Pushing the Limits of Live Experiences

Cédric Offredo of PTL Agency in Dubai shares how the company innovates for the live event sector with the help of Ventuz.

by Helena Swahn

Entrepreneur Cédric Offredo thrives on challenges; the bigger and bolder, the better.

Co-founder and managing director of PTL Agency, Offredo is the public face of this growing experiential technology company. Specialising in realtime events, PTL creates and integrates immersive technologies, engaging interactive experiences, on-stage shows, web-related activations and more using the flexibility of Ventuz.

A young, innovative company, PTL was founded in November 2018 by Offredo and business partner Damien Guttierez. Having met in Dubai, they shared a vision for how experiential and web technology could enhance and facilitate live events and combined their respective expertise in experiential technology and state-of-the-art digital ecosystems. With ambitions to disrupt the event sector with groundbreaking virtual offerings, they named the company Push The Limits (PTL).

The timing proved prescient. Working with partners in the event, conference, exhibition, and state construction sectors, PTL has been busier than ever. Leading to growth across turnover, staff and client acquisition. PTL’s capability and success have positioned the company as a leading experiential technology agency in the Middle East, and it is increasingly sought after internationally.

Offredo is splitting his time between his native Bretagne, France, and home in Dubai. As a result, he now finds himself working with clients in Central and Northern Europe, the USA, and Saudi Arabia, which has become a major market in the region.

Part of PTL’s strength is the ability to create engaging content by connecting external devices and seamlessly integrating any kind of live data. Recent projects demonstrate the scope of PTL’s capabilities and Offredo is quick to point out that Ventuz is core to the company and “the heart of our creative and production approach and process”.

With fifteen permanent employees, including project managers, real-time developers, 3D artists, motion designers, videographers, technologists, and web developers, plus a network of global freelancers, Offredo’s team can scale up quickly according to project requirements.

“I’m constantly challenging my guys with new ideas, and so far, there is not a single challenge or a single problem that they have not been able to find a solution to on Ventuz”

Using the platform’s node-based workflow and pre-built options to integrate media from Photoshop, 3ds Max and After Effects, the team, led by Senior Ventuz Developer Samuel Ribas, can also integrate live data from Excel spreadsheets, web and video conferencing platforms, e.g., Zoom and Teams; voice, face and motion recognition technology platforms, like Kinect and Leap Motion; game engines such as Unity and Unreal; touch devices, like multi-touch tables; Augmented Reality, and hologram technology.

And should questions arise, as they sometimes do with innovative projects, says Offredo, the collaborative relationship between Ribas and the Ventuz tech team means that issues are quickly resolved.

World Petroleum Congress – Houston, Texas

As a showcase for PTL’s creative and technical expertise, immersive exhibition installations demonstrate the power of connected devices and data sources to deliver complex yet visually engaging information in real-time. PTL collaborated with Spiro to deliver a completely integrated, interactive digital journey for The World Petroleum Congress (WPC 2021) in Houston, Texas (USA). Comprising twelve experiential activations, stands combined physical and digital displays that seamlessly integrated augmented reality technology, interactive digital walls, multi-touch tables and tangible table technology, face tracking, actuators and Arduino integration.

With so many interactive installations running connected devices and integrated data sources throughout the duration of WPC 2021, the reliability and stability of Ventuz took much of the stress out of the equation. ‘We have been using Ventuz for so long now that I don’t even think of stability issues, but of course, this is essential and a critical factor of why it has become our primary real-time platform”, says Offredo.

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (MBRL) – Dubai

He mentions PTL’s work for the recently opened Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (MBRL) in Dubai. A unique structure, the building incorporates state-of-the-art technology throughout, and PTL created permanent installations that include body motion activations, giant augmented reality and interactive setups.

Relying on Ventuz stability to run smoothly, the project also demonstrates the ease with which the team is able to create and integrate heavy content and easily modify it remotely, using a web interface.

2022 Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix – Jeddah

On a very different note, yet equally reliant on platform stability, are the recent entertainment experiences created for the Aramco Fan Zone during the 2022 Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix in Jeddah. An augmented reality photo booth saw fans pose with F1 drivers, and PTL’s fan challenge saw visitors play a BATAK-inspired game using body motion.

Integrating Kinect body tracking data, players were ranked on a global leader board. With constant interaction throughout the event, Offredo’s confidence in Ventuz was rewarded with flawless performance for both activations.

Hybrid and Virtual Events

In 2020, as the global pandemic grounded the live event industry, virtual solutions began trending as never before. PTL’s response was to create a new division: Hybrid and Virtual Events. “Within three months, we developed a web-based platform that supported live integration of real-time virtual stages with multi-hub feeds, green screen presenters or virtual speakers connecting on any video call platform,” explains Offredo. The platform proved popular and PTL has been busy creating and facilitating numerous live shows in virtual environments, bringing together live streamed presentations with conversations between remote participants, supported by video and graphic content.

Four years into the journey with PTL, Offredo has recently celebrated his 30th birthday. A dynamic, affable and ambitious director of a young, innovative company, he feels that PTL is still forming its DNA.
A true believer that good work speaks for itself, he is deservedly proud of the company’s achievements and excited about its future. Looking forward to developing richer, deeper experiences, he is clear that it is “all about the journey; how we take the messaging and turn it into a complete, seamless and blended digital experience”. With Ventuz providing the real-time platform, he has no doubt that PTL will continue to meet any challenges.

Visit the PTL Website

Helena Swahn is a writer based in London, UK.