Adding to our collection of ways for you to enhance your VR projects, we’d like to introduce you to our latest Yulio feature release: image hotspots! This feature allows you to add a still image to your scene, while not interrupting your immersive experience for your audience.
Use image hotspots to show alternatives to a material, color or shape without having to render an additional scene, or get creative and show before/after shots and more. Image hotspots are another way to enhance your design, and tell your story in the context of the VR scene, without having to flip between VR and catalogs.
This new feature is part of our continuing commitment to be the best VR presentation tool for business and can be viewed both in both browser-mode fishtank viewing with a button click and in VR by gazing at the hotspot. In Collaborate mode, hotspots are triggered by the presenter.
Some of the winning use cases from our user research:
In the context of your VR scene, show alternate arrangements, colors or uses and allow the viewer to easily look between them
By providing the image within the VR scene, you avoid breaking the storytelling experience – and let people see the work in context
Image hotspots will improve the range of things you can communicate in a single VR scene, save you ample time and space and allow you to easily expand on what is shown without having to fully render (a still image is much faster and cheaper)
Portfolio before and after transformations
Get creative and use an image to design a text annotation – maybe a quote from a designer
Our newest Yulio feature release is available immediately to all Yulio clients. To learn more and begin using them, visit our knowledge base. Or to find out more about using any of our features or for training, reach us at email@example.com.
Many of our current users claimed that when they first looked at getting started with VR, that the idea of it looked daunting and time-consuming, and that’s fair to think… it’s a new technology, which means that there is probably a big learning curve, really complicated set-up – you may even need to hire a professional to do it in your firm, and finally, it’s expensive, so you’re not ready for it just yet. Today we’re here to tell you that it’s the exact opposite.
Learning about the VR industry and getting started with VR solutions is a lot faster and more user-friendly than you may think. With our guidance, you can get up-and-going in as little as a day, seriously. Or you could set aside a couple hours here and there and you’ll be ready to rock by this time next week!
Step 1: Schedule time to sit down and learn about VR
Duration: 10 minutes
This could mean setting aside any time in your calendar, whether this be a full day, an hour here and there, or maybe you could work from home one day- but setting aside dedicated time will give you the focus you need to concentrate on the details and allow you to learn a bit faster with a clearer mind! There’s a great report from RIBA that can help you understand what other leaders in the architecture and design industries are thinking about – get a head start by learning from them.
Our “5-day” email course was designed so that, even with a busy schedule, you can getting started with virtual reality information you need to know, without the hassle of having to research every detail. This video series talks about getting you a simple and friction-free solution by going over topics such as why VR is business-ready and if it is suitable for your business, how to integrate VR into your existing workflows, tips for selecting the right technology and technology vendors (and yes, that doesn’t always mean that Yulio is the best option for you), and IT, training and budget considerations.
By the end of the course, you will have the tools and terminology to talk to other members of your firm about the benefits, costs and practical considerations of bringing VR into your practice.
Signing up for Yulio takes no time at all. You can do this whenever you have 5 minutes to spare you can simply sign-up and gain a full-feature access for 30 days! The trial will help you see the possibilities for getting started with VR – you can use one of our sample scenes or create your own. Then go on to edit and enhance the scene with floorplan navigation, audio or text integrated into the scene and more. We find that the ‘ah-ha’ moment for VR learning is when people see their own work in VR at the same time – it’s the difference between looking out a window and being in the park.
We recommend that when you sign up, that you go through our onboarding process. This process directly reflects what you will be doing in Yulio, and it will walk you through each page and function so you’re ready to go when it comes to your own projects!
Yulio’s software is easy to integrate into existing workflows. We built Yulio from the ground up to fit in with your existing design workflow, so that getting started with virtual reality would fit seamlessly into your design flow. Our plugins help speed up your workflow by generating cube maps from within your CAD software. Simply prepare your scene, lights and cameras, and start the plugin.
Downloading the plugin you need may not even take 10 minutes depending on your internet speed and bandwidth! Or if you don’t use one of these CAD programs, you can simply upload your CAD files as a PNG. or JPEG. file and still get the same great VR experience!
We designed our software to be as intuitive as possible; however, we have many resources available to guide you through Yulio’s many great features and functions that will help you create the stunning presentations!
Our YouTube channel has quick summary videos, longer walkthrough demos and technical guidance that will lead you to success while using Yulio!
You don’t have to watch all of them – only as many as you think you need to get you on your feet, but we have an abundance of resources that will get you off the ground from the get-go!
Sometimes some extra help never hurts! We’ve crafted some handy-dandy user guides to get you through some of the technical areas such as working with Yulio in your CAD program, or using our collaborate feature.
You can also join in on our bi-weekly free training webinar. This session is crafted specifically for new users to introduce them to the Yulio process from downloading a plugin to creating your first VR experience. You can use this time to ask any questions you have, and get direct answers. Our Client Success Manager will ensure that you’re feeling comfortable and confident before concluding the session.
You may have gone over this in our onboarding when you first logged on after signing up, but this time you can take something you already own – a CAD model you already have perhaps and drop it into Yulio. You don’t need to start with anything fancy to get a glimpse of our software.
If you used one of our plugins, it should have uploaded your rendering for you, however, if you’re manually uploading your design files, then it could take a couple minutes depending on the size of the file you’re trying to upload.
Step 8: Play around with our features and add dimension to your VR experience!
Duration: 1 hour
Yulio has a bunch of amazing features that can truly elevate your VR experience. You could start off by recording a simple voice file for audio hotspots, then and you can connect your scenes using navigational hotspots. After that, you can create a birds-eye-view using our floor plan navigation, add text hotspots, even play around with some of our expert VR design tips here!
It doesn’t take long to bring your VR design to another level, and every detail, when you’re immersed in the scene, stands out to your user. Make your VR design an experience to remember!
Now that you have your awesome VR scene ready to go, now you can use some of the other features Yulio has to offer such as collaborate for cross-country design collaboration with your peers, and heatmaps to see and collect analytical data beyond the ‘oooh’s’ and ‘aah’s’ that you’re bound to get with your designs!
Step 9: View it!
Duration: 5 minutes
This could be either downloading the Yulio Viewer app onto your smartphone, or onto your Oculus Go, but once you have the app downloaded, all you need to do is connect your device to your account and view away!
Your VR projects will appear in your ‘lobby’ on your app, which allows you to have quick access when you’re on-the-go with clients, or just to have as a portfolio in your pocket.
Step 10: Share it!
Duration: 1 minute
And just like that – here we are. You’ve now created your first VR project and you’re ready to share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends alike. See? We’ve made VR easy, and that’s what Yulio stands by – Simple, mobile, and affordable VR that is made for the regular Joe to use.
Anyone can be the creator of stunning VR presentations and all you need is a half of a day for getting started with VR. Try VR for a month on us by signing up for our free full-feature account, or kickstart your VR journey by taking our 5-day email course to start learning about VR for your practice and everything you need to consider. Start learning here!
Yulio Chief Product Officer Ian Hall recently attended VRX 2018 and brought back some key VR trends and winning patterns from the conference. While we’ve expanded on them a bit below, the overwhelming theme is that VR adoption is being led by business adoption and not consumers. As we’ve predicted, waiting for consumer VR headset sales is the wrong adoption indicator – and will leave you flat-footed when it comes to sharing your vision in VR.
VR Trends in Hardware
There have been a number of analyst predictions around headset adoption, which consistently indicated that beginning in 2018 and through 2020 standalone headsets like Oculus Go, HTC Vive Focus etc. will dominate over a console or premium mobile headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR. The Oculus Go has been a game changer in the area, removing much of the friction we’ve seen for our clients of awkwardly trying to put their phone inside a headset etc. Look for the Microsoft Hololens and continue innovation from Oculus to lead in this area, with shipments expected to double between now and 2020.
Like our Yulio Clients, Perkins+Will noted during their panel at the conference that Oculus Go is a slam dunk, and that their sales team love it. We bet they love it because it removes so much friction from installing an app on your phone, putting your phone in a headset etc. etc. You can get Oculus Go from any electronics retailer, or right from the Oculus store – download our Yulio app and you’ll be all set. Removing friction is the most important of the VR trends, as we’ve learned from our 1000+ hours of user testing.
VR Trends by Business Vertical
We’ve looked at a number of verticals using VR successfully, and we’ve always agreed with the comment made by Iffat Mai of Perkins + Will architecture -that “VR ROI (in architecture) is a no-brainer, our job is to sell you something that doesn’t exist”. But the opportunities in some other sectors are interesting too. Showrooms and Retail sectors are slightly ahead of A&D in terms of demand, with the major players all figuring out how to use digital reality to create meaningful retail experiences.
Beyond retail and architecture, experts see significant potential in Education and Healthcare – but both are challenging to services due to extensive regulation and barriers to changing the current process (whether rolling out a new curriculum in education or extensive health testing).
Likely the biggest ‘bet’ will be in the training field, with experiential learning, fewer physical meetings, and more self-guided learning all being keys to the value of VR.
Our clients who work in commercial furniture have found that early adoption of VR has allowed them to differentiate from their competitors by offering an immersive experience. Moreover, the experience helps people make faster decisions with a better sense of size and scale – and gives clients the tools they need to ‘sell’ upward in their organizations and achieve final sign off. Read more in our client showcase with HBI in Calgary.
