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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

VR is changing industries of all kinds, and it’s playing a major role in the transformation of the architecture and design industry. VR and architectural visualization are such a natural match when it comes to the need to create a shared vision, and the ability to immerse a client or prospect into what’s in the designer’s mind. Imagine being able, not just to show your clients the plans for the building, floor or remodel they’ve commissioned, but place them inside it. It’s a new world of presenting with VR to your client, which is critical to architects and firms trying to build trust and earn client buy-in.





 


Plainly put, presenting with VR is the simplest and most compelling way to share CAD models with anyone. It is the clearest way to present your design vision to clients, suppliers, contractors, engineers, prospects, and other designers. So what does that look like? If you’ve never given one before, giving an architectural presentation in VR can seem daunting. Change is hard. It’s hard to divert from something you’ve done for so long, but rest assured, the way to ease into the technology is much simpler than you think!


When you use VR, make sure it has purpose

The simplest way to create a presentation that uses VR is to first determine what your purpose is. Make VR work for you and your objective, rather than try and shoehorn what it is your presenting into VR. That may sound obvious, but with shiny new technologies, there’s sometimes a temptation to let the technology do the heavy-lifting (anyone remember the slew of useless apps available in the mid-2000s?). VR highlights great design – but may do the same for bad design. So make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to share.



Start small!

Start small. Think of introducing VR into your presentation in a small way – until you’re more comfortable with using the technology for presentations.

For your first time presenting with VR, you may even wish to still bring your traditional renderings, whether they be on paper or a screen. Start small by presenting as you would normally. Don’t feel VR has to be the entire presentation. Begin with a simple few minutes immersed in VR, rather than making it the bulk. When starting out people sometimes make the error of assuming clients will be enamored with VR and spend a long time in its immersive detail. Our early adopter clients have discovered that this isn’t true – and it’s to their advantage. At Yulio we advocate a ‘pop-in and out’ experience, where you present a design element in VR and your client takes a look – then you put the technology aside and have a discussion. VR is a tool to foster great discussion, not a replacement for it. Using mobile VR makes this possible, as it requires virtually no set up or training to navigate and can be referenced several times during your presentation.

For the record, we also remove all the straps from our headsets at Yulio – which removes client fears of feeling foolish or nauseous trapped inside the technology and helps enable this idea of popping in and out.





 

Don’t let the technology do the talking

When you take your clients into VR, there’s a good chance they won’t have experienced it before, so let them revel in the novelty of it – how they can turn around and see what’s behind them.

But remember that it can be an isolating experience, so you’ll want to guide their gaze either with software tools in the VR presentation (like Yulio’s Collaborate feature) or with recorded voice if you’re not present (like our audio hotspot features). Another valuable way to create a social experience is to ensure the VR experience is also on a screen in the room so any participants not in the headset can see what’s going on.






Your client may be more vocal about their opinion, and that’s ok!

While you’re walking your client through the VR experience, it’s likely you’ll start to see the benefits of presenting with VR early on. One key indicator is that you may get immediate feedback about the project you’re presenting. Your client may have opinions on the spot about what you’re presenting. Early adopter firms have told us they find clients have much more to say when they’re presented with VR designs vs. other formats, primarily because they have a greater understanding of where they are in your design, and its size and scale. They also report clients having a greater emotional attachment.


For more on this, see our case study with Diamond Schmitt architects and what happened when they started presenting with VR.


Be patient, and let the meeting happen naturally

After you’ve presented in VR a few times, you’ll also likely start to form your own pattern for which questions to ask. Will you let them roam around the space a bit? In our experience, the best presentations are those where you comfortable enough to let your time together roll out organically. They may want more time in VR than you’ve expected, and that’s ok. What’s exciting is that you will have a greater context to the feedback, understanding what your client was looking at when they expressed dislike for ‘that blue thing’ or wondered if the space felt “too big”.


Be prepared at the time to take notes for revisions to address. VR accelerates the decision-making process because people can react to it on the spot. You may no longer have to wait until the next meeting or email to move a design story forward.



With these tips, you can feel confident taking the steps towards presenting with VR. Just remember, like learning or using anything new, getting warmed up to it might take some time, and rehearsal and backups will make you better. Just know that you’re taking the necessary steps towards the future of design, and that’s an exciting step to take! So be proud of the progress you’ve had so far, and get excited about the work you’ll do in the future with the many possibilities that presenting with VR has.





Interested in VR? Sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to learn about the VR industry, or join us for a free training webinar, hosted every other Thursday at 1 PM EST by our Client Success Manager, Dana Warren – Grab your seat here.

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

We are so excited and so proud to announce that our app, the Yulio Viewer, is the first Business VR Viewer app to be released in the Oculus Go Store as of yesterday afternoon (May 9, 2018)!


The very much anticipated Oculus Go headset (OGO) hit the shelves on May 1st, and you better believe that we jumped at the opportunity to get our hands on it!


Not only is the OGO the first stand-alone headset to hit the market (ever!), but this is a HUGE step towards democratizing VR – in fact, this headsets launch is being sprouted as the first true consumer-focused VR system – and for good reasons. This headset is the best option on the market for anyone that wants to start exploring mobile VR without relying on your smartphone. There’s no phone required, no awkwardly fitting your phone inside the goggles and hoping it’s secure, no worrying about the headset draining your phone’s battery, no cables to entangle you. Just…..go. It’s that easy.



The release of this headset means that the barriers that were causing friction with mobile VR in the past – are virtually gone!


OGO embodies everything that Yulio has been built from the ground up to support, which is Fast VR. Having the ability to be mobile, simple, and affordable can transform how VR is used for your business. 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 and without obstacles to get you there. This completely self-contained headset will make it easy for anyone to preload their designs, then simply pop in-and-out for a seamless, stunning and compelling virtual reality presentation.





Are you one of the first to get an Oculus Go headset? You can download our app in the Oculus Go Store to start exploring your stunning VR designs here. Our app is also available in the App Store, Google Play and Samsung’s Oculus Store for Cardboard and Gear VR. And if you haven’t already, hop on the train to experience Fast VR for yourself! Sign up for a free Yulio account to start impressing your clients.

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

If you follow the VR space at all, you’ve probably heard about Oculus Go VR – the much anticipated ‘all-in-one’ headset set to revolutionize mobile VR. No phone required, no awkwardly fitting your phone inside the goggles and hoping it’s secure, no cables to entangle you. Just…..go.


And that’s the intended magic of VR, isn’t it? Put on this headset and go anywhere. The Oculus Go is started being available to order  May 1 2018, (many of us at Yulio just bought one) so probably in our hands and hitting retailers soon for about  $200. That’s pretty exciting when you consider that a Gear VR from Samsung, the current best in class mobile experience is around $100 but requires a high-end smartphone to make the magic happen.


There have been plenty of articles discussing the consumer benefits but what about the benefits for those who can see immediate ROI? Let’s look at the four reasons why Oculus Go VR  is going to be the key to making your business a VR success.




You get the emotional connection of VR without all the hassle of preloading

VR’s power to forge emotional connections has always been why it is so interesting. The problem to date has been that it sometimes gets lost in cumbersome technology – what I would call ‘friction’. In the past several years of experimenting with VR technology, and more than 1000 hours of user testing, we’ve seen small things like an unwillingness to mess up hair and makeup with headsets, concern about looking foolish and concern about feeling nauseous all limit VR’s reach. And we’ve seen the current multi-step process –  download an app, put content on your phone, put the phone in a headset – impede business adoption.




