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How to, News and Updates, VR
We’re happy to introduce new Explore mode as a part of Yulio’s Collaborate feature.
With Collaborate you have the ability to see what other people are seeing, guide them to a spotlighted area and have everyone meet in the same virtual space. Now with Explore Mode, you can start your presentation with an auto pan throughout a VR scene and let all participants explore the full VR project at their own pace.

Any headsets you have at your meeting or tradeshow booth will be in the Collaborate session, and participants can explore the scene, but not leave the project you have chosen to present. People you’re meeting with in-person will all be in the same session on headsets, and remote participants can join from anywhere, in a headset or our browser-based fishtank mode.

As a presenter, you can benefit from this new feature in many ways. One of the most effective use cases is engaging your visitors at the trade shows. Virtual reality has changed the entire trade show landscape by providing the opportunity to have an infinite floor space within the limited booth area. Bringing a VR experience to the booth attracts a higher volume of visitors and during peak times you don’t always have time to accommodate guided tours. But you won’t miss a moment if you can let booth visitors explore your scene on their own while you’re interacting with other clients.

Plus, you can always give your audience the chance to establish a deeper emotional connection by inspecting the area of their most interest in detail right after the presentation or tour.


How do I Launch Explore Mode?


Start out by launching a Collaborate Session. To launch Explore Mode, hit the Explore button at the top of the Participant Panel.
During explore mode, as the host of the Collaborate Session, your screen will pan throughout the selected scene. Don’t worry you can still interact with your screen at any time.


All other participants will have the ability to go off and explore the VR project you have selected for the Collaborate Session. They will be able to switch scenes and activate text/image/audio hotspots (if you have this ability turned on in Collaborate Settings).

To end explore mode and bring all participants back to the desired scene, click the Present button in the Participant Panel.

Some of the winning use cases from our user research:
  • Use Explore Mode to show off your VR portfolio in your lobby or office, with a constantly panning VR scene.
  • Trade show operation of VR is easier than ever, so visitors to your booth can play and explore a chosen VR project, even when you aren’t able to guide them.
  • Allow your clients to explore the VR scene on their own and form emotional attachment before or after your guided experience.


Allowing your meeting participants to explore on their own will let them become more fully engaged with the project, and you can take control to provide a guided tour at any time.

Explore mode is available immediately to all Yulio clients. To learn more visit our knowledge base.  Or to try it out for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached!).

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How to, News and Updates, VR
Part of our effort to make your experience working within Yulio the most customizable and intuitive experience possible, we’d like to introduce you to a brand new (highly requested!) feature and a new navigational concept!

The first item is a BRAND NEW FEATURE that we call, Default Starting View. You requested it and now here it is! Previously, to set the default view for a scene, you would have to adjust the camera angle before you render your scene in your CAD program; but now, you have the freedom to customize this right within your project! Set the custom picture-perfect angle for the starting position of your VR scenes right from the Hotspot editor, and view your entire project’s beauty shots by clicking on the arrows at the bottom left-hand corner of your experience. This feature is a part of our continuing effort to ensure that your VR projects are as stunning as possible. The ability to change the starting position of your VR scenes allows you to strategically show off the most beautiful aspects and angles of your scenes right when your user enters your project without the hassle of re-rendering your files.

First, we’ll show you how to set up your default starting views.

 

 

 

 


The next time you view your scene in browser mode or in VR, the new Default Starting Direction will be your opening scene.

Just be sure that you don’t select a view that is too disorienting to your viewer, or you may throw off the logical navigation of your scene! For more on navigation, see our Knowledge Base article on Default Starting View.


The second item is a new concept for how we’re positioned in our VR experiences. Forward Gaze Navigation is now the new dominant method for how we see within our VR scenes and navigate hotspots when you’re in VR. Forward Gaze Navigation is a more natural way of navigating your VR project – so no more getting turned around when you jump from hotspot to hotspot. Yulio now remembers which direction you were looking before you selected a new hotspot to jump to, and reflects that same direction in the new hotspot.

