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Design, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

SketchUp has been the go-to tool for many interior design firms for the last 6+ years. Aside from its simple learning curve, the SketchUp program provides designers with the flexibility and modularity to create spaces that are as simple or complex as they want them to be. For straightforward 3D modelling applications, it comes as an incredibly open and modular platform where plugins can be added that can take projects to a whole new level. 


As the program continues to advance, many transformative technologies – like Virtual Reality – have made it onto the SketchUp software through plugin options. Now, you can take your SketchUp project and see it in an immersive VR experience with just a few clicks. 


Although the process is easier than ever before, many interior design firms have still yet to adopt it into their workflow. Before we address some of the core concerns, let’s first answer the big question: Why VR?


Virtual Reality – What’s the Big Deal?

VR is a powerful tool that allows you to go beyond the 2-dimensional into a new digital reality. Incorporating it into your design workflow can enhance your firm’s process as a whole. 


  1. Stepping into your design helps you get a better understanding of  possible design issues that could be overlooked when viewing it in 2D
  2. Instantly gather better quality feedback quickly between iterations and quickly show alternatives side by side
  3. Cut the constant back-and-forth meetings of comments and redesigning with greater understanding
  4. Experiencing your space in advance leads to happier clients in shorter timeframes

Aside from improving your overall process, using SketchUp for VR also helps your firm create professional and engaging content for presentations, marketing and social media. You no longer have to rely on verbally explaining your design – instead, allow your clients to experience it for themselves. 


While VR can elevate the design process for your business, and lead to faster decisions and more satisfied clients, we understand that you may still have concerns about how complex it is to use VR in your design process. Let’s explore some of the most common core barriers that may stop you from blending VR into your business. 


Cost 

Many SketchUp users prefer the program since it’s less expensive than many other 3D modelling applications. Especially with its wide range of supplementary plugins and extensive 3D asset library, SketchUp is a basic program that can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. 


The good news is that VR doesn’t have to be an expensive addition to your current SketchUp use. When you think of VR, you may be thinking of the complex, tethered experiences such as HTC Vive you’ve seen on TV etc. These are heavy helmet rigs with cables coming out the back etc. Many of these tethered VR applications can set your firm back over $400 per month.. The difficulty with a tethered experience is that it costs far more than a mobile solution, and it affects your firm’s mobility of going to your clients and showing them your design. 


The current price point for the average tethered VR headset alone is about $1000-$2000. In order to support a super-advanced piece of VR hardware, you will need a computer that is powerful enough to run the program which will set you back in the range of an additional $5000. Plus, the better the computer, the better the VR experience. 


In contrast to these tethered experiences with the large price tags, Mobile VR is flexible and removes cost as a barrier to your adoption. 


Mobile-powered VR offers designers flexibility and convenience at a fraction of the cost. Having a smartphone that can support VR applications is the bulk of what you need when using mobile VR – the other part is having the right hardware to view it. Currently, you can get your hands on a pair of decent VR goggles for just $20USD. Plus, if you’re ready to invest in a more advanced piece of mobile VR hardware, the Oculus Go and Quest are one of the most advanced pieces of VR hardware and can be yours as low as $199. 

 


We definitely recommend looking for a good quality headset and a basic VR software program to help you get started. Our personal favourite is using the Oculus Go and our basic Yulio plan to help you get started on your VR journey. Going through the mobile route allows your sales team greater flexibility when showing your designs to your client. And after doing the math, using this solution will just come under the cost of one tethered VR headset alone. 


It’s Time-Consuming to Create Compatible Files

A few years ago, technology had not advanced to support VR for SketchUp. And even if you were ahead of the times and wanted to create VR experiences, rendering each image to fit every face of the necessary cubemap and stitch the images for one scene can become very time intensive. Perhaps for larger design projects, designers would invest the time to go through the whole process. However, for the smaller projects, creating a VR experience from start to finish just wouldn’t be worth it. Often times, designers don’t even have the time to execute such projects, which would lead them to abandon VR altogether. 


But not anymore


We saw the frustration that many SketchUp users interested in VR were experiencing, so we made a free plugin that would combine their many steps into just one. 



Once you’ve prepared your scene for rendering and have connected SketchUp to your Yulio account, head over to select your render engine, scenes, and upload location. Once you have selected Upload to Yulio, hit the Render button, and voila – it’s complete! With a few simple clicks, you have just created your very own VR for SketchUp experience minus any hassle or extra time lost. 


Not only could you now use this plugin for your large projects, but you now have the time to even create VR experiences for your smaller projects too. Showcase your firm’s continual willingness to pursue fresh and immersive ways to deliver the clients vision and to provide extraordinary service and really stand out from your competition. 


To learn more about our Yulio for SketchUp plugin, click here to access our guide.


It’s Going to Further Clutter my Toolbar

We understand how quickly your toolbar can get overwhelmingly cluttered. Many plugins currently are a one task plugin, where you only need it to perform one specific task. Although there’s a wide range of plugins to choose from, using a one task plugin can mean they’re often unregulated, meaning their updates could get delayed or not happen at all. Plus, if you’re trying to create a VR experience, you’d spend your time often waiting for your rendering to finish and then use your string of plugins to stitch the images together. 


Our Yulio for SketchUp plugin has combined two of the most crucial steps from the content creation process. Not only will Yulio render the images for each side of the cube’s face, but it will also stitch the images for you. We understand that extra steps take extra time, and your designers may not have the luxury of having the time to constantly create a VR experience from scratch. So by blending the two steps into one plugin, we have simplified the process of creating a VR experience in a reasonable and time effective manner. 


 

VR is a ‘Nice to Have’ 

Out of all the concerns, this is one that is the most common one at this stage of the VR adoption cycle – after all, your clients may not be expecting you to have VR presentation skills, yet. As technology continues to advance, many businesses run the risk of being too late to the game. It’s no secret that industries have been transitioning into incorporating advanced technologies and have been achieving fantastic results. Plus, there is a reason why design firms are mostly using the technology for their larger projects – it’s because VR works and can set you apart from the crowd.


Instead of thinking about how your firm doesn’t need VR, perhaps the concern you should have is not keeping up the pace with your competitors. VR has become more simple, accessible, and affordable than ever before, leaving little reason to not have it as a part of your workflow. We understand that designers are always strapped for time and looking for new ways to execute a task better and quicker. However, like the concerns we just debunked, there are resources that can enhance, speed up, or eliminate some of the most time-consuming steps and help you get to the finished product quicker. 


We’re aware that VR hardware and software will continue to advance even in 2019 alone. However, it’s also important to note that VR has come a long way since just a few years ago. What used to take a handful of plugins to achieve a result has now been streamlined into a single application to help you get your project in a timely manner. Transforming your SketchUp project into an incredible VR experience has become is as simple, mobile, and affordable than ever before. 


If you’re interested in trying out our VR program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial. Or to get started in creating stereoscopic cubemaps on SketchUp, download our Yulio for SketchUp plugin here


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

Last week, we had the pleasure of attending the 51st annual NeoCon convention in Chicago. Here’s our roundup of some of the top trends from NeoCon 2019.



NeoCon is the largest commercial design industry showcase in North America. Furniture dealers, manufacturers, architects, and interior designers come together once a year to see the latest in design and innovation and tour the stunning showrooms of the major commercial furniture manufacturers.


Every year we attend the event to learn from other industry leaders, and see the creative design trends from industry leaders and see how they’ll influence office design.


With that in mind, let’s jump into the design trends from NeoCon 2019!


Mix-Matched Materials and Designs

Matching contrasting textures is very on trend in 2019. This visual juxtaposition was prevalent throughout the NeoCon 2019 showrooms. Whether it be matching a set of fluffy and chunky pillows with sleek tight-woven cushions, matching mixed textures was a common theme among the different showrooms.


Manufacturers like Geiger, whose pieces are traditionally wood-focused incorporated different materials to make their surfaces more varied and interesting. From natural stone to glass and laminates, their products generated a lot of buzz, and attendees lined up to feel the different surface options in their showroom.



On top of that, Geiger pushed the design envelope by creating pieces that have surprising edge profiles, showcasing the difference in textures. This look gives off a more casual vibe while still being thought-provoking in design.



One reason many manufacturers are heading into the mix-matched direction is its appeal to the Generation Y employees – also known as Millennials. This current trend of clashing textures, finishes, and colors first took the fashion industry by storm a couple of years ago. Many style-focused Millennials have adopted matching mixed materials into their style, transferring their desired aesthetic onto what they are looking for in furnishing options and work environments they consider desirable and forward thinking.


“[Our] intent with the mixed material trend is to make the workplace environment more attractive to millennial employees.”

Brian Fuller, Senior Product Designer for Geiger


Many of the Gen Y and Gen Z cohort have graduated from their post-secondary degrees and are heading into the workforce to begin their careers. With this in mind, the workforce climate is changing, and the workplace environment will be a direct reflection of the direction we’re heading into.


Open Spaces

The traditional workspace environment is starting to fade out as office design is heading into a more residential feel. Most showrooms in NeoCon 2019 played with the concept of space and how they can best beat the feeling of confinement and create a more home-like and comfortable environment.



With the newest generation joining the workforce, their vision for the future of office space is veering away from feeling institutional and into a relaxed and inviting environment. We have seen in the past few years a greater awareness of mindfulness and a focus on creating social spaces in a work environment.


This includes breaking down the structure of cubicles, and opening up the space where you can see your colleague’s face. Plus, reinventing the common areas to encourage and foster the opportunity for creativity and collaboration. We’re heading into a time where collaboration is going to be a key aspect of our everyday work lives, and will drastically challenge the setup of the traditional workspace.