The headset is powerful enough to stand on its own (and not draining your own phone battery)

The ‘smartphone as engine’ model has some inherent problems in current mobile VR that Oculus Go VR takes care of nicely. Right now, if your sales team is using VR in the field with their own phones, the experience can be interrupted by incoming calls or text alerts. And if their phone battery is at low because of this morning’s conference call, is an interior designer going to risk using it in VR at a client presentation? Standalone, purpose-built devices not only take away the friction of loading the right app and getting it going before placing it in a headset, but also take care of these small but very real inconveniences.




It makes fast VR, even faster –  and more personal

For VR to be a practical, everyday tool, I maintain that it has to be fast. It’s a tool to facilitate discussion, and I advocate a ‘pop in and out’ experience. Look inside the headset at a design problem or issue to be resolved with your client or prospect, and then have a discussion. Oculus Go is going to contribute to that ‘fast VR’ use case that I think is critical to business-ready VR. Simpler, pre-loaded VR experiences on the headset make the designer, marketer or even retailer the narrator of a story, and not someone facilitating technology like phones and apps. It helps you get into VR faster, and I’ve seen, many times, how transformative that is. It’s the difference between seeing something and being immersed inside it.



You don’t need to blow the rest of your pay cheque on the device that powers your headset

Another obstacle to business VR is perceived cost. You’ll see articles all the time explaining that the Gear VR or the Google Daydream is just $100. But they need phones which are $550+ to power them. As a business owner trying to arm salespeople with VR portfolios or installing these devices in retail environments, there’s a lot of risk for breakage, damage, and loss. But with Oculus GO VR, marketers and sales manager will be able to get 3-4 devices for the same budget.




It’s a cornerstone of our approach to VR for business that the technology should never be a burden to a business user. You should be able to use the tools and processes you’re already using to bring your story into the VR medium. Oculus GO VR is another step toward making that seamless and has the potential to propel VR storytelling for business in late 2018.





Interested in learning about virtual reality? Sign up for our FREE 5-day email course, or sign up for a free Yulio account and take part in our free bi-weekly training webinars where we can walk you through getting started with your account to set you up for success!

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

Have you ever drafted a design, presented it to a client, and had them tell you that they’re “just not seeing it”?




The design process can be daunting for many due to the many variables and project details that get conflated early in the design process. To clarify those, designers spend time and money trying to draft better visualizations of designs for clients to remove their worries and frustrations. The longer it takes to represent a design to a client and have a mutual understanding, the more time and money that is spent before the next phase can even begin.


Isn’t there an easier way? With over 200,000 views of Yulio VREs for our clients, we’ve identified the 4 ways that VR for designers can simplify the design process.



(1) VR for designers allows for better client-designer communication
Having clear and effective communication between yourself and your client is essential during the design process. Many people struggle to imagine concepts without a real tangible experience to pair with it. In the past, the dominant mediums used to create visualizations included sketching, both on paper and a computer-generated version, or a small-scale replica. These options, although previously effective in most cases, lack a real sense of scale, and are prone to misinterpretations which could lead to a longer design process for the project which is not time or cost efficient.

You can get on the same page with VR because it removes all ambiguity.  With virtual reality, you can show your design in true scale and detail directly to your client, which will leave no room for confusion. It’s a greater alignment of what you meant when you said “light and airy” and what the client thought that meant than still images or other tools. It helps give clients greater confidence that they understand your vision and helps them move to the next phase of decision making.





(2) The client will connect more with your design

Studies have shown that VR can deliver a 27% higher emotional engagement and 34% longer engagement than 2D content, so, by virtually transporting your client into your design, they will have a better sense of presence within the space and a stronger emotional response to the design. A study from Google Zoo also noted that “for study participants with busy personal or professional lives, [being in VR] offered a sensory-rich space to experience solitude and connect with a specific set of emotions.”


In addition, the stronger emotional connection that the client has with the design can also allow the designer to gauge the client’s reactions and feedback better than without the immersive experience. So the designer will have a sense of how satisfied the client is with the design right from the get-go through VR for designers.




(3) You’ll get immediate quality feedback

Clients will often want to see the end-product, meaning that they want to see as much detail as possible packed into the design so they can get an idea of what they’ll be receiving post-construction.


Although sketching, CAD programs, and small-scale models all show examples of the end-product, they’re limited because the client cannot picture the design details in a unified space and with actual scale for the project. VR creates a 1:1 scale representation of the clients investment, making it much simpler for them to provide genuine feedback right upon viewing. This leads to less reworking of the design drafts as well as less back and forth between the client and the designer.


In addition, following our last point, because the client will also be more emotionally engaged with the design, you will receive more honest and immediate feedback on what they love or hate, and what they want/need to be improved before continuing to the next phase of the project.



(4) Overall, it’s just more cost, time and ergonomically efficient

Previously, to be able to achieve the same, or similar effect of understanding for both parties, it would require a 1:1 scale replica build of the project – which is an extremely costly addition to a project (and just not logical depending on the project) – plus, if any changes needed to be made it would certainly lengthen this stage of the process. This option just doesn’t make sense to do in most cases anymore, especially when we have the practical technology ready to replace this practice.





Ok, let’s go over some facts. VR for designers:

  • Makes communication easy between both parties – If the client can see the exact design in real scale and detail, then they can discuss the design in more depth much easier than through other mediums.
  • Emotionally connects the client to the design more so than to something small-scale, 2D, or purely computer-generated – so feedback will be better and more meaningful towards the project
  • VR allows you to see exactly what is going to be built – VR representations show the client exactly what they’d be getting – there’s no room for misinterpretation, which leads to faster decision making (or a faster rework of the design for any alterations that need to be made).
  • VR is just straight up cooler than other mediums – Ok, we’re a little biased on this one – but you know what we mean… technology excites clients. In fact, 53% of people would prefer to buy from a company that uses VR over one that doesn’t.


VR for designers can save clients and artists a lot of back and forth, which can add up to be a lot of time (and money!) depending on the scale of the project. Designers that use VR from the get-go can test and weigh different options and design details while they’re developing the whole project while also being able to relay designs to their clients much sooner than conventional practices.




Ready to learn more about VR for designers? Check out our Whitepaper on the right way to integrate VR into your business for maximum ROI. And, if you’re ready to test out the problem-solving capabilities of VR, sign up for a free Yulio account.

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Architecture, Business, Design, Resource, User Guide, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

People are naturally resistant to change not only because of the discomfort but also because of legitimate fears about losing efficiency. When deadlines are pressing, people don’t want to take additional time to try new software or build render time into their workflow.  


With a little education, you can overcome this hesitation and lead VR adoption for your business. Take a look at some of the key insights from our Client Success Manager, Dana Warren (DW), as she discusses working with VR. We’ll help you learn how to adopt the technology to wow your clients and feel confident in every client interaction.




What do you think are the biggest hesitations people have when they start working with virtual reality?

DW – The biggest hurdle I find users have trouble with is figuring out how they want to adopt VR into their workflow. Designing in a CAD program is already time-consuming, so they feel like adding a new step to the workflow is daunting; but it honestly comes down to the rendering stage. You can render VR-compatible scenes with our CAD plugins, which means all you’ll need to do is upload your files to Yulio and click ‘View in VR’ to send them to the Yulio Viewer app on your phone.


New technology can seem intimidating, but Yulio was designed to be used by anyone. Things like our CAD plugins and authoring within Yulio may seem complicated, but we can assure you that the workflow process for you is not changing much, and anything you’re unfamiliar with is a small learning curve in the scheme of things. We’re here to make sure you have success with your clients so anything you run into we can help you overcome.