Currently, when you enter a Yulio scene, you enter facing whichever way the camera position was set. You’ll still enter into the set starting scene in projects with no floorplan, or if you use the ‘next scene’ arrows to navigate, so you have no changes to look at.

Since VR is a moving medium where your audience will explore in all directions, we recommend that instead, you set your camera positions facing due north.

If you do so, people exploring your scenes using hotspot navigation will always enter facing the way they will naturally expect, and you won’t need to calibrate your thumbnails and floorplan after the fact in Yulio.

However, if you’ve been taking advantage of our floorplan navigation feature, and have a project with a floorplan, you now have a way to orient the viewer in space.

To create a relationship between a floorplan, and a scene that was not rendered with due north cameras, all you have to do is calibrate the cone-shaped field of vision for each scene linked on your floorplan.
Cone-shaped field of vision
Log into your Yulio account and the select the VR project you would like to edit – remember you must have a floorplan and scenes to calibrate.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember – you only need to calibrate scenes you added to your floorplan, so if you have a link to something like “outside” or “upstairs” that aren’t on your floorplan, you won’t need to calibrate them.

To learn more and begin using Forward Gaze Navigation, visit our knowledge base.

Both Custom Starting View and Forward Gaze Navigation are available immediately for all Yulio clients to use. To find out more about using any of our features or for training, reach us at hello@yulio.com.

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

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


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


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


 

 


 


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


Some of the winning use cases from our user research:

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


Image hotspots are available immediately to all Yulio clients. To learn more and begin using them, visit our knowledge base. Or to find out more about using any of our features or for training, reach us at hello@yulio.com.
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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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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, 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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Architecture, Business, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
New Year, New Job: How to find VR jobs
It may not yet have reached the heady heights of Astronaut, Pro athlete or 1980s Apple investor, but finding VR jobs has become a major aspiration for an increasing number of career seekers. Whether it’s budding young minds entering the workforce for the first time or those looking to change career lanes mid-journey, interest in pursuing VR as a career is booming and the question of how to get a job in the industry is one we get asked a lot.


 

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

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


 

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

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

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


 
Learn the craft of storytelling and then adapt it

 

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

Get educated

 

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

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


 

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

0

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

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

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

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


 

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




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


 

 

 

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


 

Making it Emotional
 

 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

 

 

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

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



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


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

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

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



 
Share it

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




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




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




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




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


 

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

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

 

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

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


 

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


 

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


 

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



 

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


 

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

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

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


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

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

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


 

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


 

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

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

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


 

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



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


 

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

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


 

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


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

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

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


 

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Business users of VR in a design presentation


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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

So while VR hype continues to do battle with the real experiences of consumers, a growing number of businesses are finding that the technology is critical to creating an immersive product and design experiences. They are successfully applying VR technology to their operations and leveraging its unique capacity to engage, to educate, to communicate and to enthrall. To find out more about adding VR to your business, download our whitepaper which outlines the best implementations for ROI from VR.
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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, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Virtual reality in any format, be it full tethered rig VR (like Oculus Rift)  or mobile VR headsets (such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR), has a few key jobs it can perform for your business: sharing your vision, accelerating your sales pipeline, adding new lead generation channels or helping your clients make better, quicker decisions.   If you’re ready to bring virtual reality to your business, your success will depend on a few key things:  

Great Execution  
Whether the idea for implementing VR is to communicate complex interior designs to remote clients, allow shoppers to browse stylized virtual showrooms or immerse potential donors in environments they’re being asked to contribute to, if the execution is clunky or ill-considered, it can do more harm than good.   There are ways to design specifically with VR in mind that can take an experience beyond being a novelty and make it an integral part of how a business operates. We recently offered some great tips on designing for VR which you can read here.  


For now, however, we’re going to concentrate on the second element-  


Delivery and Viewing Experience  
When you think of VR, you might picture tethered VR headsets. These are the ones with cables coming out the back of the headset, where people can move around and experience space. Because of the cost and complexity of these rigs, mobile VR headsets, where you pop a smartphone in a viewing device are far more common. These track head movements and users can “move” by looking, but cannot walk around. The difference is sometimes described in degrees of freedom, where tethered creates 6-degrees-of-freedom, while mobile allows for 3-degrees-of-freedom. Put more simply, with tethered VR you can walk around a room or space. In mobile, you stand still and look around that room in 360 degrees with head motion only.    