Going Green

Environmental activism has sparked the minds in the commercial design industry. Numerous brands have been approaching their products from the angle of sustainability and focusing on minimal harm to the environment.


It’s no secret that manufacturing a product as well as running a building can use materials that could damage the environment, as well as use up large amounts of energy. As a response, many brands are participating in the Living Product Challenge, spearheaded by The International Living Future Institute.


One showroom that is a participant of the Living Product Challenge were Carnegie Fabrics.


https://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/products/biobased-xorel-carnegie_o


A few years ago, Carnegie Fabrics created their award-winning Biobased Xorel that was of the same quality and performance as traditional Xorel. As a result, their efforts have left a positive handprint on the world, encouraging other brands to support a sustainable goal when designing a space. Seeing the different products in NeoCon 2019 affirm the prediction for a spike in demand for sustainable and eco-friendly pieces.


Adaptable Pieces

With overall space becoming exponentially more expensive, manufacturers have started to create product lines that allow the client to adapt their furniture.


One such product that was Steelcase Education’s new Verb Flip-Top Table.




This adaptable table has a flipping mechanism that allows it to be easily folded up to one side, opening up a larger space. The table also has the capability to store whiteboards and other hangable school supplies. This slim and sleek design is perfect for a classroom that may not have the space for traditional desks and chairs. Plus, it allows students to interact with the piece while creating an active learning space.


This is just one example, but we predict rearrangeable furniture will see increased demand in the coming year. More individuals, partners, and families have moved to living in stationary tiny homes or tiny homes on wheels. They will constantly battle for space, and adaptable furniture could be the ultimate solution.


Technology and Contract Furniture

As we continue to lean into the digital transformation, technology and our mobile devices will continue to have a huge affect on our daily lives. From how we work to how we live, we have and will continue to be shaped by technology.


The last and final trend that we’ll touch upon today is how technology affects the commercial design industry.


The KITS collaborator embraces the use of visualization technology for sales professionals to show off their proposals faster. With digital catalogs from over 60 manufacturers, furniture dealers can quickly craft their client’s vision by configuring furniture pieces and specifying fabrics and finishes. After curating their space, dealers can run a quick render and send the image to their clients as well as a quick sheet that includes product details and estimated pricing.


We also had the privilege of showcasing our Yulio platform to furniture dealers, architects, and interior designers. VR is a piece of disruptive technology that completely transforms the visualization process and helps your team to get to the sale quicker. With VR, rest assured that your client can see your exact vision without any risk of translation errors. Give your clients the opportunity to not only hear about your intentions with your design, but to actually experience it for themselves.

These mobile sales tools are revolutionary for furniture salespeople, as it allows you to tell your story far clearer than before. The KITS collaborator and Yulio are the next phase of visual storytelling, fostering a deeper client relationship than ever before.

NeoCon 2019 – A Step Into the Future

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at NeoCon 2019 and seeing the latest in innovation and design. It as impressive seeing everyone’s end products and having their efforts paying off. a success as every business pushed the bounds of creativity, making this event truly outstanding. We look forward to going back next year and seeing what NeoCon 2020 has in store for us.



Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. To try our program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached). Or get in touch with us to schedule a training webinar for a full walkthrough of Yulio here.

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Business, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Businesses of all size have been exploring practical use cases of virtual reality because they recognize the power of this new medium in sales, marketing, training and more. Walmart is currently the world’s largest company by revenue and is implementing the technology enhancing their skills development sector – not a bad endorsement for VR.  

 

As other companies look to how they should be adopting VR, new implementations in training, architecture, interior designer, and engineering are using the tool as a step in their visual storytelling for sales and marketing.


VR Technology is Rapidly Evolving

A few years ago, the only VR headsets available were tethered and relied on external sensors to track movement. Although the headset produced a relatively high-quality VR experience, there were limitations to using the hardware as a practical business tool. The price to purchase the hardware, and have a powerful enough PC to run it was outside what most businesses were willing to spend on an unproven technology at the time, ranging from $1000-$2000 for the headset alone and a $5000 computer to run it.




Besides the steep pricing, tethered headsets drastically limit a client or customer’s mobility. Not only are you limited in the range of movement by the wires and external sensors, but for safety reasons, you needed an employee nearby at all times while someone was using it. And because of the complexity of the computer running it and the sensors, it wasn’t at all practical to move the rig to a client’s office, meaning they had to come to you. –

 

The evolution and hardware that has made VR in Sales and Marketing a practical possibility.  Mobile standalone headsets allow users to experience VR free from any external wires and sensors, letting you take VR with you to immerse your clients with ease no matter where the meeting is held. Among our A&D clients, we hear that about 80% of meetings take place at the client’s office so mobility is critical.




Now, you may be thinking, “VR sounds really great, but it sounds like it’s made for just a handful of industries”.

 

This is not true.

 

Virtual Reality is a tool that fosters a perfect understanding between the presenter and the audience. This could mean a one-on-one basis and can certainly be from one department to another.

 

Let’s dive into how VR could enhance your marketing and sales department.



VR in Sales and Marketing

It seems that the two departments stereotypically don’t get along due to differences in methods and end goals. However, VR could be used as a bridge between the two worlds by encouraging opportunities to collaborate with one another.


1. Captivate your Audience’s Attention

Consumers are still quite fascinated by VR and the notion of being transported into another environment. The advanced tech has moved past merely being a fad and into being a legitimate tool that can be used to drive prospect clients and close the sale faster.

 

Marketing campaigns that utilize VR can attract new leads when VR experiences are part of a landing page, or an in-store event. Not only does this set your business apart by being tech-forward, but the technology itself appeals to customers on a visceral level.. Presenting the same product’s story in an immersive way by showing your clients rather than just telling them about it, and allowing them to see the product in context can earn trust. Incorporating VR into your strategy to encourage lead generation and trial prospects will support the sales team with interested potential clients.



A salesperson can also utilize this tool to engage with their clients as it gives them the opportunity to get as close to the product without it being physically there. Plus, with the latest in VR hardware, bring the experience to your clients with ease. The beauty of VR is that what you see is what you get. This allows you to showcase your products candidly so your client can understand what the product is exactly.


2. Interactivity = Good

One of the winning features of VR is the element of interaction.

 

It can be difficult making a presentation that is both informative and memorable. Utilizing VR in sales and marketing is one tactic that could help with attracting and retaining clients.

 

Research shows that seeing promotes a better memory recall than hearing information. Your brain when seeing a piece of information begins to instantly draw connections from other objects or life experiences you have encountered. Being able to draw connections stimulates the audience, making the experience more enjoyable, leaving a lasting impression. And studies indicate VR experiences activate different areas of the brain and drive even greater recall than 2D images, likely due to the greater comparisons to real-world objects.

 

Presentations can easily become boring, and you can lose your audience’s interest pretty quickly. However, hand your client a VR headset and let them be transported into a whole new way of viewing your products. Not only are you giving your clients the opportunity to interact with the presentation itself, but it also allows them to experience your product for themselves.



3. Connect Better, Connect Smarter

Many criticisms that arise from using VR is that it’s an experience that only one person gets to try out at one time. Although it is fair to say that one headset can only support one user at the time, this doesn’t have to make VR an isolating experience. Instead, it can be a group experience in the store and in showroom locations, generating positive feedback about combining experiences with purchasing. Syncing the headset to a screen allows other customers to see what the person in the headset is experiencing and drive people to want to try the experience.

 

You can also bring this community experience to sales presentations in a boardroom setting with features that allow you and others in the room to see what the headset wearer is seeing. As an example, our Yulio platform includes a Collaborate feature that allows the rest of the room to see what the viewer is looking at. As you continue to pass the headset around, give everyone else a sneak peek as to what they can look forward to when they wear the headset. Despite the limit of one user per headset, we figured out a way to combat the exclusivity so everyone can enjoy a part of VR. It’s also a critical element of your sales pitch for you to understand what your client is looking at when you receive feedback like “it feels too bright/big/small” etc.



It’s great having an element that can engage your audience, however, if you only have the one headset to pass around, be prepared to stall until everyone has had their turn. Not only could this quickly become a distraction, but it could also dilute the purpose of your presentation rather than enhance it. Our collaborate feature allows you to streamline your presentation by keeping the whole group informed until it’s their turn to interact with your product.


Enhance your Teams with VR

Ultimately, VR is a tool that promotes a perfect understanding and is able to take your sales and marketing teams to the next level. It’s time to welcome the new way of acquiring customers and retaining the relationships.


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. If you’re interested in learning how to implement VR into your workflow, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course. Or check out our collection of whitepapers to discover all of our tips, tricks, and considerations for a successful VR implementation.

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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.


The Yulio VR employees are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


In this week’s Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel, we’re chatting with our go-to demo and training guy, Steven Humphries! Steven is our Account Executive and is an absolute essential to our Yulio family. Chances are, if you’re an avid Yulio user, you would have had at least one conversation with Steven. His role consists of helping people get excited about VR, introducing Yulio, and guiding potential clients on how they can easily integrate our program into their workflow. With his client-focused mindset, Steven is successful in providing our users with the support they need for a smooth and easy VR experience.


 

So, Steven, tell me a bit about yourself.

A majority of my work experience is governmental in the US Army and Department of Defense. I started with field work, then worked in supply chain management, and finally as an intelligence analyst. It really shaped who I am today, and I learned a lot from the experience. While stationed in San Diego I attended San Diego State University and majored in Business Administration with a minor in International Business.


How did you find Yulio?

After I left the Department of Defence, I took some time off from work and ended up doing some part-time consulting for Steelcase. That’s how I met Gabe Szriftgiser, who is a managing partner at KiSP, a partner company of Yulio. Back then, he asked me if I wanted to be a part of the back end systems for Yulio and KiSP. At the time, I was living in Brazil and helped out part-time — this was my first introduction to Yulio. After that, when I moved back to the US, I was able to join the team full time.


Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

My role at Yulio is Account Executive, which basically means my core focus is the client. The biggest part of my job is helping our new clients with the onboarding process to integrate VR into their workflow, as well as maintaining the relationships with our current Yulio users. My area of focus is the contract furniture dealer networks that are associated with a larger manufacturer group. I work closely with our sales & marketing team to strategize how to best support our clients. To support our clients well, I present demonstrations as well as host training sessions to help people realize that VR isn’t scary and our program is really easy to use. It’s a consistent relationship between us and the client – any issues our clients need help with, I’m the person they come to.


I’ve also been in charge of heading special projects like coordinating 360 photo shoots of our client’s spaces and creating a full walkthrough of their shoow rooms. We have even hosted a CEU accredited course at a conference — we definitely like to keep busy!


Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

My first VR experience was at a video game arcade. I remember the equipment was really clunky, heavy, but super cool. At the time, VR was still considered the “technology of the future”. Although the graphics were quite underwhelming, the concept itself was amazing. It was a little strange playing with the rig though since you needed to have a specific area to play with it. Lots of people would be staring at you as you’re strapped in.


If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I would like to see something like a VR Google Maps street view but everywhere in the world – and I mean everywhere. Jungles, inside public buildings, icebergs, the whole world. It would be super cool to be able to walk the entire Earth but in VR.


Our world is such a big place, and I think it’s an important experience as much of it as you can. Unfortunately, so many people don’t have the time or money to do it, and VR allows you to get as close to the actual experience in the comfort of your own home.


Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

My main hobby is woodworking, I absolutely love it. I have a little workshop attached to my house where I can build my own furniture or gifts for friends and family. My favourite thing to make is anything with live edge wood. This type of wood still has bark on the sides, and it’s really fun to work with. Plus, I really like the idea that I can make anything that will fit perfectly into my house. Woodworking is usually quite calming for me as well. Outside of woodworking, I really enjoy hiking and camping. And if I have the time, I like playing video games.


What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

There’s a ping pong table in the office, and I enjoyed playing a game or two. Also, we have a few hoverboards in our office, and I like to hook it up to the go-kart and ride around.


We’d like to say a big thanks to Steven for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set!

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

After 4 years of research and development, V-Ray Next for SketchUp is now available for purchase.

In even more exciting news, we are pleased to announce that V-Ray Next is compatible with Yulio! We have upgraded our current SketchUp to VR plugin to incorporate V-Ray Next so that you can continue using Yulio with ease.



As one of the most popular 3D design software on the market, SketchUp allows you to build your vision’s foundation before viewing it in VR. Architects and designers are empowered with a tool that allows them to begin creating their visual storytelling experience, primed and ready for VR. Now with V-Ray Next for SketchUp, get ready to experience the next generation of rendering.


V-Ray’s upgraded photorealistic rendering software includes improvements to the speed and simplicity of using SketchUp. Additionally, enjoy creating high-quality ray-traced visuals with just a few clicks.



“With significant workflow optimizations & faster rendering, V-RAY Next is smarter, faster and more powerful than ever”
Chaos Group



Don’t hesitate – equip yourself today with V-Ray Next and tap into the future of rendering.


To learn more about our Yulio SketchUp plugin, access our user guide that outlines the steps you need to follow to create cubemaps from SketchUp. If you’re interested in learning more about V-Ray Next, click here.

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Business, Lifestyle, VR

If you have been following our monthly Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel, you would know our team is made up of many bright and talented VR experts. This week, we were curious to know when everyone’s first experience with VR was. We went around the office and asked everyone these questions:


When was your first VR experience?

What was the experience?

What is the most notable change/improvements the industry has made thus far?


Let’s explore who in our team had the most recent experience with VR.



2018 – Rachel

I first experienced VR when I joined our Yulio team. I remember Dana passed me the Oculus Go to view one of our sample VR projects, and I was completely shocked – it truly felt I was in a room bigger than the small meeting room we were in. It definitely reminded me of the TARDIS (for all my Dr. Who fans out there) phenomenon.


Although I’ve only been recently introduced to VR, there have already been significant improvements. For one, the hardware upgrades like the Oculus Quest will have huge implications, especially for business. We played around with the headset two days ago, and I must say the experience is really impressive. In addition, it’s really exciting seeing all the businesses arming their workflow with VR.


2018 – Elena

My first VR experience was strapping into the station at the back of the office, and shooting down zombies! It was a really cool experience, but I remember the first thing I tried to do was look down. I couldn’t see my legs which made me scared and numb for a minute, but it was fine afterwards. I thought it was really interesting how seeing something in VR could have an outward effect on your body.


I’m not a gamer, but in a year, I’ve seen how the business sector has changed. Many industries like retail and medicine have been transformed by VR. It’s a great cost-effective way to train people, especially medical staff. Plus, consumers are now expecting more experiences than just the product itself. People are getting tired of traditional marketing methods, and this is a new way to bring a new and memorable experience to your customers.


2017 – Jim

Ian walked me through my first VR experience, and it was absolutely incredible. He showed me the full extent of VR and the different experiences you can have with just one piece of technology. Part of the presentation was a hotspot walkthrough, which is what we do at Yulio, of a VR project and looking around the space. The other was experiencing and manipulating an environment through a video game.


I’d say the most notable changes to VR are happening right now, and it’s happening in two phases. One part of it is the fact that VR now has mobile capabilities, allowing for easier access to the technology. All I need to do is simply attach a Homido to my phone, not to mention the transformational release of the Oculus Quest. The second aspect is that now you have the ability to have a better understanding of where you are relative to a space. It’s absolutely incredible.


 

2017 – Steven

I first experienced VR when Ian brought the rig into the office. I believe we were walking around in a virtual world, something similar to Mario. Back then, the graphics weren’t great and it was quite pixelated. Plus, you needed to hold controllers that didn’t have great tracking. Now, the movement is much more accurate and captures your hand movement very well. The overall quality of the VR experience is much better and more immersive, especially with the emergence of advanced eye and head tracking.


2017 – Oussama

I remember my first VR experience was playing Arizona Sunshine in the office, and I definitely noted that the illusion wasn’t great, especially compared to what we have now. I would say the most notable change since the first time I used VR is the portability of the headset. VR hardware is getting smaller and more accessible for anyone to use. As well, the next evolution of the headsets will include six degrees of freedom, which will make the VR experience even more awesome.


2016 – Dana

I went to school for architecture, and when I started at Yulio, I used our Sketchup Plugin to see my own model in VR. I got chills when I saw it in VR. When you’re in architecture school, and when you’re working on a project for so long, since you’re a student, it will never get build. Now, being able to stand inside of something you worked on for months and months is really cool and rewarding.


Although VR still has a ways to go, the biggest change is the accessibility to the VR headsets. Anyone can now go to Best Buy and purchase a VR headset when previously this would never happen. Plus the overall attitude towards VR has been a huge change. Most people are confronting their fear of trying something new and unfamiliar with to combat being left behind.


2016 – Rob

I was at a tech foncerence when they strapped me into a 20lb+ headset with heavy-duty gloves. Suddenly, I was hanging on for my life about 100 meters up a sheer rock face. I’ve done quite a bit of rock climbing in a previous life, and even though the graphics quality wasn’t great, I felt instantly connected to the experience. It felt real enough to convince me that this technology was going to go beyond gaming and entertainment.


I think the release of the Oculus Quest may be a step into being the big “ground shifting” improvement. The headsets have seen many improvements, however, they have been incremental in nature. To name a few, better head and eye tracking, improved navigation, and greater processing power have all contributed to making the VR experience more immersive. Plus, we have entered an era where there is no longer a dependence on phones for a standalone VR headset. I am also quite excited to see how the introduction of 5G and greater availability of cloud-based, low-cost rendering services could provide the catalyst for the next round of exponential improvements in the VR user’s experience.

2015 – Ilan

I believe my first VR experience was using the Samsung Gear VR looking around a hotel. I definitely liked the stereo effects because it’s not flat, and you can clearly see distance and depth — it’s more than a picture. It’s using real-world units to judge how to scale something that would look real in our reality whereas a normal picture gives no sense of scale.


I never expected the industry to blow up like this. We mostly work with 3 degrees of freedom, and since our platform is mostly made for mobile VR, the quality of the experience only goes as far as your phone’s performance. Now, headsets are supporting 6 degrees of freedom, giving a greater and more immersive VR experience.


2014 – Dani

It was at the SIGGRAPH conference in 2014 where they set up a contraption that would simulate flying like a bird. The experience was absolutely incredible. I literally felt like I was flying, especially with the added fan blowing in my hair giving a greater immersive effect. I’m amazed at how far VR has come. I knew that VR wasn’t a new thing, but I didn’t know how the industry was going to progress. I really thought VR would only be used in gaming, not training, visualizations, and what we do at Yulio.



The headsets are getting smaller and smaller. Previously, the cables were so heavy that the VR experience required an extra person holding a cable behind the person in the headset. Plus, the headset required a lot of space, often taking up a whole room for the experience. With the headsets available now, the industry has really improved the accessibility of the headsets as well as what is required of the person wanting to use the technology.


2014 – Geoffrey

I first experienced VR at a student showcase at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Students would show off their projects in VR, and I was walking through the booths trying the headsets out. I believe the headset was the Oculus Rift DK1. Although it was really cool, it was a nauseating experience.


I would say the most notable advancement is the release of the Oculus Quest. It’s a more mainstream headset, and you can set it up anywhere just like the Nintendo Switch. The headset doesn’t require any external sensors, and it’s at a relatively affordable price.