What are the most common questions you get from users who are just starting out?

DW –The main question I get is surrounding where the VR content comes from. Once users sign-up, they find that they’re inside our interface, but they aren’t sure how to get started working with VR as they may not know how to create content.

Here is where our CAD plugins come in. If you install the plugin that matches the CAD program in your workflow, you can make any 3D CAD design into a VR design. Click on the Yulio plugin button in your CAD program, and once the project is done rendering, you can upload the cubemap file to Yulio, and there you go – a virtual reality experience you can share with your clients. You can start working with VR in this way in minutes.


We also get a lot of inquiries from new users asking about what kind of headset they should use or buy. When people think about VR, they picture tethered VR, which isn’t as easy to use in business – you have to have someone on site for every meeting, you have to watch for safety and clients have a greater chance of experiencing nausea.

Yulio focuses solely on a mobile virtual reality experience because of the simplicity, mobility, and how intuitive it is for all kinds of users. We typically recommend the Samsung Gear VR (about $100 and widely available on Amazon) for a higher-end mobile experience, or there’s also the Homido mini or Google Cardboard which still provide great viewing experiences, but with a smaller price tag of $10-$15.  


Another common question we get is around how to share a virtual reality project with clients or coworkers. This is where Yulio shines – it’s all about making you look good in front of your clients, and is a simple presentation tool for working with VR. Yulio has two ways of sharing; link, and embed.

If you want to privately share your VR project, then sharing a link would be the way to go. Every VR project has a unique URL associated with it, and you have the freedom to share this link with the audience of your choosing. If you and your clients know how to work with a URL, it’s just the same.

You can also embed any VR experience on your website – you can find the embed code for your website under the sharing link, but just like a video or other resources, you just use the code to add to the site.




What’s the best way for new users to start working with VR?

DW – If I could recommend one thing it would be to just dive in. Give yourself an hour or so and just explore the features and functions, maybe read through some our resources – once you spend time learning the technology, I can promise you that you’re going to become an expert. And that one-hour investment is going to do amazing things for your business – VR adopters find they:


  • Are perceived as leaders in their industry for having adopted new technology
  • Have better, more engaging conversations with clients who better understand their design presentations
  • Get to decision making faster, with fewer meetings since VR brings clarity
  • Have fewer late-stage changes as their clients are in sync with the design from the beginning


Some resources we have on-hand include, ‘‘how-to” video walkthroughs on our Youtube channel, we have our knowledge base and FAQ’s to answer some of your questions, a live chat on our website which I answer within hours, so if you can’t find an answer you can definitely reach out to me there.


Finally, we just started hosting weekly training webinars to introduce new users to Yulio, and help you with getting started with virtual reality. Grab a spot any week, here.




Do you have any tips or tricks for users who are just starting to use VR?

DW – Some tips that I find helpful and useful when working with VR are:


  • In your CAD program, set the camera height to 5’6” – This is the average height of people in North America. It’ll give you a good perspective height when you’re viewing the VR project. And think about the camera position your client will see at the start of the experience – you don’t want them facing a blank wall, so you have to consider that starting spot
  • Depending on the headset that you’re using, VR can be isolating; which is why we remove head straps on our headsets. This makes it easier to pop in and out of virtual reality to keep the discussion with clients flowing.
  • Next, really think about what you’re designing for. When you’re designing for virtual reality, you have to keep in mind that the user can look all around them as opposed to in one single direction. So remember to design for above, behind, and below your client as well as key areas that you want to showcase.
  • Finally, think about the story you’re trying to tell, and how you can get that across with features like audio and navigational hotspots. You want to paint more than just a pretty picture, you want to captivate your client and truly allow them to see your vision come to life in front of their eyes.





A big thank you to Dana for sharing her knowledge and insights, and for providing so much ongoing support. She will be continuing to host our weekly training webinars for new users every Thursday at 1 pm EST. At these webinars, Dana will equip you with everything you need to know to start creating awesome VR presentations for your clients using Yulio.


She’ll take you through things like:


  • Business use-cases and real examples of VR projects from our clients,
  • How to create a VR project from rendering to authoring
  • Customizing and enhancing your VR project to be the best it can be
  • Go through CAD plugins within the actual programs themselves

On top of all of that, the webinar is completely live so you can feel free to stop and ask questions at every step of the process and she’ll do her best to address all of your comments, questions, and concerns.



If you’re interested in joining one of our weekly webinar training sessions, you can sign up here. Or if you want to give Yulio a try you can sign up here and get access to a Yulio account and test our all our features for free.

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Architecture, Business, Design, Resource, Technical, VR

Exploring new technology always means that there will be a whole new dictionary of terms to learn and breadth of knowledge to understand – especially a technology that can have such extensive uses like VR has.

But don’t fret! – fortunately, we’ve created a crash-course and compiled 20 of the major VR terms that you need to know to sound like a VR expert in a matter of minutes.



VRE

This term stands for “virtual reality experience”, which essentially is what a session in VR is called. This is something we use at Yulio a lot and it’s becoming more and more widely used for a single VR story or experience.


FPR

This stands for “fixed point render” which, for mobile VR, is what a single viewpoint is called. When you’re in VR and you’re looking around a space, you’re standing in a fixed point render. FPR means that you’re viewing a single render from a fixed location so you can look around in 3-degrees of head movement, but you cannot walk or change perspective outside of where you’re standing. In Yulio, you can add and link multiple FPRs inside one VRE. So your full VR experience can contain many FPR scenes.


Hotspot




Hotspots are a way to link multiple fixed point renders into a VR experience. Hotspots allow for: a better idea of size and scale, a way to navigate your virtual reality experience by simply looking and going, a way to see multiple design options, or perspectives. Adding hotspots in your virtual reality experience is a great way to make your designs more spatial and immersive in VR. In Yulio, you can adjust a hotspots size to create a feeling of depth and distance within a VRE.


Goggle-less Viewer or ‘fishbowl’



Allows users to view, click, and drag their line of vision directly from their browser without having to download an app or put on a headset. This type of viewing meant to preview the VR content without having to immerse yourself completely with a headset.



 

Presence

Presence is what VR expert content creators strive for when they immerse their clients. The goal for VR content is to have the viewer to feel as if they are actually present within the content as opposed to just wearing earphones and a headset. The idea of having ‘presence’ is really asking how immersed the viewer feels in VR – ideally, the viewer should feel present in the VR content based on the quality of the experience versus the experience in real life.


Haptics

Haptics refers to any sort of interaction and response through touch, or what users feel while they’re in VR. Haptics allow the user to feel more connected to the content they’re immersed in and can lead to a more memorable experience. An example of this in VR could be if the user is virtually traveling to a sunny or snowy destination. The user, although not literally experiencing warm sun or cold winds, can still experience the sensation through haptics.


HMD

HMD stands for, “head-mounted displays” – a vehicle for viewing VR that you wear on your head. HMD’s have screens that are in close proximity to the user’s eyes which allows them to immerse themselves by covering the entire field of vision. HMD’s range from headsets such as the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, or the more wired helmets that you may see in tethered VR like HTC Vive. Every headset varies in quality of the display, weight of the headset itself, and whether or not it is tethered, so if you’re considering investing in a head-mounted display, then make sure you know your options!


Interactive Virtual Reality

Interactive VR refers to a VR experience that is, well – interactive. This type of VR has components of storytelling which means that the user has more control in their environment and they can choose their own path within the experience  – similar to a ‘choose your own adventure’ story.


