Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
AR, Business, Industry News, VR

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have seen a recent boom of users. When the topic of AR/VR comes up, most people link this technology with gaming. Computer and video games have been extremely popular in this century. Whether a person games by themselves or with others, it has become a popular recreational activity for people of all age groups. Global reports found that the average gamer aged 18-25 spends seven hours a week gaming. Gamers show incredible commitment and consistency within their virtual realms, an experience that is exciting and transformative. With AR and VR technology, that experience is enhanced to the point of full immersion. In 2014, less than a million users were using AR/VR technology, but the number is projected to rise to reach 171 million users by the end of 2018. Of course, on the entertainment front, AR/VR has been extremely successful; but how can corporations use this technology in a practical way to set their businesses apart from their competitors?



In 2016, global law firm Perkins Coie LLP conducted a study with a keen interest on the rise of virtual and augmented reality technology. Over 650 participants (entrepreneurs, technology executives etc.) took part in the survey that assessed the AR/VR industry and highlighted key concerns from users reported back by businesses. Additionally, the survey sought to explore from industry experts how practical of a tool AR/VR technology is, and what the foreseeable future will look like with it. The general consensus in regards to the use and area of investment for AR/VR technology was dominated by the gaming industry (78%) In March 2018, a new survey, coupled with a few questions from the 2016 questionnaire was conducted and produced rather interesting results.



“Not everyone is a gadget freak. The industry needs to appeal to those who aren’t”

– Mixed reality (MR) startup developer



The “Others” in the AR/VR Industry

Despite popular belief, the gaming industry may be evicted from their #1 spot in the coming future. Perkins Coie LLP’s 2018 survey shows that companies are increasingly using advancements in AR/VR as a practical business tool/solution in achieving their goals and overall success.



Referring to the graphic above, 39% of respondents were in the business for making AR/VR content related to video games. However, just 5% shy of first place, the second largest group, at 35%, were those in the “other” section. This group of respondents includes companies that are using this technology to target industries like architecture and engineering. Looking at this trend of tech executives and entrepreneurs investing in industries unrelated to entertainment, we are transitioning into a major shift with the utilization of AR/VR. The survey results show that the market for AR/VR technology is changing, with an increasing number of individuals realizing its value and business potential.


Collaboration to Heal Social Disconnects

A common concern brought up with the use of AR/VR technology is the increased possibility of isolation, and heightened disconnection, of individuals from society. The totally immersive experience could prompt one to spend hours upon hours in a different reality, without much appetite to return back to actual reality. However, advancements in AR/VR have introduced new features in hopes of increasing greater collaboration amongst users to combat this concern.


 

Participants in the survey expressed that in the following year (referring to 2019), technology developers would focus on creating more collaborative features and social experiences in AR/VR. 81% of all respondents voted that they strongly agreed or agreed, and more importantly, 0% of respondents strongly disagreed with this statement. With absolutely none of the respondents strongly disagreeing against this statement, the importance and demand for collaboration within projects become highlighted.

 

Respondents were also expecting that AR/VR developers would be focusing their efforts on innovating more tools and apps for smartphones, enhancing collaboration between parties through one of the most accessible modes. This way of sharing designs and ideas drastically transforms the way we visualize projects. Since AR/VR technology almost rids any miscommunication or translation errors of details within a project, businesses have been more inclined to adopt this into their business model.


Here at Yulio, we thrive to simplify the process of collaboration and make it accessible to all parties. Our Collaborate mode allows everyone to meet in the same virtual space regardless of physical location.


Barriers and Concerns about AR/VR

A key concern with using AR/VR technology is the possibility of being isolating and detaching one from society. We addressed how AR/VR businesses are addressing this issue, but what other uncertainties may potential users have before using this tech?




Tech companies have expressed that potential users have been cautious about the hardware use (48%) and the lack of experience/expertise from businesses who utilize this technology (45%). Understandably, the advancements in this industry make it unwelcoming and inaccessible to seamlessly maneuver effectively and produce better results. Although AR/VR developers are continually making advancements and better adjustments to the technology, keeping up with the changes can prove to be difficult especially navigating through a completely new yet transformative platform. As such, companies must continue to invest time and effort into making their product easy to use and provide adequate support until this issue no longer is a problem. To understand more about this industry, and to receive personal support navigating through this technology, you can use our user guide and directly contact us to schedule a webinar.


AV/VR is Here to Stay

With our society heading into a more technically complex time, it is important to consistently keep up with technological advancements to stay relevant. It is time to become familiar with how the technology works, how to integrate it for your company’s needs and watch it transform the way you visualize your creations. Perkins Coie LLP conclude their findings by quoting a respondent sharing the confidence that this technology “will create significant rewards for both developers and players in the not-too-distant future”.


We would like to extend a special thank you to Perkins Coie LLP for their in-depth and informative surveys. Please click here to view their 2016 and 2018 survey.


At Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our programs, and customer service. To learn more about us and what we offer, please visit our page or take our product tour. To try our program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached).
0

Industry News, Lifestyle, VR

The horror genre has always been very popular. Timeless classics in the entertainment industry include the most iconic horror film the 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein. Films like The Conjuring, The Exorcist, and Get Out are some of the most watched films by horror film enthusiasts. The movie IT alone made $327.48 million dollars in the box office, making it the highest grossing horror movie of all time. But why is that? Is there a reason for this trend? Why would people pay their hard-earned money to experience a kind of entertainment designed to make them uncomfortable? We will unpack this phenomenon by looking at the psychological research conducted in this area.

 

The Psychology Behind Fear/Horror

Have you ever asked yourself why you think the horror genre is scary? Can you point out exactly what makes unrealistic characters like zombies and vampires so frightening? The reasoning behind this phenomena could be found in the field of study known as Evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology theories that humans are continually adapt to their surroundings in order to survive by investigating how our intricate code of DNA is reflected in our behaviour. An example of this in action is seen in the usefulness and value of one of our primal instincts: fear. Comparatively to the state we live in, our ancestors were under constant danger from predators, diseases, or other humans. Gradually, our ancestors developed a fear system that would keep them vigilant to immediate dangers, keeping them alive.

According to Mathias Clasen, an associate professor in Aarhus University, the horror genre masterfully “exploit[s] [our] evolved ancient biological defence mechanisms” by intentionally transporting the users into imaginary virtual worlds of danger. Clasen points out that our heightened level of fear is not new, and our hyper-vigilance and hyper fearfulness is what kept our ancestors alive. Now taking Clasen’s example of zombies, why can they make us feel uncomfortable to look at them? The character premise of a zombie is that an infectious disease has taken over which causes the individual to decay, and to prey on other living humans. Clasen points out that this character represents targets our fear system through contagion and predation. Incorporating Evolutionary psychology, our constant fight for survival also projects our fear of death. Not only are zombies are visibly decomposing, but the fear of being infected or being preyed on revolve around our primal fear of mortality.

Now knowing all of this, why on earth do humans enjoy the horror genre so much that haunted houses or video games are enticing?


The Popularity of Horror Games – Explained

Teresa Lynch and Nicole Martins from Indiana University conducted a study in 2014 looking to observe undergraduate students’ fright experiences caused by horror video games. Students were tasked with playing survival horror games and to later answer questions like how sound influenced the fear they felt. The researchers found that over half of their study population reported the video games caused fear, and an incredible 40% of participants said they enjoyed this fear. What is the reason behind such a high statistic? Clasen states that his research “suggests that humans evolved to find pleasure in situations that allow us to experience negative emotions in a safe context”. These horror games give us the opportunity to be truly afraid, yet also allows us to evaluate our responses in a safe environment (at home or in a gaming cafe). As we evaluate our reactions to negative stimuli, we are able to maintain or refine our coping skills and strategies which could be later applied into real life. By continuing to practice, we can build a sense of “mastery” and expand our limits of what we can handle.

Why Play Horror Games in VR Then?

Taking what we have learned from Clasen, Lynch and Martin’s study, and the evolutionary framework, why would an individual choose to play these games in virtual reality? With further advancements in technology, video game designers and developers continuously push the boundaries in hopes of making the experience as real and immersive as possible. When in a fearful situation, everyone has their own defence mechanisms that may include covering their eyes or plugging their ears. However, when putting on the headsets and headphones playing horror games in VR, your ability to hide is taken away from you. Additionally, video game designers ingeniously psychologically convince you that you are physically in the game. Personalization of your character (skin colour, gender etc.), and speaking to the characters are a few minute ways of creating a deeper connection between user and game. With added hardware like a biometric monitor and eye-tracking technology, users can have a more personal and catered experience. The monitor measures a person’s heart rate as they are playing the game, and if it is too low, the game will intensify in hopes to scare the user more. With eye-tracking, not only does it provide a more accurate experience for the user, but it also helps with the development side of it. Traditionally, a developer may spend a long time choreographing a scripted sequence. However, developers run the risk of the user missing their “money shot” scare if the user was not looking at the right corner at the right time. Now with eye-tracking, this technology could be used to “trigger the event only at the precise moment … for the maximum scare”. Thanks to the constant innovation of video game designers, horror games are now more immersive and real, allowing individuals to push their limits on coping with negative stimuli.

 

Horror VR Games Are Here to Stay

There seems to be no slowing down for the horror genre in the virtual reality industry. So now that you know the allure of horror video games and how it can promote a positive change in you, give yourself a fear system a good workout this Halloween season. Perhaps you may be able to handle your fear better with a little bit of practice. A good start could be something more mild and tame, however, if you’re interested in something more hardcore, here is a list of 10 VR games to play this Halloween. Happy Halloween from all of us at Yulio!


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. To learn more about how VR can enhance your business workflow, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course. To try our program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached).

0

AR, Architecture, Business, Design, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We know that when it comes to choosing VR solutions that your firm is going to use and heavily rely on in the future, that it’s more than just looking at the product as it is today.



 


When you’re buying software, there’s always an option that offers you the sun and the moon today, but how do you know that this one is going to be the best option in the long-run? It’s important that when you’re looking into the specifics of VR solutions, that you’re choosing the option that is going to work best for your firm now AND that it continues to be the best option in the future.  Dan Monaghan, Co-founder and sought-after speaker on business strategy says, “Being aware of the digital horizon – even if it’s way off in the distance – is one of the best things a business can do for its future”.




Today we’re seeing more and more businesses begin to integrate VR solutions into their existing operations, and it’s really easy to get caught into a trap of which company is offering the most flashy technology now, even though it may not be completely ready for the prime time for business just yet.


To keep up with how quickly technology advances, companies typically complete strategic tech audits to ensure that they’re being agile and keeping up with the rest of the world. According to the 2016 Trends vs. Technologies Report, 78% of decision-makers across all industries agree that keeping up with tech trends is vital or important, and 86% agree that it gives their business competitive advantage. It’s critical, now more than ever with how reliant we are with technology and how integrated technology is becoming in our everyday working routine, that businesses take their time and are selective with what kind of VR solutions they’re implementing into their firms. Being selective and investing time to investigate the best solution can be a huge benefit in the long-run. It will most definitely save you from headaches in the future, but you’ll also be on track to continue staying ahead of your competition because your solution will be dedicated to growing and improving over time in the best interests of your firm.




According to WSI, some key considerations you need to have when you’re choosing a tech solution are:

  1. Scalability: So this means that the solution should be able to withstand demands that are specific to your company. This could be how well it integrates with your current workflows, how it can grow alongside your company and proactively solve business requests in the future. Your solution should show that it’s ready to take on and adapt with your business.
  2. Complexity: This is more surrounding how user-friendly the tech solution is. If it’s not intuitive, has a lot of complicated set-up, or requires a user-manual to be in-hand at all times, then it’s just a slow-sinking ship – this will just frustrate your team who are actually the ones using it, potentially, everyday. Focus on the most important features and requirements and have more frequent release cycles as you expand across functional teams and regions. Solutions that are cloud-based typically support agile methodologies and configurations in order to provide enhanced functionality on an ongoing basis.
  3. ROI: Everyone wants to see that their money is being spent efficiently – that they’re getting consistent positive results, and that the solution can grow and bend toward your business needs over time.

So in the end, you should be seeking something that works with what you already have. This could mean for content you already have, programs you already use, and that it integrates seamlessly to streamline and simplify your workflow, to save valuable time and resources.





Here at Yulio, we’ve always tried to keep things simple and business-ready. Ian Hall, our Chief Product Officer here at Yulio chimed in and said, “There’s always been that temptation to kind of go down and do the next sexy thing in the space… like ‘Hey, we’re gonna do AR before it’s really ready for business’, and we’ve resisted that… ‘Let’s do tethered, let’s do complex HTC Vive full room breaks, because it’s really sexy when you video it’… It is sexy when you video it, but you can maybe do one of those every few months because it’s so cost-prohibitive, whereas our approach has been very pragmatic.”



We maintain a focus on the end-goal for our users without becoming too distracted by fashionable trends and industry developments along the way. Ian adds, “I think what that’s done, is it’s positioned us as a partner that delivers value not hype. So yes, there are a lot of competitors coming in and they’re going down similar paths that we went down in the early stages. They’re kind of focusing on the ‘big shiny bauble’. Whereas we’ve paid our dues, we’ve done the field research, and we’ve spent upwards of a thousand hours of usability testing, in terms of human factors designed for both the content creation and the consumption of this stuff.” And what is the byproduct of those hours spent refining the platform? Getting it simple enough that a 50-year-old CEO of a major corporation deciding whether to spend a few million dollars on this floor plate can go in there, without feeling intimidated, and not feel cut off from their peers when they’re looking at this stuff in this technology.



The other challenge with new technology, of course, is the constant changes and refinements to hardware. From cumbersome tethered devices through cardboards and new self-contained headsets like Oculus Go, the viewing hardware is changing constantly and we still don’t know who will win the race. One of the most important founding principles at Yulio was remaining device-agnostic. While we are mobile VR for now, you don’t need to worry about which device or app store you’ve invested in – we will. In fact, we were the first commercial app for architecture and design in the Oculus Go store, within days of the device launch, because we knew that device’s ability to remove friction would be a game changer as business VR solutions.

Our promise is that as long as you’re a client, we’ll worry about – and install – all required tech updates. Sign up once; remain at the head of VR technology forever.



Want to learn more about one aspect of Yulio’s effort for future-proof VR? Check out this Slideshare where we guide you to ask the right questions to implement VR in a way that’s fast, affordable and ready for business. Want to ease your employees into using Yulio? Get some useful tips and tricks for successful business-VR from our Client Success Manager – learn how to adopt the technology to wow your clients and feel confident in every client interaction here.

0

AR, Arts, Design, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We’ve previously talked about how you should approach designing in VR. But when you’re breaking a sweat to truly try to create this awesome visual experience, there are a host of factors to consider when trying to map out the VR reactions to the space. You’ll be looking at things like: what sounds are going to make them look a certain way, what visual cues are going to push them in a certain direction, deciding if there are items lying around that hint towards a next step or bring on an emotional cue, is the user going to be comfortable enough to keep the headset on? Every. Detail. Matters.



Today, we’re unpacking the specifics for your audience’s VR reactions. Understanding this will significantly improve your VR storytelling and design, and allow you to better tailor your VR content to have a closer connection to your target demographic! Our summary today is based on the learning we’ve done with our many hours of user testing and other research in the field. So, let’s dive in!


First things first… 

First, let’s get something out of the way; no, this blog isn’t going to teach you how you can use ‘the force’ to magically engage with all of your users…(wouldn’t that be cool though??!)





 

Everyone experiences things differently, and to be totally blunt, there is no way to precisely predict the VR reactions of every person on the face of the Earth when they put on a VR headset; it’s simply impossible. That’s why it’s really about finding ways to let people live and experience the story in their own time.


That being said, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to make educated guesses based on proven scientific and statistical facts that work in your favour when it comes to designing for a specific demographic.




Let’s take a look at some of the biology behind VR Reactions

In a study done by a UCLA College Professor of physics, neurology, and neurobiology, Dr. Maynak Mehta found that “The pattern of activity in a brain region involved in spatial learning in the virtual world is completely different than when it processes activity in the real world.”


Makes sense – we all have a good understanding that when we’re immersed in VR, we have the knowledge that everything around us is virtual, regardless of how ‘real’ it looks.


Digging a little deeper – what makes the VR experience in your head is the hippocampus. This portion of the brain plays a crucial role when it comes to experiencing VR, but it’s actually  more well-known for its involvement when it comes to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The hippocampus helps your brain form new memories and create mental maps of space. So for example, when you put on a VR headset for the first time or you’re viewing a new VR experience, your hippocampal neurons become selectively active and start building a “cognitive map” of your surroundings. The neurons not only compose this map, but they even compute estimate distances based on ‘landmarks’ that you see in the space that stay in your memories. Remember, they’re just estimates.





 


How else do you think your uncle remembers how big that fish was that he caught that one time? Don’t worry… he’s either exaggerating a bit or his spatial memory in his hippocampus is slightly off.


Scientists measured the neural activity in the brains of rats when they were exploring real spaces versus virtual spaces that were designed to be a reflection of the real space, and the results concluded that the rats had LESS THAN HALF of the neural activity from the virtual world in comparison to the real world.



So, what does this have to do with predicting human interaction with spaces?

Well, now we understand that there is no comparison, microscopically, to the real world and that people will always be able to subconsciously know when they’re in a virtual environment as opposed to being in a real space because the neurons in your brain just aren’t as active when they’re looking at something virtual. Nonetheless, as you may have seen before, VR experiences can get pretty close to the real deal, which is one of the huge selling points behind it. In fact, VR content is commonly produced by 360 cameras of real space as opposed to renderings, which is why VR is so great for industries like travel and real estate. You get that near-real experience that you just can’t get from anything else, which is why things like VR roller coasters are such a thrill (even if you look like a dork who’s about to fall out of a chair in the middle of your kitchen – it’s FUN). The visceral VR reactions videos you’ll find on YouTube, of people jumping and screaming point to just how real the emotions are, even when the space isn’t real.





 


The first glance in VR

Here at Yulio, based on over 1000 hours of user testing, we’ve learned that the majority of people will look up and to the right when they enter VR.


Now, don’t fret – it makes a lot of sense.  Consider that only about 10% of the world’s population are left-handed, meanwhile the remaining 90% are right-handed, so based on which hand or side is more dominant for the user, i.e. more comfortable for you to turn towards, will determine which way they look – (of course, this is assuming that there are no other distractions that interrupt the natural navigation when they first enter your experience).


Next, because you’re in VR, your first instinct is to break the barrier for yourself and explore your environment. A lot of people when they’re looking around in virtual reality forget that they can look directly above, below and behind them; therefore, their first instinct will be to aim their eyes at where the seam of a screen would typically lie and push past it. So continuing with the direction they look based on their dominant hand/side, the user will continue this motion and look beyond a point that a typical 2D medium would cut off. We use common sense to understand that if we look down, we’ll most likely see the ground, so this is why the natural instinct is to look upwards.. we don’t usually expect to see a ceiling depending on the experience; the sky’s the limit! Plus, anything is better than staring at the floor.

With these two natural instincts combined, we can come to the conclusion that the first move for the user (based on the statistical majority of users) will be up and to the right.


*Keep in mind that this is only true if the virtual environment they’re immersed in is distraction free… If there is a monkey on a unicycle blowing a french horn to the left of the user, then obviously the user is going to change their scope of navigation to look at the monkey.. We’re only human, and who could resist looking if that WAS the case.


Now that we have a general idea of where (the majority of) our users are going to be looking, we can delve right into how our audiences consume VR.



What’s the natural reaction for kids?

When kids play, their imagination takes over. That one box that was thrown into the corner is now a time machine that’s also a fancy sports car. Kids have this stunning ability to entertain themselves, while also blocking out the rest of the world. In their minds, this time machine/car is the only thing existing when they play. Now, bring this same child into VR and they’re going to be astonished by the immersive experience. Research suggests that since kids have such active and imaginative minds, that they’re able to believe in the VR content in front of them as if it’s actually happening, and they’re able to ‘fill in the gaps’ where VR content may be less believable.





 



Next, kids respond to adrenalistic moments MUCH MORE than adults do. In fact, studies show that adults learn the ability to control their emotions to an extent using a ‘self-reserved’ technique. For instance, think of a time where you were watching a scary movie – this technique, where you’re trying not to flinch or react when there’s a scary pop-out coming is a variation of this. It gives you some breathing room or some ‘distance’ between yourself and the experience in front of you. Kids simply haven’t had enough experience in their lifetime to distance themselves from what’s in front of them, and at this age, being as curious and imaginative as they are, they probably wouldn’t want to!


If you want to make a lasting impact and your primary audience is largely kids then you’re looking to add some imagination and adrenaline to your experience! Kids minds run 1000 miles a minute and are still very much floating in the clouds when it comes to playing – so you want to base some of your design around events that are ‘out-of-this-world’, adventurous, and full of life. Even leading them on hunts with obvious next steps might be ideal for them. Think about beloved adventure TV shows like Dora the Explorer. The fun of the show is that the kids can follow along and yell about Dora’s next step based on what they see and what kind of a situation Dora falls into. For example, if kids see Swiper the Fox on the screen, the kids know to yell that he’s there and, “Swiper, no swiping!”. Or if Dora needs to find out which way she’s going, and they open her backpack, they’ll know to reach for the map.

Simple concepts and exciting experiences can go a long way with kids, so grasp your adventure concept, keep it simple and straightforward, and you’re on track to impressing the youngins.



Does gender affect how you consume VR?

Yes! Generally, males and females consumer VR differently!



 


Now, obviously this research can’t speak for every individual out there because it will vary based on the person and a hundred other factors in the mix, but this is what studies found generally:


Women are more emotionally connected to VR content

A few studies suggest that females (on average) experience a greater level of presence in VR. One of the explanations suggests that because females empathize more easily than men, so they’re more likely to connect to the content. Therefore, they have more immersive and connected VR reactions in comparison, and this is true for empathizing toward both real people and virtual figures. VR is well-known for tapping into the emotions of users, which is why it’s such a thrilling medium; you just can’t get the same emotional experience when you’re watching a video of a roller coaster on your laptop versus watching it in a VR headset. The emotional connection that people experience while immersed in VR is a huge factor in how ‘convincing’ the experience is for them. In fact, studies show that VR delivers a 27% higher emotional engagement and 34% longer engagement than 2D content, and with graphic or emotional content, we can obviously assume that the statistics much higher than just 27%.


Charities and nonprofits find good success leveraging VR reactions when it comes to raising awareness and funds for their causes. Take for instance, Charity: Water, who arranged a black-tie gala to show a VR movie which took place in a small village in Ethiopia, and followed the story of a girl and her family and their day-to-day lives, including their long travels to get water – and not clean water by any means.





 


The state of the water alone is a shock factor, but you also see the state of the family’s home, their school conditions and what their daily chores are, which are vastly different than what we experience here. The film ends with a truck full of workers installing a clean water well, and the impact and enthusiasm that was brought to this community, and how much this will change these individuals lives. Because of the strong VR reactions, this gala raised over 2.4 million dollars in donations by the end of the evening which exceeded beyond the organization’s expectations.


This just goes to show that VR’s ability to engage the emotions of users is incredible and can have a huge impact when it comes to events such as these.


If you’re designing for an experience that has a target audience of mostly women, then adding aspects where women may be more emotionally vulnerable could make a more hooking experience. Keep your audience on the edge!


Men enjoy mapping out virtual spaces

Another difference between genders when it comes to experiencing VR content is spatial reasoning skills! According to researchers, men (on average) have better spatial skills than women, so they’re better able to digest a 3D virtual environment in their head as opposed to women, and apparently, they actually enjoy mentally mapping VR too! This means that if you throw a man and a woman into a complex space, then take them out of it – the man (on average) should have a better memory of the space as opposed to the woman.


