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

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

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


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

 

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


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

Simpler Navigation

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

Better Access to Resources

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

Simple VR Design Trial

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

 

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

 

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

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

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





 


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


When you use VR, make sure it has purpose

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



Start small!

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

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

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





 

Don’t let the technology do the talking

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

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






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

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


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


Be patient, and let the meeting happen naturally

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


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



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





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

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

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


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


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



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


OGO embodies everything that Yulio has been built from the ground up to support, which is Fast VR. Having the ability to be mobile, simple, and affordable can transform how VR is used for your business. Fast VR is a principle, a habit, a way of bringing virtual reality into business situations and workflows at precise moments when it can do what it does best – quickly communicate the complex and without obstacles to get you there. This completely self-contained headset will make it easy for anyone to preload their designs, then simply pop in-and-out for a seamless, stunning and compelling virtual reality presentation.





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

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

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


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


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




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

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




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

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




It makes fast VR, even faster –  and more personal

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



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

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




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





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

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AR, Business, Industry News, VR

We talk with architects, designers, construction planners, BIM executives and many more, every day who know VR is going to be disruptive to their industry. But they are sometimes uncertain about whether VR is more than a tech novelty – they want to know how to spot a trend vs. a fad.  That makes sense to us! If businesses are going to invest in implementing VR, or the wider category of digital reality they want to know if it’s a passing fad, or if it’s here for good. And how to get the best ROI from it.


The first thing to understand about the VR market is the significant difference between consumer and business markets. The less than juggernaut sales of headsets for consumers led some analysts to call VR a disappointment. But there is a difference in personal investment for things like gaming and entertainment, vs business needs for designers to communicate their vision where the costs are amortized over many users, and the potential to win business.


Digital Reality?

Digital reality is a term that IDC has coined, and is meant to be used as an umbrella term that virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) (a mixture of augmented and virtual reality) 360 degree, and immersive technologies can all fall under. It’s a recognition that new immersive visual technologies all have different uses, and the specific mechanics aren’t important in the larger trend of Digital Reality. A lot of people anticipate mixed reality being the big winner in the space because it makes use of physical and virtual space to create captivating scenes for any industry-use, but for now, VR and AR are the primary focus in the market. We anticipate those labels falling away as we adopt a larger view of Digital Reality, with the different categories becoming tools in the toolbox with different strengths.


What’s the Market Like?

Goldman Sachs released a Profile of Innovation surrounding virtual and augmented reality, and it describes the tech as “hav[ing] the potential to become the next big computing platform”, comparing the rise of investment and market disruption of digital reality as similar to when the PC and smartphone were released.


The report notes that, “[they] believe that VR/AR has the potential to spawn a multi-billion dollar industry, and possibly be as game-changing as the advent of the PC”, and that, “[they] see qualities in VR/AR technology that can take this from niche use cases to a device as ubiquitous as the smartphone” – Pretty powerful statements, if you ask me.



In 2016, the VR software and hardware market size worldwide reached 3.7 million, and 6.4 million in 2017 – now in 2018, it’s estimated to reach 12.1 million. The market trend forecast predicts that it will continue to double until 2020, which is similar to the original rise of the PC, but it’ll take a bit more time to get there. Think about the quality of video games – we’ve moved from what used to be expensive games that were very pixelated and with significant lag time, to insanely fast and photo-realistic image quality, and reduced costs that consumers are willing to pay to play. There are certainly parallels where VR/AR consumers may find that there isn’t enough high-quality content to justify the expense for individuals, but that is poised to change in the coming months. And in the meantime, businesses are finding that their ability to amortize those costs over marketing campaigns make the technology more viable for them than the average consumer.  


We can expect some pretty big innovations being released in the next couple of years – Goldman Sachs predicts that the market should reach $80 billion by 2025.






There will be integrations into current technology that will allow for VR/AR capabilities, as well as standalone devices similar to the Daydream Standalone VR headsets, which are targeted to begin shipping spring of this year. This VR headset doesn’t require a phone, PC or cables, which makes it the first of its kind in terms of mobile digital reality power.


Another barrier for consumer VR/AR right now is that there isn’t much content, but in the future, there are huge indicators for the amount of content that will be widely available, which will make digital reality much more attractive and useful for consumers.



 

Next, Goldman Sachs provided a by-industry breakdown of the market for the forecasted 2025 market prediction, showing the various levels of use for 9 different industries.  

Here, you can see the division of the digital reality market software-use into 9 industries:

  1. Video games ($11.6B)
  2. Healthcare ($5.1B)
  3. Engineering ($4.7B)
  4. Live events ($4.1B)
  5. Video entertainment ($3.2B)
  6. Real estate ($2.6B)
  7. Retail ($1.6B)
  8. Military ($1.4B)
  9. Education ($0.7B)

With real estate, engineering, and entertainment being the large industries at-play with digital reality technology at the moment, we can see that there’s still a lot of potential for the medium that hasn’t been discovered just yet.



Who are the Major Players Investing in Digital Reality?

Companies wouldn’t be all in unless they saw something with the potential to stay a long time. You know something is here to stay when the largest consumer tech companies in the world are investing heavily in it. Let’s take a look at some of the major technology moguls, and what they’ve been up to involving digital reality:



Google

They had already released their augmented reality glasses, called ‘Google Glass’, back in 2012, but unfortunately, it didn’t take off quite as expected. The idea was revolutionary, and I’m sure it’ll come back with a vengeance, but at the time, it wasn’t something that consumers could justify needing, and felt alien and cumbersome.


