enjoyment of customers and workers while stimulating entrepreneurs and entire industries.

He fortifies his ideas with color, sound, innovative sights, characters, sport, atmosphere and just about everything you can imagine.

A little peace and quiet might be good too.

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