Men are big for strategy games – even look at the user-base for games such as Civilization. Men like to seek and conquer, so when it comes to learning spaces and strategizing the next move – men are all for it. If your audience base is primarily men, then keep them on their toes and give them room to learn, explore, then strategize how they’re going to keep moving forward.



Everything in-between

Veering away from the differences between genders, now we’re going to look at the more general factors that can have an impact for how well an individual reacts to a virtual experience.


Cognition is a factor in experiencing VR!

Things like general intelligence and attention span have huge impacts on how well someone perceives a virtual experience and the specifics of their VR reactions.  According to research, people who are have higher attention levels have a better capacity to focus on the virtual world and are better able at ‘shutting off’ the real world. This increased level of focus lets them experience their virtual environment in the moment, which leads to a more immersed and engaged VR experience.


Based on your personality, you may have drastically different experiences than others

There are a bunch of personality traits that could determine whether or not VR is suitable for you. For instance, if you’ve ever gone to see a magician and you’ve volunteered to be hypnotized, then VR is most likely thrilling for that individual; however, in a scenario where the individual is chosen from a crowd and is unable to be hypnotized says a different story… Just like how some people take a bit more time to be comfortable (maybe if they’re more prone to nervous or anxious behaviour) in certain scenarios follows the same general premise for whether or not they’ll enjoy being immersed in VR. The more willing a person is to give in to an experience, the better reaction they’ll ultimately have to the content in front of them. This is also true for introverts as opposed to extroverts; the more willing a person is to participate in the experience and suspend any sort of disbelief in their mindset, the greater the immersion and overall feeling of presence they’ll have when they’re in VR and the stronger their VR reactions will be.



Keep in mind that the research beyond VR and user experiences is still pretty new, (and consumers are turtles when it comes to worldwide-adoption) so with time we’ll have a better grasp on how people react to a lot more virtual situations, but for the time being, this is a pretty good start. This information does, however, help us understand the difference in designing for certain audiences, which includes people who don’t feel quite as immersed as others when they put on their VR headset for the first time.



Just getting started with virtual reality and want a hand getting things off the ground? We run a free introductory training webinar every other Thursday at 1 PM EST by our Client Success Manager to teach you everything there is to know about Yulio’s functions, features, and the nitty-gritty tips to help you effortlessly become successful with Yulio! Grab your seat here. Still looking into VR solutions? We’ve got a 30-day free trial with full access to all of Yulio’s fabulous features to give you a true taste of our product and how easy is it to start showing your designs in stunning virtual reality. Sign up for your free account here!

0

AR, Architecture, Business, Design, Employee Highlight, Everything Else, VR

Ian Hall (IH) is the Chief Product Officer of Yulio Technologies. He leads Yulio’s vision of VR as a practical, everyday business tool and the perfect medium for visual storytelling. Ian is also the Co-founder of Pixel Tours Inc., a design consultancy specializing in human factors engineering and development.


We sat down with Ian to talk about his experience in digital visual storytelling, and where VR is going.




Tell us a bit about how you got into the industry.

IH: The founders of Yulio have been doing graphic-powered business applications for the better part of 20 years.

So, graphic-powered applications are all about visual tools and visual storytelling – it really means things like in the “dot.com boom” days, we developed an image server that let you do zooming, spinning and all that kind of stuff, and we were first in the world to do that. It eventually got bought out by Adobe, and powered half of the e-commerce sites being built when e-commerce was just getting off the ground. Then, we built a web-based shelving layout tool for a Fortune 500 company, like one of those BIG brands – the guys who are always laying out their products on grocery store shelves, and of course, you need to do it visually first, so we built them a tool to do that. We did an online classified ads engine, “Trader Media”, which was the Canadian branch of Auto Trader, and they had the biggest network of classified ads in the country at that time. We built an entire imaging platform for them to create online ads where users could spin the car to see all angles and zoom in. We taught them how to capture the photographs and create a web presence for the photos. They ended up getting bought out for over 400 million dollars and the buyer actually cited the implementation of the imaging and their web-presence as their main reasons that they saw that much value in the business.




So how did that bring you to VR?

IH: The imaging software we built was amazing quality. We’ve done 360-degree tours for real estate, and we’ve done 3D renders and pipelines for architecture and commercial furniture. So, all of that has one thing in common, which is that there is a customer who’s trying to understand what it is they’re ultimately going to be getting, while not being in the room with the thing. Every one of those shows you exactly the same underlying root pain for the buyer and a seller who wants to answer that pain with visual storytelling. We’ve been doing this for 20 years – and every one of those solutions had something in common. They’re imperfect.


“We’ve been doing this for 20 years, and every one of those solutions had something in common… They’re imperfect… [but] VR takes it to another level; It takes an imperfect medium and gets it a hell of a lot closer to perfect.” – IH


They’re all attempting to use visual storytelling techniques to convey what it’s like to be in the room with whatever you’re talking about – well you can’t do it. VR takes it to another level – It takes an imperfect medium and gets it a lot closer to perfect – and THAT’S why the moment this kind of thing came to maturity we jumped on it because we have been experiencing this pain on our customers’ behalf and coming up with imperfect solutions for decades. This is the first real massive leap forward in visual storytelling.

So to get to the root of it, VR is the difference between looking at the floorplan of a room and standing in it, and you can apply that same kind of parable to every other one of those points. And it goes back to things like scale, volume, emotional connection – and in every single one of the projects we’ve been involved with, helping people understand those things is exactly what we’ve been trying to achieve. For us, VR was the new way to achieve all of those things, and it has finally become simple enough that it makes sense for business.




So, what’s Yulio’s take on that?

IH: Yulio is turnkey digital reality. It is a platform that designers and marketers, and anyone else who uses visual storytelling to sell their products, can use to present their ideas and products in a way that their customers completely and instantly understand.

Unpacking that a little bit, it’s turnkey, which means end-to-end. So, we’ve got all of the building blocks so you don’t have to go and cobble together a bunch of assets – you can turn us on and you’ve got everything you need. You’ve got content creation, content management, publishing, distribution, you’ve got a way of delivering the experience on every major mobile platform – in other words, the applications on the devices that people actually use for that stuff, the closed loop, the business analytics, the presentation tools, the collaborative tools – it’s all under the same umbrella. So, turnkey, simple, and enterprise scale – this stuff works, it was designed from the ground up to be simple to use, and, it’s not for the consumer market – this is a business-centric product, which means that everything I’ve talked about is enterprise-grade security, performance, reliability, and all those hallmarks that a good CIO is going to be looking for their practice.

In terms of the customers, we created this originally for the architecture and design community, but that’s been evolving. We now have customers in construction, we have customers in real estate, product sales, product marketing – so as the technology is gaining acceptance, getting more exposure, and more winning scenarios are coming forward, it’s moving more and more into a broader business community.




Ok, now pulling you away from the business side of things – What was your first experience with VR?

IH: So, back in the mid-90’s was kind of the first renaissance of VR. There was consumer-grade, arcade-style virtual reality where you put on a big clunky helmet, the tracking was terrible, and it was kind of like vector graphics, but it moved with you and it gave you kind of a sense of immersion, and you could kind of get a taste of what’s coming, but it never made it out of the arcade. It was too expensive, too clunky, and content creation just wasn’t there – and a lot of the hardware building blocks and software building blocks just weren’t there either. Previous to that, I had been actually involved in an industrial design company and we got invited to a private showing of a little display chip, and there were, at the time, two of these ON THE PLANET. They brought it out of the lab – and this is from one of the big silicon valley manufacturers – they literally built this prototype in their lab, it was maybe a centimeter and a half across, and it was a high-definition functional display – the first of its kind on planet Earth – and we got to see it, and that was even before this VR stuff came out. So, I was sitting there, looking at this thing with the mad scientist who had actually created it….and it’s worth millions of dollars because there were only two of them, and you could see the potential even then. You can trace the Oculus Go optics, and the Hololens and the Google Glass – all of those underlying technologies back to this chip which was incredible. It was compressing high-quality visuals and streaming into this tiny little display technology that was ultimately wearable – and that’s gotta be 25 years ago. So, it’s taken a while for all of these little building blocks to form, but they’re finally all coming together.



“So, we were very well positioned to take advantage of this disruptive technology just because we knew what we were looking for – we knew what the blockers were, we knew what success looked like and we knew what imperfection looked like, so we kinda knew what the gaps were in the existing ecosystem.” – IH


My first true exposure to VR was when the Oculus DK1 came out – that was the first legitimately featured consumer headset that came out and we were all over it as soon as it launched.



 




We had prototypes of what became Yulio going within days of it getting out there. So, we were very well positioned to take advantage of this disruptive visual storytelling technology just because we knew what we were looking for – we knew what the blockers were, we knew what success looked like and we knew what imperfection looked like, so we kinda knew what the gaps were in the existing ecosystem.


In the end, all the hardware and technology has to be about visual storytelling or it falls flat. Basically, if you use still images, catalogs or brochures to tell your story today, you can do it better with VR.




We’d like to thank Ian Hall for sitting with us and sharing some of his experiences and knowledge of the industry! Ian recently did a podcast about practical and business-ready virtual reality, and where he sees the visual storytelling market going in the future. You can listen to it here! Interested in learning more about the digital reality industry and how your business can get involved? Ian was also the driver on our free 5-day VR email course! Sign up here to begin your crash-course surrounding practical business-ready VR, industry trends, and budget considerations!

0

Architecture, Business, Design, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

When you see a picture of something, and then you see it in real life – it’s quite a different experience, isn’t it? Imagine being in a museum and seeing an image of a dinosaur standing next to a person; you’re probably thinking, “wow, that’s a big dinosaur”, and then shrugging it off. But imagine if you could experience that same dinosaur, but standing in the same room as you, and moving closer and closer. I bet your reaction would be quite different – I know mine was.



 



Scale and engagement are things that VR shows off really well, and actually, they’re some of the major selling points. Virtual reality has this punch of power that shows you exactly what something were to look like as if it were physically in front of you.


When it comes to design, getting a real sense of space and scale for a project is crucial, especially when it comes to seeing what works and what doesn’t. That’s why designing in VR is so critical to saving you time and letting you iterate and play. You could think one design is perfect, but when it’s actually executed you could realize that a window is too small, or a ceiling is much higher than it needs to be. So, large and small-scale projects alike, designing in VR can play a huge role. Dan Sobieraj from Island Life Tiny Homes and his team know the ins and outs of designing for limited space, and how to use VR to do this more efficiently.


Dan shared some of his design tactics to help us better understand his designing in the VR process and how VR improved his project.




How tiny is too tiny?

We did a lot of our designing in VR to visualize the spaces and determine if the critical spaces, such as the loft and the washroom felt “too small”. There was a lot of back and forth to check if the height of the loft was comfortable, and to make sure that the washroom didn’t feel claustrophobic. VR allowed us to quickly make changes and rapidly recreate the visualizations.




See what the lighting will be like before the electrician begins.

VR played an important part in experimenting with lighting. Good lighting is important in making a small space feel bigger than it is. We wanted to maximize the amount of daylight entering the house in order to eliminate the use of artificial light during the day. VR allowed us to ensure that our lighting would work in the real design.




Creative storage was so important!

We used VR extensively to iterate the loft and create options for storage that can be built in later by the client according to their preferences. By visualizing the house in VR we picked up on things such as the obstruction of sight lines. For example, we decided to create a storage solution that also acts as a guardrail on the loft. After realizing it was obstructing a nice view of the living room, we decided to redesign it and make it possible to see through it. There’s no doubt that designing in VR helped us spot problems early, and utilize the space much better.





 


 

 

Know what the materials will look like together ahead of time.

This is probably one of the most important reasons; we were designing in VR to see if our finishes were in-line with our concept of making the space feel larger. We used VR to see how the materials looked in different lighting conditions. Light coloured walls and wood accents were used to maintain a light space, but with an interesting material palette. We even used VR to see how the orientation of the boards on the interior affected the perception of the space. We used a horizontal orientation because it made the space feel wider as opposed to a vertical orientation, which would make a space feel taller but more narrow.




Busy lives means designing remotely.

We were ambitious and thought we could finish the house in 4 months. This did not happen and we were so used to being able to make some design decisions on-site in the real house. Designing in VR was a great solution to be able to continue making design decisions while away from the real house. It was also a great way to share design ideas in a team environment because you would understand the design completely, unlike 2D drawings that can sometimes leave room for misinterpretation.




Sharing designs is easy!

VR proved to be very useful when people would visit the house while passing by or for open houses. It helped potential clients visualize the final design even though the house was still under construction while standing in the house itself but viewing through a VR headset. It also allowed us to share the vision of the house online to anyone. I’ve also used VR to document the house during the construction phases for documentation purposes.




See Dan and his team present their tiny home and how they went about the design process from their renderings to construction here!


 


VR is a great tool if you already use images to convey your projects or design iterations to clients, and Yulio integrates easily with workflows of all kinds. Want to know some of the unique ways you can make your presentations POP with VR? Check out this blog post outlining some of the awesome ways you can improve your design process and impress your clients!


Do you want your clients to have that “wow” VR experience with your projects? Yulio offers a free full-feature 30-day trial for you to test the waters of designing in VR and see if it is right for you or your practice. Or if you want to know more about the power of digital reality, you can check out this blog about what VR shows off best here!

0

AR, Business, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
We sat down with Ian Hall, Chief Product Officer and resident expert at Yulio Technologies about his experience with VR, his work within the industry, and where he predicts the digital reality market will lead in the future, and here are his top 9 major takeaways! 


1. Stop calling it VR!
This first thing that I want to note about the future of VR is a bit ironic – and that is to stop calling it VR – or at least recognize that that is a bit of a bucket term for a number of technologies. We’re starting to combine the terms VR, AR, and MR, into this kind of overreaching descriptor of digital reality (DR) – some people call it XR to fill in the gaps, but digital reality seems to be resonating a little bit better. So, we start projecting out 6-12 months.. even a year and we look at it as that collection of visualization technology blending, merging, and working fluidly together in digital reality.




2. Hardware is always going to get better.

As anyone who has tried VR today can attest, it’s powerful, but there are still challenges. Even people who have had an experience in a professional tethered rig, like an HTC Vive, or something like an Oculus Rift – you’ve got this cable running from the back of your head, it gets sweaty, it’s clunky, it can be a little bit off-putting. The mobile devices, while they’re getting more and more powerful – everyone wants it to be higher resolution, lower latency, bigger field of view, longer battery life, less overheating to solve the convergence problem because there are a bunch of things that are all understood and I point to the Oculus Go – it moves forward on five of those things I just mentioned, in a substantive way, while absolutely plummeting the price. Two years ago I would’ve killed for an Oculus GO, and now future of VR is here with it. It’s self-contained, has a long-lasting battery life, great tracking, excellent visuals – that DIDN’T exist two years ago, and now it’s available $200 street – for the cost of a music subscription, you’ve got this powerful new communication medium. To do what the Oculus Go does today by combining a phone with an enclosure, you’re looking at about $1000 street to have something reasonable – meanwhile, the Oculus Go is $200 for exactly the same thing.. I mean, that’s a staggering drop in pricing.


You’ve also got a major player in the space Leap technology. They’re promising full-blown, functional mixed-reality headset with hand-tracking as a reference design for roughly $100 street price. So, that’s what I mean about VR, AR, and MR all kind of blending.. As that hardware comes forward, we will exploit it. So, if $100 AR headset is out there, our AR pipeline (which is obviously in-the-making) will be able to exploit it.





3. We’ve got so much to look forward to for DR technology 

So, we’re seeing the evolution of technology – if anything, we’re actually seeing the technology outstripping everything else. We’re seeing the software ecosystem is getting better, richer, so standards are starting to evolve, things like GLTF which is a 3D data format, optimized for delivering this type of experience, WebVR, and we’ve got the big players working on things like ARKit and ARCore to give you dial tone for doing basic mixed reality behaviours, and you’ve got just MASSIVE research going into data compression, 5G data transport, and we can go on and on. We’ve actually got an entire, what we call, “TechRadar”, where, Yulio as a company – all of our mad scientists and product people are looking at the major trends in all of these relevant areas in software, hardware, standards, in the UX/best practices, and we update that frequently and we use it to inform our thinking – that’s how we skate towards where the puck is going. We’re projecting these things forward, we’re looking at the scientific papers recognizing that those papers are gonna be turned into functionality, and open source, and things that we can use and then we’re figuring out where our opportunities lie through all of that. So a lot of it is having that insight into what those variables are, who the players are, and how rapidly things are adapting.





4. We’re going to see DR technology being used more and more as a standard in the construction industry

That is happening in other industries as well. That’s happening in construction now. Construction is already adopting augmented reality so you’ve got a pipefitter who puts on an augmented reality headset, and they will see, because of the plan, that there’s supposed to be pipes running along the wall – they’ll see where they’re exactly supposed to go in real-time, at-scale, where it’s supposed to be cut-in and cut-out – they can do the work and check their work. Then the inspector comes around – he can put on the same headset – looks at the original drawings and be able to compare workers efforts against the original design -and THAT is utterly transformative for the entire industry for bottom-line costs, maintaining clarity for regulations, quality working effort, at a level of fidelity that we’ve never seen before.





5. VR doesn’t always have to be flashy

Have you ever tried watching something in a headset? For instance, watching Netflix with your peers or something like that. It’s small and simple, and if you’re living in an apartment and you don’t have space for a 60” television, then you can sit there and have an IMAX size theatre screen in front of you in your very own living room and you can watch whatever you want! Entertainment executions like this will continue to help drive the future of VR.





6. DR is the next major gaming platform

So, we’re ahead of the game. The adoption of VR as a way of consuming traditional media in a new way is, frankly, disruptive stuff. If you take a VR mount into a gaming room, (and there are some really good titles out there that are breathtaking and forefront stuff in virtual reality) and you come out with this emotional high that you just don’t get sitting there with other mediums. That’s what’s transformative about future of VR – it’s an evolution of a storytelling medium and it’s the emotional connection that drives it that’s so exciting. You see more and more of these big studios when they do these big quality AAA games with  – and they ain’t doing it unless they can get their money back. So you’ve got the Sony’s and Samsung’s of the world pushing consumer VR but frankly, it’s in the very early days – for instance, instead of 100 hours of play, we’ve got 5 hours of play but it’s a REALLY cool 5 hours. Things like the Oculus Go suddenly become an install base of millions upon millions of content will follow. So, the big leagues for consumer VR are going to be content production – content that has a little bit more awareness, a little more accessible hardware.





7. Consumer adoption of VR will come as fast as we invite it

Technology moves fast, moves strategically, and it’s moving to address fairly well-understood problems… the bigger challenge is when you move into the human side of things –   which is the consumer consumption of digital reality. Now, obviously, Yulio as a company, we’re primarily focused on the business applications of this… that said, the business applications don’t exist in a vacuum. As consumers get exposed to DR and AR, kind of like first harbingers, they will lay the foundation for further investment in the space. Business or not they’ll build the future of VR because as consumers use it, more people will build hardware, more people will build software, so the building blocks that we use to create our products will branch from user adoption of the tech.





8. Digital reality training is coming full force – and it’s working! 

Education is another big one. The best example is Walmart who started dabbling with virtual reality as a way of training employees. They have this massive training program; whether you’re the one greeting at the door, or you’re the one stocking shelves or at the cash, you go through this very rigorous training program that introduces you to the “Walmart way” of doing things – and they will celebrate improving those outcomes all day long. If you can improve testing outcomes and improve customer feedback through that training program it has a huge impact. They introduced VR – and they saw double-digit improvements OVERNIGHT. So, they went from doing this as a trial to rolling out a full training program to every Walmart training center around the world and that was in the course of 12 months. So, again, this is a BIG IMPACT of DR transforming businesses.


So imagine that the same person is stocking the shelves wearing an MR headset and it gives them reinforcement of that training because they’re seeing it  in real-time, and the social stigma of looking funny with a big headset on doesn’t apply if you’re stocking shelves – So, business applications, some of those constraints that are going to slow down consumer adoption, don’t exist in business. If I’m going and doing a ‘pick and place’ in a warehouse – Putting a load into a box to mail to you, I don’t care what I look like. To put on a DR headset to be better at my job to improve efficiency is just something you’re going to do. That is becoming deliberate – this kind of idea where you wear these headsets in warehouses and remote diagnostics is already picking up traction. Microsoft jumping all over the whole platform. They literally just announced that the entire framework that allows you to use their HoloLens platform to do exactly what I just described. Have an expert come in, look virtually over your shoulder, and point to something and say “noo don’t turn that gear turn that gear” and they’ve come up with an entire platform for building applications like this.





9. The A&D community was perfectly primed to use DR technology

Today, in the architectural community in particular and more so the design community, we’re starting to see DR as table stakes – it’s not just a nice to have, but it’s becoming a must-have. When we started doing this over two years ago, we had to explain to our early adopters, “what IS VR?”, and they really just had no frame of reference… but in the last 6 months, I don’t remember the last architectural firm who didn’t have some sort of active VR initiative, and some of the more sophisticated ones have already started dabbling in AR and mixed reality – so that is an entire industry, and we just so happen to be perfectly primed for taking advantage of this. Speaking directly to Yulio, our clients use visualizations to convey design ideas, so visualization is definitely key. So these businesses are primed to use this technology and in a matter of 24 months, we went from getting reactions like, “what the hell is VR” to “we can’t live without VR” and that is absolutely transformative.


So, the implications for business make sense in the areas with the greatest ROI – where you see a ten-fold improvement overnight as opposed to traditional means. But as time establishes, more people try things and they find that it works… it’s substantially better than the alternative – you’re going to continue to grow in the business environment and this is absolutely the center of where Yulio exists. We are addressing those problems, we are working with our customers and trying those scenarios, we’re eliminating the ones that don’t work all that well, we’re focusing on the ones that really do, and we’ve already seen those successes in a repeating pattern. Using Yulio / a VR platform to convey your design ideas – early stage / late stage is correct. And we know that today because we have architects backing us saying, “we’re trying for a year to communicate to a customer why this thing needed to be this big and we finally had the epiphany – we were already using VR for our designers, and we decided to turn it around and put it in front of the customer, and they looked at it and had an ‘Aha’ moment. They looked at it and went ooooh I FINALLY get why it had to be so big .. we didn’t believe you and now we trust you and they finally became a partner in that dialogue.”


Until that moment – using the best methods available to architects today – models, floor plans, renderings, and all that kind of stuff – they weren’t able to convey that in a year, and VR was able to convey it in a split second. And that is transformative.




So what’s coming? 

It’s more of that. It’s finding those niches. It’s finding those applications and it’s just transforming how people do business. I think winning business patterns will drive the future of VR.





Ian Hall is Yulio’s Chief Product Officer and has been working in the industry for an eternity in VR terms. He recently attended VRX 2018 and recorded the top trends that he saw. Read about them here. To learn more about VR best practices for business, sign up for our 5-day email course, presented by Ian with daily 5-7 minute video courses.

0

AR, Architecture, Business, Design, How to, News and Updates, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Adding to our collection of ways for you to enhance your VR projects, we’d like to introduce you to another version of hotspot annotations, image hotspots! This feature allows you to add a still image to your scene, while not interrupting your immersive experience for your audience.


Use image hotspots to show alternatives to a material, color or shape without having to render an additional scene, or get creative and show before/after shots and more. Image hotspots are another way to enhance your design, and tell your story in the context of the VR scene, without having to flip between VR and catalogs.


