Aisling Hurley has a background in digital marketing, but with Planet Hologram, her new business, the Laois businesswoman believes she could have reinvented the genre.
Founded in 2020, the company is a spin-out from a marketing agency owned by Hurley, and creates 3D holograms on demand for businesses, museums and educational organisations.
Hurley said she was always “mesmerised” by the idea of holograms and began to experiment with augmented reality products while running her other firm, the Business Fairy Digital Marketing Agency, which she set up in 2013.
“Our customers are always looking for more creative solutions, but I thought the hologram idea was definitely bigger than your normal project,” she said.
Now, less than a year since its foundation, Planet Hologram has won the backing of Enterprise Ireland and is gearing up for a €500,000 funding round in the next 18 months.
The firm, which markets itself as providing “virtual reality without the glasses”, makes holograms using AR technology at its production studio in Laois before uploading them to a cloud-based system accessible by clients.
Hurley, who has relationships with organisations such as British Airways, Menarini, the pharma firm, and Ibec, the employers’ group, through her marketing company, plans to grow Planet Hologram from its current team of four into a 30-person business within three years.
It has already run a successful trial with the National Stud in Co Kildare, and is in talks with a Colombian university about a cultural project which could use holograms. Hurley said the technology is set to increase in popularity rapidly over the next few years.
“In the future, when you buy furniture from Ikea you won’t be reading instructions; you’ll have a hologram telling you how to do it. We’re not that far away from that now,” she said. “Within the next couple of years, the hologram industry is predicted to be worth €34 billion.”
Hurley said that Planet Hologram’s service will be particularly useful to museums, cinemas and educational institutions, which can improve their storytelling by incorporating holograms into the process.
“I think it’s a game-changer for museums, because suddenly you can show images from other museums around the world. You can display things from different countries and different cultures, and we can all learn from that,” she said.
Hurley also plans to market the product to businesses so that they can use holographic models for training purposes. It’s in the creative space, however, where she believes Planet Hologram can carve out its own niche, and she isn’t shy about its global ambitions.
“What we’re doing is not constrained by anything,” she said. “Visualisation is the ultimate communication tool to break down barriers, including language barriers, so I don’t think going global is going to be an issue.”
In the long run, Hurley said she wants to grow Planet Hologram into a global business at the cutting edge of what she terms creative visualisation. “I want to have a couple of hundred people working for me, and to be serving the global market,” she said.