Tethered Headsets

User inside a tethered VR headset, HTC Vive
Tethered Headset Leaders  
 HTC ViveOculus Rift
Cost$800$600 with optional sensors
ControllersHand ControllersXbox game controllers/hand controllers
Special Features15ft x 15ft VR space with corner tracking sensorsBuilt-in headphones


The tethered headset for the business category is led by VR A-listers, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. Both devices support lateral movement and offer exceptionally high-quality visuals. They do so, however, at the expense, both figuratively and literally, of being tethered to a powerful PC by a four-meter cable. Both companies are working on standalone systems where the computer sits inside the headset, which will remove that physical attachment, to the benefit of ‘tethered’ VR’s future.
  Tethered VR requires dedicated space, and we suggest about 3m x 3m to accommodate most safe movement, but at least 2m x 2m. For Vive, you need to setup two laser tracking spots at opposite corners, which provides the 360 tracking of the users. Oculus Rift has 180-degree tracking if you don’t purchase the additional sensors.   You’ll also need sufficient computing power to run the tethered VR rigs. You’ll need a computer capable of running 90 frames of animation per second, per eye which the headsets are built around. To do so you need a strong graphics card and enough hard drive space to handle the game files. You can still run the rig with less PC power, but the images will be of lower quality, and if the graphics are lagging, you’ll probably find there’s a much higher chance of nausea.   The ‘wow factor’ associated with the higher-end headsets is genuinely amazing,  but there are drawbacks. Tethering restricts viable uses to fixed spaces. So the best executions are setups like a trade show booth, an event installation or a dedicated space in your office boardroom. There’s no question the novelty will draw a crowd at events. But we’ve seen many booths with a sick bucket tucked into a corner because being strapped into VR is more likely than mobile to cause simulator sickness. You also need a safety supervisor hanging around to wrangle cables and make sure no one trips.   With costs for an Oculus Rift device also starting at around $600 and HTC Vive starting at $800 (not including the PC required to run them which can cost around $1000), these devices do represent some significant outlay. They absolutely make a splash for a key event or tradeshow. They just don’t allow you to integrate VR into your everyday business because of the restrictions of the technology.   If your firm is serious about using and integrating VR into your practice, you should have a rig setup for testing and experimenting…and understanding what great VR experience can look like by viewing other VR software. Many of the clients we work with who are leading in VR innovation have a tethered experience as a lab in their offices and use mobile VR for practical presentations.  

Mobile VR

Mobile VR headsets in a business meeting
Mobile VR Headset Leaders
 Samsung Gear VRGoogle CardboardGoogle Daydream
Cost$100$15$80
ControllersHeadset trackpadHeadset buttonMotion hand controller
Special FeaturesOculus StoreBrandableDaydream App store


With the ubiquity of smartphones, mobile-powered VR offers a different level of flexibility when it comes to implementing a VR component to a business. Headsets which rely on a mobile device to power the experience range from Samsung Gear and Noon which offer a fully immersive experience, and cost around $120, through to functional, inexpensive devices such as Google Cardboard or Homido Mini which cost around $15.   At this point, it’s absolutely true that mobile VR isn’t able to match the level of immersion in visuals and movement that a tethered headset allows. But for the vast majority of business use cases, it is more than adequate. Rather than supporting lateral movement, mobile VR primarily tracks head motion from a fixed point in a virtual environment and utilizes techniques to approximate movement such as ‘gaze-to-go’ points or links which transport viewers to alternate vantage points in a scene or to different locations.   There are plenty of advantages to mobile VR which make it practical for business use. Obviously, it’s literally mobile – you can take it anywhere. Which means you can conduct VR presentations at your client’s office, or take your VR portfolio anywhere. It also breaks down barriers viewers may feel about trying VR, as it’s less cumbersome and isolating. While users have to be strapped into tethered VR headsets, devices like Cardboard and Homido are designed like a window into a world. Hold them up, look in, and remove it. It allows for a more social experience, popping in and out of the headset. At Yulio we remove the straps from our higher-end headsets too so we can keep this sense of being able to remove the headset any time.   The 3 billion+ smartphones in the world also mean you can send VR experiences almost anywhere, along with a cheaper headset and your clients will be able to view them.   Additional costs for fully integrating mobile VR could include a pool of dedicated smartphones, so that incoming calls and messages don’t interrupt the experience. While this could add up quickly, there’s also an opportunity to buy some used phones for this purpose from classified ad websites.  