2013 – Kan

Ian brought a VR rig to the office, and I experienced a dinosaur screaming and chasing me — it was amazing! The quality, of course, isn’t as good as what we have today. However, at the time, it was a whole new world and was really awesome. The experience made you feel like you were actually there.


I feel like the tracking technology has come a long way. We now have really advanced head and eye tracking, allowing users to have a very immersive experience. I also heard that what’s next on the tracking horizon is finger tracking! There is still a ways to go, but there are definitely a lot of improvements in VR.

2002 – Steven

I first experienced VR at a video game arcade where they had a giant rig that you got strapped into. It was definitely an amazing experience since it was a brand new concept that I’ve never seen before. The graphics at the time were pretty low quality, even by the standard back then for video games. On top of that, the headset itself was quite clunky, and since it was tethered, your movements were pretty restricted due to the cable. Plus, it was kind of a strange experience since everyone was looking at the guy strapped into a huge machine.


The biggest change in the industry has definitely got to be the tie between mobility and accessibility. You have machines like the Oculus Go and Quest where you can pick up the headset at any electronic store for a reasonable price. The feature that is especially useful for me is that you can take the headsets around anywhere. This opens so many doors in terms of how you can get your content out and share it with others. It’s definitely beneficial for sales people as you don’t need to worry about carrying a bunch of equipment like if it was a tethered experience.


1999 – Christine

My first VR experience was at Disney World in their “Technology of the Future” exhibit in EPCOT. I remember it was an hour-long lineup, but it was definitely a super cool experience, kind of like a  TRON environment. I remember the headset was like a giant helmet in a protected circle area, and the experience required 2-3 staff to support the individual user.


 

Today, VR is much more practical where you can slip on a Homido on your phone to access your VR project. It’s been getting easier to adopt VR into business. Back then, VR experiences were mostly centred around fantasy or experiencing something you never could, like visiting the moon. Now, it’s about experiencing something you can see in a picture.  VR has the potential to be a major disruptor in numerous industries like architecture, interior design, and retail to name a few.

1997 – Ian

The first experience I had with VR was the first generation of microdisplays and head tracking, most of which was the very early head mounted tracking display prototypes that never made it to the mass market. Although it was pretty rudimentary, it was indicative of direction VR will take in the future. You saw there was a lot of potential, however, it wasn’t advanced enough to convincingly and completely displace you into another environment.


Accessibility is absolutely the biggest groundbreaker. The early prototypes were millions of dollars to build, which meant that it was prohibitively for the Enterprise R&D class. The Quest and Rift S for going, what, $400? That’s a lot of people’s monthly coffee bill! However, it’s also important to note that hardware without content is nothing. There is a growing ecosystem of inexpensive and accessible camera-based capture, with a high-quality stereoscopic image starting at $420 (previously you’d be looking at $6,000). Content and hardware is absolutely the biggest aspect of blowing up the market.


1996 – Lev

My first VR experience was back in 1996, and I found it was a really awesome idea, but I also expected it to suck. At the time, the quality was at 300×200 per eye, plus you can only rotate and move your head so much. The first experience definitely made me feel nauseous and I couldn’t stay on the rig for very long.


VR has definitely come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. Previously, there was no eye adjustment, which meant you would have to place the headset on your head just right for a mediocre VR experience. Now the headsets are very advanced, and you don’t need to do any external adjustments for a high-quality experience. Although this generation of headsets (referring to the Quest an Rift S) are alright, I’m really excited for the next line of headsets to come.


Were you surprised by who first experienced VR at Yulio? Tell us when you first experienced VR and the biggest improvements you’ve seen to the technology over our social media platforms! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin! For more information on how to integrate VR into your business for maximum ROI, check out our Whitepaper.

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Industry News, News and Updates, VR

Since the day Oculus first made their announcement that they will be releasing not just one but two VR headsets by early 2019, devout VR fanatics have been patiently waiting for the arrival of the exciting hardware. Fast-forward to today, the Oculus Quest and Rift S have been available for pre-orders for about 2 weeks. Best Buy, Amazon, and Oculus have been bombarded with purchase orders for these virtual reality headsets, forcing retailers to host multiple waves of shipments. If you have placed a pre-order right when it went live, you could be one of the lucky individuals that may receive their headset from the first wave of shipments set to be released on May 21st. If you’re still stuck on deciding on which VR headset to purchase, we’ve got you covered.


Understandably, most people when making a purchase automatically look at the price first as a determinant of whether they want the item or not. However, when it comes to deciding between the Rift S and the Quest, you won’t be able to use this tactic. Both VR headsets are priced at $399 USD, making your purchase decision based on both the performance and whether it answers your needs. If this seems overwhelming and daunting to you, not to worry. Let’s take a look at both headsets, their features and capabilities.


Oculus Rift S

The Oculus Rift S is a tethered headset, which means you will have to connect it to a compatible PC to use it. If the name rings a bell, you’re not wrong. The first headset Oculus released was named the “Rift”, and as the name suggests, the new release is cut from a similar cloth. The Rift S is the revamped version of their previous model, with improvements on the resolution and functionality.

Pros

Compared to their previous model, the Rift S is much easier to set up as Oculus has removed the need for external tracking stations. The previous Rift model required pole-like external tracking sensors, which could quickly become tripping hazards. Now, since their sensors are directly built into the headset, the Rift S allows you to freely roam without running the risk of breaking a necessary component of the hardware. Plus, the headset now sports 2560×1440 resolution display, allowing users to experience a virtual world in full HD. Not only is the screen experience enjoyable, but the headset itself is quite comfortable. Oculus has installed a halo strap onto the headset that is adjusted by twisting a knob at the back. This allows users to keep wearing the headset for extended periods of time without giving up comfort.


Cons

One of the biggest downsides to the Rift S is the fact that it is tethered. Even though they have upgraded the system to reduce the number of wires needed to run the headset, the wire itself is a huge limitation. Not only does it mean that the device isn’t portable, but it also means you need the necessary supporting hardware to use it. Not every PC can support the hardware, so investing in a computer compatible with the VR headset can add to the cost. In addition to computer compatibility, the Rift S can only connect to a PC via DisplayPort only — there is no HDMI port. This either means you need to have a computer that has a DisplayPort or you will need to invest in an additional external converter. Lastly, although the Rift S still has a decent refresh rate of 80HZ, it’s actually lower than the original Oculus Rift running at 90HZ. For those who may not be familiar with refresh rates, it refers to how often a device changes the image on a screen and it’s measured in frames per second (HZ). A traditional TV runs roughly at 60HZ whereas some modern TV’s can run at 120HZ. The difference between the Rift and Rift S is not huge, but it’s another element to keep in mind.


What the Rift S lacks in mobility, it makes up in a sharper and clearer screen experience. We also predict that Oculus will eventually phase out their older Rift model for the Rift S.


Oculus Quest

The Oculus Quest is the relatively more interesting release, incorporating the strong suits of their two previous headsets: the Rift and the Go. Promising to merge the strength of the Rift and the portability of the Go, the Quest is a standalone VR headset that is completely tetherless.  The Quest is incredibly powerful for being a standalone headset and answers the many barriers their previous headsets faced.


The Oculus Rift was praised for its HD quality, however the fact that the headset is tethered posed a major barrier to specific audiences. On the other end, the Go was the preferred choice for people who valued ease in taking VR on the go. But to allow this kind of freedom came at a cost of having fair quality and losing the ability to walk through a VR experience.


Now, the Quest is going to change the game.


Pros

The Quest has six degrees-of-freedom with inside-out tracking. In layman’s terms, the Quest allows you to move freely in a virtual world that is strikingly similar to movement in real life. Plus, just like the Rift S, there is no need for external tracking stations as it’s all programmed into the headset itself. This tetherless headset is powerful and portable, allowing you to bring VR with you wherever you go. The beauty of a standalone headset is that unlike the Rift series, you don’t need any external hardware to support the headset. Simply turn on the headset, look in, and be whisked away to a whole new world. In regards to comfort, the newly revamped straps are a cloth-like material with rubber straps, making this headset fit snuggly and comfortably over your head.


The Quest sounds really great, doesn’t it? Well, it does also come with its own set of limitations.


Cons

For one, in comparison to the Rift S, the headset is not as powerful. The Quest will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile processor, which is a step higher than what Oculus used for the Go. Although it is a powerful processor, it doesn’t beat the Rift S. In addition, be prepared that the Quest will not have the same fidelity as the Rift S. Since the Quest is a standalone headset, it won’t get any external support from a powerful PC like the Rift S. With the GPU limitation, textures in the Quest won’t look as sharp compared to the tethered headsets. The last downfall of the Quest will be its limited storage space. With the Rift S, running out of storage is not a problem at all, however, the Quest at its max has 128GB of memory. This could prove to be a limitation for those who need extra space for their files.


Get Ready for a New Wave of VR Headsets

Both the Oculus Rift S and Quest are equally powerful virtual reality headsets and great options if you’re looking to invest in the hardware. The upgrades that Oculus has made to their latest releases really pushes the boundaries of what we thought could be possible with a piece of VR hardware. At the end of the day, between the two headsets, one is not better than the other. Choose the headset that will be the best fit for you.



Both headsets are still available for purchase, however, they will be shipped at a later date (when we last checked, Oculus listed it will ship by May 30th).


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. To learn more about how VR can enhance your business workflow, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course. Want to stay updated with everything or anything Yulio? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin!

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Business, Culture, Industry News, Lifestyle, News and Updates, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Apple is one of the largest tech companies in our global economy and their products greatly influence how the world uses technology. This revolutionary tech giant continues to lead the charge in innovation while staying true to simple design, including heavy investments in VR. Just last year, Apple became the world’s first public company to hit the $1 trillion valuation, beating their Silicon Valley rivals like Amazon and Microsoft. Apple seems to have the Midas touch as so many of their products have generated international uproar and overwhelming success.