Check out an example of image hotspots in our showcase here.


 

 


 


This new feature is part of our continuing commitment to be the best VR presentation tool for business and can be viewed both in both browser-mode fishtank viewing with a button click and in VR by gazing at the hotspot. In Collaborate mode, hotspots are triggered by the presenter.


Some of the winning use cases from our user research:

  • In the context of your VR scene, show alternate arrangements, colors or uses and allow the viewer to easily look between them
  • By providing the image within the VR scene, you avoid breaking the storytelling experience – and let people see the work in context
  • Image hotspots will improve the range of things you can communicate in a single VR scene, save you ample time and space and allow you to easily expand on what is shown without having to fully render (a still image is much faster and cheaper)
  • Portfolio before and after transformations
  • Get creative and use an image to design a text annotation – maybe a quote from a designer


Image hotspots are available immediately to all Yulio clients. To learn more and begin using them, visit our knowledge base. Or to find out more about using any of our features or for training, reach us at hello@yulio.com.
0

AR, Architecture, Business, Culture, Design, Industry News, News and Updates, Resource, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Yulio Chief Product Officer Ian Hall recently attended VRX 2018 and brought back some key VR trends and winning patterns from the conference. While we’ve expanded on them a bit below, the overwhelming theme is that VR adoption is being led by business adoption and not consumers. As we’ve predicted, waiting for consumer VR headset sales is the wrong adoption indicator – and will leave you flat-footed when it comes to sharing your vision in VR.


VR Trends in Hardware

There have been a number of analyst predictions around headset adoption, which consistently indicated that beginning in 2018 and through 2020 standalone headsets like Oculus Go, HTC Vive Focus etc. will dominate over a console or premium mobile headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR. The Oculus Go has been a game changer in the area, removing much of the friction we’ve seen for our clients of awkwardly trying to put their phone inside a headset etc. Look for the Microsoft Hololens and continue innovation from Oculus to lead in this area, with shipments expected to double between now and 2020.




Globally, standalone vr headset shipments are expected to move from 5 million in 2018 to 15 million by 2023. Standalones will lead VR trends.


Yulio tip:

Like our Yulio Clients, Perkins+Will noted during their panel at the conference that Oculus Go is a slam dunk, and that their sales team love it. We bet they love it because it removes so much friction from installing an app on your phone, putting your phone in a headset etc. etc. You can get Oculus Go from any electronics retailer, or right from the Oculus store – download our Yulio app and you’ll be all set. Removing friction is the most important of the VR trends, as we’ve learned from our 1000+ hours of user testing.


VR Trends by Business Vertical

We’ve looked at a number of verticals using VR successfully, and we’ve always agreed with the comment made by Iffat Mai of Perkins + Will architecture -that “VR ROI (in architecture) is a no-brainer, our job is to sell you something that doesn’t exist”. But the opportunities in some other sectors are interesting too. Showrooms and Retail sectors are slightly ahead of A&D in terms of demand, with the major players all figuring out how to use digital reality to create meaningful retail experiences.

Beyond retail and architecture, experts see significant potential in Education and Healthcare – but both are challenging to services due to extensive regulation and barriers to changing the current process (whether rolling out a new curriculum in education or extensive health testing).

Likely the biggest ‘bet’ will be in the training field, with experiential learning, fewer physical meetings, and more self-guided learning all being keys to the value of VR.



Yulio tip:

Our clients who work in commercial furniture have found that early adoption of VR has allowed them to differentiate from their competitors by offering an immersive experience. Moreover, the experience helps people make faster decisions with a better sense of size and scale – and gives clients the tools they need to ‘sell’ upward in their organizations and achieve final sign off. Read more in our client showcase with HBI in Calgary.


 

VR Trends from Early Adopters   

One of the most valuable elements from any conference is hearing and learning from those who have really set the VR trends and are repeating useful patterns. You can leap-frog some learning by keeping key adoption learnings in mind:

  • If you’re responsible for rolling technology out to your sales or dealership/showroom teams, you need to look for something that’s as fail-proof as possible and operationalize the learning. Your benchmark should be that if it’s harder than powerpoint, or web-ex, you need a training webinar or session around resolving and scripting the issue
  • As the presenter, it can be challenging to manage the technology, tell your story, and ensure people don’t become isolated in VR. That’s why we recommend having no more than 2-3 headsets even in large presentations. If your software allows you to project what’s being seen in the headsets on a screen, you can see what people are looking at and create a social experience around it
  • The script is still critical to a VR supported presentation – VR trends in tech and even content don’t hide good design – so be sure you have the content, and the story you want to tell before immersing your clients in your scene


Yulio tip:

The most important VR trends aren’t about technology or complicated gadgets – they’re about storytelling. We recommend to all our clients who are looking to get started that they pick a target project – a pitch or presentation that’s upcoming, and use it as an area of focus to implement VR. One Oculus Go headset and a few software seats on Yulio will have you up and running for your presentation in no time. The key is to quit waiting for perfection….but rather to pick something simple and start your learning process.   




Our advice? Don’t be alarmed. Fortunately, it’s not too late to get in on the VR game. It is, however, high time to get started. For the perfect way to get yourself up to speed on VR trends, try our Yulio 5-day course and wow your colleagues with this pre-packed presentation full of our VR research on the state of the industry.

0

Architecture, Business, Design, News and Updates, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

At Yulio, we’re always thinking about friction points you may have in your business for using VR. That’s why we are so excited to share our latest feature release with you – floor plan navigation – the easier way to explore large VR spaces!

Floorplan navigation integrates a traditional way of viewing designs, the 2D “dollhouse” view with VR for simpler navigation and presentation of VR projects.


The new feature lets you add a ‘dollhouse view’, ‘floorplan’ or exterior image to your project, and link your scenes to the appropriate spot on the floorplan. This allows you to more easily provide context and flow to your viewer, and organize complex projects with multiple hotspots. Tell your design story more easily by showing an overview of how the elements all fit together.


This new feature is part of our continuing commitment to be the best VR presentation tool for business and can be viewed both in browser mode or in VR headsets. It allows viewers to better understand how the different scenes in your project fit together and is a more flexible way of presenting a space. Rather than scrolling through each hotspot or photo in order, pop out to the floorplan view at any time to jump around the design. This flexibility allows you to have more fluid design presentations as you jump to areas of interest, and lets your clients explore links you send in the manner that most makes sense to them.



Floorplan navigation is available immediately to all Yulio clients. To learn more and begin using it, visit our knowledge base. Or to create a free, 30-day trial account and design your own project!

0

Architecture, Business, Design, Everything Else, How to, Resource, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

VR for architecture is often looked at as a key presentation tool to benefit your clients. Don’t get me wrong, that’s definitely something that VR does best over all other presentation tools in the industry – VR has the power to illustrate the unknown… it generates long-lasting, memorable experiences for clients that are much more tangible and impactful than anything they’ve seen before. Plus, VR provides a window on reality instead of what could be a hard-to-imagine mock-up, so there’s less guessing and more understanding when it comes to the details.



 



So, since VR is so successful for presenting designs to clients, we often lose sight of the other uses VR for architecture has that can amp up your VR game. We’ve compiled a list of other fun and useful features that VR can do that most people forget about (plus, these features don’t require you do to any extra work – so there’s that too!)


Get buddy-buddy with your contractor

Yes, ok, this is still using VR as a presentation tool – guilty – But like we said, VR is the best tool to use to show someone a design in the clearest, most precise way possible – so why not show everyone?

Consider sharing your VR for Architecture project with the construction group that will be executing your design. Having a better idea of the expectations behind a project is never a bad thing – in the end, you’ll feel more confident about getting your design constructed perfectly, and your client will be relieved that the folks building their project know exactly what you want to be built. Plus, you’ll end up growing your relationship with your contractor. Forming a bond over the work you two share will strengthen the quality of communication and heighten the understanding around a design so the execution is a more flawless experience.  






 


Show some options

We find good use of navigational hotspots to show the same space but with different finishes or design details. Take, for instance, if you’re redoing a kitchen – having the ability to change between options such as a backsplash, countertop,  cabinet materials, placement of a kitchen island, or even just seeing the options in different times of the day could drastically help with quick decision-making.




 



Or look beyond VR for architecture and see how it can help interior designers see what the room will look like for guests and make adjustments to the space has better flow for when it’s lived-in. This could mean making small improvements here and there such as “what would it look like if we took out that wall” or “let’s try adding a separation there – it would be nice to define the spaces”. Seeing these small adjustments in true-scale could make a huge difference when it comes to how it all looks when everything is said and done.





Too busy? Dial it down

Sometimes when you first show a client a design, the details can be distracting – so rather than looking at the layout of a space, they may be more focused on the color of the brick, or the landscape. We see that by changing the resolution or material of the scene, the space is much less distracting, and you can focus on what really matters, which is the design at-large during the appropriate phase of the project.








 



Don’t sweat it – just see it

You also don’t have to sweat the labor of moving pieces around or staging the day before an open house. With VR for architecture and design, you can show different configurations of furniture or decor in the same space to see which version works best. So whether that means staging your living room with different furniture and decor arrangements, reconfiguring a furniture showroom to show all of the unique ways you can use the pieces, or seeing what fits where best inside a museum – the aim of the game is show the best configurations of the same space as possible – and it’d be a lot harder to do without VR.



 




Asking for opinions can only make your designs better

VR collaboration is not just useful for communication between clients and designers, but it helps gain quality feedback from all kinds of parties involved with a design. Collaboration is the difference between finding aspects of a design that don’t make sense when you see them in true-scale, versus what could very well be “textbook” for a design. VR collaborations help you find the issues with your peers so you can make the necessary improvements to save yourself more time, money (and sanity) in the process.




 




Breathe some life into your design

Interior designers may want to add design details in their VR projects such as vignettes to add some presence to the space. There’s nothing more chilling than experiencing an empty design (hello, zombie apocalypse), so designers add touches like vignettes to make the space feel more ‘lived-in’ – it gives you a better idea of what it would look like if it were built and open to the public. This will make the person viewing the project feel less isolated in the space, and have a better ability to read into a visual story that’s being told through the design (e.g. a doctors office design with vignettes sitting in the waiting chairs makes the space feel more inviting than one that shows an empty room).  



 




Display your portfolio in VR

Having the novelty of VR for your design portfolio is an awesome way to show off your design skills, while also endorsing that you have experience with some of the latest tech in the industry. The idea of having aVR for architecture portfolio means that you can take it with you anywhere without lugging around heavy equipment, folders, or bags/briefcases – you can simply pull out your phone and a pair of Homido mini VR glasses (which can actually fold to fit in your pocket) and you’re set to present! Plus, if you’re a business – you can handout branded goggles (the Google Cardboard and Homido Mini glasses are probably the cheapest options that offer the best experience, while also having options to add your personal branding! – talk about adding to the portfolio experience!)



 

 



Throw it up on your website or share it with your network

Add a little something-something to your website and seduce some of your visitors. Showing that you have and use VR tells people that you know your stuff, you’re up-to-date with the latest and greatest tech in the industry, and of course, if the novelty doesn’t w-o-w them, then your design certainly will! Each VR project comes with its own unique embed code to post to your site – or you have the option to share the project with a link through a tweet, a text, an email, or other social media channels.




 



Show off your stuff!

Another benefit several of our clients use VR for is for marketing. Using VR is a great way to show off your work to your audience. VR excites people – in fact, 81% of people who see something in VR, tell their friends about it – so if you’re looking to get a reach with the content you’re showing – VR is certainly the way to do it. VR content can help aid a brand story and immerse users into a storyliving experience. Join your following and bask in the excitement your content brings! Having a memorable experience is what VR is all about.



 






These are just a few examples of the hundreds upon hundreds of ways you can customize your VR project and utilize the many features that VR can do! And with these tips, which require minimal to no extra effort, they’re easy ways to amp up your designs and your skills working with VR technology.


Want to try out some of these awesome features? Sign up for a free 30-day Yulio account for full access to our feature set. We’ve built Yulio from the ground up to be the ideal VR for architecture tool. Need a hand getting started? Grab a seat at our bi-weekly Yulio training webinar hosted by our own Client Success Manager for some insider tips and tricks, and full walkthroughs of everything you need to know to be successful with Yulio!

0

Architecture, Business, Design, Industry News, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Last week, Yulio attended the fiftieth anniversary of NeoCon, the most important event of the year for the commercial design industry. Here, we got the pleasure to speak to some amazing industry leaders and see some spectacular showrooms in the process.


NeoCon 50 was all about the up-and-coming trends to hit the commercial design industry for 2018 and 2019 – and now, we want to share the major design trends that we saw there with you!



Comfort and Durability were Key Players

The main trend that seemed consistent throughout NeoCon was the push towards how aspects of a home can be shared with commercial and hospitality spaces as well. This concept invites a more warm and welcoming atmosphere by inviting comfortability and durability within the same space.




 


 


To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, think about how offices are beginning to have a more comfortable collaborative-type feel such as including a plush sofa made of a light but durable material to stand the test of time but also being able to facilitate strong conversation. This would make what was intended for relaxation and comfort to transition into a more functional and social space for ideas and productivity to spark.




Bringing the Outdoors in

Another huge trend we saw is the idea of bringing elements of nature and organic materials into indoor spaces. You’ll see the incorporation of plants, greens, wood grain, furs, stones, and similar materials being used in a way that enhances the contrast within textures in opposing materials, while also adding a more acoustic experience for the room.




 


 


You’ll not only see this with materials used for furniture, but in wall coverings, room embellishments, and accents for a sense of freshness and life, and to bring our human instincts back to their roots wherever we may be.


 


The addition of natural embellishments within space design adds a luxurious feeling towards what used to be stagnant materials used in commercial and hospitality all around the world. The natural and polished look appears much more contemporary and visually interesting. Who wouldn’t want to brainstorm around this kind of boardroom table?!




Rich Layered Textures

Textured layers are another large trend that were fairly consistent throughout NeoCon. Following the use of natural materials, by incorporating contrasting textures allows for a lot more visual stimulation within a space.



 

 


You can focus a lot more on the detail of individual pieces with contrasting textures, but you’re also able to see comfort regardless of what materials you favor over others.



 


Again, here you see designers using wood, a natural material as an inspiration for many looks. These chairs look almost hand-carved, the partitioned wall has an appearance of a deteriorated birch, and the plaques on the wall appear like they’re tree rings, but in fact, are made of a brushed metal.


Think about complementary colors – if you want a color to pop, you’re going to put it against the opposing color to make the largest contrast. Having rich layered textures not only makes a space more visually appealing, but it allows for a combination of sleek materials to shine their brightest.




Repurposed Materials and Concepts Shine Bright

This one might not be a brand new concept for commercial design, but reviving the old and turning it back into something new is always a breath of fresh air when it comes to designing a space. Again, it’s the contrast of materials and what technology can do with the materials now that makes this look so stunning.




 



Notice the different textures from leather to iron to metal to plush to woodgrain to velvet – this room has it all. Even the candlesticks on either end table – an older concept that has been revived to be something new with light bulbs inserted into the base of the design. This design is a refreshed look on an old country living room but in the modern era.





 


Here we see one more example of how NeoCon was reviving the old and turning it into something completely new and different. These rugs were inspired by the beauty in imperfections – They embrace a rustic, old, and deteriorating look and feel, while also being natural, organic and with an unstructured pattern to complete the design.




Let’s talk patterns

In terms of colours and patterns that were popular, we see a lot of this rose gold colour that has erupted in the last few years make an appearance in the commercial design industry, as well as deep green colours to pair with the natural accents around the spaces, and we also see a lot of warm greys in many of the spaces.




 


The patterns that made a forefront at NeoCon are driving from what used to be more neutral and conservative trend back to a more mid-century modern and vibrant look and feel. These designs have a blocked pattern, but you’ll notice that they don’t have any sort of vertical pattern or design repetition, which makes it have more of a natural effect because there is no distinct line where a pattern repeats.




Unique Wall Coverings

Now, diving into wallcovering trends that were spotted at NeoCon, we’re embracing this same natural organic texture and pattern but throwing it on the walls. Again, as we saw with the color and patterns this year, we see this same concept again in wall coverings. The designs have no distinct line or clear repetition which creates a more natural look and feel which is just so visually stunning in a space.


 


They seem to be playing with the organic patterns and metallic embellishments which creates this interesting and reflective look that appears very naturalistic but modernistic as well.




 


You’ll also notice small details like what look to be kitchen or bathroom tiles but in a completely inflated and deconstructed pattern. This is an interesting design choice to be an accent towards specific pieces in the room, for instance, in the image above, the wall tiles are accenting the stainless steel lamp shade with a woven metal base. This wall covering design seems to be coming from an older design trend of ‘ombre’, or the transition from one stark colour or texture to the next (so this would be the transition from protruding and metallic to a more matte finish) and also creates this balance on this wall with how the furniture is placed.



There you have it! Some of the stunning design trends that we took away from the one and only NeoCon! We look forward to what NeoCon has in store for us for next year, but in the meantime,  we’d love to share some of our fun experiences with you. Check out some of our memories from the show here.



VR is a great tool for showing off your products, which includes furniture, wall and floor coverings and much much more. Interested in virtual reality? Learn more about VR for business through our fast 5-day email course here and kickstart your learning today!

0

Architecture, Business, Design, News and Updates, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We’re excited to announce that Yulio technologies has launched its new website this morning.

The updated site includes changes to navigation, to make it easier for current users to find the tools they need to create stunning, simple VR design.


Our decision to refresh our website came from some big ideas about what Yulio is great at, and how to help our clients use the tool for simple VR design, and providing a home for our most important content so that people just beginning to investigate VR could take advantage of all that we’ve learned from our 1000+ hours of user testing in VR.

 

“A lot of our architecture and design clients came to VR with a sense that they needed to start thinking about how VR is changing their industry”, said Rob Kendal, Managing Director of Yulio. “But they were blocking themselves from getting started because the felt there was so much to consider about VR design, choosing the right tech and the right software. Yulio makes it so much simpler than that, and the new site reflects that commitment to simple VR design. We want to democratize VR, to help push its adoption in architecture and design forward, and to do that, we need to prove that it’s easy to get started”.


We’ve made some important style updates to simplify the process to get started using Yulio, added some great demo resources, and of course, the blog and other resources are still available, and only a single click away.

Simpler Navigation

Yulio’s new layout puts the features our clients use most at the forefront for easier day to day integration into their business. You can create, present share and analyze your VR experiences from the same interface and get internal collaboration with virtually no learning curve with the new intuitive layout and walkthrough guidance.

Better Access to Resources

Yulio’s new site feature a re-vamped blog, knowledge base, and direct access to our whitepapers and 5-day course. Accelerate your learning curve in VR with access to the resources we’ve built and discover how simple VR design can be. Plus, we’ve integrated live chat so our clients can reach out with questions and get support help right away.

Simple VR Design Trial

We’re now showing off the full magic of simple VR design in Yulio with a 30-day trial with full access to all of Yulio’s features. Free users can use navigation and audio hotspots to enhance their scenes, understand what’s drawing viewer attention with heatmaps. Free users can also take advantage of Collaborate, Yulio’s most popular feature, which allows you to share VR with clients in a presentation mode, either remotely or in-person. Use Collaborate to engage your clients in the next level of conversation by immersing them in your proposal – you’ll show off your use of VR and get to decisions and agreement faster. And you won’t believe how simple it is to create your first design.

 

We’ll be continuing to share our learnings on the blog in weekly posts and updating our showcase with new simple vr design inspirations. Follow our quest to bring simple VR design to every design firm and help them share their vision. And get started yourself with a full trial of all of our features for 30 days.

 

We hope you like the changes, and if you have any feedback, please let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

0

Business, Culture, Design, How to, Industry News, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
There’s not a lot that hasn’t been tried when it comes to sales. Humans have been doing it forever, in a multitude of forms. From wide-smiled salesmen going door to door to charm their way to an impulsive purchase, all the way to personalized digital ads being delivered to shoppers at the optimal moment of weakness in their day. Delivering the right product, in the right way, at the right time, is a pot-of-gold-process that’s under constant scrutiny and being constantly disrupted and refined.    Now companies are selling with VR, throwing a virtual hat (or headset) into the ring. We’ve looked previously at the ways VR is being used brilliantly by marketers, designers, and retailers. It’s time now for those in sales to grab a headset and pay attention. We have a few tips for selling with VR that could just be worth their weight in golf clubs. Yes, golf clubs.

Make it personal & shareable
Rather than relying solely on a passive advertising campaign to influence through repetition, when promoting its PSi irons, TaylorMade used VR video to appeal to the dreams of every up and coming golf pro and get them involved. The VR campaign they created enabled people to virtually experience the world’s greatest courses in an entirely different way than they’d ever witnessed on television, as well as to stand alongside tour pros as they test and fit new products.


 

Created to appeal specifically to experienced golfers, known to have a high level of interest in the technology of the game, the campaign let viewers feel they were accessing the inner circle of the sport and being treated to an exclusive experience that they were able to participate in. TaylorMade took selling with VR to a hyper custom, nich audience place with this execution. Does it work? The answer is yes. VR research firm Greenlight analyzed the performance of 360-video content and found that this type of branded VR content generated 15-20 times the number of views on platforms such as YouTube.


 

Once people have had a great experience they want to share it, so, for great VR content, it’s wise to make sure this is as simple as possible. A lot of 360° content – including everything created with Yulio – can be shared via a simple web link or embedded directly into a website for web viewing via a snippet of code. The easier it can be shared, the bigger its audience will be, so make sure it can easily go beyond the eyes of the person wearing the headset.

Build just the world you want
Selling winter coats capable of withstanding the harsh climate of Antarctica? How about you put your buyers there on the snowy ground. Selling the latest innovation that’s going to change the future? Send customers to the future to see it. Selling with VR is about putting your products and experiences in context. Like no other medium, VR allows for environments to be created that perfectly support the values of a product. From testing football cleats in the middle of an NFL game to virtually driving performance cars on the Nurburgring, creating a rich and immersive world around a new product and allowing customers to experience it, is immensely powerful in grabbing their attention and prompting them to buy. Giving their products context while also providing experiences associated with their brands that consumers will share has served adventure brands like The North Face and Merrell well, but the concept can be easily adapted to less exciting locales. Consider letting shoppers view everything from a bedside lamp to a wedding tent in context to better paint the picture for consumers and move them along the purchase funnel by speeding up their ability to picture the item in their lives.



 
Show don’t tell
Imagine trying to explain your house to a potential buyer over the phone. Where would you even start? “It’s white and has a set of big windows at the front, near the door …” Are you ready to buy? No, of course, you aren’t. For those, such as real estate developers, who spend their time selling things which don’t yet exist or are far away from the buyer, the emergence of virtual reality won’t have come a day too soon. Highly detailed virtual environments, structures, and interiors are able to provide buyers with a clear sense of what they will eventually own. Hard to visualize elements such as size, space, light, and finish can be viewed three-dimensionally and ensure that expectations match with the eventual reality. Finishes can also be changed on the fly. Don’t like the kitchen color or the bathroom tiles? Show an alternative or two triggered via a simple, directed gaze from a user.  


 


Extrapolate this concept to showing anyone, anywhere, any item, and your list of available prospects has grown significantly. Sotheby’s real estate have experimented with VR for high-end properties so that prospects can get a better sense of the space before deciding if their level of interest warrants traveling to the property. The same could be true for rare vehicles, art, antiques, and collectibles. But also for more staid articles like timeshares, event tickets, and anything where physical space is a key element of the sale.