At Yulio we’ve made our bets on mobile VR for its flexibility, portability and greater comfort of use and training…while still being able to immerse people in a totally new environment, quickly, easily, and wherever they are.   Whether it be used to deliver A&D portfolio presentations, ‘Try before you buy’ product demos, virtual property tours or to put potential donors directly ‘into’ an environment being highlighted by a non-profit, VR’s ability to engage people with emotional connection to an idea, an environment, a product or a cause is its real power. For more on integrating mobile VR into your workflow, check out our whitepaper and a recent article on sharing information through other media in VR, like audio, video, and text.
0

Business, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Still believe VR is only for Silicon Valley gamers? You’re missing the arrival of VR for business and the very real ways that virtual reality is, right now, this minute, helping businesses to impress, engage with and increase business with their customers. Taking a few examples, we’re going to demonstrate that VR has already gone way beyond being just the guy you call when you want to go out on the weekend. It’s now just as happy suiting up and playing a key role in the boardroom.

Using VR for Business ROI comes down to three core patterns – its ability is to immerse a viewer in an environment that:
  1. Doesn’t exist yet
  2. Exists but is a long distance away  
  3. Is too large, expensive or complex to model.

 This unique dynamic means more use cases are surfacing every day that are enabling organizations to demonstrate their products, services – or their missions – via an experience over an explanation.



Selling Sizzle When There’s Not Yet Steak
Decisions involving property are often among the hardest people ever make. How and where we live and its relationship to where we work, play and shop are very personal ones. Most of us want where we live to be an extension of who we are, and we want a property that helps us achieve an ideal lifestyle. Appreciating the appeal of communities not yet built brings another layer of difficulty and therefore, making the, as yet, unreal, ‘real’ for potential buyers is becoming a very powerful tool for those in construction and real estate. And since, for most individuals, a home is the single largest investment they will ever make, people need to have a level of comfort and certainty that is pretty difficult to achieve when they can’t experience the home and its surrounding amenities. In a recent collaboration with a Toronto-based design firm, Norm Li, we helped bring to life an entirely new future Saskatoon community through the creation of a series of immersive VR experiences. Dream’s Brighton Community includes several thousand homes, retail spaces, and surrounding parks, and is on a scale that simply can not be modeled out. Using VR kiosks in its sales center, Dream was able to immerse visitors in the new environments the new development would offer and helped people experience it, picturing their lifestyle while forging an emotional connection to the new community. The kiosks provided a window into what was possible in a personal way for each potential buyer. “They wanted people to feel like they were already living there,” said Christophe Chevallier, art director for the Toronto-based company Norm Li, who helped create the virtual reality world of Brighton.

Potential buyers using vr headsets to view new communities  


Setting Virtual Stages
Using VR to either ‘white wall’ or show potential interior layouts and styles for commercial real estate rentals is another VR application that’s been successfully demonstrated by our client, Dream, in collaboration with Mayhew, an office design firm. Until recently, common approaches to successfully leasing commercial properties would involve either physically stripping out all existing walls and furniture and creating a white-walled, blank canvas for the next renter or, alternatively, installing rented staging furniture to mock up a possible look and feel. Being able to show rental space virtually, stripping out unwanted elements and manipulating environments quickly and easily to suit a renter’s specific choices – without any need for actual physical alterations and therefore at almost no cost – is a great VR use case. Dream invited realtors to a blank warehouse space, and created a VR kiosk near a set of footprints on the floor, inviting agents to “stand here”.