VR Trends from Early Adopters
One of the most valuable elements from any conference is hearing and learning from those who have really set the virtual reality trends and are repeating useful patterns. You can leap-frog some learning by keeping key adoption learnings in mind:
If you’re responsible for rolling technology out to your sales or dealership/showroom teams, you need to look for something that’s as fail-proof as possible and operationalize the learning. Your benchmark should be that if it’s harder than powerpoint, or web-ex, you need a training webinar or session around resolving and scripting the issue
As the presenter, it can be challenging to manage the technology, tell your story, and ensure people don’t become isolated in VR. That’s why we recommend having no more than 2-3 headsets even in large presentations. If your software allows you to project what’s being seen in the headsets on a screen, you can see what people are looking at and create a social experience around it
The script is still critical to a VR supported presentation – VR trends in tech and even content don’t hide good design – so be sure you have the content, and the story you want to tell before immersing your clients in your scene
The most important VR trends aren’t about technology or complicated gadgets – they’re about storytelling. We recommend to all our clients who are looking to get started that they pick a target project – a pitch or presentation that’s upcoming, and use it as an area of focus to implement VR. One Oculus Go headset and a few software seats on Yulio will have you up and running for your presentation in no time. The key is to quit waiting for perfection….but rather to pick something simple and start your learning process.
Our advice? Don’t be alarmed. Fortunately, it’s not too late to get in on the VR game. It is, however, high time to get started. For the perfect way to get yourself up to speed on virtual reality trends, try our Yulio 5-day course and wow your colleagues with this pre-packed presentation full of our VR research on the state of the industry.
Kopin Corporation (NASDAQ:KOPN), launched as a spinoff of MIT in 1985, kicked off its efforts to deliver wearable technologies due to a special request from the military to improve situational awareness for soldiers. Since then, Kopin has become the leading supplier for AR HMDs for military applications, including those used in the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, for which Kopin provides microdisplays. Their clients include not only defense contractors (Rockwell Collins, Elbit, Thales and DRS), enterprise (Vuzix, Google, Fujitsu, Lenovo New Vision, and RealWear) and consumer (Intel/Recon, Garmin, and more). This spring, Kopin will release its first consumer product, SOLOS, stylish sports glasses that will Bluetooth anything on your phone to a light, inexpensive, high-resolution microdisplay. While Snap Spec did not catch on, they only took short videos for use on Snapchat.
SOLOS are something else altogether. And they’re $499. And here’s why: they may make what we’re already doing much better. While bikers and runners can now access performance data hands-free, it can also make other activities like consuming video on the go much better. It could be video consumption will be more popular than sports performance.
Dr. John C.C. Fan, founder and CEO of Kopin, shared his views on making great AR products with the audience at AR in Action (ARiA) at MIT on January 16th. See a video of his insightful and inspiring fifteen-minute talk, here, “Five Rules For Making AR Great,”
Fan’s Rules are designed to help innovators in the AR industry overcome challenges to achieve mainstream adoption of AR. These challenges include user resistance to wearables, overly complex learning curve and lack of clearly defined benefits. “Kopin has been creating augmented reality technology since long before the term even existed, and providing that technology to military, enterprise, and consumer markets. We’ve learned many lessons over the past few decades,” explained Fan.
“In the beginning, millions of years ago, man stood upright, on two feet,” Fan begins. “This created the modern man. Modern man can see, hear, communicate, and use his hands. We can manipulate our physical world. Our head is up, and we can see the horizon. And what has that led to? The smartphone man. He no longer understands the physical world. We have earbuds, but we cannot hear the voice outside. We look down on the screen, so all of a sudden we’re immersed in this digital world, or the virtual world, but we’ve lost the physical world.” Augmented reality gives man the world back by combining the physical with the digital.
1. HUMANS FIRST
Humans do not generally want to wear devices on their heads. If users are uncomfortable, they will reject innovation. Prioritize human ergonomics first, technology second.
“I wear glasses. Why?” Fan asked rhetorically. “To correct my vision. I wear it them all the time, so they have to be good-looking, comfortable, and aesthetically good. Correcting my vision is not enough. The military wears helmets to save lives. Or their own life. They don’t wear them because they want to, they wear them for a mission.”
“The first rule for a technologist is the human comes first,” Fan repeats for emphasis. “Humans by nature do not want to wear things on their head. So, therefore, the benefits have to be real, and substantial to encourage them to keep it on.”
2. PHYSICAL WORLD FIRST
Too much virtual content can easily overwhelm the brain. Deliver AR overlays in small, controlled bursts.
“You cannot provide too much data to them,” Fan says. “The brain cannot absorb it, and it will be confused. Many technologies can deliver graphics. So we’ll put it up, because we can do it. No, no, you’re talking about humans. Don’t confuse them. Don’t don’t jam everything in there.” Only what they need for that particular mission.
3. MAINTAIN SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
When people become claustrophobic they react predictably. The AR experience must preserve contact with the real world by not obstructing five senses.
Put another way, reality, physical reality, is the defining condition of augmented reality.
4. VOICE IS THE NEW TOUCH
Keyboards and touch screens require compromise. In AR, as in the real world, audio is the most effective and proven channel for command/control as well as transmitting and receiving information.
“The fourth rule is that we have to be able to interact with the virtual world the same way as we do with the physical world. Remember, AR glass really combines the two worlds together. In the two worlds together, in the physical world, the views, vision, and sound are the most important. There are three other senses, but mostly vision and sound. So what happens in the virtual world, we want to do the same thing. The display screen, and the sound,” said Fan.
5. BALANCE AR DESIGN WITH BENEFITS
One of the biggest tips for AR design is to be mindful of clutter. Do not overdesign by adding unnecessary features but design for clear, specific benefits to motivate adoption of AR. By doing so, your augmented reality design will have a distinct message that your audience will understand.
“The Final Rule,” concludes Dr. Fan, “is that we must balance the design, make it work, and give it flair. People have to accept that. People willing to put it on, people have to put it on for a long time, for the benefits. If they’re not doing that, the design will be a failure. And if you don’t have benefits, the system will be a failure. The benefit has to overwhelm the idea that people don’t want to wear anything on top.”
If Fan’s five rules hold true, we might see SOLOS on the un-sporty. And, if we do, it will confirm Fan’s thesis that man’s rise back to his original upright position is inevitable.
We’d like to thank Charlie Fink for his contribution to our blog on AR design from his collection of work. See more of his articles here.
Today we’re pleased to announce our newest Yulio feature release: Text Hotspots! This feature lets you share more information right within your VR presentation!
Hotspots have always been the Yulio method of linking scenes in your VR designs. Previously, we’ve introduced Navigational Hotspots to allow you to virtually navigate your way through your scenes; then we released Audio Hotspots, where you can bring in the ambiance of an atmosphere or descriptions of design details to your scenes; now we’re launching Text Hotspots. Text Hotspots can be used for a number of functions such as describing design choices, offering answers to questions, or providing information about products used to create a design, all while still providing the most seamless VR experience possible for your clients.
Text Hotspots are made up of 2 elements:
Title (max. 140 characters) and visible at the top of the hotspot bubble
Body Text (max. 140 characters)
Hotspots are triggered in both browser-mode (also called ‘fishtank’ mode) with the click of a button, or if you’re viewing in VR, you can simply trigger the hotspot by gazing at the hotspot icon placed within your scene. In Collaborate mode, hotspots are triggered by the presenter.
You can still make adjustments to the depth of the hotspot in the scene to make it appear closer or further away in 3D space just like our Navigational and Audio Hotspots, however, the text itself will adjust for readability depending on screen resolution.
Some of the winning use cases from our user research:
Consistent presentations, even when you’re not there. Including text hotspots in your design makes them part of the VR project and ensures the information will be consistent every time the design is viewed.
Respond to feedback during iteration. Place a hotspot over an area a client had questions about, or where they requested changes, and call attention to exactly how you addressed their concerns
Product Information in context. Annotate products within a design to showcase what makes them unique, all in visual context.
Beyond architecture and design related use cases, Yulio’s VR technology with text inside the experience also heralds the ability for product marketers to create next-generation virtual catalogs. Using their own mobile devices and a simple VR headset, buyers will be able to browse curated virtual environments triggering descriptions attached to products they’re interested in.
Text Hotspots are a part of the new wave of features that can truly enhance your scene and push your VR story forward to be told with consistency and precision without disrupting the immersive experience you’re providing for your clients.
This Yulio feature release is available immediately to all Yulio clients. To learn more and begin using them, visit our knowledge base. Or to try them out for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial with no obligation
Think about what you would do if you walked into a building that you’ve never been in before. Your sense of how to navigate it is a core part of what we want to impart today about VR design principles.
Human Instinct is Key
Going back in time, humans have learned to navigate spaces differently, so to design in virtual reality, you have to understand how people think.
Back in the early days of a human-populated Earth, people relied on their natural instincts and honing in on their senses to survive. So things like having a good vision for long distance was really great to have for them and looking for irregularities in their environment that would be a red flag.
Fast-forward to a more modern era of thinking, we rely on a much shorter distance of sight. We’re not hunting for food or always keeping an eye out for predators, but rather we’re looking for signs, whether that be something like a road sign, a digital sign, or something like a natural instinct kind of sign.
Our generation of humans has seen the transition from items being physical objects into the digital (two-dimensional). Think of apps on your phone like calendar, notebook, and timer – we’ve adapted to this new interaction model that makes multitasking much easier, but decision-making much more difficult.
Consider looking at a landscape in VR… you come across a dark forest to your left and a bright clear path on your right, and you must choose between the two – The majority of us will recognize that the dark forest is filled with a lot of uncertainties and that triggers a sense of danger, whereas you can probably see that the path is lit up and you can see that there is no danger, so you’re safe to continue on. Now let’s say that there are signs for what is to your left and what is to your right… it takes some time to digest what the signs say, and what they mean. The real difference between the two is that people now have experience with reading signs and identifying cues based on the icon, the text font, the shape of the sign, and minuscule details like that. So, deciding which path to take in the second scenario is less intuitive, and ultimately takes some more time.