Take it with you
Much like the iPod did away with the need to carry around a stack of CDs, mobile VR is a game changer for those in the business of selling things that are too big or complex to easily replicate, don’t yet exist or are a long way away. For those in the A&D field, holding a portfolio in your pocket means the end of cumbersome folders full of images. With a lightweight homido or cardboard viewer and a mobile device, designers, wherever they are, can go beyond simply showing their work and instead allow a prospective client to take a virtual tour within it. For those prototyping complex new products, using VR these can be studied, shared and viewed in three dimensions, at any time and anywhere. With VR designs stored on a mobile, physical products no longer need to be transported or even, in many cases, created at all until in more advanced stages of development.

Get in early
At this point in its evolution, even beyond the creativity of a use case, VR has some inherent pulling power and crowd appeal. According to research from Sonar (J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research unit), 80% of Generation Z are more likely to visit a store offering VR and AR technology. Although VR is popping up in an increasing number of business environments, it’s still a new and exciting technology that a relatively small number of people have actually tried. Brands can, therefore, take advantage of the extra novelty points they gain from providing people with that first ‘wow’ immersive VR experience. Time to get creative. Much has been written about the millennial generation valuing experiences over material goods, and retailers working to appeal to them like TopShop are selling with VR to lure people into the environment as a pathway into the sales funnel.


 


With the hardware and software associated with VR becoming ever cheaper, more prevalent and more accessible, the technology has now become democratized to a point where the only barriers left to businesses are how creative they can get with it. Dive in early to create customer experiences that leverage the VR medium and its ability to show off things that are far away, too large to model every permutation or don’t even exist yet. 
For some more thoughts on how selling with VR is shaping the future and impacting of all kinds of industries, download our industry overview on SlideShare.
0

Architecture, Business, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Previously we’ve looked, in some detail, at the ways VR is being used by those in A&D to
communicate complex designs. For clients, virtually experiencing space in 360° removes the need to visualize a multitude of disparate elements and subsequently leaves far less room for ambiguity around how a design will look when it’s brought to life.   It’s a remarkable use case for VR but it shouldn’t be mistaken as the only clever tool in its business belt. In and beyond A&D, VR collaboration is being harnessed by businesses to ensure ideas are moving seamlessly across teams, no matter how far away they might be.
 
VR Collaboration is helping to change the way people work
For many organizations, internal teams aren’t only separated by a few walls but can, just as easily, be spread across cities, countries or even continents. True collaboration in separated environments can be a major challenge and also immensely inefficient as valuable ideas, discoveries and innovations that are made in one closed group, don’t make it to others which could benefit.
 
Big business – Big opportunity
International auto giant Volkswagen (which also owns Audi, Bentley, and Porsche among others) is no stranger to VR. The carmaker has previously created a host of applications that allow its customers to don headsets and virtually test out cars on famous racetracks, or spec out their ideal interiors direct from the showroom floor. Beyond rolling out experiences aimed at tantalizing customers, Volkswagen has recently brought virtual reality into the heart of its organization via the launch of its ‘Digital Reality Hub’. With over 600,000 employees working across multiple car brands and spread across 27 countries, the Company’s goal is to streamline its innovation by making remote team members working across brands, comfortable meeting with each other and exchanging knowledge.


 

In the words of Dennis Abmeier of Volkswagen Group IT, “Exchanging knowledge is just as important as bundling knowledge. Going forward, we can be virtual participants in workshops taking place at other sites or we can access virtual support from experts at another brand if we are working on an optimization. That will make our daily teamwork much easier and save a great deal of time.”


 A problem shared (with VR) is a problem halved. Try a quick exercise. Envision telling someone what your kitchen looks like so they can help you remodel. Now consider – how much easier and faster is it if you show them a picture? Now, what if they could stand inside? VR collaboration brings a level of immersion that creates perfect understanding…no matter where your collaborators are located.






For designers, whether it be to get feedback on their work to explore possible improvements or to get help in solving design problems – collaborating with colleagues using VR allows for everyone involved to get visually up to speed in a very short time. Being immersed in a virtual environment delivers an immediate level of understanding that is almost impossible to achieve using traditional methods of design communication such as  2D renders or even shared CAD files.   In a recent conversation with Diamond Schmitt Architects in Toronto, architect Andrew Chung told us the firm originally brought VR in to assist the team in collaboration. It was only later that they decided the experience was so good they should introduce it to their clients as well. 


“Since we were working with multiple designs iterations in Revit, connecting everyone on the same level was extremely important. Throwing our design into VR would quickly reveal tasks and revisions we needed to accomplish and figure it out much more quickly in the design process. It gave us better opportunities to figure out solutions to the design problems earlier on. You would get more time to play creatively and explore solutions because fundamentally, you would get to the core of the design focus earlier as a result of this added understanding and resolution. Since the depth of exploration goes further, and our design gets better because we’re able to visualize problems earlier rather than waiting for problems to arise.”   We literally couldn’t have put it better ourselves.


Some Practical tips for VR collaboration for A&D

Make sure it’s mobile. ‘Fast VR’ means using the unique capabilities of VR in the most practical and efficient ways possible. When it comes to collaboration, making sure the VR tool being used is mobile friendly is key. Getting time-sensitive feedback from remote teams is far easier when everyone has a viewing device in the form of a smartphone in their pocket.


Make it social. VR can be isolating. We recognize that it’s a tool to help your colleagues understand the problem, but it’s your colleagues’ ideas that you need. When being asked to provide some insight or validation into a design, colleagues will commonly need only to pop in and out of an experience for short periods meaning strapping into cumbersome tethered rigs is impractical. Hold up the viewer, consider mirroring what the user sees on a conference room monitor – and put it back down to discuss the issue.


Perfection can wait. When working through the iteration stages of a design, for feasibility checks, etc, designs don’t need to be high quality to view in VR. Simple grayscale designs can be perfectly adequate to ‘pop into’ and determine if spatial elements work when put together or sightlines have been improved after an adjustment.


For some more thoughts on collaborating with VR, check out our whitepaper on integrating VR for greatest ROI. And, if you’re ready to test out the problem-solving capabilities of VR, sign up for a free Yulio account.
0

Business, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Like all great disruptive technologies, VR has begun to establish itself in a way that makes business leaders … uncomfortable. They’re hearing more about it. They’ve had clients mention it. They’ve heard their competitors are trying it. They just haven’t got around to doing anything about it … yet. If current predictions are correct, they will. And when they do, they’ll likely have questions that sound something like the ones below. So we’ve put together an outline of VR basics to get you up to speed.

What’s the difference between AR, MR & VR?
Augmented Reality or ‘AR’ works through a smartphone or similar device simply overlaying digital information onto an existing environment. Traditionally the digital content being viewed only interacts with the real world in a superficial way, if at all. Within perhaps the most famous current example of AR, Pokemon Go, the content (i.e. the Pokemon characters) only react to a smartphone’s GPS location and direction meaning that whether a player is standing in front of a bush or in an open field, the character’s appearance on the screen remains the same. With limited functionality, AR has, up to know, found very few truly sticky business applications. In contrast, Mixed Reality or ‘MR’ is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where both physical and digital objects co-exist and interact with one another in real time. Using the Pokemon Go example, were that experience to in Mixed Reality, the characters could do things like hiding behind bushes instead of just being effectively painted on top of them. Similarly, in a retail application using Mixed Reality, a user who was looking to understand how a piece of new furniture might look in an existing room, could place it virtually where they wanted it and it would stay in position as the viewer moved around it. Virtual Reality or ‘VR’ is a fully immersive, 360-degree digital environment that users can interact within a seemingly real way with the help of an electronic headset. It is designed to fully replace anything a user will see with their own eyes and therefore, where VR could be used to virtually transport someone underwater to experience swimming amongst dolphins, AR could theoretically help them study a dolphin while standing in their kitchen and MR could have that virtual dolphin jump out of a travel advert in their favourite magazine.

How could we use it?
There are some VR basics we’ve encountered over out thousand hours of user testings, and one of the big discoveries is that most strong executions of VR fall into one of three key categories: VR is great for showing something that doesn’t exist yet – think, placing someone within a new home or condo that’s yet to be built, let them sit in a concept car before it’s hit the production line, or hey, have them experience a vacation on the moon. There are literally no limits. VR can show off something that exists but is a long way away or somehow inaccessible – think about transporting someone into the heart of a major sporting event, enabling them to visit Paris without getting on a plane, or take in the views from a remote trail they might never otherwise be able to get to. VR is perfect for modeling something that is too large, complex or expensive to model in the real world – think about allowing people to choose their perfect combination from the limitless possible permutations of features, options, and colours available in a new car and virtually experience them immediately, or, in the case of Yulio client, Diamond Schmitt Architects, allowing their client Ingenium to get a true sense of the scale of an enormous new building being designed as part of Canada’s Science and Technology Museum – feel free to read more about that here. Checking any ideas for possible business applications of VR against these categories can go some way in helping to make sure they’re going to offer customers a unique experience and inspire them into taking the action you’re looking for.

How would we create content?
The best methods of creating VR content will vary depending on the eventual application. For those in architecture, interior design, construction, etc, who are already using computer design technologies, VR authoring can be a matter of a couple of extra clicks from your CAD programs to create basic VR experiences.  These can then be easily shared via a link or embedded into websites with a simple snippet of code. Using 360-degree cameras to capture footage and software packages such as videostich to assemble it is an option but, for most business users, with a level of complexity far beyond the relative ease of traditional video capture and editing, this do-it-yourself route is commonly less popular. For more elaborate and adventurous applications of VR, it’s well worth consulting one of the growing numbers of specialist agencies who can provide expertise in, not only in the validation of an idea but in the creation of the content ensuring it hits the mark where, when and precisely how it’s meant to.   

Do we need to start using it now?
The short answer is, yes (it’s the same conclusion the long answer gets to in the end). Why? Because you’re still early enough to be an early mover in an industry that’s making major moves. Most organizations are still wrapping their heads around VR basics, but they are moving. And you don’t need to take our word for it. Here are some stats; Approximately 75% of the companies on the Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brands list have developed or are in the process of developing virtual reality experiences for their customers or their employees, according to an October 2015 survey. There are already an estimated 43 million people using VR technology and that figure is set to double next year and double again the following. According to a Greenlight VR consumer survey, of those that try VR, 79% seek it out again and 81% claim they tell their friends about the experience. The most frequently used word about VR? “Cool!”. Enough said.

What technology do we need?
In the same way that the best method of creating content depends on the application it’s needed for, the best VR software and hardware will depend on how and where it’s going be used. Using mobile VR as we do at Yulio, the technology required to deliver an experience to a client, colleague or customer starts with a user’s smartphone and around $15 for a cardboard headset or simple plastic Homido viewer. For an impromptu demonstration of a design portfolio or to get a quick thumbs up from a client on a recent round of design iterations, this is literally all that’s needed. And they are still, for many companies the building blocks and key entry point into VR. Getting your hands on a few of these are key to your VR basics strategy. There are a rapidly growing number of technology options now available for VR content creation, publishing, and viewing. Each of these range in price, quality, practicality, and mobility. For a more detailed look at viewer options, feel free to read our recent post on tips for choosing the best headset. With technologies changing fast, the secret is to pick a solution capable of adapting to changing viewing habits and also able to handle the ever more ingenious applications your business will inevitably think up to throw at it. Take these quick notes a step further and wow your boss with your expertise when you take our free VR course, and download our state of the industry presentation. You’ll be a VR star in no time.
0

Architecture, Business, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
New Year, New Job: How to find VR jobs
It may not yet have reached the heady heights of Astronaut, Pro athlete or 1980s Apple investor, but finding VR jobs has become a major aspiration for an increasing number of career seekers. Whether it’s budding young minds entering the workforce for the first time or those looking to change career lanes mid-journey, interest in pursuing VR as a career is booming and the question of how to get a job in the industry is one we get asked a lot.


 

Having fought their collective ways from the virtual mail room to the virtual boardroom, many of the team at Yulio understand full well what it takes to build a career in VR and have recommended that the very best way to start is by answering this one simple question;  

Why VR jobs?
The obvious truth is, VR is not one big collective thing that can be studied and perfected. Within it, exist a multitude of different opportunities, some technical, some creative, some unique to VR and some not so. It’s because of this that it’s important for anyone with an interest in having a career in VR to find out what it is that really gets them excited.   It could be- A desire to create immersive stories that move people A desire to help build new platforms for a newly emerging technology A desire to combine creative mediums with analytics and strategy to help grow a business -or, it could be some other aspect of business where VR is planting its feet. But remember, you don’t necessarily want VR jobs. A better career goal may that you want to be well positioned to understand and use an exciting new medium. Or you think this technology is disruptive, and that excites you. Whatever that key career goal is, it’s worth digging into it a little deeper, at least in the early stages of an investigation. Why take this broader view? “I just want a VR job!”, you may well be thinking. But many of us have been through these disruptive changes before and we promise, it’s wiser to take a step back.


 

As an example, a few years ago, emerging career opportunities were appearing in areas such as Search Engine Optimization and later, Facebook marketing (a few of our Yulio employees were part of those in their earliest iterations) . Those with a keen drive to master Google or Facebook’s complex systems found themselves having to scramble and relearn every few months as these algorithms were refined, shifted and updated to suit an evolving set of corporate objectives. Ultimately, if you built your expertise around knowing exactly what buttons to push within Facebook to be an effective marketer, you were effectively cut adrift when the button moved. And you were setting yourself up to be an order taker, not a social media leader. On the flipside, if you built your expertise around how to write compelling copy, how to leverage data to inform your creativity and how to engage customers, you could easily adapt and have a far more interesting career leading social media strategy, not merely executing on the mechanics.

VR’s buttons will move
Within an emerging and evolving technology, the playing field will change quickly and that certainly applies to VR. In time, no doubt everything about VR will change; how it’s created, how it’s applied and where it’s used. And VR jobs today will change too. Because of this, it’s especially important for those looking to ‘find VR jobs’ to reflect on what part they will be most excited to play. Once an overarching goal is clear, then one can look at how VR is aligned with it. Is it storytelling? Then it’s time to start investigating the work and talking to those people that are shooting VR films or marketers that are telling great brand stories through VR. In our experience, people working in the VR industry LOVE talking about what they’re working on, so don’t be afraid to do some research and reach out directly to those whose work inspires you. In case you thought we might wrap this up with literally no ‘practical’ advice on getting VR jobs, don’t fear, we have some of that too.

Some good old ‘Practical Advice’ for finding VR jobs
There are a lot of VR resources out there already and more popping up every day. The space is changing fast, so keeping up to date with the areas that matter to you i.e. hardware, software, emerging stars, new applications, etc, is a good way to start uncovering the possibilities of VR jobs. There are some great media outlets and some great thought leaders who are out there tracking and alerting their followers of the major movements in the space. Our Chief Marketing Officer follows a few of these influential folks on Twitter; Rick King – https://twitter.com/RickKing16 Sanem Avcil – https://twitter.com/Sanemavcil Ryan Bell – https://twitter.com/ryan_a_bell Tom Emrich – https://twitter.com/tomemrich   And members of our team also like to read content from some of these great accounts; Within – https://medium.com/@Within Haptical – https://haptic.al Robert Scoble – https://medium.com/@scobleizer The Metaverse Muse – https://medium.com/the-metaverse-muse   Want to get a concise snapshot of how VR can be integrated into a business? Simple. Take our 5-day course with Chief Product Officer Ian Hall.


 
Learn the craft of storytelling and then adapt it

 

VR is beckoning in a seismic shift in storytelling. In the same way that, in earlier days, TV and film producers had to figure out a new language for telling stories using visuals as well as audio, VR means telling stories that, although created by a director, are going to be controlled by the viewer. That’s a major disruption but ultimately, the skill set remains the same. Some of the best directors say they paid close attention in English class – character, motivation, and themes will all carry through in VR. Whether you are telling fictional, gaming or product marketing stories, there’s still a narrative at play and skills honed in this area will still be an advantage.

Get educated

 

For those looking to work with VR in a particular field they’re looking to study, research schools that are using VR tools directly within their curriculums. Some of our education partners, including Ryerson University, Boston Architectural College, and East Michigan are early adopters of VR in architecture and design. Students of these types of progressive educational organizations will leave their courses and approach entry to the workforce with a key set of differentiated skills in VR likely to give them a competitive advantage. And while they are not preparing to be VR programmers, they are preparing for a world in which VR may change their chosen industry. VR jobs go far beyond the medium itself.

Lastly, use it or lose it.
If you’re applying for a job that involves VR, search for a clever way to tell your story in VR. Whether you’re showing off design work, 360° video of a project or an experimental film, telling a VR story should, wherever possible, be told in VR. In a recent interview with Ryerson Interior Design Professor Jonathon Anderson, he told us first hand that, when seeking out summer internships, a group of his own students used VR to showcase their work. In doing so they cleverly set themselves apart from other candidates and in every case came away with the position.


 

You’ve heard it here. Time to go out and make a difference. Find the career you feel passionate about and consider how VR and other game-changing influencers will change it. You can prepare your own VR experience for an interview or project for free with a Yulio account. Sign up here. Or, learn more by reading over our SlideShare presentation on the industry, here.
0

Business, Design, How to, Industry News, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We recently launched a free email course that summarizes our key learnings from 1000 hours of user testing, and from partnering with our clients who have been early adopters. They’ve been through the friction of adopting VR in their businesses, and learning from them can help you get there faster.

Our course only requires you to invest about 10 minutes a day for 5 days – and you’ll get access to a bunch of great resources, too. But, if you don’t quite have enough time….or if you’re summarizing the state of VR for your colleagues later today….here are the most important things you need to know about VR this year:

      1. Stop Waiting for things to Settle. VR is here

You may have Played with VR in the 90’s, and it may have disappointed you. That’s because clearly, VR requires head tracking so the virtual images track where the user is looking and while simple in concept that technology is quite complex. But we’re there now. The advent of inexpensive gyroscopes, displays, and graphics processing in mobile phones have brought the costs down and the quality up, making it practical at scale. And the industry has responded huge investments by Facebook, Google, and Apple through 2016-2017 indicate VR is here to stay. Add to that the exponential growth in the availability of inexpensive VR headsets and the ability to run VR from any smartphone and you have a storytelling medium that has arrived.

     2. There are Established, Winning Content Patterns

Each new medium is challenged by content creation – and we typically try using old patterns in new media. When TV was first introduced, the early shows were just pointing a camera at people doing a radio show. BlackBerry was sure you needed a tactile keyboard to type emails on a smartphone. We have learned over the last few years that winning use cases for VR content typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Something that doesn’t exist yet

  • Something that exists but is a long distance away

  • Something that is too large, impractical or expensive to model


     3. Movement – Mobile vs. Tethered

When we talk about Yulio being mobile and fast VR, we often get asked about movement, and it seems to be on everyone’s mind. So, to clarify, Tethered VR, like Vive and Oculus allow you to walk around in VR, in what we call 6 degrees of freedom. Mobile VR, like Yulio, tracks only head movement, so you can look around in 3 degrees of freedom, but not walk. Yulio uses navigation hotspots to change the scene and allow the illusion of movement. Tethered and mobile each have their pros and cons, but considerations on what to choose are mostly around the trade-off of immersion for the viewer and flexibility of viewing. Tethered VR is definitely the most immersive – It takes a dedicated space of about 3m square, and some hefty computing power to make it run. And, it usually takes what we call a cable monkey – someone monitoring the user and making sure they don’t trip or get tangled. Obviously, this is the least flexible format – you have to have someone come into your office, or (but it might be great at a tradeshow booth), and you can’t share the experience remotely It also has the most barriers when it comes to being motion sick – we’ve certainly seen a lot of installs of this where there really is a ‘sick bucket’ off to the side. Additionally, we’ve heard reports from clients of ours who tried tethered VR that in spite of the increased level of immersion, their end clients aren’t engaged enough in the experience to come in repeatedly. The tradeoff hasn’t been worth it. By contrast, mobile VR can be operated on any smartphone so you can send some goggles to a client for them to experience VR anywhere – especially valuable if you work with clients at a distance. And since there are no cables or headstraps, mobile is fast VR – something you can pop in and out of while discussing design in a social experience – it’s less isolating and easier to use as the discussion calls for since you don’t have to get into a rig each time you want to check something.

Finally, don’t forget that goggles aren’t ubiquitous. Look for a solution where you can share VR work on social media or your website, and not assume everyone has a headset – for Yulio we call this ‘fishtank’ viewing – a browser experience you can use to get some interaction with the design. It’s obviously not a true VR experience, but it rounds out the viewing options and is great for very motion sensitive people.

    4. Budget
We can also give you a very quick primer on budget. If you’re talking about Tethered VR, Oculus Rift is around $500-$700 depending on some tracking options and you’ll need a computer of about $1000 to run it. Mobile VR headsets range from $10 for a decent quality cardboard or plastic viewer to about $100 for an experience like the Samsung Gear VR, or the Noon. But of course there’s also the need for a smartphone to display the images – and some hardware only works with certain phones, especially as new headsets enter the market. For example, At its launch, the Google DayDream only worked with 3 or 4 phones. While it will increase the cost significantly, consider dedicated phones to avoid interruption in viewing – if the presenter uses their personal phone, there is the possibility that incoming calls or text alerts will interrupt the viewer. You can certainly save some money by having a pool of devices, but if you can afford it, I recommend you give each salesperson or presenter a headset and phone That will stop disrupted viewing experiences but possibly, more importantly, it stops the potential for sharing the wrong file with a client and protects you from any issues around non-disclosure agreements. It’s absolutely possible to run VR without these things, but you will want to think through procedures to minimize any issues if you go the shared route.

    5. Implement for Success

The most successful VR implementations are the ones that choose software and hardware for the jobs they need to get done – not for the highest fidelity visuals, most immersive experiences etc. Consider how you want to use VR inside your organization, and with your clients. Do you want team members to collaborate on low fidelity versions of your design? Do you want to bring clients into the office, or to present remotely? Or do you want to share finished designs on your website or portfolio to generate leads? Thinking through your workflow from how you create designs, collaborate, present and build your portfolio will guide you in making important decisions like choosing mobile or tethered solutions, which authoring is supported and which qualities you will prioritize – like the ease of jumping in and out of VR versus more immersive experiences.

That’s a quick review of some of the key things to consider when you’re investigating VR this year.
Be sure to get up to speed quickly with our
free VR course, and download our state of the industry presentation. You’ll have a jump start on your Q1 goals in no time.

0

Architecture, Business, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Not every sales situation plays squarely to VR’s strengths but, when it comes to selling VR real estate, especially off-plan properties, virtual reality is in its element. We’ve talked before about the technology coming into its own in circumstances where something doesn’t yet exist, where it’s too complex or expensive to model, or where it’s a long way away. For off-plan property, that’s three out of three. No matter whether it’s an office to scale up in or a home to grow old in, buying property is an inherently expensive and emotional process. Decisions made can have a long-term impact, both good and bad, and are infinitely more difficult to make when there is no physical structure to stand in, or community to walk through. Enter VR real estate sales.

So why do people do it?
For property buyers, purchasing off plan can have its benefits. In hot markets, securing a property before a new development has been finished (or, even in some cases, started) can mean its value has already risen by the time it’s finished. For developers, selling the bulk of new properties early in the construction phase can dramatically reduce the financial stresses inherent in any sizable building project. But those benefits are typically weighed against the risks of not actually getting to see what you are spending so much money on.

So how can VR Real Estate applications help?
The answer to this is two-fold; VR real estate previews can both streamline the mechanics of selling a property and help to create emotional connections with buyers that would be almost impossible to replicate any other way.