A good example of interactive VR is from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) – they released a ‘make your own decisions’ VR experience where you are a designated driver, and you need to make the appropriate decisions to be able to drive yourself and friends home safely, and based on your actions, determines the outcome of the night. This campaign was to raise awareness of making conscious safe decisions as a responsible adult at the bar.




Virtual Visits

Virtual visits refer to the total number of views or users who watch a VRE. Marketers looking to become VR experts will want to note this information because they can not only pinpoint who their users are and how large their audience is watching, but also what they respond to which includes what they look at more, and what may not be working during an early phase of marketing.


360 Video

360 viewing is similar to an app-less viewer or the ‘fishbowl’ experience in that the content can be viewed without needing a VR headset. Many social platforms, like YouTube support 360 video, which allows people to click and drag around the experience, or physically move their phone around them to see the scene as if they’re in VR.


4D Virtual Reality

4D VR refers to an elevated or heightened experience of VR. Many different kinds of marketing campaigns include a 4D element layered onto a VR experience so that the user can have a much more emotionally connected experience to the content being presented.

Samsung has done some great campaigns in the past which include a 4D components such as roller coasters, motorcycles and more.




 

Stereoscopic

This essentially means creating an image for each eye, from a slightly different perspective. It helps create the sense of depth in some realistic VR. When captured at slightly different angles, two photos or videos create a greater sense of depth within the scene. Not all VRE’s are stereoscopic, however, if you’re viewing from a mobile VR headset, they most likely are.






A mobile VR headset will split the image for you so you have a two-eye experience and can have the enhanced illusion of depth within the VRE.


Stitch

Stitching refers to the combination of multiple images or videos from multiple cameras to create one 360-degree experience. The idea is that from each device, the media can be ‘stitched’ together to create one unified design from which can be experienced in 360-degree viewing (from a browser or in VR). One issue that can arise from stitching is the evidence of the seams which show where one image or video stops and another begins (same idea as the seam of fabric – you can see where one fabric ends and another begins).


Head Tracking

Head tracking refers to the movement of VR content parallel to the movement of your head. The VR content should move at the same time and angle that you’re moving your head to mimic real sight and perspective within the VRE.


Eye Tracking

Similar to head tracking, eye tracking refers to how your sight is being tracked when looking within a VRE (as opposed to the position of your head).


Heatmaps

In marketing, eye tracking can be used for heatmaps, which notes where the user has looked and creates saturated paths and points to show where the most time and focus were directed to within the media. Heat mapping technology can 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.





 

Position Tracking

Position tracking refers to sensors that can determine where in a space you’re located and is used to continually track your movement to coordinate with your virtual movement within a VRE.

In tethered systems such as the HTC Vive, when in virtual reality, you can physically move your body and see the movement within the virtual space. Similarly, some VR headsets come with controllers that allow you to control your movement in the VR space, however in these, you’re not physically moving, but using your controller to dictate the movement. Position tracking is limited by the size of the room, and length of the cable (if using tethered VR).



FOV

FOV stands for “field of view”, and represents the range of vision of which the user can physically see. VR experiences, when wearing headsets such as the Samsung Gear VR, present the user with a field of view to the extent of their vision – reaching their peripheral vision which creates realistic immersion for the user. VR field of view does its best to mimic what the real human eye would see when looking at a space – so the higher field of view, the better (meaning, the further the user can see in a VRE without the content cutting to a black edge, the better immersion for the user).


Latency

Generally, latency refers to a glitch or lag between the VR content and what the real-life experience may be, which can deteriorate the VR experience for the user. An example could be if you’re immersed in video VR content, and the actions and dialogue of a character lags – here we would identify that there is poor latency because, in real-life, people’s actions don’t lag. Latency used to be a huge issue with VR back when it was initially being developed but isn’t a problem anymore.


Simulator Sickness

Simulator sickness, similar to motion sickness, refers to the nauseous feeling that users get when there is a disconnect between what they see and what their body feels. When these aspects aren’t parallel with one another, users can feel uneasy, dizzy, and even get nauseous. This isn’t something that happens all the time, and it doesn’t affect everyone – but this confusion between your brain and your body means that visual cues of movement that you see aren’t processing in your brain correctly which would allow you to avoid simulator sickness.



As more and more people explore VR as a medium, and more use-cases are discovered, this list of basic terms will grow – but for the meantime, this should help launch you on your journey to become a VR expert.




If you’re interested in learning some more of the basics to VR take our 5-day free VR course or try your hand in creating a VR experience for free with a Yulio account.

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

With over 3,500 prestige clients, Gensler Denver is an architecture and design powerhouse creating remarkably diverse spaces for companies of all sizes. Gensler Denver was one of the earlier adopters of VR for architecture, and they’ve been using it in their business for a few years now.


We sat down with Alex Garrison (AG) about the company’s move into virtual reality and the impact they’ve seen from the integration of VR in key areas of their design and build processes.



To start, how has your office been using VR? What has the reception (by clients or internally) been like?

AG –  We’ve been using VR for a few years now, primarily for 360-degree rendering and we share those with clients through Samsung Gear Headsets in the office.

Overall clients love it. It blends both seeing the design of their project with the novelty of being able to use a VR headset. We’ve had a very positive reaction and it’s certainly a real asset to our design process.    

Our design teams internally are also really enjoying using it. There’s always something new we discover for the first time when we put on the VR headset and start looking at the space that’s being designed. Overall, it’s been really positive.

 


                   

Can you describe a recent project where VR played a role in your design?

AG –  We’re working on a project at Eagle County Airport, where we’re adding a new waiting area to the existing terminal building. As part of this, we needed to develop everything from a structural concept to the look and feel, including materiality, lighting, and even how large the windows will be for the mountain view while passengers wait for their flight. The visual impact of these separate elements really stands out when we render and look at the design wearing the VR headset.   

For instance, in one case we had a couple of different structural ideas; one of them had large trusses that extended into the volume of the space and it felt cramped when we viewed it through a headset. Following that, we tried a concept without the deep trusses and the space felt big and voluminous. The fact that VR offered a compelling sense of scale allowed us to accelerate the design process.

 

 

Some other clients have told us that they believe VR helps their clients better picture space and scale – has that been true for you?

AG –  The scale is definitely what you get from VR and that’s what’s really hard to get in other mediums. You can do it in physical models a little bit, but VR offers a true scale.





In our education program, we see that size estimation is really hard to teach students, so that’s one of the biggest things design professors are using VR to do. As a designer who has been practicing architecture for some time, is it still useful in that way?

AG  –  Absolutely. As architects, we often rely on benchmarks, such as certain story-to-facade ratios or typical window heights because we know they have worked in the past. Now, on top of using benchmarks, VR can help us explore, experiment and push these thresholds to see what a triple-height space would feel like, for example. We’re able to simulate our experimentation, learn from it and hone in on the right solution more quickly.

 

 

Would you say it can potentially allow for quicker experimentation?

AG –  Yes, exactly. We’re then able to simulate that experimentation, learn from it and hone in on the right solution using VR.




Are there any projects in or around Denver that have benefitted from the use of VR for Architecture?

AG –  One, in particular, is called Giambrocco – a mixed-use project planned in Denver. Here, we have been using VR to explore the public realm that stitches together several buildings and different uses into a cohesive whole. The intent of these areas is to provide a space for building tenants and the public alike to meet for a coffee, grab lunch, shop or catch a show. Also envisioned is a rotating schedule of events either day or night. In order to give our clients a true idea of what an experience such as a community movie night would look and feel like, we’ve been rendering these in VR.                