So one thing you can do when you approach applying VR design principles is insert hints that will cause your users to pick up on their natural instinct of wayfinding and cues that can push them in the direction you want them to go without physically inserting a sign that says “go this way”. When people view scenes in virtual reality, they’re looking for that staple immersive experience that leaves them wanting more, so make your experience explorative and intuitive, and see how much of a difference it makes for your narrative!
You Can Control Perspective!
Picture yourself standing in a large empty room with only a chair across from you (let’s say 10 feet away). If you walk towards the chair, it will appear to be getting larger – Now picture the same scenario, but when you walk towards the chair, it doesn’t budge, you’re not any closer to the chair than you were before you started walking towards it. Controlling this is a core part of VR design principles.
You have options for where you want your content to sit in your virtual space. It could be like the first scenario, where, like a normal day at home, your perspective is normal. Sizes and angles change based on your proximity to the object and your head position. OR, you could make it more similar to the second scenario. The content is locked in a certain position, and there is no way of changing that. There is no such thing as closer or farther away because you’re locked from seeing it any differently. One other scenario would be locking the content to the environment you’re immersed in. For this, think about a hologram – it’s floating in free space, but its locked to the environment you’re in.
Place content with purpose. Make sure that if something is sitting in your virtual environment, it has some sort of meaning for the user. There should be intentions behind the placement of items. We recommend a camera height of about 64” to replicate ‘eye height’ for most viewers – paying attention to these kinds of VR design principles will ensure your viewer experiences a scene with standard heights of things like doorframes etc. and standard sized. Failing to consider this can create a disorientation that makes users less engaged with your scene.
Think about designing a virtual escape room (where every detail matters!) For the most part, you want your users to be able to see all the angles and perspectives of content in the room; however, you’ll also want to lock some content in place, and maybe allow for floating text/voice prompts to appear for them. The focus will be making details, no matter how small, count.
Hey VR designers – you’re not just designing for one screen, but an entire world! You have a full scope of vision to design for – so keep in mind every head turn and remember – design for behind you too! We touched on some helpful tips in a writing piece before, as well as a past blog which you can read here.
This one seems like the obvious tip but it’s honestly one that is easily forgotten. We’re so used to a flat-screen 2D digital experience where you can see everything- where you’re looking at a screen and you have a fixed set of commands and you seem to know more or less what’s all around you with the help of strategic camera angles and zoom.
The difference is, that in VR you have a small cone-of-focus, similar to our range of sight, but even smaller. With actual sight, we have the advantage of having a blurred peripheral vision, but in VR this range of vision isn’t quite as large. When you’re gazing into a VR headset like a Gear VR, you’re actually looking into a split-screen smartphone which not only divides the image but the resolution as well. Your eye will focus on the center of each of these lenses, which leaves the rest of the scene blurry. Don’t let this scare you when it comes to design though because there are ways to solve for this small cone-of-focus!
We have 4 core VR design principles that can help improve your experience for our small cones-of-sight.
Design for a flat surface – yeah yeah, VR is meant to be immersive and offer 360 degrees of intriguing content, but if you’re trying to get your user to focus on one thing in particular, show it to them as if it were a fly on a wall. There’s no sense trying to put crucial information in a VR scene if your user is never going to find it, nonetheless be able to read it!
Design on the curve – If you use this method, the information will always face your user, and be on enough of a curve that is it clear and readable.
Put the important information closer to the users cone-of-focus, and less important information behind that – This hierarchy will let the information stay accessible, but it keeps it organized and out of the way for other content to take the spotlight.
Keep in mind how your user is viewing your experience – The cone-of-focus and range of vision is going to be smaller in something like a Google Cardboard or Homido Mini because they don’t offer any peripheral viewing, however something like a Gear VR or an Oculus Go do allow you to have a wider range of vision. So when you’re wondering which approach is best for you (where to place important content in a scene) keeping in mind the vehicle that is driving your experience can make a serious difference!
Build around what we already recognize
Think about your smartphone, and how you went about learning your newest upgrade. No, not from that sweet promo at your local mobile store, but how you went about learning how to use a new phone again. Technology follows the same path most of the time because the way it is is how everyone understands it to be. Virtual reality design principles aren’t new and alien just because of the technology -they follow a shared understanding of storytelling. We understand what a Wifi icon looks like, or what a calendar app might look like – and I bet we can even recognize the less popular icons within our phone. Our first instinct as humans is to relate back to information we already understand, which is why we can pick up new technology so fast. There is this book of well-known language and symbols that we can immediately pick up, and therefore have become an industry standard.
Where this becomes more complex is where VR intersects with this universal world of symbols and language. Take into consideration how we identify a link from regular text when you’re on your laptop. Usually, the text is a different colour, underlined, maybe italicized, may be enlarged, maybe bolded or all of the above, but sometimes you rely on your mouse to hover over the text to see if the link will pop up indicating that if you click it, you’re going to be taken to a different web-page. Now in VR, only certain headsets come with hand-held remotes which makes applying this same concept more difficult.
If you’re thinking of designing a space, use symbols and language that people already understand, and in the case of VR, use gazes and gestures that are already well-known, and make sure to highlight them as instructions to your viewers before the experience begins (if necessary)
Focus on Experience
Virtual reality is simply an experience. You want to immerse your audience into a scene and to do that, you need to keep a few core VR design principles in mind when you’re designing. These will not only improve the quality of experience, but it will also improve the comfort level of those experiencing it:
The less movement the better. Some people get sick when they’re in VR (it only takes milliseconds from what your eyes see and what your brain perceives to get that woozy feeling)
If there’s a line that details a horizon, keep it still. Similar to the last point, it only takes a second to get a user sick
Ease your user into scenes slowly. There’s nothing more disorienting than moving from one space to another in one abrupt motion. Make sure to include scene transitions that will ease the user in.
Aim to keep your user comfortable. Try not to make your environment too complicated by avoiding constant movement of their head or body. Not only can this bring on sickness or disorientation, but you also want to take into consideration the user’s comfort level. Are they sitting or standing? Where? In an office or on a place? Are they using tethered VR (a.k.a have limited mobility?) These aspects are all important so think of who your main audience is.
Be mindful of what in your scene is meant to be 2D versus 3D. The change between the two can be disorienting.
Keep the information in front of your user simple. There’s nothing worse than when you’re on a screen and you have a million pop-ups in your face. Users in VR want to explore, so let them find details as they go.
Don’t make your scenes too bright – bright lights on your eyes can cause fatigue and it can just be too straining for many to look into for too long.
What you do with these virtual reality design principles is up to you. Exercise your creative virtual freedom and create lasting immersive experiences that will tell your story in the most interactive and unique way possible!
At Yulio, we’re always thinking about friction points you may have in your business for using VR. That’s why we are so excited to share our latest Yulio feature release with you – floor plan navigation – the easier way to explore large VR spaces!
Floorplan navigation integrates a traditional way of viewing designs, the 2D “dollhouse” view with VR for simpler navigation and presentation of VR projects.
The new feature lets you add a ‘dollhouse view’, ‘floorplan’ or exterior image to your project, and link your scenes to the appropriate spot on the floorplan. This allows you to more easily provide context and flow to your viewer, and organize complex projects with multiple hotspots. Tell your design story more easily by showing an overview of how the elements all fit together.
This new feature is part of our continuing commitment to be the best VR presentation tool for business and can be viewed both in browser mode or in VR headsets. It allows viewers to better understand how the different scenes in your project fit together and is a more flexible way of presenting a space. Rather than scrolling through each hotspot or photo in order, pop out to the floorplan view at any time to jump around the design. This flexibility allows you to have more fluid design presentations as you jump to areas of interest, and lets your clients explore links you send in the manner that most makes sense to them.
Our latest Yulio feature release is available immediately to all Yulio clients. To learn more and begin using it, visit our knowledge base. Or to create a free, 30-day trial account and design your own project!
The VR evolution in hardware really begins long before the present surge in interest. I mean, take a look at the Oculus Rift and Oculus Go – both devices are crazy powerful virtual reality hardware systems that were coined from ideas that sparked back in the 19th century – some even argue that panoramic cave paintings were the first real step towards an immersive environment!
We’re going to be going through some of the major innovations in visual storytelling hardware that have led to the current crop of VR headsets.
1838: Stereoscopic Photos and Viewers
Let’s begin with the first stereoscopic images. It’s viewing in stereo that makes VR’s depth perception possible. In 1838, Charles Wheatstone had a breakthrough in his research for how people see images and how to give the illusion of dimension and depth in photographs. By putting two images side-by-side, and viewing them through a stereoscope, you have the first development of three-dimensional viewing.
Does the design look familiar? This design is a step in virtual reality evolution – it is the staple of mobile virtual reality and can still be seen today in modern VR glasses such as Google Cardboards, the Samsung Gear VR, Homdio minis, and other mobile VR head-mounted displays. When you power up a VR experience on your smartphone, it should appear just like this – an image on each side of a screen with a slightly different viewing point for each eye, which ultimately lets you ‘immerse’ yourself into the space just like the split image and stereoscope would let you do.
1929: Link Trainer The First Flight Simulator
Then in 1929, the first ‘experience simulation’ was made – this isn’t quite like the typical ‘VR’ evolution, but it connects to the idea at-large. At big Samsung events, or even at car dealerships like Audi, there are simulation experiences similar to this. With the addition of ‘real’ forces such as wind and turbulence, you can recreate a real experience, virtually!