The Mechanics
Traditionally, off-plan sales are conducted from a sales suite near to the development site. Tools of the trade have usually included floor plans, computer-generated 2D images of various finished rooms and communal spaces and a selection of sample materials i.e. kitchen cabinets, bathroom tiles, taps, handles, carpets, flooring, lights, etc.


 

  In order to make an ‘informed’ decision, the buyer is being asked to picture the innumerable, disparate elements that make up a new property and decide if what they visualize is a place they could live, work or invest in. Sounds challenging. Just imagine if every possibility could be created virtually and viewed as if it were real, now? It can be and it already is.




Entire property layouts, created in virtual reality, are now able to demonstrate every possible configuration of a design without the need for the pile of 2D images. By stationing VR headsets in sales centers, visitors can control their own immersive tour through a proposed property, moving from room to room, understanding the depths and dimensions and taking in the environment from a multitude of vantage points. Virtual tours can be taken as easily from prospective buyers in other cities, countries or continents. A South China Morning Post article Yulio featured in last year, outlined how rapid the rise was becoming in VR real estate sales use by overseas property dealers and investors. Every permutation in finish choices can be accounted for in the VR experience meaning no need for countless samples. Potential buyers can view and switch between combinations of finishes until they find a perfect one to match their style.


 

 

 

Design or specification flourishes aimed at enhancing a property’s appeal and closing more sales can also be tested by developers at almost no upfront cost. Do buyers respond better to built-in speakers, larger showers, gas hookups on balconies or real wood floors? Easy to add them to the design in VR and find out which turns more heads. Layer in heatmap data to find out what people were looking at most closely, or what they looked at and did not ultimately purchase, and developers have the potential to better understand variations by demographic and market and build accordingly.


 

Making it Emotional
 

 

Whether to live, work or invest in, buying property off plan requires a leap of faith. The unique, virtual safety net VR is able to offer is an ability to ‘try before you buy’. Standing within a highly-detailed virtual world is as close as one can get to the real thing and being able to gain a clear sense of depth, of color and even how sunlight will affect the look and feel of the new environment, is immensely important in creating an emotional connection and bringing clarity to a decision. This is almost impossible to achieve when trying to communicate complex unbuilt spaces using mocked-up photos and floor plans and is far more effective at ensuring the eventually completed property matches a buyer’s expectations. Using imagery captured with drones, developers can incorporate the exact views buyers would experience from high rise apartments as well as provide views of streetscapes and proximity to neighboring amenities and attractions. For developments selling dreams of vibrant new communities with inviting public spaces, using virtual reality, these environments can be brought to life in an idealized way. VR real estate experiences can be created which combine rich visuals and ambient sounds, able to give prospective buyers a glimpse of the future atmosphere and help them visualize themselves as a part of it.

With a lot at stake in the business of off-plan property buying, both buyers and sellers need all the help they can get in successfully bridging gaps between design vision and client perception. And while VR wasn’t designed solely for this, it might as well have been. To learn more about VR and bringing it into your sales process, sign up for our free 5-day email course or check out our industry overview presentation.
0

Architecture, Business, Design, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Make 2018 Your Year of VR
With the bells in full jingle and the halls almost fully decked with their boughs of holly, it’s easy to now begin the steady drift towards the holiday wind-down and assume all major accomplishments for this year are behind you. I mean, what could you possibly do now that would make you smarter, more valuable to your business, a progressive force to be reckoned with in 2018, and likely the most interesting person at the office party, all without any major time commitment or expense? Simple. You can dive into Yulio’s 5 part, VR boot camp and genuinely take a free and painless crash course to learn the fundamentals of virtual reality for business. Sound interesting? The complete set of VR tips, tricks, and educational tools that have been assembled by the expert Yulio team during the last 12 months offer an amazing opportunity to get ahead of the curve in an area of business that’s tipped to see another surge in momentum in the coming year. 2018 will be the year many CEOs look back on as the one that saw VR first introduced into their organizations. Every new technology needs its internal champions and, if that’s going to be you, it’s time to put down the gingerbread cookie and the Home Alone box set for a day or two, and prepare for one last, worthy push. Take it from us, it’ll be worth your while. And you’ll be ahead of the curve this January.  


Step 1 – Find a chair, sit down and read the ‘VR Integrations that Drives ROI’ whitepaper  
Scaling the dense, often impenetrable walls of a ‘normal’ whitepaper might be a lot of people’s idea of hell, but this is no normal whitepaper. Stacked with smart, practical advice, it is able to lay an entire groundwork for the previously uninitiated, or expertly fill in the gaps for a semi-pro. The whitepaper is a visual treat with 32 pages of highly-researched guidance that clearly demonstrates how VR can, and should, be integrated into business in order to ensure it delivers returns on the investment. Download the Whitepaper here. 

Step 2 – Lie back and listen to Yulio’s ‘Business Ready VR Webinar’
Independent polls and third-party analysis are great, but nothing beats conducting your own user testing. At Yulio, this ethos is at the heart of the organization and has resulted in over 1000 hours of in-house user testing being carried out. This has uncovered unique insights into how different applications of VR can be used to perform different tasks within different industries – think sales, marketing, event production, design, retail, etc – to deliver real and tangible value. Download the Webinar recording here. 

Step 3 – Buckle up for a 5-day email course
For anyone who’s ever asked questions such as- “Isn’t VR for gaming, not business?” “Isn’t VR really expensive, hard to set up and makes people look kind of silly?” “Wouldn’t VR be really hard to integrate and give team members and the IT department heart palpitations?” “How can VR actually work in a business and what kind of results would it deliver?” ”How would I even get started putting a virtual reality design together?” -this free course is for you. Sent via email over 5 days, the course is delivered by VR Industry Elder (he’s not old, he’s clever) and Yulio Chief Product Officer, Ian Hall, and includes white papers and worksheets relevant to each day’s specific course materials. Warning: When taking the Business Ready VR email course, please be advised that users can experience becoming very clever, very quickly. Sign up for the email course here. 

Step 4 – Answers, Answers, Answers – Answer all of your VR Questions  
Not every piece of VR technology will suit the application it’s needed for. Knowing what questions to ask at the beginning of a journey into VR implementation will inevitably save major headaches down the road. Having been in the world of VR almost since the beginning, we’ve made it our business to understand the important questions new users will have when looking to introduce VR to their organizations and make sure we have answers. On occasion, our answer might even be that Yulio isn’t the best fit for a company’s specific needs and fortunately we’re big and brave enough to live with that. In the ‘Considerations for evaluating VR’ whitepaper, readers will have their eyes opened to each of the individual elements that should be considered when choosing a Business VR solution. From how easily the chosen technology can integrate with an existing workflow, to how content is authored, viewed, shared and stored, the whitepaper will ensure no stone is unturned and no nagging question is left unanswered. Download the ‘Considerations for evaluating VR’ whitepaper here. 

Step 5 – Pat yourself on the back, download the Slideshare and prepare to look impressive
In the spirit of giving, Yulio has conveniently packaged all the most relevant and compelling information around VR for Business in a snappy and beautiful SlideShare in order to help you’re able to kick off the new year with the ultimate presentation to win company hearts and minds. Offering a comprehensive and practical guide to each element of Business VR, the presentation provides a concise snapshot on:

  • The current state of the VR market and adoption
  • Predictions on VR growth
  • Advice on choosing the most suitable VR technologies
  • Practical examples of where VR is being successfully used across various industries
  • Best practices for integration, sharing, and collaboration


Download the ‘All You Need to Know about VR for Business’ Slideshare here. With this stage of your VR education now complete, you’re now in the perfect position to roll out of 2017 feeling great about yourself and ensure 2018 is the year VR makes its mark on your business. From the team at Yulio, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. And a happy year of VR.
0

Business, News and Updates, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Top 7 Insights from Over 1000 Hours of VR User Testing
Looking for someone who has decades of experience in VR learning? Pretty tough to find. When it comes to VR, Yulio’s very own Chief Product Officer, Ian Hall is pretty much as good as it gets. Not that you’d hear that from him. Ian has been working in the visualization space since 1994. Over 20 years. A lifetime in technology. Back then, in the original, early 90s introduction of VR it consisted of gigantic, neck numbing headsets which offered very little in the way of movement but plenty in the way of nausea. It has come a long way since those early ventures and Ian has been there throughout. He and other members of his team at Yulio have logged more than 1000 hours of user testing and VR learning, working with subjects from ages 2 to 86 as they took their first steps and then journeyed into the immersive world of VR. As you’d expect, there have been a lot of insights gained along the way.Here are some of the best which may just help you deliver an incredible VR experience first time around;  

Our #1 VR Learning: Say no to headstraps
This sounds silly, we know. But it’s a fact that people are sensitive about how they look. Many people become uncomfortable and self-conscious if asked to strap on a headset that risks messing up their hair and/or makeup – especially in a business environment. After seeing a large number of test subjects, including men and women of all ages, be reluctant to look at a VR experience, we knew it was causing a barrier to VR enjoyment and adoption. Ian personally cut the head straps off all of our VR sets in the Yulio lab and they’ve never been seen since. When using VR, you want to avoid any barriers that might get in the way of people fully engaging with an experience and one way to do that is by keeping them looking sharp. It sounds simple, but it came up over and over again throughout our VR learning hours – so save yourself some trouble and get rid of those straps.




Pop in and out
Several of our clients have reported that while their end clients were anxious to use VR to better understand a design, they wanted to use it as a jumping off point for conversation and engagement – not spend a lot of time exploring the VR scene in isolation. This has been borne out in our labs, and during our many VR collaborate sessions (Collaborate is a Yulio feature that lets users join and view a VR scene together – think webex for VR). Users typically spend about 40 seconds looking at a scene before their natural inclination is to lower the headset and discuss. And they almost always start looking into the center of the design, then glance up, and to the right. So you can anticipate what they’ll be discussing first.


 

For many people using VR in a business setting, it’s a new and unfamiliar experience. It can cause some anxiety with users being wary of feeling foolish, nauseous or feeling blindfolded by the VR headset. The simple, yet ultra-effective solution to this is creating a ‘Fast VR’ experience whereby users can simply raise the headset to glance inside, then put it down and talk about what they saw. The user maintains control and is able to dwell on the experience for as long as they feel comfortable with. And it’s yet another reason we believe headstraps are the enemy of Fast VR.


 

Mobile is the way to practical VR

 

Don’t get us wrong, tethered headsets are incredible. Yulio has several in its lab and most Yulio employees spend some time in one every week to live out their VR dreams. They deliver an unmatchable immersive experience that can seriously blur the line between real and virtual. For business, however, they just aren’t that practical. The clue is in the title. Tethered rigs limit use to in-office and we’ve heard from countless A&D professionals that more than 80% of their designer-client interactions happen elsewhere. While the novelty of complex tethered headsets might wow clients in the short term, delivering VR through mobile means it can be set up in seconds and used anywhere, at any time.

Make it social
Immersed shouldn’t mean isolated. Providing social connectors can help people feel far more comfortable in a VR experience and know they aren’t doing something silly or embarrassing. Broadcast what the user is seeing on a monitor so that it attracts attention to the experience and gets everyone involved. By doing this, the user is able to lead a wider experience and gain validation and assurance from those around them. And, when no one is actively using the VR experience, you can still be showcasing a series of images.


 

 Have an alternative
For as many headsets as Ian and the Yulio team have owned and experimented with, they realize they aren’t yet in every home and every office. Because of this, it makes sense that all VR experiences should be accessible without them. Yulio VREs are all viewable via a web-based FishTank Mode meaning everyone can turn on any device and see what all the fuss is about. Although you lose some sense of scale and space vs. viewing a stereoscopic image in a VR headset, a browser-based viewer lets extremely motion sensitive or remote viewers view a scene in an approximation of VR. And for the record – most fishtank viewers (83%) start by dragging the scene up, and to the right.


 

Where to use it? Everywhere.
VR is a compelling combination of novel, practical and cool and those most successfully leveraging the technology are making the most of this unique feature set. It draws interest and excitement from people who have heard of the technology but never used it – and at this point in time, there are still many of those. We don’t expect it to last – an increasing number of companies are writing VR presentations into their A&D RFPs. But for now, be ready to show off with a  portfolio in your pocket. Storing A&D portfolios on a mobile device and carrying lightweight Homido glasses means design work can be shown off at any moment. By planning ahead we’ve seen realtors able to virtually transform empty blank space giving clients an on-the-spot virtual sample of what they could eventually create. By letting those same clients walk away with realtor branded viewing goggles and the experience uploaded to their phone, designer profiles can be raised and reputations cemented.  

 

 

Get creative and experiment
Our mission at Yulio has always been to create great, practical tools and then get out of the way to let users get creative. It’s worked out well. Through giving designers and marketers the tool to flex their muscles, we’ve seen some great ways that design and brand stories can be told. The medium is young, and the winners are those taking chances through experimentation and trying ever more engaging ways to tell a great story. Use these learnings to ensure your story gets told without barriers like head straps, or negative experiences like a feeling of isolation get in the way of that story.


For much more detail on all we’ve learned in our virtual adventures, sign up for Yulio’s free 5-day course on Business VR. Give us 10 minutes a day and you’ll be on your way to VR expertise….you can skip 999 hours or so.
0

Architecture, Business, Design, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
For anyone who’s designed and constructed a building, there’s a unique feeling of unease – bordering on nausea – that can wash over you as you step into half-built rooms for the first time. Wait. It is definitely smaller/bigger/lower/higher/darker/brighter than I’d envisioned it from the plans. Even for trained professionals, space is a very hard concept to fully appreciate using imagination alone. How big of a space is big enough without being too big? How small is cost-effective yet isn’t restrictive? Accurately evaluating three-dimensional spaces from two-dimensional designs is like trying to appreciate a symphony by looking at the sheet music. In the majority of our client conversations, addressing this major pain point for both designers and their customers was felt to be one of the defining strengths of VR.

Speaking of VR Scale
Finding a way to step inside a building before it’s a building and evaluate each spatial element is a compelling prospect for those involved in the business of architecture and design.


 

Jonathon Anderson, Assistant Professor Interior Design at Ryerson University acknowledged that his students find it hard to fully conceptualize scale until they can experience designs virtually. With VR, I see my students immediately ‘get’ the space. What I mean by that is that they understand scale and proportion in a completely different way through the VR experience when comparing it to the spaces they view on a screen. It allows my students to understand space far better and far more quickly.” Beyond discovering where spatial elements which appeared to work ‘on paper’ but didn’t when viewed virtually, using VR to help develop a better understanding of space, Jonathon felt his students became far better equipped to design for those who would go on to build something for real, with this increased understanding in VR scale.

When big actually means BIG
Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin was purported to have seen a scale model for the 700 ft high wall he described in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ books and realized it actually looked absurd when seen in three-dimensional context. It’s a case of not being able to picture what 700 ft really looks like.


 

Big is a relative term and this was clearly demonstrated in Architectural firm, DSAI’s, brief from its partnership with Ingenium, Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation. DSAI’s role was to design an adjacent building to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. The issue of scale was a major one in the project as the building had to be designed specifically to house the Science and Technology entire collection, which encompassed objects that ranged in size from hand tools to actual trains. In the words of Architect Andrew Chung of DSAI, “To really understand the scale, we introduced VR to the project. We needed to see how big these items were for our own understanding. It allowed us to talk about things (to the client) in a perspectival manner that captures scale in a much better way than solely using a 2D drawing. People who see our 2D drawings or blueprints still don’t really comprehend the scale until they view the VR experience.”


 

Until clients saw the experience for themselves, they would ask DSAI “does it really have to be so large?”. When viewing in VR scale, the difference between something at train scale vs. human scale made all the difference.

VR for Engagement – helping clients be better clients and designers be better designers
Another recurring theme from conversations with A&D professionals is VR’s ability to engage clients in the design process in a very different way. With any new space design that’s going to go on to be constructed, there is a lot at stake, both emotionally and financially and therefore, all parties fully engaged in the process can make a significant difference to the eventual success of a project.

When speaking with Principals at ALSC Architects – who often present to school boards – they described going to present designs using plans and static renders and not commonly getting a lot of questions or feedback. It was challenging for people to place themselves in a design using traditional presentation formats and took time for them to assimilate enough information on a design to then feel confident questioning it. Through sharing designs in VR and enabling clients to experience them on their own before being presented to, ALSC found it evoked something very different, inspiring clients to ask a different set of questions, be more informed, take more ownership and get more involved in the process. As a result of clients becoming more involved and seeing that their ideas could then be translated by ALSC into meaningful, beneficial changes, overall designs improved. When people understand more fully what they’re getting, they will ask what more can be done, what more can be created with this space? I want clients to be part of the inspiration of a project and we find that when they are, designs tend to rise to another level.” Indy Dehal, Principal, ALSC Architects.


A lot of people are investigating VR technology right now, and wondering what its key benefits outside of novelty might be. Our clients report, over and over again how much their level of engagement with their clients increase after they see a design in VR and better understand it. And that’s absolutely the power of VR – to create an unambiguous window on design. To experience your own design in VR, try a free Yulio account and learn more about the VR landscape with our SlideShare presentation.
0

Architecture, Business, Design, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
While the debate will carry on around the market’s expectation of VR’s potential versus the realities of consumer adoption, VR has gone ahead and found a growing number of ways to make business, and industry, more efficient, more effective and better connected to its customers. And not always in the most obvious ways. Take VR retail as an example. With the holiday season upon us, retailers are looking for exciting experiences to lure shoppers in-store, and away from clicking the shopping cart button on online behemoths. VR retail has a place to play in deepening shopping engagement – regardless of whether or not you own a headset, or ever plan to shop inside one. The reality is that most of us probably won’t use VR to buy shoes or clothing – there wouldn’t be much point. VR wouldn’t solve a problem that still images and videos can’t resolve in terms of showing off the product, and it doesn’t get you any closer to the real world fit and appearance of the product. Indeed, some manufacturers will probably avoid using VR, given that it’s all too real – a VR representation of the hottest smartphone on the market looks a lot like a black brick – it lacks the stylized gleaming corners and screen angle of a stylized still photo generated by a marketing department. It’s controlled by the user, not the designer, and that’s a pretty big shift. But even if you didn’t wear a headset to purchase your fall wardrobe with VR retail shopping tools, that doesn’t mean VR isn’t transforming the retail industry.

Although Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has led the way in creating the first virtual mall, VR shopping remains a channel that’s yet to mature. But the technology is starting to have a big impact for retailers, both behind the scenes and through influencing shoppers with savvy brand storytelling.

Sharing Experiences
UK retailer TopShop has been leading the way with brand engagement through VR, which makes sense given their tech-savvy demographic. Research from Sonar (J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research unit) showed that Generation Z is very interested in the experiential nature of stores and subsequently, 80% of them are more likely to visit a store offering VR and AR technology. There has also been plenty written on how millennials prefer authentic experiences to material items, and TopShop’s use of VR is combining in-store and virtual retail experiences.



 

  VR drew so much attention that TopShop created a new experience in the Spring of 2017 to transform its flagship Oxford Street (London) store into a VR waterslide through the city. Participants used a real slide in store, combined with VR gear to expand the experience. While the ties between the content and brand aren’t as on the nose in this second execution as it was in transporting viewers to fashion week as above, what is clear is that TopShop is finding ways VR can engage shoppers through in-store experiences.


 

Try Before You Buy
Beyond helping retailers perfect their in-store experiences, VR is also helping brands tell their story to customers in a very different way and align their products very specifically with the environments they’re built for. As an example, North Face cleverly employed VR to position itself clearly as a progressive company which understood, and was fully at home in epic environments. Visitors to North Face stores were invited to don VR headsets and tour California’s Yosemite National Park and the Moab desert alongside climbing celebrities or try winter gear in a harsh arctic environment.


 

Merrell hiking boots also created an experience with VR Retail, where shoppers could virtually hike along a crumbling rocky edge. Even those who have never gone hiking will tell friends about the experience – as about 81% of those who try VR are likely to do. The interactive nature of immersive VR makes campaigns such as these far more impactful to consumers, engaging them on an emotional level and, at the same time, closely aligning purchasable products to exciting and visceral experiences which they want to share.

Build It (virtually) and They Will Come (or not, but you’ll know before you’ve built it)
Retailing is considered part art, part science and, for the science part, everything is considered. From analyzing the finest details of store layouts to perfecting lighting plans, display heights, and ambient sound, each element of a retail space is thought through and tested. VR retail technologies are being used to create virtual stores for just this purpose. These virtual replications of in-store environments are used to track user movement through stores to flag potential traffic flow issues, conduct A/B testing the effectiveness of display layouts, etc – all before anything is constructed and any heavy costs have been incurred.

Feeling the heat


 

Another VR tool in retailer’s belts is heat mapping analytics. Yulio recently launched VR heat mapping technology able to track a viewer’s gaze within 360 degree virtual environments and provide detailed analytics on what is their drawing attention. Using the technology, retailers are able to test and refine store display and signage configurations based on concise data collected from test subjects. Heat mapping technology can also be used in a similar way by brands looking to understand the level of attention their products are drawing within displays densely filled with competitors. If products are being bypassed and/or specific competitive brands are getting high levels of engagement, brands are able to evaluate factors such as product packaging, location on displays, etc.  

 

 

As more brand marketers discover the power of VR, watch for virtual experiences at retailers this holiday season – it may have been used to build the store you’re visiting, or create an experience that makes consumers want to actually visit stores, a strong driver for retailers slugging it out with online powerhouses like Amazon.


So while the store of the future may or may not be one that we visit virtually, the fact that today people aren’t slipping on a headset each time they want to buy a new pair of shoes, doesn’t mean VR isn’t being used – right now – by a retailer near you.
If you’re wondering how you can create a VR experience for your brand, check out our free accounts at Yulio, or do some more research with our state of VR presentation.
0

Architecture, Business, Design, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

In previous posts, we’ve looked at how and why VR in business is far more advanced than use by consumers. Not to say that consumers aren’t taking to it – Nielsen surveyed 8,000 of them last year and found nearly a quarter wanted to either use or purchase a VR headset this year. But the cost of investing in top-end VR technology to entertain yourself at home is still enough to make even the most impulsive of impulse buyers give it some serious thought. Businesses, on the other hand, have a unique new tool at their disposal in fast VR – one that comes with unlimited applications and large numbers of potential new clients to share the costs between. From education to retail, to tourism to charity, organizations across numerous industries are creating tailored VR applications that deliver very specific customer experiences. From virtual try-before-you-buy in retail to virtual travel-before-you-fly in tourism, VR is now being adapted in all kinds of creative ways to sell, to educate, to market and to inspire and very few applications require strapping people into cumbersome hardware that’s tethered to a humming mother ship.

Driving benefit and advantage through VR in business doesn’t have to require significant investment, steep learning curves and complex hardware. In fact, VR can be at its most dynamic and profitable for businesses when left agile, untethered and adaptable. In short, when it’s FAST VR.

So what is ‘FAST VR’?
FAST VR is a principle, a habit, a way of bringing virtual reality into business situations and workflows at precise moments when it can do what it does best – quickly communicate the complex.

FAST VR in A&D
Yulio has worked with educators and practitioners of A&D for several years now – enough time to have seen the best (and the worst) VR has to offer and to have made our bets on the value of FAST VR. Here are a few tips on how to get started and how to make FAST VR deliver: 

TIP 1 – Don’t Wait
It’s not too late to be early – but it is time to start. VR is having its time in the sun and because of that, developers from across the world (including Yulio’s) are consistently advancing the technology. Don’t wait for perfect VR or the next evolution to land. Start to experiment right now. VR doesn’t need to replace tools already being used successfully but can integrate with the majority of them with surprising simplicity.
 