 

Paul Bradshaw, vice-president of sales for Mayhew, a Richmond Hill-based office interior design firm, uses Yulio in working with realtors, and is an enthusiastic proponent of VR.“We work closely with realtors to customize interior spaces and this allows us to show how the space could perform for their customers,” Bradshaw says. “The infrastructure cost is minimal and it’s readily accessible to everyone.”

two realtors hold up VR for business viewers in an empty warehouse space


Not Business as Usual
Retail’s seen its fair share of tech-fuelled disruption over the past few years and VR is certainly playing its part in that now. ‘Experiential commerce’ might not be a known term (as we just made it up) but home improvement and home decor retailers such as Ikea and Lowes are already demonstrating their products using VR. Imagine being able to ‘virtually’ stand in a new bathroom or kitchen and change every aspect, colours, tiles, fixtures, etc, on-the-fly, to find the most perfect combination. Yep – you can do that. And sales centers need not have every permutation or sample available. VR renders can do all that and let customers feel more in control of the experience…and speed up their decision making.


 

  This same concept is something Audi has been experimenting with, letting customers “sit” in a virtual car to see different configurations of options before purchase.

The Empathy Machine
When you can’t bring people to the field, you bring the field to them. In the absence of giving people a real-life experience, VR can often deliver the nearest possible alternative. For charities, putting people directly within an environment or situation they’re looking to bring change to, can provoke the type of immediate emotional connection they need to engage new supporters. The profound effect that can be had by putting a person in a hospital wing or new school they are being asked to fund, has led to VR being dubbed by many in the field, ‘the empathy machine’ and meant it’s been enlisted by charities including Unicef, Amnesty International, and Charity:Water who are showing refugee reality and seeing donation rates increase dramatically.



Whether VR is enabling people to experience a new community before a single foundation’s been laid, to try out new bathroom tiles at the touch of a button, or provide a visceral glimpse into the change a new hospital brings, it’s proving itself to have gone far beyond life as a novelty and is now establishing itself as an increasingly compelling tool for creative businesses. Ready to learn more about VR for business? Check out our Whitepaper on the right way to integrate VR into your business for maximum ROI.
0

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

The IT department: idolized cyber warriors when a laptop won’t connect or a server crashes in the middle of a tight deadline, yet also the dismissive border control, unable to authorize access to any shiny new piece of technology until it’s been given the tech equivalent of a sweat-inducing strip search. The last thing you want is for your VR integration to be held up in border patrol. Rigorously maintaining network security and reliability as well as ensuring systems are scalable at the drop of a hat keeps those in IT up at night. Any new technology being introduced to a company’s mix, therefore, has a far better chance of navigating its way around a skeptical gatekeeper if these considerations have been well thought out beforehand. So you want to integrate VR into your organization? Of course, you do. Need to know how to approach the IT team and make this a quick and easy conversation? No problem. We’re a technology company and we’ve thought this through – a lot. Let’s break down the key VR integration concerns and let you know how to address them.

Security


a padlock holds a gate closed representing VR integration security


Typically IT’s top issue is security. Find out if and how a vendor partner has to integrate with your systems. Yulio is a cloud-based platform meaning users can access the technology wherever and whenever they are by logging into their account at Yulio.com. There is no deep integration with a company network and, unless users choose to download a Yulio plugin for any of the CAD tools they already use (SketchUp, Revit, etc), no Yulio code resides on any network but our own. IT will want to understand if your proposed VR solution works with the tools you use and they are supporting today, or if you are trying to replace your tools Yulio’s physical infrastructure is hosted and managed within Amazon’s secure data centers and utilizes the Amazon Web Service (AWS) technology. Amazon continually manages risk and undergoes recurring assessments to ensure compliance with industry standards. Another key element of security is the reliability of any storage – if you’re putting your intellectual property in the cloud, it needs to be there when you have to access it. So what happens to your stored designs? Are they durable? On Yulio, yes, but only for 10,000,000 years. Yulio uses Amazon’s S3 storage, which is designed to provide 99.999999999% durability of objects over a given year. 99.999999999% durability corresponds to an average annual expected loss of 0.000000001% of objects. This means, if you store 10,000 objects with Amazon S3, you can, on average, expect to incur a loss of a single object once every 10,000,000 years.  