As you can see here, the invention was a plane-like structure meant to train military pilots before they were deployed. Because of inventions like these, soldiers were able to improve their skills before hitting the field, a critical step in military readiness mandates following the first World War.
Today, you can still see VR being used as a training tool all over the world – and in the exact same way! Check out some of those uses here.
1930: VR Predictions: the stuff of science fiction
In the 1930’s, a science fiction story by author Stanley G. Weinbaum wrote Pygmalion’s Spectacles, which imagines what the modern experience is like when you’re immersed in VR (similar concept, anyway).
The original story was backed on the idea of wearing these futuristic goggles that let the user experience a virtual world through holographic, smell, taste and touch. Now, obviously, if you’ve tried VR recently you’ll notice that you can’t smell or taste, but the general idea behind the Weinbaum experience almost describes VR and even AR and MR to-a-t … making him a true visionary in the realm of digital reality!
1957: Morton Heilig’s Sensorama
Entering the age of the arcade – in the mid-1950’s, a cinematographer named Morton Heilig developed “The Sensorama”, which was an “arcade-style theatre cabinet” said to be able to stimulate all the senses. So we’re not just talking sight and sound, but it was stacked with stereo speakers, a stereoscopic 3D display, fans, smell generators and a vibrating chair! It represents an attempt at immersion on the road to VR evolution.
The Sensorama was intended to fully ‘immerse’ the individual in the film that played on the screen. Morton created six films for this machine, and they were titled: Motorcycle, Belly Dancer, Dune Buggy, Helicopter, A Date with Sabina, and I’m a Coca-Cola bottle! – pretty cool, right?!
1961: Headsight – First Motion-Tracking HMD
Next, we have the first real version of a VR headset that you would (sort of) see today! In 1961, two engineers from Philco Corporation developed the “Headsight” which was the first head-mounted display (HMD) to have any sort of motion-tracking built into the design. The headset had a video screen for each eye and a magnetic motion-tracking system, which was linked to the camera.
Fun fact about this model of the HMD – it wasn’t developed for VR at all, it was actually, built for the military! It’s meant to be a vehicle for immersive remote-viewing of dangerous situations – so the motion-tracking would move a remote camera line of sight, which would show anyone watching remotely exactly what the user was seeing – almost like what we would consider being mirroring – which if you think about it, is pretty cool technology to have for the 60’s era of virtual reality evolution.
1968: Sword of Damocles
Then we have the first real move forward in what we consider to be an early addition to VR/AR technology. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland and one of his students developed the first EVER HMD designed for VR/AR called the Sword of Damocles that was connected to a computer as opposed to cameras.
Now, while this tech was the first stepping stone into the VR realm, it was still huge and not user-friendly by any means. This thing was HEAVY, and when we say heavy, we mean suspended from the ceiling type of heavy, AND you needed to be strapped inside of the device to use it – so it wasn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, and we don’t want to think about what would’ve happened if this thing fell from the ceiling – but the computer graphics were an awesome and exciting introduction to the tech at the time, and represented a vision for immersive visual experiences.
1969: Artificial Reality
The next big leap was in 1969 – A man by the name of Myron Krugere began developing computer-generated environments that would respond to users within the space, and this was also the first introduction to social VR! This is, essentially, what lies at the backbone of what virtual reality is today! He called his environments “artificial reality”, later renamed to be “Video Space” technology. So users far and wide could be immersed in a VR space, and be able to communicate with one another – sounds pretty familiar to what Facebook is doing with Social VR right now, doesn’t it?
1987: The Virtual Reality Name is Born
Then, come 1987, a man named Jaron Lanier invented an HMD called, (funnily enough) the “EyePhone” which cost almost $10,000 at the time. This HMD had major improvements to the VR haptics since the previous model of what was considered “VR” had been released.
Along with the release of the HMD, Jaron Lanier and a man named Tom Zimmerman co-created the first VR accessory to hit the industry called the “Dataglove”, which sold for about $9000.
This was also the year that the term “virtual reality” was coined by the man behind both of these cool inventions, Jaron Lanier, an important step on the VR evolution path.
1991: Virtuality Group Arcade Machines
In 1991 we start seeing VR popping up inside of social venues. VR was still far from being something that everyone had in their house (let alone even tried it!), so having it in social venues was the substantial leap towards curating some consumer-level interest in the tech.
The line of VR arcade machines was developed by Virtual Reality Group, and they were decked out with immersive stereoscopic 3D visuals (with less than 50ms of latency), a pair of VR goggles for the user to slip on, and a seat to sit in while being immersed. The users could choose between a variety of games, and some venues even had the option for players to play together with multiplayer games!
1993: SEGA Announces New VR Glasses Prototype
Who hasn’t heard of SEGA? This world-renowned video game development company (who is still very active in the market today) produced a prototype called the “SEGA VR headset” for the SEGA Genesis console at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 1993.
This headset design, as you can see, is very similar to headsets that are still being released today such as the Oculus Go. This prototype was equipped with head-tracking, stereo sound, and LCD screens in the lenses.
This release would have been the first time that VR was available for purchase by the consumer mass (the price point in 1993 would have been $200… so about $350 today), but unfortunately due to technical difficulties, and despite the fact that they had created 4 VR games for the console, this prototype never advanced past the prototype stage. This was a HUGE loss for SEGA, but still cool to keep in mind how VR evolution continued through the 80s.
1995: Nintendo Virtual Boy
Then we have what was originally known as “VR-32”. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy was a 3D gaming console that was boosted as the first EVER mobile console that showed off true 3D graphics! This console sold for about $180 when it was first released in 1995 in Japan and North America, however, it was considered a failure to Nintendo regardless of the price hits that the console took trying to get it off the shelves and into consumer’s arms.
Some reasons why this console wasn’t very appealing to the consumers at the time were because of the lack of colour in the graphics (the games only included black and red graphics), there wasn’t much (if any) software support to help out users who had difficulties working the console, and it was just straight up too uncomfortable to use. Because of this, Nintendo discontinued production and pulled it off of retail shelves.
2010: The Current Era of VR Evolution – Oculus takes over
Look how far we’ve come in our VR evolution! We’ve gone from what started as a panoramic painting as a vehicle to view in “virtual reality” to what is now the VR we all know, love, and look forward to seeing continue to advance.
VR now hones the power of motion-tracking, eye-tracking, intuitive hand-controls, 360-degree spatial sound, full room-scale support with six degrees of freedom and the list could go on. VR has evolved so much since the 19th century, and there is still so much progress to be made now that developers and tech giants around the world are investigating the boundaries and essential research for augmented reality, mixed reality and the potential for more past that as well.
Who else is excited to see what consumer-VR brings to the table next?!
Want to start investigating VR for your business, but don’t know where to begin? Try signing up for our email course. We’ll provide you information on what VR is, why it might be right for your business practice, how to integrate VR into your existing workflows, tips for selecting the right VR technology and technology vendors, and finally, IT, training and budget considerations you need to know. Or try our free 30-day account that gives you access to all of Yulio’s awesome VR features! Get started now! If you use images to tell your business narrative, you can do so better with VR.
VR for architecture is often looked at as a key presentation tool to benefit your clients. Don’t get me wrong, that’s definitely something that VR does best over all other presentation tools in the industry – VR has the power to illustrate the unknown… it generates long-lasting, memorable experiences for clients that are much more tangible and impactful than anything they’ve seen before. Plus, VR provides a window on reality instead of what could be a hard-to-imagine mock-up, so there’s less guessing and more understanding when it comes to the details.
So, since VR is so successful for presenting designs to clients, we often lose sight of the other uses VR for architecture has that can amp up your VR game. We’ve compiled a list of other fun and useful features that VR can do that most people forget about (plus, these features don’t require you do to any extra work – so there’s that too!)
Get buddy-buddy with your contractor
Yes, ok, this is still using VR as a presentation tool – guilty – But like we said, VR is the best tool to use to show someone a design in the clearest, most precise way possible – so why not show everyone?
Consider sharing your virtual reality for Architecture project with the construction group that will be executing your design. Having a better idea of the expectations behind a project is never a bad thing – in the end, you’ll feel more confident about getting your design constructed perfectly, and your client will be relieved that the folks building their project know exactly what you want to be built. Plus, you’ll end up growing your relationship with your contractor. Forming a bond over the work you two share will strengthen the quality of communication and heighten the understanding around a design so the execution is a more flawless experience.
Show some options
We find good use of navigational hotspots to show the same space but with different finishes or design details. Take, for instance, if you’re redoing a kitchen – having the ability to change between options such as a backsplash, countertop, cabinet materials, placement of a kitchen island, or even just seeing the options in different times of the day could drastically help with quick decision-making.
Or look beyond VR for architecture and see how it can help interior designers see what the room will look like for guests and make adjustments to the space has better flow for when it’s lived-in. This could mean making small improvements here and there such as “what would it look like if we took out that wall” or “let’s try adding a separation there – it would be nice to define the spaces”. Seeing these small adjustments in true-scale could make a huge difference when it comes to how it all looks when everything is said and done.
Too busy? Dial it down
Sometimes when you first show a client a design, the details can be distracting – so rather than looking at the layout of a space, they may be more focused on the color of the brick, or the landscape. We see that by changing the resolution or material of the scene, the space is much less distracting, and you can focus on what really matters, which is the design at-large during the appropriate phase of the project.
Don’t sweat it – just see it
You also don’t have to sweat the labor of moving pieces around or staging the day before an open house. With virtual reality for architecture and design, you can show different configurations of furniture or decor in the same space to see which version works best. So whether that means staging your living room with different furniture and decor arrangements, reconfiguring a furniture showroom to show all of the unique ways you can use the pieces, or seeing what fits where best inside a museum – the aim of the game is show the best configurations of the same space as possible – and it’d be a lot harder to do without VR.