On March 26, Apple did it again.


Apple hosted another one of their special events announcing a whole new range of products and upgrades, including a highly anticipated product: the Apple Card. Almost immediately, news outlets and social media pages were flooded with talk about the future release of the card. Set to be available this Summer, the Apple Card is a blending of the physical and virtual world, which will create even greater comfort in digital tech in daily life.

 

Why Does this Matter?

The main point of the Apple Card is to give people a greater sense of control over their banking and finances in a way that isn’t confusing through the use of technology. Apple’s shift towards going digital is part of a trend to changing objects we interact with on a daily basis into virtual concepts. Additionally, the product meets their clients where they’re at. With a focus on clarity and keeping it concise, Apple made a system that appeals to the masses, especially the younger generation.


Before we dive into how and why the Apple Card will be revolutionary, let us first explore what the product is.

What is the Apple Card?

The Apple Card is a credit card created by Apple in collaboration with Goldman Sachs and MasterCard, promising to give people greater sense of their banking and finances in a clear and simple way, chiefly through visualizing data and integration with daily life. Located in its Wallet app, the Apple Card will introduce clients to a new phase of going digital.


Transparency and Utilization: The Apple Card creatively utilizes their already existing apps in addition to new card features in a simple and innovative way. From showing where a particular transaction was made with Apple Maps to their newest slide feature that clearly communicates how much interest would be charged, all of the card’s features are geared towards generating greater transparency and understanding by presenting data in new more visual ways.


New Wave of Support: Instead of calling their support hotline and waiting who knows how long before an available representative picks up the phone, simply text in your question or a change you would like to make. Expect an answer to your question in a matter of minutes.


One aspect of the Apple Card that deserves an honourable mention and has garnered a lot of design attention is the physical copy of the digital card. Along with the Apple Card, you will receive a titanium laser etched physical card for places that don’t use Apple Pay. The sleek and creative design, we predict, could be just enough to convince those interested in the product to invest in it.

 

Why is the Apple Card Important to Tech Change?
  1. Reinventing the familiar in a whole new way

Rethinking a concept or design that we are perfectly acquainted with is difficult, yet Apple does it so seamlessly. Everything now will be done digitally, which includes applying for the card, making transactions, and seeking support. Some companies don’t have a 24/7 support line, and even when you try to call, you’re met with staying on hold for who knows how long. Apple has created a solution with its new system of 24/7 text support, further improving previous processes in a new and fresh way.

  1. Leaning into the Digital Transformation

The emergence of the Apple Card gives a lot of insight as to where we are heading into the next phase of digital transformation. This is a huge step made by one of the most prolific tech companies in the world to combine a physical process with a virtual one. Especially for those who are more skeptical about virtual technology, the Apple Card is a good stepping stone. Previously, banks issuing cards would hand over the physical copy first, and then provide supplementary online software to help you track your expenses and to view your eStatements. The Apple Card completely flips that process around by providing first the virtual copy then a supplementary physical version in case stores don’t have Apple Pay. Apple is becoming another player in harnessing the power of going virtual.


  1. Generational Shift

We have previously covered who the Gen Z population are and how virtual products and experiences could be key to winning this demographic. Apple has recognized that a large portion of their clientele is made up of the younger generation, like Gen Z and Millennials. Creating a product that appeals to this demographic is a brilliant step as the younger population are entering the workforce, and will soon become contributors to the wider economy.


It’s also important to note that Apple does a difficult thing really well: they listen to their audience. It’s no surprise that the Apple physical card is designed the way it is. The current style that is on trend with the younger generation is a minimalist and neutral palette, which is exactly what the card is. With following the change of design and people’s tastes, Apple’s product caters to the evergrowing population of Gen Z and Millennials. Following the same suit is key to ensuring business in the future with a demographic that will soon account for 40% of the US consumer spending.


Speculation

The Apple AR glasses are still officially just a theory, however, there is concrete evidence that they will be on the market soon. With the release of Apple’s virtual Apple Card, we’re really curious to see how Apple may tie these two ends together. Who knows, perhaps in the foreseeable future, all you would need to do to make a purchase is to simply look at an object. However, this is still just purely speculation. We are all excited to see Apple’s new Apple Card launch in the Summer, and how the release will shape people’s perception of going virtual.


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. Check out our Whitepaper on the right way to integrate VR into your business for maximum ROI. To learn more about us and what we offer, please visit our page or take our product tour.

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Business, Culture, Industry News, Your Business + Virtual Reality

When thinking about virtual reality, the first thing that may pop into your head may be related to entertainment. The gaming industry is one of the biggest winning cases for VR, with VR tech companies like Oculus becoming synonymous with other big name consuls like Playstation or Xbox. It’s no surprise that there is significant demand, as VR unlocks the opportunity to take a step further into your screen, and into another world. But that makes the power of VR incredibly versatile and its power exceeds just a single industry.




VR has started to become a revolutionary presentation tool, with B-to-B businesses recognizing its potential and value. Industries like real estate rely solely on a client being able to picture the vision of their potential home. Agents have been able to experience greater flexibility by uploading a VR presentation of a particular property online. This not only saves on time and energy by filtering those who are actually interested in the property, but it also provides an added interactive experience, making your customer service more memorable. Additionally, VR has proved to be really useful for those in architecture and design. As being able to visualize a space is the foundation of the industry, VR fits perfectly into their workflow by allowing A&D individuals to step into their creation.

These two B-to-B industries are just a few examples of VR in Enterprise, however, many businesses that we least expect have started to join the current too.


Mining Industry

One the most unexpected industries that have been turning towards not just VR but also AR has been the mining industry. Arguably, mining is one of the most dangerous occupations known to man, with constant exposure to life-threatening accidents, and lifelong health hazards. Although there have been significant changes to decrease the mortality rate, greater strides in innovation are needed to further improve their working conditions. According to VR Vision, the mining industry has invested about 0.5% of their overall revenue into research and development over the past few years. This has led companies within the mining industry to create thorough training programs on proper safety precautions. Simulated Training Solutions, a South African company, created a VR blast wall for trainees to practice their skills in a safe environment. Instead of making very costly mistakes, areas of improvement are highlighted through markings in the simulation. The virtual simulations provide the extra layer of reality to a situation, yet an effective and low risk means of getting the necessary training. As such, miners will be more equipped to act quickly and safely during high-stress situations.




Furniture Dealers

As a furniture dealer, it could sometimes be challenging communicating your vision to your clients. On the flip side, from your client’s perspective, it can be hard visualizing that piece of furniture in a particular space. This is when VR steps in. VR has become a useful tool for both furniture dealers and their clients, providing a perfect understanding of what space would exactly look like. As VR can showcase something that doesn’t exist yet, the versatility of the technology can allow you to visit a fictional world, or, on a more practical side, envision what your workplace could look like. Additionally, using VR before investing in fully furnishing an office space is a cost-effective solution. VR allows you to try it before you buy it, discouraging the risk of needing to make costly revisions or redo’s. Moreover, furniture dealers can now provide their clients with the flexibility to review their designs in the convenience of their office, and at their own pace. Conversely, furniture dealers have the opportunity as well to allocate their resources more wisely instead of building multiple models for their clients. Although it may seem like this technology is ways away from where we are now, businesses have found success while using VR to accomplish their goals. If you’re curious about how this technology works with this industry, find out for yourself with this case study.




Therapy

VR therapy is quite an unconventional method that has gained more traction in recent years. One type of therapy that has been utilizing the immersive aspect of VR is exposure therapy. But what kind of method is exposure therapy?




“Exposure therapy targets behaviors that people engage in (most often avoidance) in response to situations or thoughts and memories that are viewed as frightening or anxiety-provoking”
– Matthew Tull, Ph.D. (retrieved from Very Well Mind)


It’s important to address the avoidance, as the behavior can cause greater consequences in the future by interfering with a person’s daily life. Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is starting to be used to treat certain anxiety disorders, such as phobias and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD). VRET immerses an individual to come in simulated contact with their fears to allow them to confront them in a realistic yet controlled and safe environment. So far, VRET has been used to examine Vietnam War combat veterans, resulting in soldiers experiencing reduced PTSD symptoms. Hopefully, in the near future, VRET can be used to help all veterans that have served their country by providing them with much-needed support.

 

VR has moved far and beyond just being a fad, infiltrating many industries we would not commonly associate with it. It’s time to disassociate the technology with just entertainment and take VR in Enterprise seriously. As we are coming to the end of the first month of the new year, how do you envision VR effecting your life?


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. To learn more about how VR can enhance your business workflow, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course. To try our program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached).

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Business, Guest Blog, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is taking the world of business by storm across many industries like construction/architecture, shopping, clothing, and interior design. Most of us think of entertainment uses for virtual reality like video game simulators. We don’t often look at exactly how VR is changing business.

Some business analysts have claimed that virtual reality will be a short-lived fad but technological improvements in the workplace and in business have already proven that the numerous possible applications available make it a long-term solution.

What defines Virtual Reality (VR)?

Virtual reality is software-based technology that enables users to immerse themselves into an alternate, virtual environment that oftentimes looks and feels real thanks to the level of detail put into the design.