TIP 2 – Keep it Simple
Trust us, you don’t need high-end, immersive VR equipment. It’s expensive and, commonly, highly impractical. While ultra HD visuals might ‘wow’ a client during a kick-off visit to the office, chances are they won’t want to visit for every iteration of a design. Anecdotally we hear about 80% of presentations are off-site and transporting and setting up immersive rigs for each presentation is a non-starter. Using mobile devices and simple headsets to deliver VR experiences means presentations are always at your fingertips and costs are minimized.


 

TIP 3 – Renders Don’t Have to be Perfect
A designer wanting to communicate an idea quickly doesn’t obsess about making their pencil sketch perfect and it should be the same with VR. All renders should be useful but only very few need to be beautiful. Confirming feasibility of a design or a scheme by doing a simple black and white proof of concept with the correct dimensions can save countless hours, dollars and chances of future issues. Use FAST VR to pop in and out of a draft design, check the validity of an idea and get buy-in from a client. The alternative can be having to field conversations on carpet selection and lighting choices before the floorplan is set.  

 

 

 TIP 4 – No Need to Dwell
VR can just be a tool, it doesn’t need to be an experience. Don’t expect clients to spend hours strapped to a headset taking in every element of a design. FAST VR isn’t about convincing someone they’re in a building, it’s about enabling them to experience a spatial environment in a way that they’re better equipped to understand. One of our clients, Diamond Schmitt Architects, have said that their client’s understanding of scale and space improved dramatically after a Yulio fast VR presentation. And DSAI had originally intended to use VR as an internal tool but were so happy with the outcome, they gave it to their clients for reviews and checks. They found the engagement increased dramatically.

 TIP 5 – Fast Forward to the Future
Design processes don’t need to follow the familiar, ‘draw – model – present – iterate – draw – model – present …’ cycle. A growing number of our clients are no longer providing updated drawings and models during the iteration process but instead, being asked by their clients to simply update the VRE in order to move more quickly to a project’s sign off. VR lets designers also find the medium lets them predict the future. On a recent project with heavy VR usage, Andrew Chung of Diamond Schmitt told us:



 TIP 6 – Show the Team
Not every designer will be able to appreciate how an eventual building will be physically constructed.  Using VR to allow every member of a construction team to view how the finished project should look ensures the vision is shared by those who will be hands-on and that any major issues can be highlighted before a single wall has been erected.


Implementing VR into A&D practice doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming or, indeed, perfect. With FAST VR, it can simply be a really useful tool – albeit one that makes clients go ‘wow’. To get started with your own designs within minutes, try a free Yulio account or learn more about implementing fast, effective VR with our white paper, all about questions to ask your VR partner.
0

Business, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
VR has created a substantial array of new opportunities for those in A&D as seeing spaces virtually has become an increasingly key component of creating winning work. But like any story, it may fall flat without the right presentation. VR may lend itself to getting caught up in the technology, but a strong VR presentation is critical to storytelling success. VR may be used by architects to jump into the heart of a new development mid-way through design to view sight lines or by an interior designer to virtually experience how combinations of finishes work together before turning them into the real thing. But, beyond the creatives themselves, what are the best ways sales team can deliver that stone cold killer VR presentation? It happens that we’ve done some testing on this. Did I say ‘some’? I mean a LOT. We’ve done a lot of testing – over 1000 hours – and so we’ve got some great tips. Let’s start with the basics of the best VR presentation possible.

Our top Tips for VR Presentation:
 Back it up
A wise grandparent at some point, somewhere, will have said ‘Take care of the simple and the complicated will take care of itself.’ Backups are simple and making sure VR experiences are properly loaded on a phone should be the first box ticked every time. If WIFI conditions are unknown and/or there’s any potential for weak cell reception, VREs will need to be downloaded beforehand so that everything during a VR presentation can be done offline. Ensure your VR software partner has an offline method to help showcase your work. In our experience, this frequently comes into play at trade shows  – convention hall wifi is notoriously spotty, so we always have an offline backup of our showcase when we’re sharing VR experiences. If the presenter is using their own phone, make sure rings, sirens and alerts are all silenced. That way immersed viewers, awestruck by the majesty of a modern-day Sistine Chapel won’t be ripped from their moment by the latest score in the Giant’s game.



 
Share it

When presenting to groups, whether they’re together in a single room or dialing in from remote corners of the globe, it’s important that each one can take part in the experience. This may take some planning ahead. If there aren’t multiple goggles for every person in a room, or those joining remotely don’t have access to them, VREs can be shared easily via a web link so they can be viewed on a desktop or mobile in a ‘fishtank’ mode. While this doesn’t offer an immersive experience, it will allow each member to follow the presentation and navigate through the VR experience.




Link it
We recommend presenters use a fishtank mode on their laptop or tablet to demonstrate VR designs and if there’s a larger central screen that can be connected to, that’s even better. Even if everyone has access to headsets, they may not necessarily want to use them throughout and having designs on a central screen during larger, in-person, meetings enables the presenter to navigate quickly around environments and for everyone to follow and stay engaged.




Annotate it
For presentations that aren’t taking place in person or are being sent in advance, embedding recorded audio or video notes inside a VR experience can be the next best thing to sitting side by side. VR is an immersive medium and the impact of that can be very easily disrupted if viewers are needing to flip back and forth between the design and accompanying notes to fully understand particular elements. It is also not a medium that lends itself well to having large blocks of floating explainer text within the experience. This can be really distracting and take away from the visual flow. Audio or video files can be recorded and added strategically to any areas of a VR design that would benefit from the further explanation or description – think elaboration on why particular finishes were chosen or how adjustments have been made based on previous client comments. Triggered by a viewer’s gaze, audio and visual notes allow people to stay immersed in the experience while getting a designer’s direction and insight. For more detail on using audio and video in VR, check our previous blog post on the subject.




Guide it
While VR does allow viewers to experience environments in their own way, as a presenter it’s also essential to lead the direction and ensure those being presented to are clearly following. Using VR technology, such as ours, that’s been developed with a Presenter Mode means presenters can invite anyone they choose to collaborate via sharing a simple web link. By doing this, the presenter can see exactly where participants are looking, or alternatively request that they shift their gaze to the presenter’s icon. Viewing another person’s motion when using VR can trigger nausea for some, and so, with this in mind, Yulio developed a ‘Spotlight’ feature which allows the presenter to shine a virtual flashlight on a specific item or area. Doing this momentarily darkens everyone else’s view and slowly moves their gaze to the presenter’s location. Think of it as the virtual equivalent of parents of sugar-hungry kids carefully easing them from the candy aisle of a grocery store to the fruit aisle (NOTE – in some real-life cases we realize the draw of candy is just too strong and parents can be rendered powerless.)




Hand it Off
One very interesting thing we found during our user testing was the level of discomfort people, especially technophobes, feel if they don’t understand how to properly navigate VR, or if they feel they’ll look foolish when in a headset – their hair being put out of place, etc – or if they think they may feel sick. Each of these concerns is only heightened when in a boardroom full of colleagues and therefore, how a presenter is able to hand off to a viewer is important. Presenters should be re-assuring and take away the notion of wanting to blindfold their client by offering for them to pop in and out of the experience – removing headset straps is a good option for this – and instructing them clearly on how to navigate the design. Avoiding peripheral hardware such as handheld controllers or joysticks can ensure minimal instructions are needed and a simple navigation process such as Yulio’s gaze-to-go control, should enable clients to relax and enjoy the experience.


 

For more of our tips, sign up today for our Business Ready VR course – it’s a free 5-day program of videos and other assets to make you an expert in 10 minutes a day. Or, if you’re ready to start presenting your designs in VR, grab a free account.
0

VR

Okay, so there’s been a lot of talk about the novelty value of VR. Novelty is good, and VR content creators across the world are continually rolling out ever more ingenious ways of bringing the medium to life for everyone to enjoy in the comfort of their armchair. When it comes to using VR for business, however, while novelty is all well and good, in order to prove itself as a long-term fixture, it needs to go beyond being a show pony and be able to pull a heavy cart or two. We need to see the realities of VR investment and ROI. But making the right VR content play is critical to the equation. Several years ago, the rapid rise of the smartphone led to countless CEOs hastily commissioning ‘killer’ mobile apps. The problem was that the vast majority of the apps had no significant value to customers. They were novel but not useful, clever but not compelling. They didn’t solve real customer problems that weren’t able to be solved in countless other ways. People were relying on the technology to carry weight with customers and not giving enough consideration to the content because they felt behind the curve with the technology itself. Now is the time to embrace VR technology as a storytelling tool, where VR content is at the forefront to generate ROI from the medium. Right now, lots of marketing, development and design teams are being tasked to investigate VR. And they should – the immersion VR allows for is going to be a significant change to the way people perceive services and buy products. But lazy content will lower the bar and create experiences with no value. Taking the time to think through good content that serves a need is absolutely worthwhile. In fact,

  • VR content has been shown to deliver 27% higher emotional engagement and 34% longer engagement than 2D content.
  • The average response rate with VR experiences is 15% compared to just 1% through direct marketing.

So where are those ideal (ROI) carts for the VR horse? How can VR content impact investment and ROI?

Make it Useful … Again and Again
For anyone looking to boost their return on a VR investment, it’s important to bear in mind the Return on Investment [ROI] formula: (Return — Investment) / Investment
Based on this, it stands to reason that, as VR can be expensive to create, the more uses VR content can have, the better chance it has of driving positive returns. VR content can give and give and give. Investments can be amortized over multiple uses which might include; demonstrations at events or trade shows, publicity on a company website or social media platforms and arming sales teams with a rich portfolio held in their pocket on a mobile device. Content can be used across numerous consumer-facing touch points and with that, the value it has and returns it can deliver become far more meaningful.

Content is King and Not all Content Should be VR
A slideshow of still images doesn’t make a movie and in our experience, putting a VR label on content not created for the medium or useful within the medium has limited value.  Head of Stanford’s VR lab, Jeremy Bailenson put it best when he said: “Most things don’t work in VR. If you show me 20 ideas, I’ll say 19 of them would be better in another medium.” For VR to truly make sense to a business and deliver a return, the content must be considered, ideally be of high quality and be inherently useful. We’ve talked before about VR coming into its own when virtual experiences are able to make real: Things that are too far away to be experienced first hand





Things that don’t yet exist




Things that are too large, expensive or complex to model



  • Yulio clients create simple VR experiences every day to show a vision of something complex and expensive to model. When environments, new products or new buildings can be created and experienced virtually before a single prototype has been created or brick has been laid, there are opportunities for businesses to generate considerable returns from their investment in the virtual.


 

  • The automotive industry has put VR through its paces in several excellent ways such as using the technology to take potential customers through impossibly exhilarating experiences in virtual high-performance cars to wet their appetites to buy.

  • A recent application developed by Audi is using virtual technology to encourage people to come back to the real showrooms – an activity that has gone out of favor as consumers become more used to researching new vehicles from the comfort of their armchair. With hundreds of millions of possible configurations of models and specifications, VR has enabled Audi sales centers to demonstrate every single one to visiting customers versus only the handful of examples any dealer might have in their showroom.

  • Ford designers and engineers have begun using VR to test elements of new cars, estimating a saving of $8 million in one year alone and Volvo is working on virtual test drives of cars that aren’t yet on sale.

  • Taking the lead in using VR where the real thing is simply too complex (or unsafe) to model, UCLA surgeons are using VR headsets to test run highly technical and sensitive surgeries before they operate. In doing so they are perfecting techniques and preempting potential issues without any lives being at stake. Few people would argue with the ROI there.


 

Numerous businesses are now experimenting with the power VR has to bring people and their products together in meaningful ways.
  • The North Face stores now use VR to transport their customers to a virtual Yosemite National Park, where they can virtually experience products in some of the most majestic and inspiring environments in the world.


 

  • Carnival Cruises created a VR experience that gave people the chance to virtually explore its cruise ships and vacation destinations.


 

  • Sotheby’s International Realty has been enticing potential buyers using VR to host open houses to sell luxury homes across international destinations.


 

In each of these cases, the immersion being delivered via VR would be impossible using another medium. VR is the difference between seeing and experiencing. These experiences deliver real, tangible value to users in a way that has been proven to make them more responsive, more receptive, more engaged and more loyal. With benefits like that, finding ROI from VR content should be easy. If you use images to tell your business stories today – whether products, services or designs – you can use Yulio to tell them better. Try it for free (no strings, we promise) and see where your VR experiments lead you.
0

Architecture, Design, How to, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
We recently came to the satisfying end of an (at times slightly unsatisfying) six-month process to have Yulio listed on Daydream. For those who don’t know, Daydream is Google’s VR platform for Android devices that are supported by its own cool new viewer hardware, the Daydream View. Yulio’s already listed on every other major app store and therefore we can understand if this news doesn’t, at first glance, have you scrambling to share the news with all of your closest friends. However, the experience of working with the Google team – a group living and breathing the shifting world of VR and leading an impressive charge in VR for business – was notable in a few ways that we thought were worth talking about. As a little bit of background, Google introduced the Daydream platform in 2016. It was created to simplify access to high-quality virtual reality content on mobile devices and could be seen as an obvious continuation of a noble vision to put VR in the hands of everyone, started with the launch of its Cardboard viewer and associated apps.


Making the Grade
Daydream, however, is not open to just any content and not accessible from just any device. Currently, content can be viewed on Google’s own Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones as well as a select few newer Android devices that have chosen to meet an optimal specifications list which is not for the faint-hearted. When it comes to submitting apps, Google is equally selective and stringent on quality. Fortunately, stringent on quality is what we’re all about. Without intentionally grabbing ourselves by the cheeks and patting ourselves vigorously on the back, adhering to robust quality and verification checks is not something Yulio has ever had trouble with. Our product development team is made up of some of the best minds the VR industry has to offer and, as a result, our platform has been built from the ground up to exacting standards.

Building the Business Dream
The majority of current Daydream apps lean towards either sophisticated gaming or ‘experiential’ – by experiential, we mean, as an example, apps such as The New York Times which allows viewers to virtually embed with Iraqi forces during a battle with ISIS or, in stark contrast, take a meditation journey to the California coast. Yulio sparked a special interest in the Google team, not only was our app the first of any competitors within VR for A&D to be approved but also because it represented one of only a small handful of current Daydream apps built solely for business. This is a relatively unexplored area – even for Google – and therefore based on a large volume of data Yulio has amassed, we were able to share a few insights.

You Don’t Always Need a Magic Wand
As an example of this, as part of the standard specifications for Daydream apps, each must support the use of the handheld Daydream controller as a control method. Google’s Daydream View headset comes with a supplementary remote which doubles as a motion-sensitive tool used to point and click on objects, navigate menus, etc. In our time building Yulio we’ve tested almost every VR hardware system on the market. Those with controllers and those without, from Oculus and HTC Vives to Samsung Gears and others on the way to Google Cardboards. When it came to using controllers in business applications, we saw that they simply didn’t work well in business and presentation settings. Designers using VR to communicate a new project want more than anything to have their clients feeling relaxed and paying attention while immersed in the design. What we’d seen instead when controllers are introduced is that they often added an unnecessary and often distracting level of complexity. People more commonly felt self conscious as they fumbled with a new piece of technology while effectively blindfolded in front of their colleagues. Often it closely resembled the scene when showing a parent how to use a new TV remote – “The button on the left, tap that….no you held it too long, just tap it.” With this in mind, in an effort to make sure the Yulio app worked in the best way possible for the end users but still passed Google’s code of conduct, we created a feature allowing a controller to be put down and have it fade into the background. Users are then able to switch to gaze-to-go navigation if they prefer or use the controller if they are comfortable.


Sharing small but key insights like this with the Google team based on our ‘in the field’ experience with VR for business has been of real value, and we were delighted to see our thinking validated with our inclusion in the Google Daydream app store. Find the Yulio viewer for Daydream here and if you’re ready to try making your own VR daydreams a reality, try Yulio for free….and have your first VR experience in minutes.
0

Architecture, Business, Design, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We recently looked at the impact VR marketing is having, and ways that the technology is offering prospective customers the ability to experience products, services, or even causes in a very different and more emotive way than was previously possible. One of VR’s most unique features is its ability to allow people to experience something which is:

  • a long way from them
  • too complex or expensive to easily replicate in real life

Nowhere does VR shine with this more than in the communication of spaces. Unlike viewing locations on an image, a website or a TV screen, the immersive nature of VR means that places can be experienced versus simply being seen. Not only does this mean each fine detail can be communicated successfully to a prospective client but, virtual experiences also trigger responses from different parts of the brain – those which control higher-level thinking, emotion, motivation and primitive instincts – and these are especially relevant for marketers looking to provoke visceral responses to whatever they’re selling.  VR marketing brings true try-before-you-buy to spaces and opens up the world of potential customers.

 

Placing People Directly in the Action
The potential of VR to be a proxy for real travel is something many consumers are excited about. For many people, one of the most compelling uses of VR remains to allow them to see the world and experience locations and environments they would never otherwise have access to. For anyone with limited resources, mobility issues, or crippling fears of flying, VR is able to unlock a world of vivid and educational experiences from the farthest reaches of the earth. Apps such as YouVisit allow users to experience exotic locations across the globe in immersive virtual reality, while Discovery VR from Discovery Networks offers users the chance to virtually swim with sharks, surf majestic reefs or get close to endangered animals. Within professional sports, the use of VR marketing to bring viewers closer to the action is seeing significant growth. This year soccer’s Champions League Final was made accessible to viewers via VR allowing them to watch the game all-but live from various enviable pitchside locations. Fox Sports also announced earlier in the year that it would be showing Super Bowl highlights in near-real time via VR allowing sports fans to view replays of the best moments of the game from numerous different angles right after they happened on the field.


 

But let’s bring this concept of VR becoming a window into what would otherwise be impossible to see back to business and ROI. The experiential possibilities being showcased in travel and sports have real applications for business. VR marketing for spaces can be used to take people to places for the sheer experience of being there but it can also help people to make more informed buying decisions and expand the reach of potential customers.

 

Virtual Real Estate
There is immense power in allowing new home buyers to experience unbuilt properties and full developments as if they were real or alternatively, to tour remote properties using just a headset. For those in real-estate, VR marketing allows for listed properties to be experienced by prospective clients from anywhere in the world. In the case of Sotheby’s LA, prime properties are being viewed by those that want to tour multiple houses without spending multiple hours in gridlocked Los Angeles traffic. And agents of high-end international properties suddenly have the whole world as prospects, vs. just those in their office catchment area. Agents can showcase engaging VR tours on their websites and drive leads from anywhere, with clients who have seen the property and are certain they want to engage.


 

Beyond those looking to buy, for people looking to engage in long or short term rentals, being able to tour numerous properties simply by putting on a headset can dramatically change the experience. This is both for renters who can get a sense of how each property feels when inside it and owners who can pre-qualify interest before having renters visit in person. This can be particularly effective for properties listed on short-term rental sites such as Airbnb which experience high numbers of visitors. Via VR, travelers can experience every detail of a property before they commit to renting and owners can aggregate the cost of capturing the 360-degree footage over marketing to numerous potential customers.

 

Showing Off the View with VR marketing
Beyond the world of real-estate, there is an increasing number of smart ways VR marketing is being used to transport people to locations and environments to experience them in context and enable them to make more informed decisions on expensive purchases. Various sports teams have introduced virtual reality experiences that place fans in prospective season ticket seats at venues and take in very specific vantage points. The Sacramento Kings allow fans to experience the view from courtside seats via VR before buying and, at approximately $2000 per game per seat, in the words of Kings’ president Chris Granger, “It gives people a great sense of comfort as to what they can expect. It makes the investment safe and easy for fans.” The same logic can be applied to corporate boxes, premium lounge access at airports and much more. B2B sponsorship dollars that have an element of luxury space, or offer an impressive experience for their end clients can be better sold with VR marketing than with brochures and other images. It’s true try before you buy marketing.


 

Small Business VR marketing
But you don’t have to have a stadium or be selling an elaborate Italian villa to take advantage of VR marketing for spaces. If you have any kind of business that involves enticing people to see inside your space, VR marketing is for you. Venue businesses, like resorts or hotels, but also manufacturers of wedding tents and event rentals are dealing with clients very eager to understand not just the physical space they are buying, but the feeling it can evoke. They can tell their stories more easily and more immersively in VR than any other visual medium. Other potential wins are tradeshow and event marketers, who can show off the show floor in VR, and potentially upsell booth space. Or tour operators showing off places of interest and accommodations.


 

While virtual viewings cannot fully replicate standing in the real thing, for wedding venues, music venues, photography studios, film locations, and numerous other high-value spaces, being able to communicate specifics of size, style and layouts and put prospective clients directly within a space via VR is a powerful first step towards winning them over and ensuring a space is exactly what they’re looking for.  


There’s no doubt that the ability to immerse people directly in any space, experience or environment using virtual reality has handed marketers an entirely new toolkit to get creative with. Whether locations are showcased using VR to demonstrate their most unique and compelling qualities for potential customers or environments being broadcast in VR are the experience themselves, there’s no doubt that the technology is set to play an ever-growing role in how we view and evaluate the spaces which we choose to live, work and play in. To learn more about implementing VR in your practice, download our whitepaper, or try it out with a free account.
0

Design, Industry News, VR

A conversation with Jonathon Anderson, Assistant Professor Interior Design, Ryerson University
For over a year, Yulio has been working with senior faculty members at Toronto’s Ryerson University. In 2016, the Yulio VR platform was introduced to all students within Ryerson’s Architectural program – a story widely covered in the Canadian media – and a few months later, was also successfully integrated into the University’s Interior Design program, led by its Assistant Professor of Interior Design, Jonathon Anderson (JA). With the Interior Design students having completed their first semester with VR as a component, we sat down with Jonathon to hear what the response had been to using the technology in the classroom and where he saw VR within the future of his industry.  


 

Thanks for talking with us Jonathon. Could you start by giving us a quick overview of exactly how VR is being used in the classroom?
JA – VR was a natural fit for our curriculum and was introduced to our second-year students that had working knowledge of 3D modeling.  The Yulio technology integrates easily with the 3D modeling tool, such as Rhino and Vray, that I already use and teach my students. It was a perfect marriage and allowed students to use the same design technology they were familiar with and easily transfer the models that they were creating into VR. By using VRAY to create a still rendering and using that same camera to produce the virtual reality experience (VRE) students were able to understand the power of looking at a 2D image in front of them and then, through turning it into a VRE, be able to appreciate the entire space in a way that’s far more closely aligned with how people really experience spaces. With this being the first year the students were introduced to VR, many are still pressing the button once at the end of a design to turn their work into a VRE and experience it that way. A portion of the students are starting to go beyond this – which is what I’d really like them to do. They are building a design, using Yulio to generate the VRE, experiencing the design in virtual reality and then going back to the computer to modify or refine their design based on that improved spatial understanding VR gives them.  

How did you come to the decision that VR wasn’t a fad but was something that would impact A&D in a significant way in both the short and long-term?
JA – I think VR and AR is the way of the future within A&D. I don’t see this as a fad that’s going to disappear anytime soon. The technology has become far more accessible and VR is something every firm can now have as part of their toolkit, without the need to hire any kind of specialist. This is especially true when platforms like Yulio have completely removed the technical complexity and made it solely about delivering the best possible user experience for designer and viewer, I think that it will soon become ‘the new normal’ in A&D. With VR, I see my students immediately ‘get’ the space. What I mean by that is that they understand scale and proportion in a completely different way through the VR experience when comparing it to the spaces they view on a screen. It allows my students to understand space far better and far more quickly. Students don’t naturally understand how to design for those who would eventually build something. With the spatial awareness that comes with seeing designs in VR, they are far better equipped to design with contractors in mind.  