Asking for opinions can only make your designs better
VR collaboration is not just useful for communication between clients and designers, but it helps gain quality feedback from all kinds of parties involved with a design. Collaboration is the difference between finding aspects of a design that don’t make sense when you see them in true-scale, versus what could very well be “textbook” for a design. VR collaborations help you find the issues with your peers so you can make the necessary improvements to save yourself more time, money (and sanity) in the process.
Breathe some life into your design
Interior designers may want to add design details in their VR projects such as vignettes to add some presence to the space. There’s nothing more chilling than experiencing an empty design (hello, zombie apocalypse), so designers add touches like vignettes to make the space feel more ‘lived-in’ – it gives you a better idea of what it would look like if it were built and open to the public. This will make the person viewing the project feel less isolated in the space, and have a better ability to read into a visual story that’s being told through the design (e.g. a doctors office design with vignettes sitting in the waiting chairs makes the space feel more inviting than one that shows an empty room).
Display your portfolio in VR
Having the novelty of VR for your design portfolio is an awesome way to show off your design skills, while also endorsing that you have experience with some of the latest tech in the industry. The idea of having aVR for architecture portfolio means that you can take it with you anywhere without lugging around heavy equipment, folders, or bags/briefcases – you can simply pull out your phone and a pair of Homido mini VR glasses (which can actually fold to fit in your pocket) and you’re set to present! Plus, if you’re a business – you can handout branded goggles (the Google Cardboard and Homido Mini glasses are probably the cheapest options that offer the best experience, while also having options to add your personal branding! – talk about adding to the portfolio experience!)
Throw it up on your website or share it with your network
Add a little something-something to your website and seduce some of your visitors. Showing that you have and use VR tells people that you know your stuff, you’re up-to-date with the latest and greatest tech in the industry, and of course, if the novelty doesn’t w-o-w them, then your design certainly will! Each VR project comes with its own unique embed code to post to your site – or you have the option to share the project with a link through a tweet, a text, an email, or other social media channels.
Show off your stuff!
Another benefit several of our clients use VR for is for marketing. Using VR is a great way to show off your work to your audience. VR excites people – in fact, 81% of people who see something in VR, tell their friends about it – so if you’re looking to get a reach with the content you’re showing – VR is certainly the way to do it. VR content can help aid a brand story and immerse users into a storyliving experience. Join your following and bask in the excitement your content brings! Having a memorable experience is what VR is all about.
These are just a few examples of the hundreds upon hundreds of ways you can customize your VR project and utilize the many features that VR can do! And with these tips, which require minimal to no extra effort, they’re easy ways to amp up your designs and your skills working with VR technology.
Want to try out some of these awesome features? Sign up for a free 30-day Yulio account for full access to our feature set. We’ve built Yulio from the ground up to be the ideal VR for architecture tool. Need a hand getting started? Grab a seat at our bi-weekly Yulio training webinar hosted by our own Client Success Manager for some insider tips and tricks, and full walkthroughs of everything you need to know to be successful with Yulio!
The field of architectural visualization is a striking blend of photorealism along with creative design aspects to create artistic, inspiring and entirely new experiences of spaces. Ronen Bekerman, the man behind anything and everything surrounding 3D architectural visualization and rendering, recently concluded his 7th annual CABINS challenge. In this challenge, we got to see competitors face-off against one another to showcase their show stopping architectural visualization skills and show how exactly they took advantage of some awesome tools at their disposal to get to their end design concept.
The CABINS challenge, which Yulio was proud to sponsor, took place over a span of 105 days, and the judges ended up seeing almost 450 entries, which lead to 24 finalists, 3 winners, 3 honourable mentions, and a countless amount of immersive experiences delivered!
The Architectural Visualization Challenge:
The objective was to visualize a prefab cabin, whether it was one that exists today or one that was custom created for this challenge.
The contestants had a full library of 3D scanned items, objects, landscapes and more to use, and they also had to consider the immersive element of viewing in virtual reality using our platform to make a successful entry for this contest. This is the first of Ronen’s challenges to include a VR element, which brings a new level to the placement of the Cabins within 3-D space. We asked Ronen why this was the moment to bring VR to his challenges, and he said, “VR has finally reached the tipping point, and it is here to stay. As I’m always trying to push the boundaries with the challenges, now was the perfect time to ask the participants to tackle the creation of a full 3D scene to be experienced in VR. Besides all the obvious benefits of VR, there is one significant aspect that makes it so natural in taking over architectural visualization and architectural design, and that is the sense of scale it provides. Exploring the design from within makes a vast difference and I’m sure we’ll see VR being used more and more and become part of the standard flow.”
Some challengers also took advantage of our audio hotspot feature to include some ambient sounds in their designs and increase immersion.
The contestants drew inspiration from some designs by a Parisian illustrator, Marie-Laure Cruschi who crafted these designs specifically for a book titled, “Cabins” by Philip Jodidio.
How the submissions were judged:
The winners were chosen by leading artists in the field of architectural visualization from around the world. The judges included Teddy Bergsman (CEO and Co-Founder, Quixel), Peter Guthrie (Co-Founder, The Boundary), Andreas Landgren (Co-Founder, Tomorrow AB), Gianpiero Monopoly (Co-Founder, State of Art Academy), and Ronen Bekerman himself (Co-Founder and Manager, The Craft).
Now, let’s check out our top designs from the contestants: (and click the title of the projects to view them in VR!)
Bartosz used hotspots to show size, scale, and perspective of his cabin placed in Icelandic Thórsmörk. The warmth from the fireplace against the stark landscape truly shows how idyllic this cabin design is within this specific landscape. He also made great use of aspect placement to showcase the landscape and detail throughout the renderings that otherwise would have been lost if placed elsewhere.
Jamie used hotspots, not only to showcase the details within the cabin design, but to showcase views from up high, down, below, and everywhere in between. The immersion you get from this design is beyond our expectations by bringing us into what seems like an island oasis.
Sergey used his hotspots to showcase his cabin during different parts of the day, but he also used audio hotspots to create an ambiance that really strengthens his immersive experience within his design. His use of hotspots really makes you feel like you’re there and as if the landscape is truly alive.
This challenge proves that with practice, skill and with the help of some wicked powerful tools at your fingertips, you too can create photorealistic and immersive experiences that can elevate your designs to a level that wasn’t achievable without the technology that’s available today!
One of the largest hurdles for students, when they graduate from school, is that they just don’t have the hands-on experience they need to jump into a job.
But why? Isn’t paying an arm and a leg to go to post-secondary school supposed to mean that you have access to all these shiny and new tech toys that will allow you to be successful wherever you end up working when you graduate? When it comes to VR in education, schools are trying to determine whether VR is here to stay as a trend in how certain careers will be performed, or whether it is merely a fad. That’s fair – it just doesn’t make sense for it to be universal in the education system yet. Plus people are still uncertain of the staying power of virtual reality.
We constantly see consumer adoption used as a proxy for VR, but the reality is that VR is growing every day outside of consumer applications. The Oculus GO, released for sale just a couple of weeks ago, is set to revolutionize the mobile VR market as the first stand-alone headset – a HUGE leap from the Samsung Gear VR which required a Samsung phone to be strapped inside of it for it to work.
Right now, VR is used for training, gaming, e-commerce, entertainment, architecture, design, and real estate, but many major technology reports are predicting that the VR/AR market is going to rise to be worth upwards of $80 billion dollars by 2025! Spread that across more than 9 industries, and the next thing we know, VR could represent the kind of work and industry revolution that computers and smartphones did. It’s definitely time for educators to recognize the change coming to the industry, and consider VR in Education.
Bring on the Millennials
Students entering the workforce are going to be the ones that pave the path for how we use technology in the workplace and the rest of us will have to keep up – so introducing them to VR technology early, while they’re still learning, is going to be beneficial to everyone in the long-run – Plus, they want to learn!
A study in 2006 by Penn Schoen Berland found that 77% of millennials interviewed WANT to use VR/AR because they think it will make their jobs more productive.
Millennials are technology natives – they were born and raised with this internet thing growing alongside them and with new tech gadgets popping up left-and-right. So if millennials are interested in it, and want it, odds are they’re the ones that are going to contribute to how large VR/AR gets! In fact, by 2025, millennials will make up 75% of our workforce and 44% of our next wave of buyers. So it’s not so surprising that 53% of millennials said they would rather lose their sense of smell than their digital devices! A bit drastic – but it gets the point across.
People that learn about virtual reality in education environments will graduate tech-savvy, and have come to understand a different level of how humans interact with a space, plus, they aren’t as fazed by change. And on top of that, graduating with a background in VR was uncommon a couple of years ago, so having the experience will let them stand out of the crowd from their classmates.
Democratizing Virtual Reality: VR First
VR First is a global program working towards democratizing virtual reality – and their efforts have gone towards just getting the technology out there, so that whoever is interested in learning the tech or creating content has access to the resources they need.
Their labs are meant to be used for, “nurturing new talent in VR/AR development and converting ideas into business opportunities. Furthermore, VR First offers competition services to prepare companies for the challenges of tomorrow.” A prime example of recognizing the value of VR in Education early and creating a workforce which will drive the technology to new levels.
By the end of 2017, VR First had a goal to have VR Educational Labs put into 50 universities, and to date, according to their website, they’ve achieved this goal with 50 VR labs implemented across 23 countries, and almost 5000 VR/AR developers working with the technology all by recognizing the value of virtual reality in Education.