Since then, Google has invested $542 million dollars in 2014 to kick-off the ‘Magic Leap’, one of the first-to-market mixed reality headsets. Google also pioneered the Cardboard, an inexpensive VR headset that really democratized access to digital reality. When Google moves to get something into the hands of tens of thousands of customers, you can anticipate they are looking to make a major play in providing content services.


Sony

In 2014, Sony launched ‘Project Morpheus’, later renamed to be the PlayStation VR. In 2017, they shipped 429,000 PSVR’s in their first quarter, giving the company a 21.5% market share, and sold a total of 700,000 PS4 consoles, so the potential for their VR segment to grow is very much a possibility… and being the most affordable tethered VR option in the market right now definitely gives them a leg-up on their competition


HP

In 2014, they bought Aurasma 3.0, an augmented reality application which they acquired through autonomy.


Facebook

Famous for buying Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a conference in 2017 that he is setting a goal of getting 1 billion people using VR, which is about 13% of the world’s population –  that target number of VR users is estimated to be reached by 2020.


They’ve also recently shared that the Facebook platform now supports gITF2.0 file format, allowing for textures, lighting and realistic rendering through posts. Brands such as Clash of Clans, LEGO, Jurassic Park, and Wayfair are already ramping themselves up to use this feature to their advantage.






Another exciting possibility for the platform is their use as  VR social spaces for friends to interact and play games. Check out the live demo of the feature here!


Samsung

In 2014, Samsung revealed (in partnership with Oculus) their Samsung Gear VR, one of the most popular mobile VR headsets to hit the market. Selling almost 5 million headsets in 2017, they’re expecting to more than double their in 2018 to 10 million units shipped!


In 2017, they also acquired a company called VRB, who specialize in VR content creation, PLUS unveiled their 360-degree camera, which is one of the big content drivers for VR. We expect to see more developments from Samsung as the VR market grows.


Intel

In 2015, Intel had invested over $60 million in 15 VR/AR startup companies, raising to be $566 million by the end of 2017. Also, in September of 2017, Intel announced that they’ve invested over $1 billion in AI companies so we can prepare ourselves to witness some pretty cool technology coming from them sometime in the future.


Apple

Reportedly acquired Metaio, an AR software maker, and are now beginning to launch their platform, ARKit, which is an integration piece for apps that allow for augmented reality to best perform on their hardware.

Apple also got onboard with the same kind of software that made Snapchat so popular -They’ve acquired Faceshift, a facial recognition and animation company. Check out their ad here!



Disney

Led $65 million to be funded towards a VR content creating a startup called Jaunt.


Microsoft

Bought a company called Havok, which is a 3D physics engine used for video games.


Comcast and Time Warner

Participated in $30.5 million funding for NextVR, which captures live events in VR.





These companies are, as they say, “all in” on digital reality – which means that some huge developments are in the making, and coming to consumer shelves sooner than you think.

With this much activity in the market, do you still think that digital reality is just hype?




To find out more about implementing VR for your business, download our whitepaper which outlines the best implementations for ROI from digital reality – Or try VR on-for-size by signing up for a free Yulio account!

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AR, Guest Blog, Industry News, VR

Charlie Fink is a former Disney, AOL and American Greetings executive. In the 90s, he ran VR pioneer Virtual World. Today he is a consultant, professional speaker, columnist for Forbes and author of Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, An AR Enabled Guide to VR and AR.  






The transition to head-worn mobile computing faces significant barriers. Unlike the smartphone, this requires big changes in consumer behavior. Head-mounted displays (HMDs) are a new idea. In order to get people to buy Pepsi, they have to know what soda is. For this reason, adoption may look more like personal computers, which took fifteen years, than smartphones, which took two years.





 


During the Internet explosion in the early 1990s, we often looked at a graph which showed rates of consumer technology adoption. The data suggested that the speed of adoption would continue to accelerate, which proved to be true for smartphones and tablets, but those devices took what we were already doing and made it much better.


It took fifty years to electrify the country. It took thirty years to wire landline phones. It took radio twenty years. Television, ten. The Internet took less than five years. AR and VR cannot be conflated with these technologies. Instead, it is like the personal computer, which took fifteen years to hit an inflection point. Personal computers came into our lives very slowly.





 


Throughout the 80s, personal computers were considered first adopter novelty items for nerds and rich people. It wasn’t until the end of the decade that PCs were common in most offices. They were expensive. They ran expensive CD-ROMs, which were either games or educational in nature. If the computer had a modem (it was considered a peripheral, like speakers), you had to open it with a separate program. I remember in 1993 I needed to open several programs to get onto the Internet. One for TCP/IP. One for the modem itself. One for my sleek new Netscape Navigator web browser, and yet another for IRC (chat).




 

However, once the PC met online services, the PC hit an immediate inflection point. This happened within months. The advent of online services like AOL and Prodigy, with their all-in-one discs that brought all the disparate Internet software together into one simple (sort of) plug and play program, pushed the PC to an inflection point. By 1996, everyone had to have one, because at that point, the value proposition was so clear and substantial.