We’ve also been doing a lot of interior VR rendering tenant fit-out for spaces and office building projects. All of this helps give clients a true sense of space before anything is built.

 




At Yulio, we believe VR is almost a translation of what’s in the designer’s head and allows them to put their ideas in front of people without any ambiguity – something that’s really appropriate in real estate spaces. Do you find it easier to communicate the ideas in this medium than most others?

AG –   VR has a lot more potential than a 2D print-out of a rendering, as we’re able to provide spatial awareness which you can’t always get from 2D. But what VR is still catching up on, is allowing us to entourage and layer on a vibe that you can get on a 2D rendering.





What do you believe people struggle with at the moment when viewing designs?

AG –  Probably the same things that’s always been true, in as much as our clients vary in their ability to read the drawings and renderings. Architects and designs often forget they’ve been training for years to understand and interpret the drawings and designs and so the struggle most people have is the fidelity of what we conceive of and what they perceive.

We’re often very focused on the current space and trying to get a lot of rendering of the building to tell a whole story the best we can – especially with pitches and earlier concepts. That way we can try to help clients understand. Sometimes though,  in the time allotted to pitch, for example, clients don’t fully perceive the design, compared to say, another design.





How has VR changed client presentations?

AG – VR certainly expedites the sense of scale and space as well as materialities, so with the airport design, we were able to move quickly and in a linear fashion to make decisions on what stone to use, for example.

VR will probably open up more doors where we’ll explore more and more things. It’s tough to say whether the impact is faster, but it certainly is compared to static rendering.





Those are some great uses of VR in later stage presentations. Has Gensler used VR in other phases of a project, like pitching?

AG –  Yes, we’ve used VR in pitches to good effect. This can take the form of sharing new designs or sharing our work portfolio depending on the ask. In either circumstance, VR can be immensely helpful during pitches because it can evoke such a sense of spatial realism. It’s exciting for clients to see design concepts come to life so quickly. There is also an aspect of novelty that makes VR exciting to clients, as they may not have seen or used it before.

So, when we show potential clients projects using this technology, they are excited and feel we’re exceeding their expectations. They see value in working with a firm that is using the latest technology to solve their challenges.

 




Do you think there’s an appreciation from the client’s side when you’re using new technology and experimenting with VR for Architecture?

AG –   VR definitely has a feeling of being on the cutting edge. As architects, VR is purely a tool, so we’ve been aware of it for some time. For our clients, however, it’s brand new. They may have seen it, or heard their kids talking about it, but not necessarily have used it. So, when we show them their projects using this technology, they are exciting and feel like we, the architects, are exceeding their expectations and using new technology to solve their problems.





Are you encountering a lot of people that have not tried it out yet?

AG –   Yes, we are. We use it with most of our clients, but when we get new clients that haven’t used it before, they definitely get excited about using it.





Do you find that with clients that have worked with VR before, that there’s a ‘been there done that’ sort of mentality? Or are they still engaged and excited?

AG –   Yes, I think there is that ‘been there, done that’ quality, but it’s probably just a general human thing. It’s not like they’re bored, they just won’t take as long looking around – they’ll pick up the headset to look at one thing to make a decision and then they’ll put it down. It becomes almost second nature, which is, of course, the goal. It’s certainly happened on projects where we’ve used it several times with clients.

It’s a tool, not a flashy trick. It’s a great way to explore design. Clients will simply pick it up just like they would a print-out.




You presented designs with Yulio at the Colorado Real Estate Journal show in Denver – why did you decide to bring VR to the trade show and what was the response like? 

AG  –  Gensler is all about new tools and exploring ways to increase our abilities to design, so Yulio is one of these companies that aims to create a seamless connection between what we do and what VR provides. As an office, particular Denver, we thought it’s a great opportunity to show people the potential of this at the trade show.

Typically, the environment of a trade show is so that you’re inundated by so many things, that people are usually a little guarded. Most interesting about Yulio being at that booth, was that we noticed that the Yulio content is a lot more simple. It relies on a lot less custom technology or special set up and instead, is a simple tool for conveying 360 renderings through screens, headsets – plus it’s all through the cloud. It was an interesting experience to see a technology that is effective.





From your perspective as a designer, what will make VR for Architecture a more robust tool?

AG –  Probably the most important thing is more seamlessness. There’s still a perception (and sometimes reality) that the technology is still experimental, so there still needs to be a lot of tinkering and hand-holding. As a result, it can feel more like an impediment to design.

The most important thing a design tool could have would be to be a natural extension of the designer, so it’s like a pencil in the hand. You almost forget it’s there and so focus purely on what you’re drawing. VR‘s exciting next step would, therefore, be to become seamlessly integrated into our workflow, where it’s basically an output. We don’t have to specially think of creating a rendering in 360, we just do it. Or, it’s real-time and interactive. It just exists. We can literally jump into it like the Matrix and plug into that model with clients.





What are your next steps with VR at Gensler?

AG  –  To further integrate and make the use of VR seamless. We want to use VR not just with the headsets, but also online and through computers.

In the long term, we want to start exploring technology that allows people from across our firm all around the world to interact with each other through the model and experience it all at once.

Simply put, we envisage two stages; Step 1: interface and interaction, Step 2: to take it to next level to make it more of an online visual experience.





What do you think VR really brings to the industry?

AG –   It’s literally adding another dimension to our design. VR is a new tool that adds the idea of scale that we haven’t had before. It’s another exciting tool that increases our power to conceptualize and iterate ahead of actually having to build something.

I’m really excited to see what VR will do and how it will impact design. There’s strong evidence that suggests new tools bring in different design sensibilities. With the use of more computer design, we say beautiful buildings with very intricate computer machine parts – Apple HQ is the epitome of this. VR is going to add a new dimension; I don’t know what that is yet, but it’ll be exciting to see where it goes with its ability to really ‘feel’ space before its built.





We’d like to thank Alex Garrison for taking the time to speak to us this week about his practice’s use of VR for architecture. Check out their unique designs at https://www.gensler.com/ .

We love hearing about how integrating VR into businesses has such a positive impact, not only on the design process as a whole but for the experience of the client and designer as well.




Trying VR in your firm can bring you ROI and allow you to become a technology leader. Want to learn more about VR for business? Check out our free 5-day course, or create a VR experience for free with a Yulio account.

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

VR has opened up new possibilities for several industries, but the hope it holds for architects and designers is staggering. And like any new technology, the people that use it most successfully will learn to design in VR, rather than simply translate more traditional methods to the new medium.


In 1936, when NBC broadcast the first television show in history, it consisted simply of a camera pointed at two individuals sitting at a table. It was essentially a camera pointing at two people doing a radio show – a medium where a winning pattern was well established. Broadcasters have since become experts in creating within and for the medium, having long ago abandoned attempting to translate a different medium for a television audience. VR presents similar challenges.



 


The same thing can be said about how web pages were originally designed. The earliest examples were essentially single-page PDFs that displayed text in a very basic template. Now, of course, websites are the primary storytelling medium for brands to communicate to their key audiences. Designers have learned how to use the medium to take viewers on a journey, and tell them a story.


So here we are again at the start of a new learning curve for a new medium. And it will take time, creativity and energy to uncover the extent of its experiential capabilities and to learn to design in VR.



 


Why should you learn to design in VR?

Goldman Sachs has estimated the VR industry will reach $80 billion by 2025. Specifically, learning to design and tell stories in VR is increasingly on the radar of the largest companies and organizations in the world like Audi, The North Face, UNICEF, and McDonald’s.

