17 Jan. 2011
Q&A: OAKLEY CEO, COLIN BADEN, ON A NEW WAY OF NURTURING THE HERITAGEEver the maverick in the world of sports technology, Oakley has widened its horizon with the launch of a pair of 3D glasses. SI talked to CEO Colin Baden to get the lowdown on the company’s latest innovation. By Emma Holmqvist
Oakley is known for its sports focus. What inspired you to move into the world of 3D entertainment?
Oakley holds over 600 patents, and it’s in our blood to continually seek out problems that we can solve with finely tuned inventions. This approach has made Oakley one of the most inimitable sports brands on the market, and our innovative and technically advanced eyewear and sportswear products attract world-class athletes around the globe. Sports may be our main area, but since Oakley is famed for its insuperable lens technologies – such as High Definition Optics® (HDO®) which is incorporated into all Oakley sun and prescription eyewear – we felt it fitting to use our expertise in other areas too, such as the rapidly evolving 3D entertainment sector.
How did the actual idea behind the 3D glasses invention arise?
We started working on the innovation about two years ago with a single goal in mind, namely to set the standard for optical performance in 3D. No one has ever engineered optically correct 3D glasses before, and we collaborated with industry partners and utilized the Dreamworks facility for testing. For Oakley 3D Gascan, we achieved unparalleled visual clarity while extending the wearer’s peripheral viewing angle and providing truer alignment of 3D images. This is a technological breakthrough that sets a new standard for 3D, and we’ll keep developing it to possibly launch new versions in the future.
What sets the product apart from other 3D glasses on the market?
The glasses are the first product of its kind, and feature relevant innovation and technology, teamed with iconic Oakley design features. Utilizing the company’s proprietary HDO-3D™ technologies, these premium glasses are engineered for unrivaled 3D performance, superior visual clarity and signature Oakley comfort. Oakley 3D Gascan will both complement and optimize the technology used in the majority of 3D movie theaters around the world. Being highly versatile and stylish at the same time, they can also be used for games and other passive 3D outlets.
Sports is undoubtedly Oakley’s forte. Is there a risk that the brand values will be somewhat diluted by also breaking into the sphere of entertainment?
With the glasses, we’ve entered a new area for sure, and will no doubt attract new consumer groups that will open their eyes to the brand. But there’s no risk of diluting the brand values- Oakley is known for technology and innovation, and this is another way of nurturing this heritage.
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