Reliability


an orange sunset represents steadiness


There’s nothing quite as sobering as the fear-laced sweat that comes with standing in a room full of people poised to give a demonstration, only for a piece of essential software to fail. This embarrassment doesn’t deflect to the software provider, it makes the presenter look unprepared and unreliable. This is the stuff of IT department nightmares and a diligent team will, therefore, carry out an interrogation in advance so they don’t get a panicked call requesting a fix for faulty technology they can’t control if it fails in a critical moment. You’ll want to be able to speak to some key elements of reliability – What are the downtime commitments? Is there any offline backup? Do you need internet connectivity to present? Are there redundancies built into the system? Is there a disaster recovery plan? As examples of the kind of information you’ll want a partner to share, let me run down Yulio’s features. Yulio’s provider allows for recovering databases to within seconds of the last known state, restoring system instances from standard templates, and deploying applications and data.

  • Yulio’s databases are automatically backed up on secure, access controlled, and redundant storage.
  • While the collaborate feature requires internet connectivity to facilitate possibly hundreds of users viewing a design in real-time, Yulio does have an offline component meaning, VR experiences can be downloaded and stored for access when no internet connection is available.
  • Yulio’s platform maintains high levels of redundancy to prevent any single points of failure.
Yulio’s platform is designed for stability, scaling, and inherently mitigates common issues that lead to outages while maintaining recovery capabilities. In the case of an outage, the platform is deployed across multiple data centers using current system images and data is restored from backups.

Scalability


a shooting star represents infinite scale for VR integration

Although a great piece of software can seem comparable to magic, the truth is that every single element has, at some point, been considered in order to make it function every time, and in an exact way, users need it to. Scalability refers to when and where you will need to use your VR solution – does it work where you are, and where your clients are? How many viewers can it handle? Software that works brilliantly in any of these scenarios demonstrates choices the company has made about infrastructure along the way. Yulio’s platform is designed for global businesses, its cloud-based infrastructure was therefore built specifically to ensure it is able to perform at any scale, in any international territory. One of our biggest scalability tests happened in December 2016, when our Chief Product Officer was presenting Yulio at Siggraph Asia in Macau, China. While showing a Yulio VR experience, the pairing code to join a collaborative session was on screen. As he continued his talk, more than a hundred audience members joined, and a scalability trial by fire was passed both in International locales, and simultaneous user numbers. We like to believe that even if your IT department resembles a stone-faced border guard, Yulio has carefully considered the elements that would cause them concern and built a system with seamless integration in mind. Consider the key elements of security, reliability, and scalability before talking with IT  learn a little extra respect…and maybe a higher spot on the IT queue.


Ensuring that the VR integration of Yulio is as highly secure, reliable and scalable is part of our mission to make VR a practical business easily adopted by architects, designers, and retailers. Need to know more about the questions to ask a potential VR partner, in all areas of your workflow? Check out our whitepaper on full workflow integration.
0

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, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Choosing the Best VR Headset for your Business
When comparing VR headsets for business, there is complexity beyond navigating the explosion of new hardware that’s coming to market. Considerations have to be made around what’s going to deliver the best experience to your clients through seamless sales presentations, and how that aligns with costs and ROI – and how effectively sales can use the hardware. Start by considering your use cases. One sweet spot our clients have found for business VR is in quick, impromptu, out-of-office portfolio demos when prospecting for new business, while others may be focussed on pitches in their own boardrooms, or on the presentation of designs when seeking feedback and signoff. Whichever cases you are looking to solve with VR, headsets suited to the task are key, and having put in over a thousand hours of user testing, here are our recommendations for the best business VR headsets:  

Ground Floor
Google Cardboard and the Homido Mini are the key players here. Costing around $15 each and working with any smartphone, they’ve both helped to revolutionize the accessibility of VR. The Homido Mini is small enough to fit in your pocket, meaning sales teams can easily showcase designs in VR wherever and whenever there’s an opportunity. (As an aside, this is key for job-seekers too – A&D students powered by Yulio carry their portfolios in their pockets to demonstrate their design skills, and comfort with technology) Google Cardboard headsets (or that style) can be bought in lots of places.They’re straightforward to assemble and highly ‘brandable’ so can be given away to prospects affordably. We use them at tradeshows and presentations and they offer a solid viewing experiences and an exciting giveaway.