In architecture and design, there are already CAD programs that allow the designer to visualize in 2D and 3D renderings – but early adoption is key. Design in VR includes other considerations, such as sound, depth, and the potential for a deeper emotional connection to the content. It’s a medium that pushes beyond traditional image and video content to full immersion. And we’ve only just begun started discovering how it can be used. But how do you start to think and design in VR?




Step 1: Learn the medium

To really understand how to think in VR, you need to have experienced it yourself. If you’ve yet to, pick up a smartphone and a VR headset. There are plenty of budget-friendly options when it comes to hardware. Here is our overview of some options here!




Where do you look, what do you see?

After familiarizing yourself with the medium, you need to think about the perspective of your client when they enter the experience. Our own testing has revealed people tend to look up and to the right when they first go into the VRE (virtual reality experience). Then they look behind them. It’s a different pattern for most designers, who usually focus on certain design elements in one static point vs. the aesthetic of the whole space. Anticipate every head turn and angle, just as if you were presenting a finished product.


When immersed in VR, you’re not just observing a scene; you’re actively participating in it – and changing your actions based on what you want to look at or interact with at the moment.


Remember that design elements in VR come to life in a way they simply don’t in traditional renderings. The quality of your images determines the clarity of the design, which will help with client uncertainty when you’re presenting a design.


“Aspects, such as the structure, how it looks, what lighting layout[s] look like, what kind of wood we’re using and how reflective the type of stone will be are all elements that really pop out when we render in VR and look around the design wearing the VR headset.” 

– Alex Garrison, Gensler Denver





Step 2: VR is more than just visual

VR experiences are sensory-heavy, which means you approach every move while engaging with any senses being tapped into. This also means your client will learn they have full control over their respective experience and movement within the virtual space. Designers can use this to their advantage by accessing VR features like navigational and audio hotspots.


Navigational hotspots can be used to move around the space and see different angles and perspectives, or maybe move down a hallway into a new section of a project. They help your client have a sense of space and scale throughout your design.



 



Another use for navigational hotspots is to display alternate design options for a project, such as alternate color schemes, finishes, and furnishings. Hotspots allow your client to “try on” different styles by eliminating the need to purchase sample products to compare in the space – and thereby, accelerating design decisions.




 


Navigational hotspots are also used to show what a design could look like during different times of the day (day/night) or year (winter/summer). This can be useful for potential homebuyers if they feel uncertain about location or views from their home.


Audio hotspots are also used in VRE’s to deepen the immersive experience for users. Some common uses are for providing design rationale, adding a narrative element, or including ambient noise to enhance the VRE for your viewer.



 



Thinking outside of the (virtual) box

Mediums, like language, are something that needs to be learned. Think about how you learn a language. You aren’t truly fluent until you can speak in it without translating it into your head. VR is still a medium that hasn’t been explored much, and really, no one is truly fluent yet, which means that people are likely bound to find some new functionality or use-cases that VR is perfectly suited for.


Consider, for example, a company named VR Coaster. They work to combine virtual reality with roller coasters and other theme park rides to heighten the experience for riders. The VR technology works alongside the real force, drops, and airtime that you would already get from the ride, but with some VR twists to make it an experience of a lifetime.




 


So, when you’re creating a virtual reality experience and trying to think in VR, remember you’re not just designing elements to look at. You’re crafting an entire environment for your clients to live in for a few moments. There’s so much potential to designing in VR, and the world is just getting started.


To find out more about creating your own VR experiences, check out our free 5-day course, or create a VR experience for free with a Yulio account.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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:



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Business, Design, How to, Technical, Video, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
We talk a lot about VR allowing people to experience environments or realities that don’t yet exist. But with 360 photos for VR, virtual reality becomes more like a modern-day equivalent of Star Trek’s Scotty. Using the latest 360° cameras, VR can be used to ‘beam’ a viewer right into the heart of an existing location, in a fully immersive image.


 

There are several smart commercial applications for using photography visuals through VR, but before getting into the best of these, we’ll take a look at a few things to consider when capturing 360° photos for VR.

Camera basics
While we won’t get into naming names and choosing hardware favorites in this post, suffice to say, a great 360° camera will do exactly what its name suggests, offer 360 degrees of capture ideally with no need for additional image processing or manipulation to stitch footage together. Camera prices range from about $200 to thousands, but you should know there’s usually a pretty direct correlation between price and resolution. The higher the cost, the greater the resolution. But there’s another significant difference – some cameras shoot stereoscopic images, while many cheaper ones are monoscopic. Stereoscopic cameras: will typically be more expensive and less common. They essentially shoot a 3D rendering of your image for the left and right eye – and this is what amps up the VR effect in a VR headset.

 

Monoscopic cameras: are much more common. They create flat 360 degree images that can be viewed on a screen or in a VR headset, but they have more limited immersiveness and change the degree of depth perception. These are the images you’ll see on a YouTube 360 player.


 

Monoscopic cameras are sufficient for images being viewed mostly without a headset, and certainly for beginners. If you plan to use images often on your website, to promote your business or show off your design work, it’s worth investing in a camera where the software does all the heavy lifting to produce a fully spherical image and also make the process of editing and sharing captured footage quick and painless.

Positioning
The best position for the camera in any scene corresponds directly to where you would stand if you wanted to get the best view. Position the camera in the center of a scene so there is plenty to look at in every direction. Set it to the height of an average person (typically 5’7” in North America) so people don’t feel like they’re either floating or have come to the scene without their legs. Remember that 360° cameras capture everything, including adjustable arms on a tripod if they stick out too far. Popular alternatives to tripods for 360° shooting are light stands, as they have small fixture points and no levers to reach into the shot. You also need to ensure you personally don’t feature in any footage being captured, if you don’t want to be seen. Fortunately, most 360° cameras come with the ability to activate them remotely via a mobile app enabling you to find a good spot to disappear.

Some key use cases for 360 Photos for VR:
Remote viewing
The ability to immerse viewers in existing environments via VR is particularly effective where distance is an issue. For overseas real estate investors, the ability to remotely tour potential new property purchases is pretty powerful. Photo VR lets them experience actual room layouts, style, and specifications without going on lengthy and expensive long-distance trips. We contributed to an interesting piece for South China Morning Post on how this growing phenomenon is changing the overseas property buying market in China.

Portfolio demonstrations
By creating VR experiences from 2D designs, virtual reality has dramatically changed how the allure of an unbuilt property can be communicated to a potential buyer. In the same way, capturing 360° imagery of completed projects and allowing potential new clients to view these via VR is a great way to communicate your work. With entire virtual portfolios able to be held on a mobile device, having a lightweight viewer such as a Homido on hand means these types of immersive virtual presentations can also be done anywhere and at any time.  

Comparing Current to Future
Using a combination of 360° imagery and computer rendered designs, those in commercial real estate are now able to demonstrate the current and future look of commercial dwellings in parallel. Using 360 photos for VR, potential tenants or commercial buyers can remotely view properties in their current form. Combine this with a traditional CAD rendering of what could be, or a 360 photo of a similar completed space to help visually transform the space.  