In the early 2000s, many people were given their first smartphone at work, the BlackBerry, which allowed users to send email on the go. Soon, consumer cellphones had those features, and people received remarkable upgrades for free as part of their normal cellphone replacement cycle. The wireless providers and handset makers took what we were already doing and made it much, much better. Yes, please!


Mobile AR, which turns the camera into the window through which we see the world, has been available on Android phones since 2015 and on iPhones since the fall of 2017. Because of Apple’s scale, within a few days, hundreds of thousands of people could do much more with the phone. There were just two problems. The first was apps. They’re novelties and game enhancements. Second, holding one’s arm out to view the world through the camera may be the worst form factor accidentally invented by man.






 


Augmented reality works exceptionally well for enterprises (as computers did in the 80s), but they largely aren’t for consumers, although there are some nifty AR-enabled toys and books. For consumers, AR headsets are in a protean state. There are basic problems with optics and field of view. Costs are still going up, not down. Interface solutions are not obvious. Speculation swirls around the big companies and some stealthy startups (most notably Magic Leap).


Ironically, the really big utility problems are outside the smartphone. They’re in the cloud and pertain to unsolved issues of bandwidth, compression, artificial intelligence, and the lack of a geospatial social “AR Cloud” that would make the glasses contextually aware. For VR the problems are simpler and more profound. Navigating with hand controllers is extremely awkward and people still get motion sickness. The optics are terrible. At current resolutions, the pixels are visible, creating a “screen door” effect. Even advanced headsets only have a 110-degree field of view.



Rapid advances in smartphones have spoiled us. VR and AR aren’t going to be like that.


This is an excerpt from my book Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, a continuously updated, AR-enabled guide to VR & AR, published January 9, 2018, by Cool Blue Press.



 




We’d like to thank Charlie Fink for joining us as a guest author on our blog! Check out more of his work here – and if you’re ready to adopt VR for your own business, sign up for a free Yulio account!




This post was originally featured on Forbes.com on December 13, 2017

Used with permission. c. 2017 Charlie Fink, all rights reserved

Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, An AR-Enabled Guide to VR & AR

@charliefink l Charlie Fink.com l Wikipedia I LinkedIn

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

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




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


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



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

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





(2) The client will connect more with your design

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


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




(3) You’ll get immediate quality feedback

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


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


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



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

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





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

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


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




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

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

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


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




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

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


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



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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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




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

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


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


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


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




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

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


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





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


She’ll take you through things like:


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

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



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

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Architecture, Business, Design, Resource, Technical, VR

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

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



VRE

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


FPR

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


Hotspot




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


Goggle-less Viewer or ‘fishbowl’



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



 

Presence

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


Haptics

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


HMD

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


Interactive Virtual Reality

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


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




Virtual Visits

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


360 Video

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


4D Virtual Reality

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

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




 

Stereoscopic

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






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


Stitch

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


Head Tracking

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


Eye Tracking

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


Heatmaps

In marketing, eye tracking can be used for heatmaps, which notes where the user has looked and creates saturated paths and points to show where the most time and focus were directed to within the media. Heat mapping technology can be used in a similar way by brands looking to understand the level of attention their products are drawing within displays densely filled with competitors. If products are being bypassed and/or specific competitive brands are getting high levels of engagement, brands are able to evaluate factors such as product packaging, location on displays, etc.





 

Position Tracking

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

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



FOV

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


Latency

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


Simulator Sickness

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



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




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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

 


                   

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

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

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

 

 

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

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





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

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

 

 

Would you say it can potentially allow for quicker experimentation?

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




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

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

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

 




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

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





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

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

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





How has VR changed client presentations?

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

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





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

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

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

 




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

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





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

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





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

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

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




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

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

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





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

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

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





What are your next steps with VR at Gensler?

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

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

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





What do you think VR really brings to the industry?

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

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





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

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




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

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

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


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



 


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


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



 


Why should you learn to design in VR?

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

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




Step 1: Learn the medium

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




Where do you look, what do you see?

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


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


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


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

– Alex Garrison, Gensler Denver





Step 2: VR is more than just visual

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


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



 



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




 


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


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



 



Thinking outside of the (virtual) box

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


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




 


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


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

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VR

Picture yourself holding a VR headset and placing it over your eyes; suddenly you’re on the beach and you can see the ocean stretching as far as the eye can see, there is sand below and all around you, you can hear the calm beach waves hitting the shore, and you can almost feel the warm sun and cooling wind against your skin.

The immersive power that VR brings to the table is truly amazing and is only improving with time, but with technology accelerating at the pace it is, and the VR industry blowing up more and more every year raises the question:  if you are going to invest in VR, particularly a VR headset, which model makes the most sense for you to purchase to view your VR content? Our exhaustive VR Headset Comparison is here:



Mobile vs. Tethered

First, you have to decide whether you want a mobile or tethered headset.



Mobile

These headsets are essentially encased lenses where you can position your phone to view the VR content. Your phone will split the content into two frames – one for each eye, so that when you put the headset on, your phone becomes the VR device, creating the immersive visual experience right in-front of your eyes.