 

How VR Is Changing Business
  1. Helping Employees Become More Empathetic. Non-profits have started to use VR to put their prospective donors into the shoes of the people they are working to help in order to give them a day-to-day experience in order to understand the struggle. Businesses are using VR to train sales employees by immersing them in a customers life to better help them understand their needs in order to become better salespeople for that product or service.
  2. Lower Business Operational Costs. The bottom line is important to every business and each is always looking for ways to improve profit margins or decrease costs. This is how virtual reality is changing business, if a business is able to reduce training costs by employing VR to streamline the process, they may be able to reduce man-hours spent on training and focus on money making activities. Virtual reality may someday reduce the number of mobile technicians needed if customers are able to troubleshoot problems themselves from home.
  3. More Options for Working Remotely. The workforce is slowly transitioning into offering remote options and VR can aid in this trend. Facebook is already working on creating virtual reality chat rooms and this will help remote workers connect to each other digitally to improve working environments. The possibilities for this are endless! Workers from all over the world can communicate with each other virtually to work on projects. This expands the reach of a business and provides varying perspectives that can increase globalization. Employing workers from other countries can decrease operational costs because many virtual workers will accept less pay for the option to work remotely.
  4. New Avenues for Marketers. Marketing dollars are now being spent more on digital ads than TV ads for the first time ever. The next step is to create virtual reality ads and content. YouTube is already looking into offering VR marketing options to businesses via mobile apps.  
  5. Quicker Product Development. Military contractors are training their employees using VR environments to aid in the idea generation processes by simulating live military scenarios without having to actively deploy employees to combat zones. Virtual reality options could be used by car manufacturers instead of needing to use clay models or scale drawings to convey design concepts in the near future.
  6. Developing Safe Testing Environments. Medical procedures are delicate matters and can mean the difference between life and death. Up until now, the most practical way to practice delicate procedures has been on cadavers (dead bodies). Using virtual reality, doctors and doctors in training could practice their skills on a “live” patient. By practicing more, this increases confidence in their skills and decreases risk for actual patients.
  7. Recreating a “Second Screen” Experience. Many of us focus on more than one screen while we are working, like working on your computer while playing around with your smartphone. Imagine in the near future if you could use virtual reality to have two or more screens in front of your eyes at one time. This could increase productivity and organization while freeing up space in our offices. Offices could be smaller and/or less cluttered. And remote workers would literally be able to work from anywhere and not be tied to their home offices.

In the world of business, those with the edge have a leg up on their competition have the upper hand. Virtual reality options, when implemented well, offer that leg up in any industry from medicine to the military to working remotely. Virtual reality is not the short term fad that many have claimed it to be. It is the next stage technology that will improve the quality of life for people all over the world. Just imagine the endless possibilities and how VR is changing business.




We’d like to thank Instageeked for their thoughtful insight on our blog this week. Visit their website to view more of their work here!


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. To learn more about how VR can enhance your business workflow, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course.  To try our program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached).
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AR, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Last year, Japanese company FOVE released the world’s first VR headset with built-in eye tracking — the technology showed a lot of promise, and in the months that followed, Facebook, Apple & Google all acquired eye-tracking startups to incorporate the technology into their respective XR devices.

So what’s the big deal with AR/VR eye tracking, and how can it affect the advance technology industry?


Better Performance & Natural Focus

Eye tracking allows developers to optimize the performance of VR/AR experiences by focusing system resources specifically where the user is currently looking. This not only lowers VR’s high barrier to entry but also gives creators the ability to create breathtaking visuals by using their processing resources wisely.

 

Another major visual improvement comes from the fact that eye-tracking technology can simulate natural focus realistically — a feature that has remained thoroughly absent from VR headsets so far.

 

A New Way to Design User Interfaces and UX

With the screen-based devices we use today, whenever we want to perform any action we need to tell our device what we want it to do. Usually, we do this by touching a certain area of the screen (touch screen interactions), or by pointing at things with a cursor (using a mouse).

Before doing any of those things, however, we always look at what we’re about to interact with, and this is where eye-tracking comes in.

 

It cuts out the middleman, allowing us to engage with content by simply looking at it. This will give rise to new ways of building User Interfaces that feel natural and are incredibly accurate, completely replacing the need for cursors and most touch based interactions altogether. Eye-tracking interactivity is also discrete by nature, and may allow us to use immersive computers in small public spaces — possibly answering one of the biggest design questions in VR/AR today.

 

An Analytics Oasis

Eye-tracking will allow VR/MR creators to have access to an unprecedented level of usage analytics — not only they’ll know exactly what users have looked at or ignored throughout an experience, they’ll also be able to accurately measure engagement through pupil tracking.

You may have heard that human pupils dilate on physical attraction: but it goes much further than that. Pupil expansion betrays not only physical attraction

but also mental strain and emotional engagement. It can even go as far as to predict the actions of a user seconds before they do it (explored and explained in detail in my article about the future of immersive education).

 

All of this will be immensely powerful for developers and will allow them to combine these bits of data to create immersive software that’s 100% reactive to a user’s emotions and truly understands what’s going through their mind as they go further into the experience.

 

New Gameplay Mechanics and Interactions

Eye-tracking will also give way to a number of new interactions and game-play mechanics that were never possible before — virtual characters will now be aware of when you’re looking at them, even going as far as to cross-examine what you’re looking at and why.

 

Users will be able to aim with their eyes, make narrative choices by simply gazing at an object, and meaningfully change the world around them with almost subconscious gestures, opening up a number of new opportunities for creative storytelling and interaction design.

 



We’d like to thank Lucas Rizzotto for his contribution to our blog from his collection of work. See more of his articles here!

 

Here at Yulio, we take advantage of our heatmap feature to track our user’s gaze duration, and where their attention truly lies on within a scene. Want to try this feature out? Sign up for a free Yulio account and get full access to our feature set for your first 30 days!

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AR, Architecture, Business, VR
You might be noticing, even in your own school or office, that technology is becoming more and more prevalent and useful as time goes on. We’re all slowly adapting to how technology, no matter the kind, can be beneficial for daily tasks when utilized well, and we’re loving it!

The satisfaction is unbelievable when you can walk into a room and own the technology around you without complications during major or routine tasks. *cue mic drop*

 


And shouldn’t that be how you feel all the time when you’re using technology in the workplace? Technology should be something you can rely on to bring your work to that next level – It should be a compliment as opposed to causing friction – and that’s exactly what we’ll see going forward – more technology that compliments our work and daily routines with less roadblocks and inefficiencies to slow you down.

We’re moving into an age of business-ready digital transformation within the A&D space, which means that we’re beginning to adapt technology, and ultimately it’s changing how we work, how we communicate and how we create or maintain our working relationships. Remember when Skype was first introduced, or even MSN Messenger? It was revolutionary because it was an instant way to communicate with someone without picking up a phone, and you could stay at your desk and multitask while collaborating with your peers –  that’s what digital transformation is all about.

The future of VR

Technology is advancing in ways that fit our workflows better, in fact, within the next 5-10 years, we’re going to witness mass VR adoption in the workplace. It’s expected to become the next major computing platform, and it’s even being compared to the rise of the smartphone! (Remember way-back when no one had a smartphone and then suddenly EVERYONE had one? VR technology is expected to be the same!) Even students are learning how to work with virtual reality before they enter the workforce to better prepare themselves for this digital transformation! This crazy change is coming full-force, but it’s not going to affect you and your business, right?

Well, maybe see for yourself. Take a look at this graph from Goldman Sachs Profiles in Innovation report where you see their prediction for where VR/AR is going to be used by-industry – as you can see, it’s drastically different than what’s relevant in today’s workplaces, so it’s extremely plausible that this tidal wave of a technology shift is headed your way too. According to this study, about 35% of architectural firms are already using some form of digital reality in their firms today and have plans to expand in the future, and separate from those, 29% of the firms in the study are looking into adopting the technology within the next 5 years.

 

With that, we’re going to see more and more people adopting virtual reality as it’s coming out – VR/AR tech will provide more opportunities for practicality and usability within the workplace.

In a survey done by Microsoft and RIBA Architecture, a respondent said, “It’s a different way of working, a new process model and [it’s] more agile, where data is produced once, and is used many times for more tasks”… Pretty revolutionary stuff if you ask me!

The key to productivity

 

Digital transformation is not just the adoption of new technology, but rather it’s a fundamental shift in culture supported and based within technology. 56% of survey respondents recognize that the digital transformation is going to create better atmospheres to complete work in while also improving client outcomes in the process, so a lot of employees are going to be looking for this cutting-edge technology in their workplace. You also have to keep in mind that by 2025, millennials will make up 75% of our workforce and a study 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. So if millennials are on-board with it, then we better take initiative and get the tech while it’s ripe and before your competition blows you out of the water with it.

 

The key to survival??

For the architecture and design communities, the VR adoption isn’t really an option. In fact, 55% of survey respondents actually say, whether their firms adopt the technology or not is going to be a HUGE factor for whether or not their business will stay relevant or even thrive going forward. With this being the general opinion, we’re seeing a lot of firms slowly investigating what they need to do to keep up with their competition, and their employees and customers expectations of what they should be delivering.

 

Research shows that many architects see the great potential of digital transformation and how it can bring great improvements in efficiency in particular. I mean, take for instance how architects and designers used to go about their design processes. Originally it was old-school pencil on paper and small-scale replica models, then we started seeing the evolution of the computer and designers were able to achieve more complex iterations like accurately-scaled down floor plans and 3D-models created from CAD programs, and now that digital reality is taking the fore-front, there is so much potential in the realm of virtual, augmented and mixed realities as well that can be applied to designers work. Digital reality technology has the power to bring designs to life, enabling clients to really experience a design before it’s tangible. Team members, clients, and contractors work together as virtual teams, exploring, reviewing and agreeing on design choices – and then they can even put the client into the heart of the design, leaving no room for misinterpretation. This won’t only save time and money in the initial stages – but it’ll ultimately minimize on-site or post-construction design changes that can be extremely costly.