We’ve talked previously about how, with new technology, there is a whole new approach for how we can use it to the best of its ability, or how we can master its affordances and limitations so we can harness the best experience possible. Going forward, VR First says that over 65% of universities across the world are planning VR labs – which will be a huge game-changer for VR in education – so many people will already be familiar, and ready to explore more use-cases or advancements to the technology that haven’t been discovered yet.
Right now, VR First has 52 projects running, and of these,
35% are for gaming/entertainment
12% are focused on psychology and neuroscience
7% focused on training and education
7% focuses on travel and tourism
6% focused on architecture and real estate
The variety of projects that VR First is working on, is proving that VR still has so much potential, and that because it’s still in its early development stages, (and the whole augmented reality, and mixed reality coming in play) we’ve just hardly scratched the surface of possibilities that the digital reality market has to offer.
Yulio’s Educational Program
We’re avid supporters of VR in education and believe everyone has the right to the best tools and access to the latest research. We’ve been working with a multitude of schools like Ryerson University for Architecture and Interior Design, Boston Architectural College, Eastern Michigan University, and others to begin introducing students to virtual reality that they can use to enhance their VR skill sets and build impressive VR portfolios. We believe that democratizing the technology for students by putting VR in education is the best way to train and prepare them for the workforce, especially if the market predicts that it’s going to be a big deal when they leave school and settle into a job.
Take a look at these interviews to see what the educators had to say about how the technology isn’t only benefitting the students, but them as well!
The good news is – with these type of initiatives making the technology more accessible and students more empowered to use in the existing and evolving technology, we can expect to see some great experiences and different uses for VR!
Does your school use VR yet, or do you think your class could benefit from trying VR? Have your professor contact us, and we can start the process to have VR liberated for your school! And in the meantime, sign up for a free Yulio account to try VR out for yourself!
VR presentations may sound daunting if you’ve never done it. (Where to even begin?!) In our experience working with 100’s of architects, we can comfortably say you’re likely closer to being prepared to do an architectural presentation in VR than you may believe.
Yulio is the simplest way to host your series of VR presentations… and we don’t make that statement lightly.
You only need four things to present your work in VR (and you likely already have two of them!):
If you’re deciding on adding virtual reality presentations to your arsenal, you’ll need a computer brain to do it – meaning a device. At Yulio, we focus on a totally mobile experience, which means that most smartphones will do the trick to power your design presentations. Download the Yulio viewer app from any app store, then you can use it to power your designs.
2. Mobile VR Headset (not necessarily needed, but recommended!)
Next, you should consider investing in a VR headset. There are over 250 options of VR headsets to choose from online at all kinds of different price points (starting as low as $10) and they all vary in the level of immersion your client will have when they slip on the headset.
If you’re looking for a higher-end headset, we typically recommend the Samsung Gear VR – in our experience, it delivers the best quality of image, and best level of immersion, and you can get one for as low as $50 CAD on Amazon. There are also some ‘lower-end’, more affordable options that we recommend as well, one being the Google Cardboard, which can be bought for as low as $10 CAD on the Google Store. Another option is the Homido Mini which starts at about $20 CAD – this option is the one we recommend if you’re planning on passing them off to your clients – its design is simple, foldable, and easily the best portfolio for in your pocket.
Now, I want to highlight that investing in a VR headset isn’t mandatory to see your designs, but it is necessary if you want to view them in ‘true’ VR – What I mean by ‘true’ VR is that, with Yulio, you have the option to view your design on any browser (which we call ‘fishtank’ viewing) or in true VR (where you would slip on a headset). ‘Fishtank’ viewing is not viewing in real virtual reality because you’re not immersed into the design, but rather, you’re simply viewing it off a 2D screen. We recommend investing in a headset – it’s a one-time investment that will bring your designs to life for your clients, and truly kick off your work presenting with VR.
If you’re designing in a CAD program, then you guessed it – you already have content to present!
Yulio works with your current design software to convert the CAD models you already have (or new ones, if you wish) into amazing immersive experiences. We have the plugins available here, so all you need to do is click the ‘Yulio’ button in your CAD program, upload the CAD file to Yulio (and edit, if needed), then you’re all set to present to clients!
Yulio also works with 360˚ photography, which is an awesome, often-more cost-effective option. A 360˚ camera is an excellent investment if you’re looking to create a fast and amazing portfolio in VR. They start around $200 CAD for quality that isn’t too bad (but obviously, the more expensive the camera, the better the image resolution may be).
And, of course, you need a platform. Whether this means that you’re one of our account holders, or you’ve gone in a different direction in terms of your platform, this is the final ingredient you need to start presenting your designs with your clients in VR.
This platform will be the vehicle that holds your VR projects and designs that you can access to present anywhere at any time to anyone. Here is also where you are able to edit your VR project – you can make changes such as adding navigational hotspots, audio hotspots, access your project analytics, and finally, (and probably most importantly) where you can hold VR collaboration sessions with your peers or clients from around the globe!
Make your VR Presentation Social
When it’s presentation day and you are meeting a client in person, it’s important to realize that VR is a blindfolding experience – when your client puts on their headset, you have no way of knowing what they’re seeing and they may feel isolated. To address this, we developed a “Collaborate” feature, much like GoToMeeting for VR. Collaborate is one of Yulios most popular tools – we understand that having the ability to see what your clients are seeing, or being able to control their vision to highlight certain design details is very important when it comes to feedback. When you client asks about “what that blue thing is in the corner over there” you need to know what they’re talking about – and having the ability to see through their eyes can make for much more valuable and efficient conversation than having to pause to look for yourself.
If you haven’t selected a platform yet, we suggest giving Yulio a try. Sign up for a free Yulio account here, and have access to all of the features that you’d get with a paid plan. New to Yulio? Sign up for our free bi-weekly training webinar for a full walkthrough of the platform, plugin, tips, tricks, advice, and more with our Client Success Manager, Dana Warren! Hosted every other Thursday at 1 PM EST. Grab your seat here!
Analysts and tech trend predictions all point to VR as the technology that’s going to continue disrupting countless industries. In our series exploring VR use cases, we’ll take a look at the creative ways different industries are adopting VR and the lessons all VR adopters can learn from them. This week, we investigate how retail is using VR to revive the in-store experience.
The shopping experience is a lot more than just entering a store (online or in-person), finding something you want to buy, and buying it; it’s a complex multi-sensory experience for consumers and firms alike. People form first impressions within 50 milliseconds of experiencing it, which makes the brand experience for companies so important to get right the first time.
There are several factors that go into when and how a company and its products enter the market, and how satisfied the consumer is with their end-product. Businesses that have adopted creative virtual reality use cases at all layers of retail have found that it aids with brand cohesion and consumer trust, which ultimately helps them sell more products in less time with improved customer satisfaction.
How L’Oreal Fights Time-to-Market with VR
Corporate beauty giant, L’Oreal, has been using their VR, “Beauty Lab”, as a space for internal teams and mock-consumers to focus on improvements for how they can get products from the prototype stage, to be on retail shelves, faster.
Because L’Oreal has over 30 sub-brands that they need to create cohesion between, they say that the typical time-to-market can take several months. Dermablend, which is one of the 30 sub-brands of L’Oreal, was the first to experiment and reap the benefits of virtual reality; their creation process includes replicating the full shopping experience from the discovery of the product on the shelf all the way to a satisfied purchase. This means that for every product, they have to build a full prototype of their shelf display. Malena Higuera (MH), General Manager at L’Oreal says that “this type of thing takes very complicated, cumbersome and expensive as live merchandise demonstrations, but I really wanted my team to be exposed to as much real, potential feedback as we could get”.
With creative VR use cases, they can virtually create their prototypes and envision an in-store experience where mock-consumers can give feedback, and they can reactively make improvements to strengthen their in-store presence and stand-out better against their competition. Some actionable feedback from VR included putting the product’s core focus (dermatological benefits) on display as well as supplying a wider selection of makeup which would better serve consumer needs. With VR, their process, which used to take several months, has been cut down to a matter of weeks, while also saving the company considerable costs and effort towards tweaking their product lines for real consumer feedback once the product was in-stores.
VR Use Cases and the Shopping Experience
When it comes to selling a brand, VR definitely wins the ‘wow’ factor from consumers. Effective marketing and advertising tend to find a way to connect with an audience through an experiential or emotional way. Brands experimenting with VR to achieve these connections are providing both in-store experiences and aligning their brand with forward-thinkers who adopt new technology.
A Trip to Yosemite National Park: The North Face
Take for example, The North Face. They used VR for their customers to experience the atmosphere of Famous Yosemite National Park. This experience allowed willing consumers to wear the product while being in a frosty virtual environment
Not only did this experience unite their products with the company’s branding, but the consumer got to connect emotionally to the experience and the product line because of this memorable experience. It’s been proven that people engage with VR content 34% longer than 2D content, and they have a 27% higher emotional connection than through other mediums. Because VR immerses the viewers, they feel a much closer connection towards the content, therefore, the brand. This VR use case is really about engagement and experience.
81% of people who try VR tell their friends about it, which is huge considering there are over 171 million VR users worldwide. VR campaigns draw in a lot of attention from customers, create compelling brand experiences, and create more buzz and influence than any other type of ad media available. Plus, 53% of people would prefer to buy from a company that uses VR over ones that don’t, which makes the concept of using VR for marketing campaigns extremely attractive.
‘Try-On’ Products with AR
Augmented reality product change rooms are a developing trend in retail and are pushing the boundaries of retail virtual reality use cases. According to a study done by Walker Sands, 66% say they are interested in shopping using virtual reality, and 35% of consumers would shop more online if the virtual interaction with the product is made. AR is the solution that fills the gap between buying the idea of something online, to the physical satisfaction of the consumer when they receive it in the mail.
