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Element Labs & Barco

Element Labs, Inc. was headquartered in Santa Clara, California with offices in Germany and the UK. Element Labs was a global leader in design, manufacturing, and support of cutting-edge LED video technology to the entertainment, architectural, and signage industries. Their award-winning products and customized solutions gave designers the freedom to innovate and realize their creative visions. Element Labs provided lighting for many concert tours and video productions, including Led Zeppelin, the Spice Girls, Super Bowl halftime shows, and the Emmy Awards.

Barco, a global technology company, designs and develops visualization solutions for a variety of professional markets. Barco offers user-friendly imaging products that optimize productivity and business efficiency. The company’s innovative hard- and software solutions integrate all aspects of the imaging chain, from image acquisition and processing to image display and management. Barco has facilities for Sales & Marketing, Customer Support, R&D and Manufacturing in Europe, America, and Asia-Pacific, and employs about 3,500 people worldwide. Barco posted sales of 897 million euro in 2010.

Chris Varrin
Co-founder, Element Labs, Inc.

“It is a real pleasure working with Mercury Development. I really appreciate the speed of their responses, the amount of time they take to explain things and their attention to detail.“


Business Need

Element Labs' RasterMAPPER 2.0 software was developed to manage LED system configuration. The software was provided by a hardware manufacturer without source code. It was not possible to add new features or introduce support for new devices. There was no native support for Mac OS, a requirement in the entertainment and design industries.


The Solution

Labs choose Mercury Development to redevelop their application as a cross platform solution with new features and new hardware support because of a proven track record and our experience in dealing with hardware interfaces across several operating systems.

After analyzing the existing software and new functionality list, Mercury selected a dual-platform (Windows and Mac OS X) approach to develop version 3 of the RasterMAPPER software.

Mercury determined that using a cross-platform UI toolkit such as GTK was not beneficial for Element Labs as it would cause the UI to look non-native to either Mac or Windows users and would dramatically increase the application size.

Using native Windows and Mac interface controls respectively, Mercury Development implemented fast, compact, and user-friendly applications. To handle cross-platform business logic, Mercury Development implemented the next version of RasterMAPPER with an extensible cross-platform core based on C++. This enabled Mercury to reduce maintenance and development time of subsequent new versions on both operating systems by adding new features to the cross-platform common code base.

Mercury not only implemented cross-platform algorithms, but a major part of the user interactivity code was cross-platform, as well. The graphical presentation of the mapping of LED elements was implemented using OpenGL with the code base common for both platforms.


The Benefit

The software package complementing Element Labs' award-winning products received a refreshed, professional look, additional features, and new hardware support. This allowed for better contract closing rates and higher customer satisfaction. In addition, when Element Labs proceeded with two subsequent versions of the software, the existing cross-platform architecture proved to be versatile and allowed for a quick turnaround for simultaneously delivered updates for both Windows and Mac OS X.


The Result

In March, 2010, Barco purchased Element Labs. The acquisition expanded Barco's mid-range market portfolio and perfectly complemented Barco's high-end offerings. The transaction enabled Barco to address a wider segment of the market, and further leverage Barco’s existing sales, marketing, and service capabilities.

Barco, extremely impressed with Mercury Development's work for Element Labs, choose to continue the relationship and remain a customer. Barco representatives were particularly excited by Mercury Development’s contribution to their IP.