Was there anything about the use of VR in the classroom that was unexpected?
JA – I didn’t expect the students to be so in awe of the experience and that was exciting to see. My students have grown up with access to incredible technology within their own lives and certainly within the university. It’s everywhere they turn and they’ve known nothing else.  It was, therefore, amazing to see them so wowed by VR. It’s hard to keep 100 students excited but I saw VR do that. I think as more of our students are exposed to the technology over the coming year, I see it becoming the natural way that the students will design and present their work.  

 

 

Where do you see VR’s place in the future of interior design?
JA – I think on a very fundamental level VR will change the way that clients or potential buyers make decisions. I think developers will use it as a sales tool and be able to demonstrate to clients a full palette of different interior finishes. The role of the interior designer will change in line with that. Rather than working with each individual client, they will be responsible for providing a catalog of options that they know will look good and work well together and that will be what is pushed into the VR experience for clients to choose from. By being able to show clients options before anything is real and have them choose their exact preference means they are then able to walk into the finished property and have it be exactly what they were expecting.  

Do you believe VR will be a critical skill for new designers to have?
JA – Yes. I believe VR will have to be a critical element of design training for careers in A&D. Several of my students are already changing the presentation of their portfolio from the physical walking through of drawings that are typically expected in the architecture and design field. They have gone into internship interviews with only their cell phone and a pair of VR glasses and asked potential employers to view their work in virtual reality. Notably, by doing this, they secured the placements they wanted and I think this is due to the fact that they set themselves apart from the hundreds of other candidates. They believed this could change something for them and it was relatively easy. They already had the 3D models and the VRAY renderings. All they had to do is click a button and they had everything they needed to be stored right there on their cell phone.


So much of what interior designers do is about connection and human experience. It is about creating living environments and there’s no other technology that can offer people a spatial experience or communicate living environments before they’re real, better than VR. Our thanks to Jonathon for sharing his insight to into the next generation of VR designers with us. Try creating your own VR experiences, or your own portfolio for free with Yulio.
0

Architecture, Business, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Since 1978, Diamond Schmitt Architects have been designing award-winning buildings across the world, consistently looking at sustainability in design and innovative new technologies to further user satisfaction and supply modern building operations.


In a recent partnership with Ingenium, Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation, they have designed an enormous adjacent building to the  Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa called the Collection and Conservation Centre. The key problem they were solving was a way to house the Science and Technology collection in one building, with objects ranging in size from hand tools to actual trains. We sat down with Andrew Chung, (AC) an Architect at DSAI to discuss the Ottawa building.
 






I’ll start by asking you to describe the architectural problem you were working to solve for Ingenium?
AC:  Ingenium’s existing museum facilities weren’t going to meet their future needs, and there was a need to renovate the existing Science and Technology Museum. In doing so, there was an opportunity to create a secondary building to the museum to house the collections for all 3 Science and Innovation museums. The collection is currently separated from the museums, spread across multiple warehouses.  We recognized the opportunity to join the collection into one building and give an opportunity to link the collection spaces to the exhibition spaces. Our building houses these amazing historical artifacts and major parts of Canadian scientific and engineering achievements, and offers the potential to preserve and maintain this important history into the future, and offer new generations better visibility to the richness of the Canadian achievements in science and technology throughout history.

So, what role did VR play in this project?
AC: The use of VR fit very much into the architectural problem we were solving because we found out very quickly that the task of consolidating the museum collection from 3 scattered, separate spaces into one building created a unique architectural problem: the scale was hard to conceive. We’re talking about artifacts ranging from a wide range of sources; from the early agricultural hand tools,  the very first Bombardier Snowmobile, Canadian space probes, to the Governor General’s train, which itself is around 9m long. These items are really interesting aspects of Canadian history, and we really felt the need to house them properly and preserve them for the future. But because they are huge artifacts, the spaces had to be very large, and it quickly meant that the building couldn’t be person scale, and instead had to be tailored much larger. The collection exponentially increased the size of the building quickly. When you’re designing objects of this size, it drastically changes how you approach the design problem. And so to really understand the scale, we introduced VR to the project. We needed to see how big these items were for our own understanding. And then when we saw that we could get really detailed images from Yulio, it helped us propose design solutions to the client. It allowed us to talk about things in a perspectival manner that captures scale in a much better way than solely using a 2D drawing. People who see our 2D drawings or blueprints still don’t really comprehend the scale until they view the VR experience. We were trying to find solutions to help communicate that spatial understanding to the client, and VR came into play for that.  

 

 

   
 
Had DSAI worked with VR before?
AC: DSAI was using smaller VR experiences of one scene or a perspective in a performing arts center from one vantage point. What Yulio let us do was create multiple scenes and spatial cohesion by stringing together multiple scenes with hotspots. That way, someone not used to looking at our plans can understand and orient themselves much more clearly. That’s when we were able to much more efficiently communicate just how big this building would be, and how everything would coalesce together. It helped clients understand why spaces had to be designed so large, and understand how we were able to solve the organization of this massive collection, to fulfill the goal of preserving this Canadian history. This is why working on this project has been a great pleasure, as it presents many unique design and communication challenges, among of which we’re solving with products like Yulio.

Why did you decide to go with a mobile VR solution?
AC: We know VR is currently a hot trend, but when we were looking at available platforms, the ‘high end’ VR experience required a powerful computer and tethered experience. In addition,  you had to have the client present in our office in person, which presented a challenge as the client is located in Ottawa while we were in Toronto. The high-end approach to VR  meant that overall, the communication reach would be pretty low. Mobile VR worked better for us because it gave us the opportunity to communicate through everyday, accessible objects like smartphones. For our design and review process, we would simply send a web link through Yulio, and we were able to share the content with our client easily. The aspect of communicating effectively at a  distance as very important,  and we were able to send things quickly and update the content seamlessly, much like a web platform. Yulio became like a content management system for us.


How did your client respond to the VR experience?
AC:  That’s actually a funny story. Originally, the VR portion was actually a side project. We are of course focused on the best, most workable design first. But VR was an opportunity to explain the space better, to really get a much deeper client comprehension. Before VR, the client understood the concept but didn’t feel the visceral connection. We noticed a much more emotional response once they viewed our design in VR, in contrast to an almost clinical approach when they looked at plans. So once they had that emotional connection to the space, they bought into more of our ideas around space planning later in the project. The client’s understanding of our design just grew exponentially after exposure to VR.  

 

 

And how did that VR engagement change the project going forward?
AC: Our engagement with our client grew exponentially when we introduced VR. Now they’re getting into what we’ve proposed and are much more excited. We have found the client has engaged in a dialogue with us much more frequently. It’s not just a relationship of us describing the project to our clients, but also seeing how they’ve shared more of this material with their staff. As an example, the client asked us to add views of conservation labs so they could share their conservationist staff. The plan would show a series of rooms, which graphically would show up as boxes in these labs, but in VR they could see how tall the units are and how the spaces were stacked. It’s a greater level of excitement at many levels of the organization.  

 

 

Did working in VR change your process as well?
AC:  We actually started using VR as an internal design tool, and it has been a fantastic tool amongst our team. Since we were working with multiple designs iterations in Revit, connecting everyone on the same level was extremely important. Throwing our design into VR would quickly reveal tasks and revisions we needed to accomplish and figure it out much more quickly in the design process. It gave us better opportunities to figure out solutions to the design problems earlier on. You would get more time to play creatively and explore solutions because fundamentally, you would get to the core of the design focus earlier as a result of this added understanding and resolution. Since the depth of exploration goes further, and our design gets better because we’re able to visualize problems earlier than waiting for issues to arise.

How do you envision using Yulio on future projects?
AC: Our design process has changed for the better with VR. From our staff who have a drafting history to those who think in 3D programs, everyone is excited by the sense of scale they can see in VR. It’s generating a lot of excitement within the firm because people get to see their vision sooner. It’s changing the way we talk about things too – in internal meetings, we’ll pull up the Yulio VRE and solve a detail or design challenge and it creates better understanding among the design teams. In the future with our clients, I see VR as part of a robust feedback loop, going beyond the show and tell to getting client feedback in context, and build two-way communication in VR to increase collaboration between the team and our clients.

Anything else you’d like to share about the success of the project?
AC:  We’ve had a great dialogue with Yulio. While we’ve had a two party relationship with our client, we’ve found it has become more of a three-party relationship with the Yulio on a technology level. This whole process has proven that our feedback can help with design – whether it’s our design or the Yulio platform. So it’s not one way at all, it’s a dialogue that creates three happy parties with us, our client and the Yulio team. The building project itself is moving quickly, the first floor is being poured right now, and we’re interested to see how well the VR design that showed the intent of the building aligns with the completed building. Did we predict things accurately? VR lets us see into the future, and when construction is done we’ll see how close we were.


Our thanks to Andrew Chung of DSAI for sharing their success in deepening client engagement through VR. For more information about creating your own VR designs, download our white paper on successfully integrating VR into your workflow.
0

How to, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Knowing a new technology is going to be important for business is one thing, developing a great use case for it, is entirely different.   In the 90s, with a heightened fear of missing out (and that’s before we had an acronym for it), CEO’s rapidly commissioned the creation of company websites to make sure they were keeping up with what was showing itself to be the new ‘must have’. Cut to early 2000s, it was all about having a mobile app. In those early days, with new technologies quickly evolving, business leaders weren’t sure what practical use a website or app was going to have to their business they just knew they needed one and so they made sure they had one. The results were that many of the early websites and mobile apps weren’t all that great. They often weren’t designed to solve a real problem or provide any real and tangible value to users. But the CEO could tell the board of directors they had one.

 

‘How to use VR?’
When it comes to VR, it looks like we’ve all grown up a bit and that says a lot. Jeremy Bailenson, head of Stanford University’s virtual reality lab remarked that “Most things don’t work in VR.” It’s a medium that has considerable strengths but it’s not suited to every application a creative marketing team might want to push it forward for. There are a lot of marketers and executives out there figuring out how to use VR. At Yulio we say that if you use images or video to tell your story today – you can do it better with VR. It has to be done with a clear and considered strategy however and we are seeing this being done brilliantly in a number of industries who have already figured out how to use VR;

Construction, Design & Real Estate – VR makes it real
VR is already enabling real estate professionals to showcase properties to potential buyers from anywhere in the world allowing them to experience clear details of, not only interior layouts and specifications but also property locations, views, and neighborhoods. With Yulio’s own technology architects and designers are able to give clients rich, immersive tours of their designs. Clients viewing unbuilt properties in this way are more able to imagine themselves living in new environments and, as a result, designers are becoming better equipped to create environments clients want and greatly reduce gaps between client expectation and eventual reality.  


 

 
Marketing & Advertising VR Experiences
With its unique ability to go beyond ‘showing’ products or stories and have viewers experience them, VR has delivered an entirely new toolset to marketers and advertisers. Studies have shown VR to deliver a 27% higher emotional engagement and 34% longer engagement than 2D content, so, for those already using images or videos to tell their story, it is a very compelling new option. VR gives consumers more control, allowing them to enter an experience alone, decide where they choose to go, how long they’re there for and what they see. We’ve obviously seen first-hand this dynamic method of idea communication at work in architectural and interior design whereby complex ideas and new environments can be communicated through immersing viewers directly within them. Once immersed, viewers can lead their own experience, progressing through the design story at their own pace and choosing to take their own detours – yet all within parameters set by the designer. Numerous brands including Jaguar, Coke, Etihad Airways, Audi and The New York Times have rolled out experiential marketing campaigns using VR. From enabling people to virtually experience the luxurious surroundings of Etihad’s first class airline cabin, to placing them on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, VR is enabling marketers to interact with their customers in more unique ways than ever before.


 

 Retail – Shop in VR
VR has been shown as a compelling new solution for retailers and one with the potential to help them face the challenges of a rapidly changing digital retail landscape. Startups such as Bold Metrics have been using VR technology to create ‘virtual maps’ of shoppers’ bodies, allowing them to virtually try on clothes or shoes in a 3D environment. With the latest developing technologies, shoppers will also soon be offered opportunities to visit virtual malls where virtual stores can be visited and products viewed in styled, curated, virtual environments. And while shopping may continue to be a social and recreational experience where people enjoy visiting physical environments, retailers are able to put their customers in flagship locations, fashion shows and more regardless of where they’re located.


 

Retail VR also has huge potential to limit the real estate required by major chains – if you can show off thousands of products in a headset, you need far less big box stores.



 

VR for Events & Conferences
Virtual Reality is seeing success in the events industry and even has some celebrity credibility. Paul McCartney recently released a 360-degree concert recording through a VR app linked to Google Cardboard. This meant anyone could experience his concert at a fraction of the cost and without the cramped train ride home afterward. In the same vein, conference organizers are using VR technology to power virtual conference attendance and also creating collective experiences among those who do attend; Intel CEO Brian Krzanich took 250 attendees at CES 2017 on a live inspection of a solar power plant in Moapa River Indian Reservation. And smaller event planners are learning how to use VR to attract exhibitors, showing off a virtual representation of the show floor, or showcasing last year’s event.


 

Healthcare
With its unique abilities to immerse viewers in that which is too complex to model using other means or is long distances away, VR has found a clear home in Healthcare. From training surgeons to treating phobias and developing new life-saving techniques, it is allowing professionals to learn new skills – or refresh existing ones – in a safe and adaptable environment. VR is being used as a smart diagnostic tool, enabling doctors to immerse patients in virtual environments, carrying out functional tests for some neurodegenerative disorders in order to come to a diagnosis without invasive surgery or other methods of treatment. Other use cases include helping the elderly in nursing homes ‘travel-by-goggles’ and in treatments for behavioral and mental health issues, using virtual immersion therapy.

Automotive
The automotive industry has adopted VR in a number of unique and intelligent ways, such as taking potential customers through exhilarating experiences in virtual high-performance cars, or checking the specifications and personalizing cars while in the dealership itself. Audi has been offering immersive car tours and virtual test drives and Ford have been working with the Oculus Rift team to design, prototype and evaluate vehicles in a virtual setting. This is already bringing significant change to the dealership experience, as well as saving car manufacturers millions of dollars in testing elements of new cars. Learning how to use VR has been key for an industry that knows its customers dislike interacting with sales teams, and even entering dealerships – offering exciting experiences people can navigate on their own goes a long way to overcome the issue.

Manufacturing
Similarly to the automotive industry, VR has the potential to transform manufacturing by offering major efficiencies through virtual training. While Manufacturing may seem too practical to worry about how to use VR, it falls into a winning pattern of using VR for things that are large and complex or expensive to model. Students can learn engine repairs on large, complex machinery or specialized devices using virtual models rather than the real thing. This type of virtual training has the power to heighten the technical skills of graduates more quickly and efficiently in in-demand trades, such as welding, plumbing, and electrical.


These are just a handful of industries where we see VR being used transformatively. The truth is VR has the potential to bring significant changes to a lot more. What we suggest? Get started today, for free. You can bring VR to your vision with Yulio in a free account.
0

Business, Design, How to, News and Updates, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
For over 30 years, award-winning design studio, Graven, has been helping to build some of the world’s biggest brands. Over the last 12 months, they’ve been using ‘Small VR’ (low-cost mobile-based VR with simple viewers such as Google Cardboard, etc) to help them do it better than ever. We talked with Company Director Ross Hunter (RH) and BIM Coordinator Stephen Thomas (ST) about the Company’s move into virtual reality and the impact they’ve seen from the integration of Small VR in key areas of their design and build processes.

How did you first come across VR?
ST –  It was through some work we did with another firm (Soluis) which had invested in very high-end visualization technology (Oculus), that we saw the potential of how immersive visualization could help the communication of design. What we were specifically looking for at Graven was a way to work more closely with our clients and give them the advantages of working in three dimensions. We wanted something with a very low barrier to entry, something that we could integrate into our everyday conversations with clients and that would help inform the design process. That’s when we started to talk about small VR. Having our designers working and thinking about designing in 3D is different than the processes we were using before. Once we started using BIM and then VR, it made total sense to keep everything in that 3D environment and use that to structure our thinking internally as well as our conversations with clients.  

How is Small VR actually used at Graven?
RH – We now use VR within several stages of a project from sharing and collaborating on ideas in-house to presenting ideas to clients and also for clarifying with contractors exactly what they need to build.


 

 

 

Using headsets works really well when people are remote and can experience a design from wherever they are. During larger, in-person meetings, we tend to put VR designs onto an iPad or on a big screen. That enables us to navigate quickly around environments and for everyone to view the same thing. It doesn’t rely on having 10 people sitting together with goggles up to their faces which might be a little weird. It’s also been of huge benefit to contractors as they can understand exactly what they’re building without the need to take entire teams through hundreds of drawings. We’re not just giving them technical specifications but showing them the intent, what the finished product is meant to look like. They can ask us questions and clarify anything they need to and there’s far less opportunity for confusion down the line.

Have you seen an ROI from your use of VR?
RH – It can be hard just trying to keep a track of how much time we spend on each project so finding clear metrics around ROI is difficult. Anecdotally, there are many benefits. We tend to get hurt most often on the back end of a project, past the design and development stage into the technical design stage. Even when you’ve done your utmost to ensure everything is signed off and clients are happy, with the best will in the world, it doesn’t always happen like that. The further down the line a change needs to happen, the more expensive that is.

ST – People find it very hard to understand drawings and everybody’s been in situations where they walk into a building once it’s finished and it doesn’t look like they imagined – the ceiling’s a little lower than they thought, the view is slightly different. VR helps prove sight lines and a sequence of spaces. It’s absolutely the best way to do it. It cuts down on bad communication and gives clients a greater opportunity to understand the impact of a design proposal. Everyone wants to know what it’s going to look like from where they sit and being able to offer them that at an early stage through VR is incredibly useful. With less changes needed on the back end, the overall time spent is reduced and we can spend more time on the ‘clever stuff’. We see VR actually making architects better value by the fact that they can spend more time on areas that add value to a client rather than on low-value stuff like going back to fix issues late in the process.  

Did you look into BIG VR as an option for Graven?
RH – We didn’t. Firms that have invested heavily in visualization tech can obviously support the creation of full, immersive environments at a very high level. For us, that’s not sensible. Graven offers its clients a great deal of expertise in the front end i.e. design and development, strategic direction, etc. What we, therefore, need most are tools that help us excel in those first few, key stages of the process. Small VR is certainly what supports us best in that mission.

Is VR changing the way your designers work?
RH – It certainly helps us get the best out of the minds of our creative teams and allows this to be clearly fed into the minds of our clients. In terms of conceptualizing a new environment in three dimensions, good designers will already be doing this. What VR does is it helps them get it out of their head and effectively communicate it to the person who’s going to pay for it or going to build it.

What has been the client response to VR? Is it a differentiator for the firm?
RH – What was surprising was that when we started to hand clients a simple Google cardboard viewer and ask them to look at even a basic visualization in three dimensions, it had a massive impact. People are amazed and it’s surprising that more people aren’t doing it. For us, it’s very quickly become a key part of our process. Within our company culture, we expect our designers to think of this just like they would taking a pencil out and drawing a sketch. It’s fully integrated, not an add-on or something we only bring in at the end. It’s not a marketing or sales gimmick either. It doesn’t cost us anything extra to build that into our process. It doesn’t cost the client anything extra to have a 3D VR model created. It’s incredibly simple and that’s why we like it so much. I think there’s going to be a big change in the next couple of years and ultimately everyone will work like this. It’s a game changer.


Try Small VR Yourself:
Special thanks to Graven images for chatting with Yulio this week. Check out their legendary designs at https://graven.co.uk/. We love sharing ideas about how to translate design vision into VR, bringing greater understanding to clients. Trying small VR for your firm can bring you ROI and improve your image as a technology leader. And you can have your first VR designs in minutes. Sign up for your free Yulio account today and discover how transformative and practical small VR can be.
0

VR
Why it works, what it can tell you and some ideas that worked.
The power of VR is increasingly being leveraged by creatives within entertainment, sales, design, education, and retail. With its unique potential to drive heightened customer experiences and track data from those experiences in rich detail, marketers are seeing the potential of deep customer engagement and exploring VR for marketing.


Why is VR important?
Adoption is on the rise.
There are already an estimated 43 million people using the technology and that figure is set to double next year and double again the following. That’s a pretty big audience you can’t ignore.

People who use it, tell others.
An estimated 81% of people who try VR tell their friends about it and 71% of Gen Z – the generation following millennials who make up the next wave of serious consumers – are interested in seeing what it can deliver and will grow up with corporate leaders working with VR for marketing.

It adds something special which people respond to.
Whether it’s immersive storytelling, communication of complex spatial design, the showcasing of products in curated environments or virtual, ‘in-the-seat’ experiences, VR brings a heightened platform for translating ideas into experiences that people are engaged by. In fact, 53% of people would prefer to buy from a company that uses VR over one that doesn’t.

A lot of serious organizations are getting involved.
30% of Forbes Global 2000 consumer-facing companies will experiment with augmented and virtual reality this year and many of those experiments will be with VR for marketing.

People are wired to respond.
VR has a power that goes beyond simply providing a cool experience. Humans are wired to have their behavior more directly influenced by virtual experiences as they appeal to three key areas of our brains responsible for our perceptions and reaction – neocortex (higher-level thinking), limbic system (emotion, behavior, motivation), and reptilian brain (primitive instincts). What this means is that content and experiences communicated through VR are experienced versus simply being seen and this triggers the parts of the brain that more clearly influence behavior, making VR for marketing a key way to influence decision making.


Some Recent VR for Marketing Wins
We’ve talked a lot about some very successful VR business ideas that have driven VR ROI (check out those ideas here and here) but one of the attributes that are specific to VR for marketing is the value of VR as a novel experience that generates hype and shared experiences around your brand. Some of the world’s biggest brands have been using VR successfully as a hype engine and a new way to engage customers:

McDonald’s
McDonald’s already gives out (probably) millions of cardboard boxes daily in their Happy Meal boxes. They’ve piloted using them to release their own version of Google Cardboard inside with a skiing game called Slope Stars, in partnership with a ski holiday company in Sweden. McDonald’s are masters of marketing and have found a way to add reusability, play value and hype to an existing program through VR.


 

TopShop
TopShop tied into London Fashion week and gave regular members of the public a front-row seat at their show with a 360 panoramic video stream. They made an exclusive event accessible to their customers – an example of when VR makes something too far away or exclusive suddenly accessible.


 

Volvo
The automotive industry generally has made great use of VR for marketing. They are working with products that have many permutations and are expensive to model, so it’s a logical fit. Volvo used a VR app to launch their XC90 SUV that puts you in the driver’s seat and lets you take a drive through the country.  The Volvo brand has struggled to seem modern and slick vs. some of their competitors and adopting VR may get new customer segments talking about them again.


 

Marriott
Marriott is all about getting people to stay in places far away from home. They created a VR experience that they called a “teleporter” that let you experience a Marriott hotel and a Hawaii beach. They took the experience further with wind machines and other 4D style immersions. And while no one would say it was the same as being there, the goal was to create a situation where customers could picture themselves on the vacation – and have a better sense of seeing and experiencing something before booking. This is an example of a true ‘try before you buy’ experience, and similar variations have been used by Carnival Cruises and Thomas Cook with ROI success.