Take a look at Apple’s app, which let people try on their own customizable apple watch. Unfortunately, the app is no longer available, but its purpose was to let the consumer see the product on themselves. The app would let you device from all angles switch between different wristbands, sizes, and colours – and the best part was that they got to see it on their own wrist, which eliminated the grey area of what people should expect when they do purchase and receive the product. With AR, true size and scale is shown, which was usually an issue observed with online shopping –
Now, just because Apple’s app is no longer available, the idea of a virtual store and the ability to virtually ‘try-on’ products is still very much alive.
Sephora Virtual Artist
The app, which was developed alongside an AR company called ModiFace, scans your face to identify your facial features and uses this to allow you to try on some of Sephora’s products in the comfort of your own home.
At the moment, there are options that let you try-on lip colours, eyeshadows, fake eyelashes, and “virtual tutorials”, which overlay the products on your face to show you how to apply the products properly, and how to create certain looks; but we can imagine as AR advances, and the makeup pigments are more realistic, we can see them adding most of their product lines to the app.
VR and AR are disrupting retail and the lessons – from revising a go-to-market strategy to in-store experiences and an evolution of online shopping will be applied in other industries, from automotive to interior design in the coming 18-months.
Ride the rising tech wave with us and get started with Yulio VR today! Check out our free accounts at Yulio, and join us for a free training webinar, hosted every other Thursday at 1 pm EST by our Client Success Manager, Dana Warren, for tips, tricks, advice, and walkthroughs of our software, plugins and creating and enhancing your VR projects!
By the time I spotted the shotgun, it was too late. I feel a sting in my thigh. I’ve been hit. I was distracted by the hysterical wife, while my partner was dealing with a nosy neighbor. We get off thirteen shots, all high, merely grazing the assailant. The simulation comes to a stop. “Rookie mistakes,” says our trainer, Deputy Jose Diaz of the LA County Sherriff’s Department. The LASD is a 17,000 man force that polices the endless suburban sprawl outside LA’s city limits.
The shotgun was on the shelf behind the subject the whole time. We missed it. At the controls of the simulator, made by Virtra, James Grady, who operated the branching 360 narratives in real time, smiles. It could have gone another way. The subject could have complied. “What fun would that be?” He asks. The simulator is for advanced officer training. “This is much more realistic than range training,” which is also possible with the system. “It gets the heart rate up.” Scripted live simulations with actors are the traditional way to accomplish this, but it’s difficult and expensive. Debriefings are limited to after-action analysis. With Virtra, the action can be stopped and replayed. Grady explained that “during our live training deputies’ heart rates go through the roof, but it’s so expensive we can only afford to do it once a year. This isn’t as intense, but we can still get you going pretty good in here, too.”
The VirTra system consists of a five-screen sided, 300-degree screen, like a wrap- around CAVE. Trackers follow the participants. The floor is wired for sound and vibration. For security training, VR without a head-mounted display is much more realistic, because that’s the way it is in real life. Real weapons, modified with lasers, and supplemental equipment like TASERS and mace can also be deployed within the simulation. The deputy is equipped with the exact same equipment they have on patrol, allowing them to make use of force choices they’ll have to explain later. The system plays branching live-action 360 videos, which an operator chooses based on the responses of those in the simulation. VirTra provides most of the content, but the LASD also worked with the company to create custom content. I asked Deputy Diaz why the subjects in all the videos seem drunk. “Because most of them are,” he said matter-of-factly. More frightening still are those with guns who are not drunk. The “School Mayhem” scenario is terrifying, realistic and memorable.
VirTra (publicly traded: VTSI), founded 1993 and based in Tempe, AZ, expects to list on Nasdaq later this year. “Those entrusted with lethal force decisions should be provided training equal to the importance of the decisions they must make,” said Founder and CEO Bob Ferris. VirTra’s web site says its products provide “Judgmental Use of Force Situational & Scenario Awareness, Critical Thinking, Communication Skills, Decision-Making Under Stress, Reading Body Language, and Threat Cues, Use of De-Escalation Techniques, and Public and Officer Safety”. VirTra is not a household name, but within police circles, VirTra is known for realism. Their systems are used by top security forces around the world, including the US, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia.
Siemens, the German technology giant, supplies much of the equipment for Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national intercity express train system. With over 4,000 employees working with new technology, the company is increasingly relying on Virtual Reality simulation for training. “VR is a great, economical way to provide hands-on training that is almost impossible to replicate in the real world,” said Martin Repondek of Deutschbahn. The company uses the HTC Vive to create custom VR training scenarios, perfectly replicating Deutsche Bahn’s equipment, tools, and controls. “It is particularly good for big, physical simulations of new equipment and operations,” Respondek told me. According to Usman Ghias, head of virtual product training for Deuschbahn, by the end of 2018, the entire workforce of 4,000 will train in virtual reality.
STRIVR grew out of a Stanford University master’s thesis by Founder and CEO Derek Belch. At the time, Belch was a member of the nationally ranked football team’s coaching staff. The STRIVR system captures 360 videos from behind the quarterback. This video can later be used to practice reading defenses. There are rules about the amount of field time college and NFL quarterback can spend in live practice drills, so STRIVR provides the realistic repetitions quarterbacks need without risk. This is another example of VR doing something which is extremely difficult to simulate in real life. The STRIVR system is particularly good for quarterback simulations because of those critical decision making moments a passer in the pocket.
Carson Palmer, the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals NFL team, has an Oculus Rift system installed in his home. “I don’t use technology or try to stay away from technology, but the STRIVR system is not something I could stay away from,” Palmer told ESPN. “It’s another way of watching film. The same time I spend watching film, I spend on the STRIVR. I spend almost as much time on the STRIVR as I do just on the playbook, going through different reads and progression, so it’s a huge part of what I do.” Palmer was a powerful early VR success story and got a lot of press for this new way of training while leading his team to the division championship in 2015.
Brock McKeel, Senior Director of Operations for Wal-Mart was exposed to STRIVR when he saw the Arkansas Razorbacks college football team using its system. The companies soon forged a long-term relationship to use VR to aid the training of Wal-Mart Managers and specialists. Wal-Mart’s 360 video was shot in actual stores and allows employees to experience black Friday and see how the crowd on the floor is managed. Managers can virtually be placed behind the deli counter, where they can evaluate the environment and the performance of employees. While only one person in the class can don the Rift headset, the other employees benefit from seeing what they see on a monitor. McKeel told me the company measures success by the responses of the students and instructors. “The trainers see improved engagement, and student assessments after the classes rate the virtual reality training very highly. It’s one of the most memorable aspects of their training.”
Wal-Mart has 170 Training Academies in its system, approximately one for every twenty-five stores. Andy Trainor, Wal-Mart’s Senior Director in charge of the Academies, said Wal-Mart’s training team “gave a lot of thought to creating scenarios, like Black Friday, that needs to be experienced live.” In general, the company tries to make its trainees invisible to customers. “We wanted to find a way to train without disrupting operations.”
Building on the success of its work with Wal-Mart, STRIVR is now working with United Rentals, Fidelity, a major auto-manufacturer, a nursing development organization, and more.
UPS’ nine international training facilities teach students the fundamentals of driving delivery vehicles and delivering packages using a hands-on approach. Students practice driving UPS delivery trucks in a replica outdoor city that has real streets and sidewalks and simulated delivery and pickup sites.
Students using the modules must verbally identify potential road hazards such as pedestrians, parked cars, and oncoming traffic. The 360-degree view inside the Vive headset is extremely realistic. “Virtual Reality offers a big technological leap in the realm of driver safety training,” said Juan Perez, Chief Information and Engineering Officer for UPS. “VR creates a hyper-realistic streetscape that will dazzle even the youngest of our drivers whose previous exposure to the technology was through video games.” The company says it is exploring VR and even Augmented Reality (AR) for training tractor-trailer drivers and others throughout the operation.
The explosion in VR training is driven by its unique ability to replicate a place and a situation that would be difficult in not impossible to do in real life. Virtual reality training makes the kind of deep impression classroom training on 2D monitors does not. KFC has added gamification, Col. Sanders, and VR simulation of cooking their famous chicken recipe to their training.
Just in time for Halloween, the KFC VR experience terrifies and entertains while teaching, a novel approach to serious business. This video comes directly from the Department of WTF. At first, I thought I’d clicked on the wrong thing, or that someone was pulling a Halloween prank. But no. This is the real thing. No doubt the hapless workers and teenagers who endure this VR training experience will never forget it. It’s possible you won’t either.
We’d like to thank Charlie Fink for being a guest author on our blog! Check out some more of work here – and if you’re ready to start learning about virtual reality, start small and take our 5-day email course. Here you’ll learn the fundamentals of virtual reality for business in 5 short sessions. Or, if you’re ready to move onto the real deal – sign up for a free Yulio account here!
This post was originally featured on Forbes.com on October 30, 2017
Used with permission. c. 2017 Charlie Fink, all rights reserved
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.
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.
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 virtual reality 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. 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.
Presenting with VR: 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 virtual reality 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.
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.
See our Yulio App on the Oculus Go for your self! 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.
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 Virtual Reality 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 virtual reality, marketers and sales manager will be able to get 3-4 devices for the same budget.
Get Started with Oculus Go VR
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.
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. We definitely think that digital reality is here to stay.
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 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:
Video games ($11.6B)
Live events ($4.1B)
Video entertainment ($3.2B)
Real estate ($2.6B)
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:
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.