Homido Mini VR viewer  
Yulio Branded Google Cardboard style VR Viewer

These lower-end headsets are effective for mobile VR, but they don’t offer as immersive a viewing experience because they let light in and allow the real world to intrude little on a virtual environment.  

Great Middle Experiences
Greater immersion through higher-end headsets can be an incredibly effective sales tool in the right presentations. Taking a step up in price and specs, we recommend our clients get the Samsung GearVR or Noon when starting in VR. They’re good compromises on cost vs quality of experience. These both work by inserting a mobile device; any device works in the Noon but, for the Gear, only Samsung phones are compatible.

Business VR Headsets: Samsung Gear VR and Noon


Both offer strong immersion, are portable and affordable – at around $120 – for businesses wanting to make an impact with VR without moving up to tethered headsets and systems. One caution with mobile VR experiences: as part of the total ownership cost, you may want to consider buying dedicated smartphones for presentations.  Using a multi-purpose or business phone comes with the potential to disrupt a user’s immersive experience through chiming texts or calls. Purchasing a dedicated phone is certainly a way to get around this but obviously comes with significant additional cost. Pro Tip: consider using a Kijiji or other buying service like Craigslist to pick up used phones in good condition. You’ll lower the overall cost of ownership but still have devices dedicated to showing VR experiences.  

Staying Ahead of the Technology
One more important consideration – at Yulio, we’ve watched the original genesis of VR come and go and it’s clearly going to be a rapidly changing technology. We’re specifically expecting some pretty significant churn in VR headset hardware over the next 8-12 months. As a result, it’s important to choose software that will support multiple devices and headsets. Working with a device-specific technology only to have it become obsolete as the market changes would leave designs unviewable, and your investment in assets wasted. Great new headsets are launching all the time, including Google Daydream which has come with a lot of excitement in part because of the power of a Google Play Store full of potential content. But beware when purchasing any headset hardware that most are limited by phone compatibility (just 4 right now for the Daydream), making them potentially less useful to your sales team and clients unless you’re investing in phone hardware too. At Yulio, we keep abreast of the VR landscape and changing technologies in viewer apps and headsets so that our clients don’t have to – they’re business isn’t about VR trends, so we do that for them. Find a partner with the flexibility to be hardware agnostic, and the resources to be your lookout as VR presentations evolve in the industry.  

A Note on Tethered headsets:
Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both deliver a fully immersive experience with ultra-high definition imagery. Being the VR industry’s poster children, they spark a lot of interest, and, used in the right environments with willing participants, can be an impressive draw. On the downside, the need to be tethered to a powerful PC, on top of cost of the headset, makes it an expensive undertaking, and one that is limited in usage to tradeshows or in your office / boardroom. Our user testing has also demonstrated a greater issue with Virtual Reality sickness in tethered VR than mobile, likely due to the greater difference between reality and perception of motion. The incongruity between those are what cause most sensory conflicts and create the feeling of nausea.   

Our Business VR testing has shown:
Business users are sometimes hesitant to wear VR headsets – they may have concerns about a headset’s cleanliness, or it messing up makeup and hair (and for the record that objection is raised more often by men). What all that really means is hesitation about looking foolish in front of work colleagues. Being strapped into VR is blindfolding and isolating, and users may be nervous about nausea. At Yulio we’ve adopted a practice of immediately removing the straps from our headsets, preferring instead to allow users to hold a device up their face when needed, like the Cardboard and Homido. They allow your clients to more easily pop in and out of the experience, and have a more collaborative and social presentation, without the sensation of being trapped. Think about workarounds for anything that makes the experience of using VR a negative that might be associated with your design.



For more thoughts from Yulio about the best VR software and headsets to drive your business, check out our Whitepaper where we run down the key considerations for business VR that drives ROI.
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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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