 

Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola has always had a significant marketing push around the Christmas season – they tie their brand to warm feelings of family and friends gathering in the season. They helped invent the modern image of a cheerful, cartoony Santa Claus and have launched winter campaigns with polar bears that took on a life of their own. In 2016, they created a VR sleigh ride experience in Poland and let people tour a virtual world as if they were Santa. This VR experience was a way to tie Coca Cola’s heritage into new and modern media.


 

Using VR Data for Marketers
With this momentum growing within the use of VR in both consumer and business environments, marketers working with the best VR platforms are now able to access and leverage a new wealth of analytical data in order to better understand and market to their customers. Yulio developed its analytics platform based on allowing those in the A&D community to gain insights into, not only if their designs are being viewed, but when, where and how.


What are the practical applications for using this data?
Imagine the marketing department of a new housing development send out an email to its database featuring details of a newly designed building and including a VR experience in order for people to explore the proposed development as if it were already built. Whether the objective was to push early sales or simply continuing to build relationships with potential new clients, insight from VR analytics can be an immensely powerful tool. Instead of having to use guesswork on how to follow up, analytics lets marketers see precisely when a design has been viewed, where it was viewed and with which device. If a design is viewed via a desktop i.e. as a fishtank view, marketing teams can offer, or proactively send out, a company branded headset with a note suggesting they might like a little more immersive view. The time content is viewed also provides a great steer on when would likely work for a follow-up.


 

For organizations using VR designs as part of their social media marketing efforts or embedding them on web pages, analytics can be used to clearly show which are the most popular designs and which led to calls to action being followed. Testing for wide-scale preference in design can also be highly effective using VR analytics. Using an example of a new apartment building complex which offers varying finish combinations for kitchens and bathrooms, through tracking VR user data, insights can be gathered in which color or specification combinations are viewed most often but never led to purchases. This insight can enable organizations to tweak their offerings directly in line with viewer preferences and behavior. It also offers a deeper understanding of the customer journey, may uncover different regional preferences or the sticking points which people look at multiple times before buying something. Yulio is launching heat maps for marketers soon, which will let marketers see exactly where VR viewers spent most of their attention. The technology allows for a more accurate view of what really draws attention – in traditional desktop heat mapping, the data assumes that mouse location is a proxy for eyeballs…whereas, in VR, you can see an unambiguous map of a prospect’s eye patterns. The data could potentially be used to compare and contrast where buyers vs. non-buyers looked, what became sticking points and which elements that led to sales should be added to other product experiences.


 

VR can create compelling brand experiences, engage and influence better than other ad media and measure actual interaction to close the sales loop. So whether marketers are looking to create compelling content that drives action through appealing to our keenest receptors or to gain keen insight into when, where and how we engage with content, VR is the next big thing. Get VR integrated into your practice with help from our whitepaper, and try it yourself for free.
0

Business, Design, Technical, VR

In our many conversations with architects, designers, and real estate teams, we hear over and over again that many people (they estimate about 80%) aren’t very good at mentally translating design to real space. That inability leads to people being hesitant to sign off on design and to ask the professionals the same questions over and over again. All due to lack of confidence in visual translation. That lack of confidence has real consequences. Choosing to buy a new sweater online without trying it on can be fraught with disappointment. When it comes to imagining a proposed home renovation, the stakes are much higher. Making decisions around the spaces that we will live and work in have high stakes financially and emotionally,  and the inability to properly visualize a finished project can either paralyze a design process or worse, lead to disappointment when a project’s finished. It’s in situations like this that virtual reality significantly impacts people’s ability to translate and make decisions, as it has the power to immediately turn ‘the proposed’ into something that can be experienced as if it is real, removing the ambiguity of translation. But as we watch more and more A&D firms use the power of VR interior design to create a shared vision, we’ve seen some patterns in the things VR most clearly helps clients decide.

Seeing is … Understanding
A home renovation requires clients to mentally pull together space, functional elements in a room and colors and finishes, typically from drawings and swatches. VR’s immersive quality puts all these elements in one image. We recently created bathroom finish configurator which enabled a bathroom design to be viewed in VR and the multiple finishes, including tiles, wall colors, flooring, etc, to be changed at will to different combinations. Pulling all these elements into a VR interior design lets a client be immersed in design instead of holding up swatches against walls and squinting at them. What was particularly interesting to us when creating the initial VR interior design was that, while each combination looked great when we viewed them on our browser mode, fishtank VR, it was only when we ‘put them in a headset’ and viewed them in immersive VR that we saw the specific confines of the space and how particular combinations of finishes either improved or took away from the look and feel of the environment. Being inside the space gave a very different and incredibly useful perspective, and really made viewers appreciate the confines of design and the efficient ways the designer had used the space.



 

 

    Student Survey data from those using VR Interior Design  

 

In our office, we’re constantly talking about how important it is to put something in a headset. At Facebook, they say “put it on your face” but we all mean the same thing – you will see things in VR you just won’t in any other medium.

Putting it in a headset
While putting designs in a headset can help viewers see areas they wouldn’t be able to appreciate in the same way using other mediums, it also helps designers to design ‘in full’. Yulio recently ran a competition with young architects to design a new environment in VR and a few submissions came in without showing any floor or ceiling. These areas can often be overlooked as designers first move to VR. They are used to set a viewpoint into a vision and need to re-think VR interior design which gives the viewer greater power – and to look around a completed space. We recently carried out a survey with architecture students at Toronto’s Ryerson University who have become familiar with using Yulio’s VR technology after it was implemented as a key component of their educational program in 2016.  Flooring and ceiling finishes have a major effect on the light and shadow of a room and the vast majority of students felt that using VR has led to them having far more sensitivity to these elements of their designs, along with the sense of the scale of the space, and greater sensitivity to the materials used.


 

Having the ‘whole picture’ perspective through putting designs in a headset was felt to help them make decisions on which floor and ceiling treatments worked best within spaces they were creating.

Deciding to Buy
It’s not only within design where VR is helping people take the abstract and enable them to experience it as it would be in the real world. Within retail, VR can be used to help consumers see products outside of showrooms and removed from shelves and placed within curated environments that show them in action. Lowes has been using the VR interior design concept with their Holloroom that lets customers create an environment complete with all finishes and colors to experience it themselves.


 

While a virtual experience will never fully replace visceral ones, what VR is able to do is allow potential buyers of products, experiences, and design to get a truer sense of what they are purchasing. In all cases, it provides an immersive presentation that goes far beyond any printed brochure or 2D drawing To begin using the power of Yulio for VR interior design, sign up for a free account today, or learn more about how to implement VR into your practice with our whitepaper.
0

Business, Design, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

 

VR Education in the Next Generation
VR is intrinsically associated with the future. But what do you do when the future arrives? Or more specifically, when it’s applying for a job at your design firm. Job openings with the word “VR” in them have increased 4x since 2014 according to indeed.com and there are plenty of rumors about the tech giants hiring VR experts for undisclosed plans, from an increasing body of students with VR education.


Predicting Industry Trends with Students
But what about the practical, everyday version of VR used in business? Not the 3D coders and programmers, but those in the design, sales and marketing fields who are using VR as a new medium. There are a growing number of VR education classes and exhibits being put on by colleges and universities which recognize the role VR plays in business. And Yulio has been a partner of Ryerson University in Toronto for a few years – at Ryerson, architecture, and interior design students use Yulio as part of their core curriculum. Post-secondary institutions are a great place to see where the future is headed – with each generation lasting just four years, the career training trends make their way into the workforce fast. To understand where the industry is headed, look to its future practitioners and how they will approach design and problem-solving.

From the Mouths of A&D Students
Today we’re sharing what we’ve learned from students using Yulio about how they see the future of VR.We recently conducted a survey with a group of architectural design students who were exposed to VR education during the very first year of their program. We were interested to understand directly from the designer’s fingertips, what the next generation of architects found most useful about working with VR, where they saw its primary values and how they saw its future in their industry.

Students May Lead Adoption
Once familiar with the technology, the majority of students saw it as a logical part of the development and communication of their design work with over 80% saying they were (at least) very likely to use VR on future design projects and 100% believing it was likely other design students would want to use the technology. Their VR education will follow these students into the field.


 

The idea that the next generation of A&D professionals are championing the introduction of VR in firms they join after graduation was borne out in a recent conversation with 30-person architectural practice ALSC Architects based in Spokane, Washington. ALSC had been introduced to VR by its newest and youngest employee and was then adopted and implemented into company operations by its senior team. For them, the communication of project design iterations to clients via VR was found to inspire higher levels of client feedback and collaboration which it was felt led to the firm delivering better overall designs.

Refining design habits
77% of respondents believe A&D professionals will be very open to using VR in their workflows. It was felt that VR exercised an additional set of muscles, forcing designers to pay greater attention to the impact of floor and ceiling treatments which become a more integral part of a design when viewed in 360 degrees. Designers also felt that working in VR led to them having a greater sensitivity as to how light and shadows will play within an environment and generally inspired a closer attention to detail. Long established designers we talk to sometimes believe they don’t need VR to check or collaborate on their own work, and that it’s more of a client communication tool. But we’ve seen examples where designers have said that without VR, they simply wouldn’t have noticed an issue. Nvidia, for example (a California tech design company), was designing a new office space with plenty of skylights to take advantage of natural light. But when they looked at in VR, the resulting flow of light from above would clearly have been a problem for web developers experiencing glare on their computer monitors. They removed more than half of the skylights from the design before breaking ground – saving money on the install and a fix for the problem it would cause later on…all because of VR. That VR “check” represents a shift in design. While designers used to set a window onto a scene, control is now more with the viewer – the client who immediately looks up and sees a blank space where a ceiling treatment should be will be disappointed that designers didn’t fill in all the gaps. Consider ceilings, floors, lighting, and height when designing in VR. See this post for more of our tips on transitioning from 2D to VR – some of which came from seeing the common mistakes our student users made in their first designs, and which using VR in their practice is teaching them to avoid.

Creating shared vision
When asked how receptive they believed the general public would be to having design work communicated to them via VR 95% of respondents said they thought people would be very receptive. This sense of ending the “I just can’t see it” comment from clients is, unsurprisingly, one of the biggest drivers of VR adoption in the A&D space. Sharing a window into a design vision where the client can be immersed in the space helps firms communicate ideas and get faster revision and sign off, but also gives firms confidence that what they are building will match what their clients want. ALSC in Washington commented that using VR gives clients enough confidence to ask questions and feedback, and thus push the design concept further with better collaboration. A generation of students who are accustomed to sharing an unambiguous vision in VR will be entering the workforce and pushing the boundaries of VR client communication. Much like there have been generational shifts where the use of computers, the internet, smartphones, etc have become new norms in business, in almost every case, the survey responses indicate the next generation of architecture students are seeing VR not as a new or emerging technology but as an integral tool for their craft. Check out our infographic for more details on what our students uncovered with VR:



0

Business, How to, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

From the moment Yulio was founded, its mission has been making VR a practical and valuable tool for business. ‘Wowing’ people through immersing them in new and vivid experiences is all well and good but the pointy end of the stick for organizations is in engaging the attention of, and going on to do business with, new customers. This is every organization’s lifeblood.   So how can you achieve solid VR ROI?

Embed Experiences
Any VR experience you create in Yulio can be embedded directly into your website with a simple line of code provided by our platform. That means you can share VR experiences with any website visitor. They can view your VR images in a browser, without a VR headset in what we call ‘fish tank’ mode.   While this doesn’t deliver a fully immersive experience, it does let you engage website visitors with a visually interesting environment as they scroll through a page.  It’s also a great way for you to leverage the investment you’ve made in VR design to show off your tech prowess and drive VR ROI. At Smith CFI, a workplace design firm, they share the VR experience they created with 360 photography on their site to drive interest in visiting the design studio they picture. And below the experience, they also call out their VR design experience.


 

  You’ve probably seen this in action on realtor sites as well. Realtors can go beyond showing 2D images of new properties and offer site visitors a far more engaging view which they can control themselves.


 

Beyond just providing a novel experience, savvy marketers can choose to add a call to action like ‘Want to view this in VR? We’ll send you a headset.” With bulk orders of branded plastic or cardboard headsets costing as little as a few dollars each, capturing contact details in this way and generating a new lead for the marketing and sales team to follow up with is a great value. Sharing your VR designs on websites or on social media help amortize your investment and drive VR ROI.

Spark Interest
For now, there’s still a novelty around VR experiences which makes them engaging. And while your business may not lend itself to the heart-pounding effect of an Audi test drive around a virtual Nurburgring, the ability to place people in the heart of a new environment and give them the freedom to experience it as they choose is compelling enough to help you grab viewer attention and drive VR ROI. This sense of novelty can be used to capture leads in different ways including:

Learn how we did it!
Architectural or interior design firms can make great use of this through showcasing their designs in VR and offering to share insights into their designer’s vision and/or secrets of their projects and processes with those who sign up to a webinar, newsletter or whitepaper. You can even showcase audio commentary from the designer embedded to provide teaser content when using Yulio’s audio hotspots. Just add a call to action asking people to contact you to find out more about your design vision.


 

Offer Reassurance
We’ve discussed previously VR’s ability to give people access to environments that are remote or that don’t yet exist and this can be used to great effect by conference and events producers to drive registration for future events. Conferences can be an expensive undertaking – a company is being asked to part with tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs for sponsorship, securing of exhibition floor space, staff passes, accommodation, etc, for an event. So the ability to immerse the decision makers in a preview VR experience has the potential to make all the difference. VR can make the hypothetical real, right on our website. Offering a virtual tour created either from 3D designs or captured footage from previous shows, or both enables viewers to take a close look at event facilities and understand advertising opportunities. We’ve seen this in tourism instances as well. Thomas Cook, one of the world’s largest travel agencies, previewed tours of Manhattan to British clients and saw a 190% increase in bookings from VR ROI. Carnival cruises have tried this too – they can sell cabin upgrades more easily when prospects can “feel” the difference. Creating VR experiences are a significant investment and leveraging them across your website and social media as lead generation tools will improve your VR ROI.



Show Off
Product demos are also potential for VR ROI. On the consumer side, we’ve seen companies like Audi and Lexus take the plunge to VR in their showrooms, but expanding this kind of experience to show on a website can make it a lead driver.


 

 
Stand Out
VR is also powerful for in-person sales. Arming your sales team with VR content and simple, portable headsets like the Cardboard or Homido can give them a chance to stand out. SiriusDecisions reports that 70% of the buying process in a complex sale is already complete before prospects are willing to engage with a live salesperson. That means your team has a limited window to make an impact.  VR lets your salespeople tell a new story that buyers may not have uncovered in their own research, and start forging emotional connections faster.

Use VR Intelligence
Much like marketers have poured over website data like Google analytics data, Yulio VR can deliver its own detailed analytics that can be leveraged by marketers to drive new leads. Yulio’s platform has been designed to capture data on how, when and where people are engaging with individual VR experiences. How can this be used? Think of a situation whereby a VR experience has been created by an interior design firm to demonstrate its best work. This is then sent via an email blast to a handpicked group of developers who would make ideal new clients. By studying the VR analytics, marketers are able to get real-time insight on when the design is being viewed, how i.e. fish tank, Oculus headset, mobile, etc, and where it is being viewed from.


 

Through combining these insights, marketers are able to build a clear picture of not only the effectiveness of their actions but also take steps to engage further with those who have opened and viewed the design. As an example, if a design has been experienced with only a fish tank view, a cardboard headset can be offered to have sent as a gesture to deliver an even better experience.


Integrating VR into business practices can deliver a particularly compelling combination of experiences – those that are both novel and practical. By experimenting with different applications, tracking results and adding intelligent and strategic calls to action, VR can very quickly go beyond being a novelty and be a key tool for driving business. To find out more about adding VR to your business, download our whitepaper which outlines the best implementations to drive VR ROI. And when you’re ready to try your own VR design, sign up for Yulio Free – get access to everything you need to create a VR experience. The program never expires, and you don’t need a credit card to sign up.
0

Architecture, Business, How to, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

From the moment Mark Zuckerberg handed over $2billion for Oculus Rift, the starting gun sounded for the latest trip around the VR hype cycle. VR is not a new technology. The earliest incarnations have been traced all the way back to around 1860 in the form of panoramic paintings. By 1930, the first flight simulator using a version of the technology was sold to the US military to improve pilot skills. The first head mounted display was developed in 1960, first VR goggles hit the shelves in 1987,  Lawnmower Man was released in 1992, and in 1995, Nintendo Virtual Boy. It’s a list that illustrates just how long we’ve been flirting with the emergence of virtual reality and waiting for it plant some roots, to move beyond VR hype and become part of our lives. In its most recent incarnations, both in hardware and software, VR has undoubtedly taken a major leap beyond anything that’s gone before. This momentum is due to several of the undisputed heavyweights of technology and innovation, Google, Facebook and Samsung throwing their weight behind it. From the newest, top-of-the-line headsets, which offer flawless visuals and precision motion capture, to $15 headsets such as Google cardboard which open the virtual field to anyone with a smartphone, VR has never been more accessible or its hype more pronounced.

So why does VR not yet touch the lives of every person, every day?  
Doubts about the viability of VR to be part of the consumer mainstream are based on lagging headset sales vs. projections. Data Analysts SuperData predicted more than 2.5M PlayStation VR sales, 600K Oculus Rift sales. But 2016 sales fell short:


 

There was so much VR hype 18 months ago from electronics manufacturers and retailers alike that anything less than ubiquitous headset ownership seems like a failure. But there are some extremely logical reasons for that which we’ll outline below. But bear in mind, almost none of these barriers have an impact on business use cases, where consumers or clients may use VR occasionally, and for very specific jobs. Beyond the gaming chair, VR has practical uses in healthcare, retail, architecture, design, real estate and manufacturing. Equating consumer disillusionment to a failure of the VR medium is a shortsighted error for businesses. Businesses who fail to spot the trend and the jobs they can accomplish with VR storytelling may be left behind if they only look at consumer disillusionment. The consumer barriers to VR are pretty easily overcome by businesses, and explain why the use cases may diverge.

Cost
43% of people surveyed by Thrive Analytics cited expense as the key barrier. There’s no doubt that with A-list headsets such as the Oculus Rift, starting at $5-600 (which is about $100 less than the original cost – there was a price drop as of May 2017) – before you buy and set up the high-powered computer necessary to run them – jumping into the top end of the VR market is not for the faint-hearted and is expensive enough to challenge even the most indulgent of impulse buyers. For an emerging technology that is looking to prove itself and hasn’t yet earned its place among consumer ‘must haves’, the price is undoubtedly playing a role in maintaining VR’s position as a boutique technology. But for businesses, it makes a splash at trade shows and is increasingly a fixture in the offices of architects and designers and in retail experiences. The difference is that with a single headset, businesses can reach dozens of potential clients in the office or hundreds at a trade show. At potentially $2 per user at a tradeshow booth, and less each time the rig is used, the value is easier to find in a one to many scenarios than in a single consumer’s personal monetary outlay. There are, of course, cheaper alternatives. Samsung Gear and Noon VR  headsets cost around $100, and Homido Minis and Cardboards are $15. Each relies on a smartphone for its computing power and delivers different levels of immersive experience. They can be used by businesses or consumers and offer a solid VR experience.

Mobile headsets range from $15 to $100+ and let you in on vr hype for low investment


Comfort & Practicality
VR’s propensity to cause nausea – which we looked at in detail in a previous post remains a key concern for new users -14% of users surveyed by Thrive Analytics.  Through our own extensive user testing, we found that the ability to pop in and out of the headset reduces sickness significantly – those who may not want to wear a headset for hours of gameplay because they fear illness, will find they can glance at a business application for a few minutes with no issues. But there are other factors to comfort than nausea: Isolation Although tethered headsets offer the richest visual experience, some felt a discomfort with the blindfolding sensation of full immersion and having no access to real touch points to steady themselves. Again, when you’re wearing a headset to do a specific job, like review a color scheme in your new bathroom….this isn’t as much of an issue.

Using VR to select finish options in a condo bathroom moves beyond vr hype


Appearance
Some of those testing became self-conscious, not only imagine how they might look to those around them while wearing a large (and some would say ‘brick-like’) headset but also how the apparatus would affect their personal appearance, their hair, makeup, etc. This unease was felt by both male and female users. For our business users, we combat this by removing straps and facilitating in and out experiences, which we predict is the winning pattern for business VR. While acknowledging that these barriers remain an impediment to VR gaining its mass consumer foothold, at least in the short term, the technology is undoubtedly taking root in the enterprise.

Tailored VR Applications for Business
The current state of consumer vs. business VR demonstrates the different places they are at in the hype cycle. Early business adopters have moved past inflated expectations, have worked through some solutions that don’t fit and have moved on to the next phase, finding productive uses for VR storytelling and achieving ROI. It’s because, in business applications, specific combinations of VR hardware and software can be tailored to suit different environments and address areas users are concerned about. We remove the straps and ensure navigation is simple with no controllers in all our demos. These subtle changes help users avoid feeling self-conscious and avoid nausea. And are more appealing in an office setting than in buying a new headset at home and cutting the strap off. And businesses are typically putting their clients in VR for short periods to accomplish specific goals. Not trying to entice them to wear the rig for hours of recreation time. According to Animation1 (2015) prospects who virtually engage with content become personally attached to the offering within the first thirty seconds. That’s some serious speed to sale.

Business users of VR in a design presentation


Business Leaders Moving Beyond VR Hype
  • Yulio clients are experimenting with VR to make spaces that are too complex to model more realistic. They have virtually reinvented blank warehouse spaces to show realtors the possibilities. They have modeled massive parks and public spaces in new home developments, and they are experimenting with audio and other creative plans to make VR design come to life.


 

  • Transporting customers to alternate realities is a natural fit for travel and tourism. Thomas Cook locations in the UK previewed a Manhattan vacation. They saw a 190% increase in sales of that package with people who used the VR preview.


 

  • The auto industry is innovating in both design and sales. Ford has used Virtual Reality to test design elements and solve engineering problems, while Audi is putting buyers in VR cars and letting them have virtual driving experiences. Toyota provided a public service by creating a VR experience about the dangers of distracted driving. “In our experience, new technologies that allow consumers to interact with virtual vehicles actually enhance the in-person test drive,” Cooper Ericksen, VP-vehicle and marketing communications told AdAge. “Guests arrive at a test drive more informed about the vehicle. They know the questions they want to ask, creating a much more satisfying experience.”


 

  • Retail giants are creating in-store experiences that speed time to sale. Lowes has their Holoroom, a design experience that lets people preview their design choices in-store, and take them home to share. Lowes was one of the first to use the technology from Marxent, whose CMO Sonia Schecter told PWC that waiting for fully realized ROI models can get you left behind in business: “The other edge of that sword for retailers and manufacturers is that if they wait to get started, they’ll be behind when a traditional ROI recipe does kick in. Emerging technologies are tricky that way.”


 

  • Charity:Water and other charitable foundations are starting to call VR ‘the empathy machine’ as it drives up their donation rates and amounts to be able to transport a donor to a refugee camp, or see the promised future their donation can help create. The UN has a VR film called “Clouds over Sidra”, and the donation rate for viewers is double that of people who haven’t viewed the film.


 

So while VR hype continues to do battle with the real experiences of consumers, a growing number of businesses are finding that the technology is critical to creating an immersive product and design experiences. They are successfully applying VR technology to their operations and leveraging its unique capacity to engage, to educate, to communicate and to enthrall. To find out more about adding VR to your business, download our whitepaper which outlines the best implementations for ROI from VR.
0

PREVIOUS POSTSPage 1 of 3NO NEW POSTS