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
In 2014, they bought Aurasma 3.0, an augmented reality application which they acquired through autonomy.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Led $65 million to be funded towards a VR content creating a startup called Jaunt.
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? We think not – we think digital reality is here to stay.
The transition to VR adoption 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. In regards to VR adoption, 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
We’ve talked a lot in previous posts about the unique power of virtual reality to; immerse viewers in environments that don’t yet exist, in those that do exist but are a long distance away or in environments too large, expensive or complex to model.
We’ve also looked at how this unique set of qualities is being brilliantly exploited by creatives across numerous industries, architecture and design, retail, manufacturing, healthcare and others and is helping them communicate their products, their services or their causes in a very different way than was possible before.
We’re going to look at what tricks, tools, and creative flourishes can be used with VR designs to make them more vivid, more immersive, more intuitive and compelling or, simply, more useful.
We have a few great examples of next level virtual reality design, some directly from Yulio clients, and some used by corporate giants that will inspire your next level designs:
Mayhew’s VR Showroom Feasibility Study
VR’s ability to provide viewers with a clear spatial awareness of an environment before it exists was put to great use by Mayhew for Kubota, a tractor, and heavy equipment manufacturer when designing a new showroom facility. Scaled renders of Kubota machinery was added to detailed CAD drawings of the proposed showroom before being created as VR experiences.
With Kubota’s products being so significant in scale, being able to evaluate exactly the how the space would end up when full of equipment – before anything existed in real life and any cost had been incurred – had obvious value. Developers were able to experience the look, feel and layout of the structure from several different vantage points, and understand exactly how it would be once it was in place. Taking the time upfront to think through the physical placement of heavy machinery, while still having a human-focused workspace potentially saved significant money and time, had problems been uncovered during construction, instead of in advance with VR design.
Bringing Spaces to Life: SmithCFI Photo Realism
SmithCFI took advantage of the ability to use photography, and not just 2D CAD design to bring the next level of realism to their VR Experience. Using a 360 camera (and some very still workers), they shot their completed design studio and brought it to life with real people using the space.
You can even click on the hotspot overlaid on the worker to see what the space looks like from the perspective of someone sitting at the desk. To achieve this, they’ve linked scenes from their VR renders before the space was ‘real’.
Customers can visit the design center and investigate the different options for offices configuration. But, the photo-realistic tour demonstrates one of the core uses of VR, being able to view something even if it is far away or difficult to travel to.
Showing a room with a view (and sound)
Having an, as yet unbuilt, environment able to be experienced as if it were real is one of the key values of VR. Getting creative and augmenting computer-generated visuals with real-life images and sounds can add a heightened sense of reality to your virtual reality design.
Combining real and computer-generated imagery can add depth to a VR experience. We’re aware of recent examples where, using a drone, images were captured of views at the height of each individual floor of a proposed new condo development. When added to a VRE of an internal layout, potential buyers can then appreciate exact representations of views they will experience on various floors in the building.
Yulio uses a feature called Audio Hotspots, which allows audio clips to be strategically placed within VREs. These are already being used in a number of creative ways from annotating an architectural designer’s thought process when adding particular features, including details for specific products and adding ambient background sounds which compliment the environment – think children playing in new park development or background music in a new hotel lobby design.
An alternative use of hotspots is to display different design options for better side-by-side comparison. By having contrasting designs, and being able to see them in a real atmosphere, the client or designer will be able to make a more informed decision for the space without the worry about what the final look will be.
Real Virtual Prototypes: Ford testing and designing in VR
Ford was quick to adopt VR to cut costs and development time of prototypes for greater efficiency. Ford uses VR to intuitively design their vehicles with less error and expedited time to market. Prototypes require a lot of time for development, plus, not every prototype was going to work on the first try – The price tag to develop a new car from start to finish can go as high as $6 billion, so there was large room for improvement before VR that could save these corporate giants billions of dollars every year.
Designers can design directly in 3D then VR so they can rapidly bring their designs into virtual environments to put their ideas to the test. With added components such as mock car cabins, simulated sounds, both from the vehicle itself and from external elements that you might hear while driving, artificial weather components such as wind, and even virtual traffic – these companies attempt to create the most realistic virtual testing scenarios as possible.
Engineers can inspect every component collaboratively, then decide how to proceed based on the outcome of testing – this routine has allowed them to reduce their need for real physical prototypes, ultimately decreasing their cost of production.
VR design is still a relatively new skill and creative uses are being uncovered every day. Whether it be immersing shoppers in a new room and changing finishes on-the-fly or positioning people in an empty warehouse and allowing them to view how it would appear when fully finished, VR is not only able to deliver fun and engaging experiences but also to drive real ROI with customer engagement and speeding time to sale.
To find out more about adding VR to your business, download our whitepaper which outlines the best implementations for ROI from VR. 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.
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 virtual reality 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 immediatequality 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.
Virtual reality 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? Sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to learn how VR can enhance your business workflow. And, if you’re ready to test out the problem-solving capabilities of VR, sign up for a free Yulio account.
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 virtual reality 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.
Exploring new technology always means that there will be a whole new terminology 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 on virtual reality terminology and compiled 20 of the major terms that you need to know to sound like a VR expert in a matter of minutes.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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 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 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).
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, 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 keep you abreast of virtual reality terminology.
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 virtual reality 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.
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 virtual reality.
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 virtual reality 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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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!)
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.
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.
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
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
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 virtual reality 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.
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.
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.
Approximately 11 million virtual reality headsets were shipped in 2016, increasing to over 13 million in 2017.
Over half of the U.S. population is aware of virtual reality devices and 22.4 million Americans are already VR users.
Globally, right now, as I write, there are an estimated 171 million VR users.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
To satiate that desire to get involved in VR, there are currently 250 VR headsets styles available for purchase on Amazon.com.
By all accounts, they’re selling well as, according to Statistic Brain, there are expected to be 82 million headsets in use by 2020.
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 virtual reality 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. To try VR for yourself, sign up for our 30-day free trial and wow your colleagues with this pre-packed presentation full of our VR research on the state of the industry.
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 virtual reality 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 virtual reality 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.
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 virtual reality 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 virtual reality to lure people into the environment as a pathway into the sales funnel.
Get to Selling with VR
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.
Previously we’ve looked, in some detail, at the ways VR is being used by those in A&D tocommunicate 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? Virtual reality 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 information on VR, get in touch with us to schedule a training webinar for a full walkthrough of Yulio here. And, if you’re ready to test out the problem-solving capabilities of VR, sign up for a free Yulio account.
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 basics to get you up to speed with VR learning.
VR Basics: 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 virtual reality 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. To kickstart your VR learning, 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.
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 peopleA desire to help build new platforms for a newly emerging technologyA 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 virtual reality 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 virtual reality jobs, don’t fear, we have some of that too.
Some good old ‘Practical Advice’ for finding VR jobs
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.
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.
We recently launched a free VR 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 free VR 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 lookingand 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 respondedhuge 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 and we’ll share examples in our free VR course:
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 cablemonkey – 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 remotelyIt 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.
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 phoneThat 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.
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.
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.
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 business resources 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, one of our most valuable ‘getting started’ VR business resources, 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, and our VR business resources at your fingertips, 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.
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 outSeveral 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. We see their VR learning improve exponentially when we do. 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.
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 best uses of VR for architects and designers.
Uses of VR: Understanding Scale
Finding a way to step inside a building before it’s a building and evaluate each spatial element is a compelling use of VR 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.
Uses of VR: Understanding Size
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 a 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 defining it through their uses of VR was a challenge for Architectural firm, DSAI’s, 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 and so one of the unexpected uses of VR for DSAI was about client communication – after they thought VR would be an internal tool.
Uses of VR: Engagement – helping clients be better clients and designers be better designers
Another recurring theme from conversations with A&D professionals is an important use of 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.
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 for 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 for 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.
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 for 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 retail space is thought through and tested. VR for 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.
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 virtual reality – 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.
Using Simple VR in Architecture and Design
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 it 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 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 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 FREE 5-day email course.
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 VR presentation tips that will wow your audience?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 VR Presentation Tips:
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.
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 and until goggles are more ubiquitous, having an alternative is one of our top VR presentation tips.
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. We’ve also heard from early adopter clients that their own VR presentation tips to their peers are to make sure they have a way of seeing what their client is seeing, and the monitor accomplishes that as well.
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.
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.
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 creating VR content 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 creating VR content as a storytelling tool, 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 creating VR content, 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 are creating VR content 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.
We recently came to the satisfying end of an (at times slightly unsatisfying) six-month process to have Yulio listed on Daydream with our new Google Daydream App. 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
Google Daydream app listings, however, arenot 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.
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.
VR Marketing in 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, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course, or try it out with a free account.
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 to bring VR interior design software to the curriculum. 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 VR interior design software 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 interior design software 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 interior design software 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 understanding and using VR interior design software 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.
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. Recently, they’ve been working with VR architecture software solutions.
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 and how VR architecture helped him communicate with his clients.
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 ofVR architecture 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 architecture scenes 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 architecture design 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 architecture 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 which we’re solving with products like Yulio.
Why did you decide to go with a mobile VR solution?
AC: We know VR architecture design 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 around VR architecture practices. 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, sign up here to schedule a training webinar with a full walkthrough of Yulio.
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. It feels like we’re now in a similar place with learning how to use VR in business.
‘How to use VR?’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 FREE 5-day email course, and try it yourself for free.
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 for interior designers 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. When designers use VR for interior design, the result 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.
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, VR for interior designers also helps 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 VR for interior design that the technology 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 drawingTo begin using the power of Yulio for VR interior design, sign up for a free account today. To stay updated on the latest in Yulio and VR, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin!