Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Highlighted at SATE '14, Sports is a particularly rich sector for entertainment tech: Mk Haley

Mk Haley chats with students at SATE
Mk Haley of Walt Disney Imagineering and Florida State University chairs the Technology segment of the SATE '14 conference hosted by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Oct 2-3 in Sarasota, FL. She was interviewed by Morgan Richardson.

How did you get involved in the TEA and what led you to be the Technology chair at SATE this year?

Mk Haley: I have been a fan of the TEA and attendee at conferences for a long time. As a member of the themed entertainment community, the events were always a celebration and an education of what we do best. I first tippy-toed into supporting the TEA as more than a paying attendee when Dave Cobb realized that lots of people in our community collected and shared technology and creative trends, and we worked to see how we could combine efforts and share them with a broader base. My first time as SATE Technology segment chair was last year (SATE '13). It was a fantastic experience and a great team with a solid vision that was easy to help fulfill because it was defined well - and because we have a passionate and engaged community willing to contribute their time and expertise.

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Mk Haley
The SATE '14 Technology segment looks very extensive and rich, with some 17 speakers.

Mk Haley: This year, I specifically engaged teams from a little deeper behind the scenes and from places that are less likely to be recognized as leaders in entertainment technology, specifically sports and Las Vegas based enabling technologies. When it came time to lay out a plan of attack, the topics were so deep and had so very many points of view, that the panels just got bigger and bigger! The enthusiasm of these professionals to share their stories and best practices is a reflection on the eagerness of our community as a whole.

Morgan Richardson
I am flabbergasted by the massive array of enabling and developing technologies related to sports entertainment. We can all tick a few things off our fingers here and there that we have enjoyed, but once I got deeper into the topic, it's amazing what is going on! Not only the creative innovation for fan engagement and spectacle, but also the touring shows, the fan engagement before, during and after shows, the scale of some of the installations necessary to trick out entire stadiums, or in some cases, an entire national league. It's impressive! From broadcast television, to small farm leagues, championship games and even training camp, technology is allowing a much deeper level of participation and support in an entertaining way for the fans and players.

The average guest to a theme park or a museum may not know how much work goes into making technological advancements for themed entertainment. How important is it that we as an industry stay on the cutting edge of technology?

Mk Haley: Developing technologies allow not only for a host of new storytelling opportunities, but also safer and more energy-efficient shows, as well as better distribution opportunities and better employee training and deployment paradigms. So while technology will always be a valuable tool front-of-house for spectacles and magical experiences, the greater value and importance to our industry may be to keep on top of emerging technologies for operational and other reasons, where they can become invaluable.

Mk Haley
Walt Disney Imagineering,

and Entrepreneur in Residence with Florida State University
Mk Haley is currently a Creative Program Manager with Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), having enjoyed roles across creative, technical, and operational teams since 1994 with Disney. Primarily serving WDI, Mk has also worked with Disney Corporate on company-wide collaboration initiatives, as well as emerging technologies for Television experiences with the Digital Media Teams. Mk is also faculty and the Entrepreneur in Residence for the College of Visual Arts, Theater and Dance at Florida State University in a unique partnership to bridge industry and academia in Themed Entertainment.

Morgan Richardson has spent more than a decade in the themed entertainment industry, working with such companies as Walt Disney Imagineering, Cedar Fair, Paramount and Nickelodeon. A native of California, he is currently living in Savannah, GA where he is completing his MFA in Themed Entertainment Design at the Savannah College of Art & Design.

About SATE and TEA
SATE '14 is a professional, international dialog on Experience Design, Oct 2&3, hosted by Florida State University at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.

Organizer: Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).
SATE '14 presenting sponsors are Christie and Electrosonic.

SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) brings together creatives, producers, owners and operators in the visitor attractions industry. SATE explores issues, opportunities and possibilities relating to the creation of compelling guest experiences for entertainment, education, retail and branding.

Media inquiries: Judith Rubin, judy@teaconnect.org
Hashtag: #TEAsate