 

More than half of the architects and designers that were surveyed agree that within the last 5 years, there have been huge changes in their workplaces in terms of digital transformation, specifically around how projects are delivered to clients. 41% said their journey has drastically changed the way that their business runs and almost 90% agree that digital reality is transforming how they’re currently working – so why are businesses so hesitant to adopt VR/AR if there’s such a strong demand for customers, employees, AND overall productivity??

 

What if you’re not sure where to start?

Sometimes digital transformation within a firm gets lost. 10% of individuals surveyed don’t know where they fall on their journey, but that’s not because they don’t want change within the workplace – it’s usually because the next steps, technologically, aren’t clear. For instance, VR has commonly been this ‘hyped’ technology that people use for cool roller coaster experiences and the odd video game up until a couple of years ago, so obviously if that’s the common assumption, you wouldn’t invest big bucks either. What a lot of people don’t know is that VR technology has reached a mature point where businesses can find practicality using it. Over ⅔  of architects voice that cost is a huge challenge when it comes to adopting VR for big and small firms alike. Now that the Oculus Go has hit the market as the first stand-alone VR headset ever, there are less friction points for mobile VR versus tethered, but there still has to be significant research into the platform you choose, which means a fairly large time investment from the get-go. Training is also an important consideration – over half of the participants in the study agree that learning curve for the platform, or amount of training required could be a major setback, and could prevent firms from investing.

 

Our tip is to find a VR solution that mends well with working practices you already live by. Whether that means you find something that has a user-friendly interface that’s simple enough that a senior-level exec can use it, one that works with CAD programs you already use and is compatible with content you already own, and one that has the least amount of barriers when it comes to presenting design iterations to clients. The VR solution you choose shouldn’t cause a lot of friction in your business workflow, otherwise you won’t see the ROI you’d expect to see from adopting the technology (and not to brag… but Yulio does all of these things already and you can have 30 days free to test it out for yourself!).



Because there’s finally this reassurance in the market of VR/AR, businesses are finally trusting their instincts to move forward alongside the technology curve. Most of the people who were a part of this research were in the process of some sort of digital transformation journey for their firm. As illustrated in the graph above, 39% said that they were still in the early stages of adoption and 37% had been investigating and adopting the technology for some time now – but in comparison, 10% of their surveyors had not
 even started looking into the tech yet – and this could be fatal to businesses considering how fast the lack of a technological-edge can leave you in the dust. There are very few firms who believed that they completed their digital transformation journey, but that makes sense because a digital transformation does not necessarily have a means to an end – it’s an ongoing process of change and will continue to adapt with time and technological shifts – so there may never be an absolute end to the journey, but there’s definitely a path that you can start going down to make sure that you’re keeping up with the times.




The important takeaway from all of this research is that if you’re not already investigating a VR solution for your practice, now might be the time! Learning about the VR industry and getting started with VR solutions is a lot faster and more user-friendly than you may think.

 



Here at Yulio, we take all of this research and their findings (along with 1000+ hours of our own research and user-testing) to heart, and we try and break down the barriers for you to create the best business-ready VR experience possible for you and your clients! With our guidance, you can get up-and-going in as little as a day, seriously. Check out our guiding steps to getting started with a VR solution for your business here! Want to learn more about VR for business before investing? Read our whitepaper on achieving ROI for your business using virtual reality here.

 

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

We know that when it comes to choosing VR solutions that your firm is going to use and heavily rely on in the future, that it’s more than just looking at the product as it is today.



 


When you’re buying software, there’s always an option that offers you the sun and the moon today, but how do you know that this one is going to be the best option in the long-run? It’s important that when you’re looking into the specifics of VR solutions, that you’re choosing the option that is going to work best for your firm now AND that it continues to be the best option in the future.  Dan Monaghan, Co-founder and sought-after speaker on business strategy says, “Being aware of the digital horizon – even if it’s way off in the distance – is one of the best things a business can do for its future”.




Today we’re seeing more and more businesses begin to integrate virtual reality solutions into their existing operations, and it’s really easy to get caught into a trap of which company is offering the most flashy technology now, even though it may not be completely ready for the prime time for business just yet.


To keep up with how quickly technology advances, companies typically complete strategic tech audits to ensure that they’re being agile and keeping up with the rest of the world. According to the 2016 Trends vs. Technologies Report, 78% of decision-makers across all industries agree that keeping up with tech trends is vital or important, and 86% agree that it gives their business competitive advantage. It’s critical, now more than ever with how reliant we are with technology and how integrated technology is becoming in our everyday working routine, that businesses take their time and are selective with what kind of VR solutions they’re implementing into their firms. Being selective and investing time to investigate the best solution can be a huge benefit in the long-run. It will most definitely save you from headaches in the future, but you’ll also be on track to continue staying ahead of your competition because your solution will be dedicated to growing and improving over time in the best interests of your firm.




According to WSI, some key considerations you need to have when you’re choosing a tech solution are:

  1. Scalability: So this means that the solution should be able to withstand demands that are specific to your company. This could be how well it integrates with your current workflows, how it can grow alongside your company and proactively solve business requests in the future. Your solution should show that it’s ready to take on and adapt with your business.
  2. Complexity: This is more surrounding how user-friendly the tech solution is. If it’s not intuitive, has a lot of complicated set-up, or requires a user-manual to be in-hand at all times, then it’s just a slow-sinking ship – this will just frustrate your team who are actually the ones using it, potentially, everyday. Focus on the most important features and requirements and have more frequent release cycles as you expand across functional teams and regions. Solutions that are cloud-based typically support agile methodologies and configurations in order to provide enhanced functionality on an ongoing basis.
  3. ROI: Everyone wants to see that their money is being spent efficiently – that they’re getting consistent positive results, and that the solution can grow and bend toward your business needs over time.

So in the end, you should be seeking something that works with what you already have. This could mean for content you already have, programs you already use, and that it integrates seamlessly to streamline and simplify your workflow, to save valuable time and resources.





Here at Yulio, we’ve always tried to keep things simple and business-ready. Ian Hall, our Chief Product Officer here at Yulio chimed in and said, “There’s always been that temptation to kind of go down and do the next sexy thing in the space… like ‘Hey, we’re gonna do AR before it’s really ready for business’, and we’ve resisted that… ‘Let’s do tethered, let’s do complex HTC Vive full room breaks, because it’s really sexy when you video it’… It is sexy when you video it, but you can maybe do one of those every few months because it’s so cost-prohibitive, whereas our approach has been very pragmatic.”



We maintain a focus on the end-goal for our users without becoming too distracted by fashionable trends and industry developments along the way. Ian adds, “I think what that’s done, is it’s positioned us as a partner that delivers value not hype. So yes, there are a lot of competitors coming in and they’re going down similar paths that we went down in the early stages. They’re kind of focusing on the ‘big shiny bauble’. Whereas we’ve paid our dues, we’ve done the field research, and we’ve spent upwards of a thousand hours of usability testing, in terms of human factors designed for both the content creation and the consumption of this stuff.” And what is the byproduct of those hours spent refining the platform? Getting it simple enough that a 50-year-old CEO of a major corporation deciding whether to spend a few million dollars on this floor plate can go in there, without feeling intimidated, and not feel cut off from their peers when they’re looking at this stuff in this technology.



The other challenge with new technology, of course, is the constant changes and refinements to hardware. From cumbersome tethered devices through cardboards and new self-contained headsets like Oculus Go, the viewing hardware is changing constantly and we still don’t know who will win the race. One of the most important founding principles at Yulio was remaining device-agnostic. While we are mobile VR for now, you don’t need to worry about which device or app store you’ve invested in – we will. In fact, we were the first commercial app for architecture and design in the Oculus Go store, within days of the device launch, because we knew that device’s ability to remove friction would be a game changer as business virtual reality solutions.

Our promise is that as long as you’re a client, we’ll worry about – and install – all required tech updates. Sign up once; remain at the head of VR technology forever.



Want to learn more about one aspect of Yulio’s effort for future-proof VR? Check out this Slideshare where we guide you to ask the right questions to implement VR in a way that’s fast, affordable and ready for business. Want to ease your employees into using Yulio? Get some useful tips and tricks for successful business-VR from our Client Success Manager – learn how to adopt the technology to wow your clients and feel confident in every client interaction here.

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

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

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

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


How do I Launch Explore Mode?


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

Yulio feature release, explore mode

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

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

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


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

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

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AR, Arts, Design, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We’ve previously talked about how you should approach designing in VR. But when you’re breaking a sweat to truly try to create this awesome visual experience, there are a host of factors to consider when trying to map out the VR reactions to the space. You’ll be looking at things like: what sounds are going to make them look a certain way, what visual cues are going to push them in a certain direction, deciding if there are items lying around that hint towards a next step or bring on an emotional cue, is the user going to be comfortable enough to keep the headset on? Every. Detail. Matters.



Today, we’re unpacking the specifics for your audience’s VR reactions. Understanding this will significantly improve your VR storytelling and design, and allow you to better tailor your VR content to have a closer connection to your target demographic! Our summary today is based on the learning we’ve done with our many hours of user testing and other research in the field. So, let’s dive in!


First things first… 

First, let’s get something out of the way; no, this blog isn’t going to teach you how you can use ‘the force’ to magically engage with all of your users…(wouldn’t that be cool though??!)





 

Everyone experiences things differently, and to be totally blunt, there is no way to precisely predict the VR reactions of every person on the face of the Earth when they put on a VR headset; it’s simply impossible. That’s why it’s really about finding ways to let people live and experience the story in their own time.


That being said, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to make educated guesses based on proven scientific and statistical facts that work in your favour when it comes to designing for a specific demographic.