Beyond these few, there are numerous other use cases where 360° imagery used within VR is offering marketers, educators and sales teams unique ways of engaging and informing audiences. From virtual retail stores to virtual training and virtual tourism, the ability to immerse people in real environments that are either too remote, sensitive or dangerous to be easily experienced in person, is having a growing impact on businesses … and it’s only just getting started. Already have a 360 camera? You can upload your shot to a free yulio account and see how it translates to VR at any time. Check out our no strings attached, free account option and you can have your first VR experience running in minutes.
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Business, Design, Technical, Video, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

VR has a – rightly deserved – reputation for causing some users to experience nausea. It is even the namesake of a new form of “motion” sickness – VR sickness. The experience is one a lot like sea or car sickness; cold sweats, clammy hands, headaches and, for some, a quick ‘reach for the trash can’. There are various theories about what part of the eye/brain/motion mismatch causes VR sickness and we’ll look at that in this post. But no matter the cause, you should be aware of how nausea (or the fear of it) may impact your clients’ willingness to don a headset when you share VR experiences. And how to solve the issue.  

So what is actually happening?
Virtual reality-induced nausea didn’t enter the fray with the first Oculus Rift. It’s been around since the first astronauts, airline pilots and test drivers began honing their skills in virtual environments. In fact, it used to be called ‘simulator sickness’. It’s caused by a sensory mismatch between the vestibular (the balancing system in your inner ear), the visual (what you are seeing) and/or the kinesthetic (your physical movement).

the vestibular system affect on vr sickness


During a VR experience, a user’s eyes might be transmitting signals to the brain that it’s test driving a new Audi on the Nurburgring. But signals from the inner ear are recording no matching movement and this sensory conflict can trigger illness. According to some experts, this impulse to be sick is brought on by a self-preservation reflex. Mismatched sensory signals make the brain think a poison has been ingested by the body and it acts to get it out. But that’s just a theory. VR-related nausea won’t affect everyone. Based on those who experience motion sickness on boats, planes or in cars, estimates say it will affect around 25% of people. Women are also said to suffer more than men with motion sickness in general. Factors for this include postural sway, whereby women’s smaller bodies may mean they sway more when standing or sitting still, and women typically have a heightened sense of detection when it comes to sensory conflicts.  

How to combat VR Sickness
Anecdotally, regular VR users say they acclimatize quickly and symptoms subside naturally. That’s certainly true in our office, where the team members who have been working with VR for years are surprised when newbies mention VR sickness concerns. But that won’t help your client in their first VR experience. Technology can be part of the solution. To reduce the subtle latencies between what is being seen and what movement is being physically experienced, headsets from companies such as Oculus, HTC, and PlayStation VR all now work with refresh rates of 90 frames per second. This ensures minimal lag and cuts down on numbers experiencing negative symptoms. Mobile headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google Cardboard use smartphones to project the images, so the graphics aren’t as sophisticated as tethered experiences. However, since mobile VR tracks only head movement and not full body motion, the effects of VR motion sickness are typically less. The incongruity between what’s been seen and experienced physically is smaller, which reduces the risk.

Getting around the VR motion sickness problem played a part in our decision to concentrate first on mobile as a method of delivering VR for business applications. The flexibility of mobile lends means it can be used in any setting, including places your viewers feel comfortable. And at Yulio we remove the straps from all of our headsets to enable ‘popping in and out’ of experiences. Communicating new architectural or interior designs doesn’t require prolonged periods of full immersion. In our experience, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in a design as they choose but then easily ‘pop out’, reorienting themselves, leads to drastic reductions in cases of nausea and ensures the experience is both comfortable and effective. When business users can raise the headset to view a window on your designs but know they can immediately remove it if needed, it helps resolve concerns about feeling ill and trapped.



strapless headsets can reduce vr sickness for business meeting users


With many different subtle factors leading to people experiencing vr motion sickness, there’s no one miracle cure. A quickly growing base of both entertainment and enterprise users, have meant, however, that technologies used to create, record and view virtual reality content are all being steadily improved with the issue squarely in mind.   Thinking about a headset for your business? Check out our guide to headsets, view a VR experience with the designs in our showcase or create your own in minutes with a free Yulio account.
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Business, Design, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
In the early days of television, it would be fair to say there was a ‘breaking in period’. It took broadcasters some time to get to grips with the new medium. In fairness, they and their listeners were used to news, information and entertainment primarily being delivered to their ears via a radio and therefore, with little appreciation for the context of a visual medium, the earliest shows consisted of little more than a camera being pointed at a radio presenter. Similarly, VR is the new and compelling game in town with the power to entertain, to communicate and to tell visual stories in an entirely different, multi-dimensional way. Creating strong content for this new medium inherently comes with the same challenges – how to effectively use all the various tools that VR offers in the right way and at the right time, to create the most engaging and immersive experiences possible while still giving users plenty of information. Long held design habits, honed through work within multiple different formats can be tough to shake and so, based on the findings from over a thousand hours of user testing we’ve carried out, we’ve put together a few things to consider that we think will help when trying to use text, audio and video in VR without interrupting the immersion.

Show, Don’t Tell
Although, as we will touch on later, VR isn’t a visual only platform, it is visual-first. In the same way that filming a radio broadcaster doesn’t fulfill the potential of television or recording a Cirque Du Soleil show wouldn’t make for good radio, using more than minimal text with a VR experience is a distraction. Why would people want to read inside a VR experience? Beyond a few words within a menu or used as concise pointers for navigation, blocks of floating text can be disorienting and unnecessarily cover portions of a design. Not only that, the sensory conflict that can take place, when people view hovering text can cause feelings of nausea. While the desire to add a text-based commentary might understandably be to provide further detail on a specific product or to highlight a designer’s thought process, in the context of VR, there are better ways of providing a narrative which can add to an experience rather than detracting from it. Save text for good menu design, or to help users orient themselves within VR. Unity has some great examples of solid menu design, and many of them involve text that enters the space after a few seconds where the viewer can orient themselves without interruption, before seeing text in the context of what to do next, and which doesn’t block design elements


VR text displayed without interrupting the visuals of a VR game

By contrast, this menu is incongruous with the surroundings and blocks the scene.


VR room with a text menu overlaid, blocking some of the VR design  


Immersive Audio
Offering short pieces of audio commentary at strategic points within a VR experience can be a great way to share key information in a non-distracting way. We’ve recently rolled out a new Audio Hotspots feature which allows designers to add audio files of up to two minutes to specific parts of their designs. For example, the below render of an exterior at nighttime was done by one of our partner studios and they’ve embedded audio to explain some of the design decisions, as well as add some ambient sound to the scene. You can view it here: https://www.yulio.com/Vi36c3a0FB  

a nighttime backyard scene with vr audio hotspot icons

Triggered when a viewer gazes at the hotspot, these commentaries can be used to describe design choices, offer answers to questions, or provide information about products used in the design, all without interrupting the immersion of a VR experience. As an example of this in practice, an interior designer might choose to place a hotspot over an area a client had questions about on the last iteration, or where they requested changes, and call attention to exactly how they addressed their concerns. For those designers who typically present to a stakeholder who will later be sharing the design with other stakeholders, audio hotspots also let the designer maintain the control and consistency of the conversation. Beyond strategically placed commentaries, ambient background noise relevant to a visual is anecdotally believed to considerably increase the immersive quality of a VR experience. Whether it be the sound of kids playing when viewing the design of proposed new community development or office background noise within a new building design, audio is able to add an additional layer of reality into the experience.

 


Video in VR
Another way of creatively sharing information in a way that suits the immersive context of VR is through video. By adding video clips strategically within a design, triggered in the same ‘gaze-to-go’ technique as audio and navigation hotspots, creatives can offer viewers the ability to take a deeper dive into a specific element. Whether it be a retail application where viewers might gaze at a piece of furniture and view a short video clip of it being created in a workshop with specific details of the materials used, etc, or a real estate application where a new home buyer might gaze at a window in an, as yet, unbuilt home and launch a clip of the real-life surrounding area, when used creatively, video can add depth to a story being told in a way that perfectly fits the VR environment.  




