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VR

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

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

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

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

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





Things that don’t yet exist




Things that are too large, expensive or complex to model



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


 

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

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

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

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


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

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

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


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