Pros:

  • Mobile headsets are – to put it bluntly, mobile! You can take them with you anywhere you go and get them out and set them up with ease. So you can take them with you to show off VR to a client or take your VR portfolio to a sales meeting
  • They are relatively inexpensive in comparison to tethered headsets (we’re talking upwards of a $400+ difference here)
  • They require less technology (none of those pesky movement sensors, camera trackers, unwieldy cables, or high-end PC’s to run complicated programs)
  • Less set-up time (you can typically just open the VR app on your device, slip it into the headset, and begin your immersive experience)
  • The user is less susceptible to VR nausea

Cons:

  • Typically with mobile, you can’t interact with your surroundings unless there is a button or menu option. Usually, mobile VR headsets are set up to process FPR’s (fixed point renderings), which allow you to see all angles of a fixed point, but doesn’t allow you to move anything but your line of sight
  • You cannot walk around the scene. Mobile VR tracks head movement only in what we call 3-degrees of freedom, not full motion 6-degrees of freedom, so there’s no walking around
  • Your smartphone wasn’t designed to have the image quality or internal power that true VR needs to be at its best (although you can still get quite the experience without all of all of the tethered gear)



Tethered

Tethered headsets are a lot more complex than mobile headsets. Mobile headsets are made for smartphones, which aren’t designed for the image quality and processing power needed to have the ‘true’ immersive VR experience; however, this isn’t necessarily needed for all activities that you may be using VR for. Tethered headsets consist of a helmet connected by long thick cables to a powerful PC. The helmet will come with VR quality image display, built-in motion sensors, and an external camera tracker, and you will also have some sort of remote debating on which option you choose to help you navigate your surroundings, which increasingly heightens your immersive experience with the software.


Pros:

  • This is what this equipment was made to do; create the most complex and immersive experience for you. (So if you’re looking for the top-of-the-line tech for VR, here it is)
  • You’re able to play video games and do more mobile and tactile motions within the software (This means walking around, picking up items, and interacting with your surroundings!)

Cons:

  • You’re restricted to the length of the cables attaching from your headset to the PC, which means that you can’t wander too far or go out of that range
  • You need a dedicated space of at least 3 square meters
  • This tech usually comes with quite the price tag. Don’t expect to spend anything less than $500 (and that doesn’t count the amount of time you need to devote to setting it up!)
  • Users are more susceptible to nausea because of the interaction in the software


Options in the market: Mobile

Samsung Gear VR
   

 

Price: $149.99 – Samsung Store

Compatibility: Works on most devices that are USB Type-C and Micro USB. Does not work for iPhone

Comments: Great design for sleekness and comfort, slightly higher price than the Google Daydream, and great quality for viewing; This option has a large range of content and games available (which includes free ones too!) for users which makes it an attractive buy.




Google Daydream View
   

 

 

Price: $140 – Google Store

Compatibility: Works on most select Android devices including some LG and Samsung models. Does not work for iPhone

Comments: Overall, a great design for sleekness and comfort, and great quality for viewing; however as of right now, there is not enough content available for it to make it worth buying as opposed to some of its competing headsets like the Samsung Gear VR.


** www.thewirecutter.com put in 35 hours of testing comparing Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View to see which is the better buy and concluded that Samsung Gear VR comes out on top because of the range of content available.




Homido V2
       

 


Price: ~$85 (69.99€) – Homido Store

Compatibility: Compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones

Comments: Great design and said to be comfortable, but the image quality is not as great as the Samsung Gear VR. The grip for your phone inside of the headset is strong, but the magnet that holds the headset lid shut (protecting your phone) is not very strong, so if you have a thicker phone, it might be advised to get a different headset with a stronger clip to hold the shell closed. There have also been complaints about the allowance for your headphone jack; for standard earbuds, they fit just fine, but if you have your own over-the-ear headphones, the jack has to be small enough to squeeze through the plastic cover. Image quality is ok, but not as clear as the higher-end headsets.




ETVR 3D VR
       

 

 



Price: $79.99 – Ebay

Compatibility: Compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones

Comments: Many people rave that the design looks good, is still comfortable to wear and compares to the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream View; however, the image quality is not as impressive as the competing headsets. That being said, if you’re looking for a cheap(er) mid-range headset to experience VR, this could be a good option for you.




Homido Mini
       



Price: ~$20 (14.99€) – Homido Store

Compatibility: Compatible with all smartphones

Comments: Designed as a pair of glasses as opposed to a headset/goggle. Definitely more affordable than some of the higher-end headsets, has a sleek design, is foldable, and the image is still clear. The only takeaways from this product are that you don’t have the full spectrum of VR. The glasses aren’t strapped to your head, and the goggles don’t cup around your eyes,  which means you have to hold them to your eyes when viewing in VR, and you can still see and feel the environment around you in your peripherals as opposed to being fully immersed in a VR environment. These are still a great light-weight option if you don’t want to blow the budget on a headset, and lend themselves to the idea of a portfolio in your pocket more than most alternatives




Google Cardboard
   



Price: $15 – Google Store

Compatibility: Compatible with all smartphones

Comments: Similar to the Homido Mini in that they are designed as lenses that you have to hold to your eyes instead of it being goggles strapped to your head, but the difference between Google Cardboard and Homido Mini is that Google Cardboard cups your eyes, and allows less peripheral vision so that you’re more immersed in the VR content. Again, this option is also on the lower-end for cost, which makes this and the Homido Mini the best bang for your buck in terms of quality of image, effective VR experience, and practicality of use. The Google Cardboard is also very light-weight and packs away easy inside of the fitted cardboard box it comes in. Considering all of the factors, Google Cardboard and Homido Mini are the cheapest and easiest ways to view VR content.




Options in the market: Tethered


Oculus Rift
       

 

Price: $529 (just headset) – $1328-$2628 (headset and hardware setup) – Oculus Rift Store

Compatibility: Rift Hardware

Comments: In terms of just the headsets, the Rift and the Vive are almost identical (1200 x 1080 OLED displays for each eye, a 110-degree field of view, and plenty of room inside the headset to accommodate a pair glasses), however the hardware for the Rift is more advanced for motion control and image quality, and has a very powerful processor to accompany the headset; this option is one of the highest quality (and most expensive) options on the market today. This being said, their gaming focus for the user is either sitting or standing (the range is only a 5 x 11 rectangle), so if you want the full immersive walking experience in VR, you may want to consider some of the other options.




HTC Vive/Steam VR
       



 

 


Price: $799 – Microsoft Store

Compatibility: PC Computer

Comments: The design was made to be sleek and comfortable, and the remotes fit easily into your hands. The image quality is equally as impressive as the Oculus (1200 x 1080 OLED displays for each eye) comes with a 110-degree field of view, and there’s plenty of room inside the headset to accommodate a pair glasses. This system has 360-degree controllers, headset tracking, directional audio and HD haptic feedback which makes the VR experience incredible. This is also the only headset in the market that actually allows you to walk around in VR (in a 15 x 15 space), of course this means that you have to set up the position tracking; with this, the Chaperone system warns you about the boundaries of your play area which is a nice feature when talking about tethered VR. The only major flaw with this product is the setup required; there’s a lot of cables, and each piece of equipment that you want to use needs to be plugged into the computer hardware.




Sony PlayStation VR
       

 


Price: $400 (just headset) – $579.99 (PlayStation 4 and headset)

Compatibility: Playstation 4

Comments: This setup comes with two remotes which help you interact with your surroundings virtually. The image quality is not as good as Oculus or Vive (Playstation VR has 960 x 1080 for each eye), but that being said, this is still pretty good quality. It also has a slightly more narrow range of vision at 100 degrees versus Oculus and Vive that have 110 degrees, but again, this being said does not mean that it’s going to make a huge difference. This tethered VR system is the most affordable option since it can be run on a PlayStation 4, of course, that’s assuming that you already have this console at home, otherwise, it can be pricey to purchase the console and the helmet.



Matching the headset to how you want to use it

Now we have or VR headset comparison data, it’s time to break down which headsets are better for what you would be using it for.


For mobile headsets, the majority of the work is being performed by your smartphone, and the headset is merely the vehicle used to view the content, which is what allows companies to keep the price of the headset relatively low. Think of it as if you’re in a rooted chair; you can look all around you but you can’t interact with the 3D space unless there are hotspot options that will virtually move you around. Mobile headsets are standard if you’re just looking for something to use for work or leisurely, and if you aren’t looking for anything more than just a visual and/or auditory experience. Mobile headsets make more sense for those who are not planning on playing more invasive video games because there is no motion sensors or movement tracking. And we think they’re the most practical for business applications. Typically in a meeting featuring a VR presentation, you’ll want to pop in and out of VR while you discuss the presentation – so straps can get in the way, and controllers can be intimidating. And of course, the mere reality of mobile means you can present to clients located anywhere. Your VR headset comparison can’t be complete until you consider the ways and locations in which you typically are trying to show VR to clients or any audience.


For tethered headsets, the majority of the work is done by a powerful processor inside of some sort of hardware purchased alongside your headset. The cost is much higher, but your experience in VR will have a lot more dimension than the mobile experience. Tethered headsets make more sense to purchase if you plan on playing with interactive content in gaming. To choose which tethered option is best for you, you have to consider how often you’ll use it and with what games you want to play. Oculus will have the most options for content to experience in comparison to the other tethered options, but it also has the largest price tag, and Sony Playstation VR is the cheapest option, but you’re limited to the games that PlayStation releases. In business, tethered rigs can make a great splash at trade shows, but can be impractical if you have to have clients come to you for every presentation.


Some Yulio clients started out exploring them for the immersive quality of VR but ended up struggling because clients didn’t want to come in to see each design iteration. One of the most useful VR headset comparison field tests for one of our architectural clients came when he set up a simple mobile experience at a tradeshow booth, only to find his neighbor table struggling with a tethered setup. While the tethered looks cool and is fully immersive, in the end, the trade-off of simple set up that achieved the same goal worked well for them. After all, the real goal is sharing your vision in a new and immersive medium.



Want to know more about VR? Head on over to Yulio and experience it for yourself with our free account, or sign up today for our free 5-day email course.

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

If you’re feeling skeptical about whether or not 2018 is going to be the year of VR, you come by that skepticism honestly. VR has been plagued with over-hype, both from the press and headset makers. But, over the last 18 months, VR has ridden the hype cycle and we believe, come out the other side. Yulio clients have integrated VR into their practices and are on their way to it being an indispensable tool.


VR may not change your life yet – but it will change your business.


If you are still thinking VR is a transient fad and you can wait for it to pass…start thinking about it as a compelling technology that’s found it’s perfect time to shine. To help you get your head around the possibilities, here are a few stats we’ve rounded up from recent VR research we think you should see.



5 Years

Although in some form or other, VR has existed for several decades, the current boom in the technology was spawned by the Kickstarter campaign initiated just 5 short years ago by a little-known startup Oculus Rift. Oculus only ever sold (via Kickstarter) headsets as developer kits, but it still shifted 100,000.

A $2 billion acquisition later, and VR found its mojo, winning an ever-growing number of hearts, minds and new users across the globe.



11 Million+

Approximately 11 million virtual reality headsets were shipped in 2016, increasing to over 13 million in 2017.



51%

Over half of the U.S. population is aware of virtual reality devices and 22.4 million Americans are already VR users.



171 Million

Globally, right now, as I write, there are an estimated 171 million VR users.



$12.1 Billion

According to Statista, this very year, the virtual reality market is estimated to reach a value of 12.1 billion U.S. dollars. You think that’s a large number? You should see the next one.



$40.4 Billion

The projected VR software and hardware market is expected to reach $40.4 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of people using a lot of VR technology for a lot of different applications. By ‘a lot’, I mean …



1 Billion +

… Over one billion people will regularly access VR and AR content by 2020.
Yes, that’s a ‘billion’ people. IDC predicted last year that the compelling combination of virtual reality and augmented reality content will have a global audience that tops this crazy number by the turn of the next decade. Mental note – this must mean VR is no fad.



41%

Those still on the fence don’t plan to be for long. According to Google’s Consumer Survey conducted last year, more than a third of the adults said that they would give virtual reality a try if they had the chance to. Consumer interest is set to continue pursuing VR as one of the most emerging technologies.



44%

Who will make up the next wave of buyers? Millennials … and lots of them. According to Nielson, 44 percent of people interested in purchasing VR devices are between the ages of 18 and 34. This generation is one heavily motivated by innovative devices and will play a major role in defining what ‘sticks’.



250

To satiate that desire to get involved in VR, there are currently 250 VR headsets styles available for purchase on Amazon.com.



82 million

By all accounts, they’re selling well as, according to Statistic Brain, there are expected to be 82 million headsets in use by 2020.



90%

Of all those headsets sold worldwide, approximately 90% are mobile phone based. What does this tell you? Best to make all of your VR applications and content very mobile friendly.



So what can be garnered from all the big numbers in our VR research? VR is here to stay. It might not have always mirrored the hype, but it is unquestionably a growing force to be reckoned with.


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

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AR, Culture, Lifestyle, Travel, VR

Anyone who has booked a vacation has experienced that uncertainty about value for your money because there is so much ambiguity when it comes to what your amenities are, the quality of the resort, what your actual hotel room will look like, and even what some of the sights are at the destination. Enter VR Travel, and watch as VR disrupts yet another industry.

Before VR, consumers have had to trust in reviews from other travellers, what could be false or misleading ratings from travel agencies, and the authenticity of experiences, photographs, and videos of the destination to drive the decision-making vehicle when investing in a trip; however, with the power of VR travel, this doesn’t have to be an issue anymore. Now, we have the power to show consumers exactly what they should expect to experience when they arrive at their destination. It’s true try-before-you-buy experience, and it’s a winning pitch for travel marketers.

VR can be used a couple different ways when it comes to traveling such as,


Marketing travel destinations

VR travel experiences can be used to promote and sell seats for travel destinations. Businesses such as resorts, airlines, travel agencies, and online travel e-commerce platforms can now show consumers popular destinations, destinations that they should consider traveling to, or destinations with deals on flights or accommodations by immersing them in VR.

By allowing consumers to have a detailed experience of the location in virtual reality, they can get a sense of presence in the destination and decide if it’s right for them, and if they should book or not.





 


Previewing destinations with VR travel allows booking agents to create an emotional connection that helps consumers see value and complete their bookings. Thomas Cook, for example, found there was a 190% uplift in New York excursions for people coming from the UK after people tried a 5 minute version of the holiday in VR.

“Thanks to working with Visualise [VR] Thomas Cook was the first travel company to deliver in-store virtual reality to customers, we’ve been nominated for numerous innovation awards, and we’ve seen a good conversion rate for bookings made after viewing the VR content.”


Lynne Slowey, Head of Digital Content, Thomas Cook

Carnival Cruises have also been early adopters of VR travel marketing – their 360-video tours and VR travel experiences are designed to provide the experience of an “instant Caribbean vacation” and entice emotional connections and aspirational bookings.



 



“We know that many first time cruisers find it difficult to understand what the cruising experience will be like until they’ve experienced it firsthand, so we decided to use 360 video technology to help get consumers closer to the spaces that make Carnival special.”



Stephanie Leavitt Esposito, Director of Social Media and Branded Content for Carnival

VR Travel takes away the hesitation to book by helping consumers better understand what they’re getting into. For a relatively small one-time investment, travel marketers can leverage the emotional connections of VR both in their physical locations and online to generate interest.



Confidence in booking

VR travel also allows you to see exactly what you’d be investing in before you buy. This could mean previewing what your room will look like in real-scale, ‘touring’ the resort or living accommodations before you arrive, or experiencing some of the views in the area you’re looking to travel to. Travelers can also decide if they want to upgrade their package if they want a more premium hotel or resort, or change their travel plans based on what they see.

The consumer will be able to have a taste of the destination, explore excursions that are available, view living accommodations, amenities, and more without any of the guesswork that typically comes with booking vacations and interpreting room upgrades and tiers.  With this, travelers gain the power to change their bookings if it’s not exactly what they were looking for and travel at ease to their destination knowing exactly what they should expect when they arrive. And travel agents have an easier time explaining and selling premium experiences.



 


Drive Booking Rates with VR Travel Previews

Separately, VR travel can help promote less popular destinations. There are amazing places travel agents know about but have a hard time selling to customers who don’t know someone who has been before – again, they’re looking for some assurance that they won’t have wasted their travel budget, and won’t end up somewhere they don’t want to be. VR travel options let them preview the location and get a sense for what it will be like to travel there in a way that brochures and still images cannot. VR travel lets people experience a locale on their own – they control the exploration of the experience and end up with a greater sense that it is authentic.


And we’re primed to respond to the sense of having a true preview of the experience, according to a study by YouVisit, a VR travel company, 13% of people who experience a vacation in virtual reality go on to either book a vacation or get in contact with lodging or transportation companies.



Allowing those who can’t travel to see new things

Of course, not everyone is physically capable of traveling or has a budget to allow them to travel often or at all. But now, anyone with a smartphone can experience a travel destination in virtual reality. The beauty of mobile VR, especially, means that anyone can slip on a headset and be immersed, which means that even those who aren’t mobile anymore can experience a paradise setting in the comfort of their own home. Some findings from a study found that 80% of the people who tried VR for traveling felt they were really taken to the destination.


VR travel has been the focus of health and wellness campaigns for those unable to travel – a recent experiment in a senior’s living center in Brazil allowed residents to use headsets to visit a destination they had never been to, or revisit past favorites. Residents reported feeling excited, and often nostalgic.



 

 

VR is the closest you can get to the real deal, and with the help of ambient audio and pristine image and video quality, the consumer can feel as if they’re actually there (without investing the time or money) which makes this the best selling and experiential medium for consumers looking to travel.

Marriott hotels have taken this a step further, with VRoom Service, which creates travel within travel. Guests at some locations can borrow a VR headset and tour Marriott VR Postcards, experiences in Chile, Rwanda or Beijing.

“Travel expands our minds and helps push our imagination – VRoom combines storytelling with technology, two things that are important to next generation travelers.”


Matthew Carroll, Vice President of Marriott Hotels

Marriott is on to something here, With 65% of 18-34-year-olds seeking to buy experiences over material things, the ‘experience economy’ is booming. VR travel is the key to ‘try before you buy’ and provides enough of a demo for VR travel marketers to sell experiences with an emotional connection.

If you’re looking to take a trip without breaking the bank, CN traveler identified some experiences recently that was almost as good as the real thing, so check them out and escape the winter blahs with VR travel.


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, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

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


 

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


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






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


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


Some Practical tips for VR collaboration for A&D

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


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


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


For some more thoughts on collaborating with VR, check out our whitepaper on integrating VR for greatest ROI. And, if you’re ready to test out the problem-solving capabilities of VR, sign up for a free Yulio account.
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Business, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Like all great disruptive technologies, VR has begun to establish itself in a way that makes business leaders … uncomfortable. They’re hearing more about it. They’ve had clients mention it. They’ve heard their competitors are trying it. They just haven’t got around to doing anything about it … yet. If current predictions are correct, they will. And when they do, they’ll likely have questions that sound something like the ones below. So we’ve put together an outline of VR basics to get you up to speed.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Download the ‘All You Need to Know about VR for Business’ Slideshare here. With this stage of your VR education now complete, you’re now in the perfect position to roll out of 2017 feeling great about yourself and ensure 2018 is the year VR makes its mark on your business. From the team at Yulio, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. And a happy year of VR.
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Business, News and Updates, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Top 7 Insights from Over 1000 Hours of VR User Testing
Looking for someone who has decades of experience in VR learning? Pretty tough to find. When it comes to VR, Yulio’s very own Chief Product Officer, Ian Hall is pretty much as good as it gets. Not that you’d hear that from him. Ian has been working in the visualization space since 1994. Over 20 years. A lifetime in technology. Back then, in the original, early 90s introduction of VR it consisted of gigantic, neck numbing headsets which offered very little in the way of movement but plenty in the way of nausea. It has come a long way since those early ventures and Ian has been there throughout. He and other members of his team at Yulio have logged more than 1000 hours of user testing and VR learning, working with subjects from ages 2 to 86 as they took their first steps and then journeyed into the immersive world of VR. As you’d expect, there have been a lot of insights gained along the way.Here are some of the best which may just help you deliver an incredible VR experience first time around;  

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




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


 

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


 

Mobile is the way to practical VR

 

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

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


 

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


 

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

 

 

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


For much more detail on all we’ve learned in our virtual adventures, sign up for Yulio’s free 5-day course on Business VR. Give us 10 minutes a day and you’ll be on your way to VR expertise….you can skip 999 hours or so.
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Architecture, Business, Design, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
For anyone who’s designed and constructed a building, there’s a unique feeling of unease – bordering on nausea – that can wash over you as you step into half-built rooms for the first time. Wait. It is definitely smaller/bigger/lower/higher/darker/brighter than I’d envisioned it from the plans. Even for trained professionals, space is a very hard concept to fully appreciate using imagination alone. How big of a space is big enough without being too big? How small is cost-effective yet isn’t restrictive? Accurately evaluating three-dimensional spaces from two-dimensional designs is like trying to appreciate a symphony by looking at the sheet music. In the majority of our client conversations, addressing this major pain point for both designers and their customers was felt to be one of the defining strengths of VR.