To find out more about Yulio’s new audio hotspots, available immediately to all Yulio Enterprise clients, visit our knowledge base.  Or to create your custom Enterprise plan, reach us at hello@yulio.com.
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Business, Design, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Today, Yulio is bringing audio annotation to our VR hotspots technology. Hotspots are the Yulio method of linking scenes in your VR designs and have always been part of our simple gaze to go navigation. Starting today, customers on our Enterprise level plan can add audio files of up to two minutes to attach to their designs. Check out some samples in our Showcase. Designers can use audio to describe design choices, offer answers to questions, or provide information about products used in the design, all without interrupting the immersion of your VR experience.


Screencap of the Yulio Audio VR  Hotspots editor  




Some of the best use cases for audio in A&D VR are about imparting information while maintaining immersion:

Consistent presentations, even when you’re not there.
For those designers who typically present to a stakeholder who will later be sharing the design with other stakeholders, audio hotspots let the designer maintain control of the conversation. Presenting design choices and thought process with audio hotspots makes them part of the VR design presentation and ensures the information will be consistent as the design is viewed by multiple stakeholders.

Give unambiguous feedback and reduce meeting time
Designers constantly need to respond to client feedback. Audio hotspots allow you to do so within the next iteration of the design and give greater context to your comments. Place a hotspot over an area a client had questions about, or where they requested changes, and call attention to exactly how you addressed their concerns.


The evolution of product information
Audio VR hotspots let a user gaze at an object in the design, like a specific chair choice in an office, and hear about its features and benefits at the same time they are checking out its aesthetics, rather than refer to product information outside the design. Aside from the obvious applications in retail, the A&D designers can also talk about material choices and offer recommendations in context.

Increase the Ambience
There’s some research that says adding appropriate ambient noise to VR increases the level of immersion far more than some visual tweaks. It helps block the real world a little bit, draw focus to the design and brings life to the design, when used in the right ways. Consider a ceiling or sky audio hotspot in a park with the sound of children playing, general office noises in workplaces or water sounds near fountains and pools. Just like image searches, sounds can be found online or from a service like PacDV or SoundJay. Yulio has pursued audio hotspots because, while we have seen instances of text used in VR, our user testing has demonstrated how distracting it can be. When viewers enter a virtual world and are confronted with large blocks of text to read, it’s distracting in a few ways:

  • It physically covers a portion of the design
  • It’s disorienting to have text floating in space
  • It represents a poor use of VR – why send them into a VRE to read?


  VR room with a text menu overlaid, blocking some of the VR design



They turn off when a user looks away to avoid interrupting the design experience. We’re currently supporting multiple audio formats, including mp3, .wav, m4a, ogg, wma and acc file types, along with many more. Just upload your audio files to Yulio and add them to your scene in the hotspot editor.




Screen shot of office VR image with Yulio vr hotspots editor  



You can still adjust the depth of the hotspot in the scene to make it appear closer or further away in 3D space.


Generating audio files
If you’re looking for help generating audio files, there are a few options available. For quick conversation style comments between you and your client, use a native recorder app available in windows or on most smartphones. Speak slowly and eliminate ambient noise, and the file will carry your ideas clearly. If you’re just too shy to record yourself or want a more detached sound, there are plenty of good Text To Speech (TTS) options, like NaturalSpeech.com. The results can be a bit robotic, but they get the job done. It’s a matter of personal preference, but we find the female voice options a little more natural sounding. For a higher end recording, worthwhile on product info you use all the time, or on a major presentation or portfolio asset, professional voice artists can be hired through agencies all over North America – a quick Google search brings up dozens of options.


Get Started
Audio VR hotspots are available immediately to all Yulio Enterprise clients. To learn more and begin using them, visit our knowledge base.  Or to create your custom Enterprise plan, reach us at hello@yulio.com.
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Design, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Finding yourself facing your first VR designs and drawing? Don’t worry, you’ve got this. VR is still design –but design that creates an immersive experience and therefore emotional connection, and less ambiguous presentation of your ideas. If you’re beginning your first VR design, focus on the design elements, then apply the tips we’ve outlined below and take advantage of our 1000+ hours of VR testing over the last 15 years.  

Look behind you
There’s a fundamental shift happening in design. Where artists once had full control over the narrative, viewers are now able to focus on any element they wish. They won’t be staring straight ahead at all times. You can’t force a 2D design concept into 3D space, and if you aren’t adapting, your designs won’t meet the new expectations of your clients to fully investigate your presentation. You’re used to setting a viewpoint into a scene, something that sits inside a frame, but VR is controlled more by the viewer. Users can turn their heads and of course, look behind themselves. If viewers turn around to be confronted with a blank abyss, you’ve lost the sense of immersion. That doesn’t mean you need to take the time to create everything in the scene at the same level of fidelity as your primary view, but you should plan for what viewers will see behind them. By extension, consider the ceiling and floor – we hosted a contest for architecture students at Yulio and received a number of entries that had blank white ceilings, since the designers weren’t accustomed to the idea that we’d be looking up in their renders. Even more jarring – the one that had no ceiling at all.  

Use real-world measurements
Make your VR experience as pure an abstraction of the real world as possible. Users will see everything in real-world scale and should  feel like they’re occupying the space. Having doorknobs, windows and kitchen surfaces appear either too high or too low disrupts the experience. Mixing up heights can also make a design disorientating. Setting your camera view at about 5’6” above the desired viewpoint will create an “average height” viewing experience and give viewers an entry to the scene that you have chosen. You may also need to consider the perspective of the individual who will be using the space. When our interior designers recently showed off a restaurant design, they did so from the perspective both of someone seated in a table, and in a separate scene, from the perspective of a server who would need to navigate the space.  

This Kitchen designed in SketchUp has a camera position that’s too high:


Yulio Sketchup example render with camera too high


Whereas when the camera is properly positioned, the scene feels more realistic:



Yulio Sketchup example render with camera at correct height  

Create a Story
Once you’ve set your entry points, most designs will flow through various scenes or rooms, which lead the user through your design story. These movements should be based on what clients will want to explore. Using VR software with ‘linkable’ hotspots can help streamline the user experience and connect multiple vantage points or additional scenes. Set up your hotspots carefully so they do not disrupt the visuals and spoil the user’s overall experience. In Yulio, we achieve this partly by allowing you to set the depth of the hotspot in the scene, so it can appear further or closer in space and be part of the natural design flow. Yulio hotspots can also be labeled, although we don’t recommend using too much text in VR – it spoils immersion and the rapid eye movements required to read a massive wall of text can create nausea.

Yulio VR Experience of hotel lobby showing Hotspots
Be a Guide
Consider how you’ll guide your user through the space – is there a logical path to the linked scenes or hotspots, and have you thought about what draws attention in the headset…and if you want it to draw attention? No one wants to have to ask a dozen technical questions just to successfully view a design so ensuring that the navigation is simple and user-friendly will leave clients able to concentrate solely on the design itself. Finally, when in doubt, test. At Facebook, they say “put it on your face”, at Yulio we like to “pop it in a headset”… just look at it in VR, see how the experience feels. Our clients, who are seasoned designers and architects with years of experience have told us they’ve changed the location of a beam, the height of a light switch and the number of skylights in an office that they just wouldn’t have noticed in 2D. All before construction began.


Take a look at some sample designs in our VR design showcase. And when you’re ready to learn more how VR can be a practical tool for your business, download our whitepaper to learn how to integrate it for the best ROI.
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