Mike Medalia to lead VR and AR as the Director of Interactive Media at Kitestring
With over 20 years experience in the world of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and interactive media, Mike Medalia is no stranger to helping clients figure out which technology works best for their brands. He now brings that plethora of expertise to Kitestring as the newly minted Director of Interactive Media.
From building simulations for a variety of industries to creating whole VR worlds, Medalia has done it, and he is excited to continue his work with Kitestring, the most integrated production studio in the Midwest.
“We are so excited to welcome Mike to our team,” states David Pollock, managing director of Kitestring. “As the region’s frontrunner in integrated digital production, adding an Interactive and VR pioneer like Mike will only strengthen our expertise in 2D/3D and continue to expand the number of AR, VR and 360 projects in our portfolio.”
“With Kitestring pursuing such a variety of projects, it gives me an open door to explore some innovative uses of AR and VR,” states Medalia. “By working with current clients like GE Appliances (a Haier company), GE Aviation, Ford, Live Nation, Churchill Downs, and University of Louisville, we can create amazing, immersive experiences that highlight brands with something cutting edge and fun. Truly your imagination is the only limiting factor. Anything is possible.”
In 1997, Medalia began his career with Electronic Data Service (EDS), since acquired by HP, on the engineering/design account for GM’s midsize car division. At that time, EDS and GM were working on the first virtual reality deployments at GM Design, and Medalia was lucky enough to attend the Virtual Reality Institute in partnership with Prosolvia, one of the original real-time 3D software companies at the forefront of VR in the late 90’s.
During the six-month immersion course, Medalia learned how to create 3D models and pull them into a real-time engine, bringing them to life, with the goal to replace automotive clay models with virtual reality instead. He was also using head mounted displays (HMD) to immerse viewers into virtual space where they could evaluate engineering data, 20 years before this technology, known as Oculus Rift, was released to consumers.
With this extensive experience, Medalia was able to move into the software sales. He noticed that companies benefited most from the ability to visualize any 3D scene from any vantage point, but found it difficult to spend the money on the software’s high price tag.
“I realized clients were much more interested in just paying someone to build custom applications for them using the software instead of purchasing it themselves, and I knew I could provide that,” states Medalia.
In 2000, Medalia launched Virtualeyes, LLC, building custom applications for architecture and new construction clients. With 3D real-time models and VR software, Medalia created applications that allowed owners and builders to interactively walk around their projects, helping with design verification, fundraising, city approval, and marketing efforts, all before breaking ground.
After 10 years as an entrepreneur, Medalia took on the role of technical strategist with Ford’s Agency of Record (AOR) Global Team Blue (GTB) in the Innovation and Mobile Strategy department. Medalia developed ways for people to virtually experience advanced features on Ford and Lincoln vehicles, which were either too difficult or dangerous to try out in a typical test drive. He honed his skills by building interactive media displays for auto shows and festivals, including SXSW, NAIAS, and the NY Autoshow.
“My main goal is to teach our clients how to embrace the fact that they are not bound by reality. To help them think outside of the box and build something truly innovative, not just something they’ve experienced previously,” states Medalia. “It is my personal mission to change the perception of virtual reality from a gaming novelty to a useful marketing and educational tool for everyone. There is a world of opportunity for this emerging technology, and we are at the forefront. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Medalia is a graduate of Michigan State University with a BS in Engineering and has certification as an Engineering Systems Engineer (ESE) through the EDS Technical Development Program and as a VR Application Engineer from the Virtual Reality Institute.
Kitestring is a visual solutions company offering the largest integrated production studio in the region for brands and agencies. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Kitestring is built for modern-day execution and delivery—from traditional to digital to experiential. In addition to over 20,000 square feet of studio space, Kitestring offers a unique, collaborative environment with an anything-is-possible vibe. Disciplines include architectural design, photography, videography, emerging media and CG. All combined, Kitestring offers a broad ranging, compact and agile partner to help take your next project to its highest potential. Visit www.kitestringVIZ.com to launch your next endeavor.
CG, 3D Modeling, Animation, Special Effects, Set Design and Build, Brand Aesthetics, Creative Direction, Location Scouting, Photography, Retouching, Color Grading, Videography, Post-Production, Experiential, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and more.