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


 

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

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


 

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


 

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

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

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


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

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

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



 

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


 

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


 

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

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

Feeling the heat


 

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

 

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

 

 

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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





Things that don’t yet exist




Things that are too large, expensive or complex to model



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


 

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

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

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

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

In each of these cases, the immersion being delivered via VR would be impossible using another medium. VR is the difference between seeing and experiencing. These experiences deliver real, tangible value to users in a way that has been proven to make them more responsive, more receptive, more engaged and more loyal. With benefits like that, finding ROI from VR content should be easy. If you use images to tell your business stories today – whether products, services or designs – you can use Yulio to tell them better. Try it for free (no strings, we promise) and see where your VR experiments lead you.
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Architecture, Design, How to, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
We recently came to the satisfying end of an (at times slightly unsatisfying) six-month process to have Yulio listed on Daydream. For those who don’t know, Daydream is Google’s VR platform for Android devices that are supported by its own cool new viewer hardware, the Daydream View. Yulio’s already listed on every other major app store and therefore we can understand if this news doesn’t, at first glance, have you scrambling to share the news with all of your closest friends. However, the experience of working with the Google team – a group living and breathing the shifting world of VR and leading an impressive charge in VR for business – was notable in a few ways that we thought were worth talking about. As a little bit of background, Google introduced the Daydream platform in 2016. It was created to simplify access to high-quality virtual reality content on mobile devices and could be seen as an obvious continuation of a noble vision to put VR in the hands of everyone, started with the launch of its Cardboard viewer and associated apps.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

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


 

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

 

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


 

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

 

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


 

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


 

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


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

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


 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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


So much of what interior designers do is about connection and human experience. It is about creating living environments and there’s no other technology that can offer people a spatial experience or communicate living environments before they’re real, better than VR. Our thanks to Jonathon for sharing his insight to into the next generation of VR designers with us. Try creating your own VR experiences, or your own portfolio for free with Yulio.
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Architecture, Business, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Since 1978, Diamond Schmitt Architects have been designing award-winning buildings across the world, consistently looking at sustainability in design and innovative new technologies to further user satisfaction and supply modern building operations.


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






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

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

 

 

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

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


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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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


Our thanks to Andrew Chung of DSAI for sharing their success in deepening client engagement through VR. For more information about creating your own VR designs, download our white paper on successfully integrating VR into your workflow.
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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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VR
Why it works, what it can tell you and some ideas that worked.
The power of VR is increasingly being leveraged by creatives within entertainment, sales, design, education, and retail. With its unique potential to drive heightened customer experiences and track data from those experiences in rich detail, marketers are seeing the potential of deep customer engagement and exploring VR for marketing.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


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


 

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


 

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

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

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



 

 

    Student Survey data from those using VR Interior Design  

 

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

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


 

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

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


 

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

 

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


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

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

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


 

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

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

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



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

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

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

the vestibular system affect on vr sickness


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

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

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



strapless headsets can reduce vr sickness for business meeting users


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

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


VR text displayed without interrupting the visuals of a VR game

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


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


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

a nighttime backyard scene with vr audio hotspot icons

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

 


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




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

We have some exciting news to share! As of today, we’ve launched a newer, simpler viewing and sharing experience for both you and your clients. You can now send your VR experience to clients via URLs with no additional steps.

Currently, when viewers visit a permalink for your VRE, they see an intermediary page with options to view the scene in their browser or send to a phone to view in VR. We’ve been working to simplify the process. Now in one click, your client will be viewing your design with no additional steps and no Yulio mechanics in the way.

Here’s how it worked before – additional clicks were required to view a scene:




Here’s how it works now – the viewer will experience the scene immediately:





We’ve also simplified sending the scene to a phone for full stereoscopic VR mode. We’ve removed the need to get a pairing code from our mobile app. Instead, send your scene via text and your client will be dropped right into your design. To send the text, just click on the goggles icon while you’re in Fishtank mode. Here’s how it looked before – where the viewer needed a pairing code and had to switch between their browser and headset to view a VRE in a headset:





And here’s how it looks now – You just send the design to your phone, straight from your desktop:




In just a few seconds, you’ll receive a text message with a URL and a 3 character code. It looks like this:



Click on the link and hit Go. If you do not have the Yulio app installed, you’ll be prompted to download it from the appropriate app store. Once the Yulio app is downloaded, the experience sent via text will load immediately. If you already have the Yulio app, the experience will open immediately when you hit Go. We also made it easier to share your VRE on social media directly from the scene. Click on the sharing icon, like this:




And choose the social platform you want to showcase your design on:




At Yulio, we talk a lot about reducing VR friction. We know making it simple for you to collaborate on designs and share VR scenes is critical to how easily you are able to integrate VR in your workflow. Today’s changes are designed to get you and your clients into your designs faster, so you can start presenting and gathering feedback with fewer barriers. You can access some more information via our Knowledge Based articles here:


Enjoy!

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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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