Let’s take a look at some of the biology behind VR Reactions

In a study done by a UCLA College Professor of physics, neurology, and neurobiology, Dr. Maynak Mehta found that “The pattern of activity in a brain region involved in spatial learning in the virtual world is completely different than when it processes activity in the real world.”


Makes sense – we all have a good understanding that when we’re immersed in VR, we have the knowledge that everything around us is virtual, regardless of how ‘real’ it looks.


Digging a little deeper – what makes the VR experience in your head is the hippocampus. This portion of the brain plays a crucial role when it comes to experiencing VR, but it’s actually  more well-known for its involvement when it comes to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The hippocampus helps your brain form new memories and create mental maps of space. So for example, when you put on a VR headset for the first time or you’re viewing a new VR experience, your hippocampal neurons become selectively active and start building a “cognitive map” of your surroundings. The neurons not only compose this map, but they even compute estimate distances based on ‘landmarks’ that you see in the space that stay in your memories. Remember, they’re just estimates.





 


How else do you think your uncle remembers how big that fish was that he caught that one time? Don’t worry… he’s either exaggerating a bit or his spatial memory in his hippocampus is slightly off.


Scientists measured the neural activity in the brains of rats when they were exploring real spaces versus virtual spaces that were designed to be a reflection of the real space, and the results concluded that the rats had LESS THAN HALF of the neural activity from the virtual world in comparison to the real world.



So, what does this have to do with predicting human interaction with spaces?

Well, now we understand that there is no comparison, microscopically, to the real world and that people will always be able to subconsciously know when they’re in a virtual environment as opposed to being in a real space because the neurons in your brain just aren’t as active when they’re looking at something virtual. Nonetheless, as you may have seen before, VR experiences can get pretty close to the real deal, which is one of the huge selling points behind it. In fact, VR content is commonly produced by 360 cameras of real space as opposed to renderings, which is why VR is so great for industries like travel and real estate. You get that near-real experience that you just can’t get from anything else, which is why things like VR roller coasters are such a thrill (even if you look like a dork who’s about to fall out of a chair in the middle of your kitchen – it’s FUN). The visceral virtual reality reactions videos you’ll find on YouTube, of people jumping and screaming point to just how real the emotions are, even when the space isn’t real.





 


The first glance in VR

Here at Yulio, based on over 1000 hours of user testing, we’ve learned that the majority of people will look up and to the right when they enter VR.


Now, don’t fret – it makes a lot of sense.  Consider that only about 10% of the world’s population are left-handed, meanwhile the remaining 90% are right-handed, so based on which hand or side is more dominant for the user, i.e. more comfortable for you to turn towards, will determine which way they look – (of course, this is assuming that there are no other distractions that interrupt the natural navigation when they first enter your experience).


Next, because you’re in VR, your first instinct is to break the barrier for yourself and explore your environment. A lot of people when they’re looking around in virtual reality forget that they can look directly above, below and behind them; therefore, their first instinct will be to aim their eyes at where the seam of a screen would typically lie and push past it. So continuing with the direction they look based on their dominant hand/side, the user will continue this motion and look beyond a point that a typical 2D medium would cut off. We use common sense to understand that if we look down, we’ll most likely see the ground, so this is why the natural instinct is to look upwards.. we don’t usually expect to see a ceiling depending on the experience; the sky’s the limit! Plus, anything is better than staring at the floor.

With these two natural instincts combined, we can come to the conclusion that the first move for the user (based on the statistical majority of users) will be up and to the right.


*Keep in mind that this is only true if the virtual environment they’re immersed in is distraction free… If there is a monkey on a unicycle blowing a french horn to the left of the user, then obviously the user is going to change their scope of navigation to look at the monkey.. We’re only human, and who could resist looking if that WAS the case.


Now that we have a general idea of where (the majority of) our users are going to be looking, we can delve right into how our audiences consume VR.



What’s the natural reaction for kids?

When kids play, their imagination takes over. That one box that was thrown into the corner is now a time machine that’s also a fancy sports car. Kids have this stunning ability to entertain themselves, while also blocking out the rest of the world. In their minds, this time machine/car is the only thing existing when they play. Now, bring this same child into VR and they’re going to be astonished by the immersive experience. Research suggests that since kids have such active and imaginative minds, that they’re able to believe in the VR content in front of them as if it’s actually happening, and they’re able to ‘fill in the gaps’ where VR content may be less believable.





 



Next, kids respond to adrenalistic moments MUCH MORE than adults do. In fact, studies show that adults learn the ability to control their emotions to an extent using a ‘self-reserved’ technique. For instance, think of a time where you were watching a scary movie – this technique, where you’re trying not to flinch or react when there’s a scary pop-out coming is a variation of this. It gives you some breathing room or some ‘distance’ between yourself and the experience in front of you. Kids simply haven’t had enough experience in their lifetime to distance themselves from what’s in front of them, and at this age, being as curious and imaginative as they are, they probably wouldn’t want to!


If you want to make a lasting impact and your primary audience is largely kids then you’re looking to add some imagination and adrenaline to your experience! Kids minds run 1000 miles a minute and are still very much floating in the clouds when it comes to playing – so you want to base some of your design around events that are ‘out-of-this-world’, adventurous, and full of life. Even leading them on hunts with obvious next steps might be ideal for them. Think about beloved adventure TV shows like Dora the Explorer. The fun of the show is that the kids can follow along and yell about Dora’s next step based on what they see and what kind of a situation Dora falls into. For example, if kids see Swiper the Fox on the screen, the kids know to yell that he’s there and, “Swiper, no swiping!”. Or if Dora needs to find out which way she’s going, and they open her backpack, they’ll know to reach for the map.

Simple concepts and exciting experiences can go a long way with kids, so grasp your adventure concept, keep it simple and straightforward, and you’re on track to impressing the youngins.



Does gender affect how you consume VR?

Yes! Generally, males and females consumer VR differently!



 


Now, obviously this research can’t speak for every individual out there because it will vary based on the person and a hundred other factors in the mix, but this is what studies found generally:


Women are more emotionally connected to VR content

A few studies suggest that females (on average) experience a greater level of presence in VR. One of the explanations suggests that because females empathize more easily than men, so they’re more likely to connect to the content. Therefore, they have more immersive and connected virtual reality reactions in comparison, and this is true for empathizing toward both real people and virtual figures. VR is well-known for tapping into the emotions of users, which is why it’s such a thrilling medium; you just can’t get the same emotional experience when you’re watching a video of a roller coaster on your laptop versus watching it in a VR headset. The emotional connection that people experience while immersed in VR is a huge factor in how ‘convincing’ the experience is for them. In fact, studies show that VR delivers a 27% higher emotional engagement and 34% longer engagement than 2D content, and with graphic or emotional content, we can obviously assume that the statistics much higher than just 27%.


Charities and nonprofits find good success leveraging VR reactions when it comes to raising awareness and funds for their causes. Take for instance, Charity: Water, who arranged a black-tie gala to show a VR movie which took place in a small village in Ethiopia, and followed the story of a girl and her family and their day-to-day lives, including their long travels to get water – and not clean water by any means.





 


The state of the water alone is a shock factor, but you also see the state of the family’s home, their school conditions and what their daily chores are, which are vastly different than what we experience here. The film ends with a truck full of workers installing a clean water well, and the impact and enthusiasm that was brought to this community, and how much this will change these individuals lives. Because of the strong VR reactions, this gala raised over 2.4 million dollars in donations by the end of the evening which exceeded beyond the organization’s expectations.


This just goes to show that VR’s ability to engage the emotions of users is incredible and can have a huge impact when it comes to events such as these.


If you’re designing for an experience that has a target audience of mostly women, then adding aspects where women may be more emotionally vulnerable could make a more hooking experience. Keep your audience on the edge!


Men enjoy mapping out virtual spaces

Another difference between genders when it comes to experiencing VR content is spatial reasoning skills! According to researchers, men (on average) have better spatial skills than women, so they’re better able to digest a 3D virtual environment in their head as opposed to women, and apparently, they actually enjoy mentally mapping VR too! This means that if you throw a man and a woman into a complex space, then take them out of it – the man (on average) should have a better memory of the space as opposed to the woman.


Men are big for strategy games – even look at the user-base for games such as Civilization. Men like to seek and conquer, so when it comes to learning spaces and strategizing the next move – men are all for it. If your audience base is primarily men, then keep them on their toes and give them room to learn, explore, then strategize how they’re going to keep moving forward.



Everything in-between

Veering away from the differences between genders, now we’re going to look at the more general factors that can have an impact for how well an individual reacts to a virtual experience.


Cognition is a factor in experiencing VR!

Things like general intelligence and attention span have huge impacts on how well someone perceives a virtual experience and the specifics of their VR reactions.  According to research, people who are have higher attention levels have a better capacity to focus on the virtual world and are better able at ‘shutting off’ the real world. This increased level of focus lets them experience their virtual environment in the moment, which leads to a more immersed and engaged VR experience.


Based on your personality, you may have drastically different experiences than others

There are a bunch of personality traits that could determine whether or not VR is suitable for you. For instance, if you’ve ever gone to see a magician and you’ve volunteered to be hypnotized, then VR is most likely thrilling for that individual; however, in a scenario where the individual is chosen from a crowd and is unable to be hypnotized says a different story… Just like how some people take a bit more time to be comfortable (maybe if they’re more prone to nervous or anxious behaviour) in certain scenarios follows the same general premise for whether or not they’ll enjoy being immersed in VR. The more willing a person is to give in to an experience, the better reaction they’ll ultimately have to the content in front of them. This is also true for introverts as opposed to extroverts; the more willing a person is to participate in the experience and suspend any sort of disbelief in their mindset, the greater the immersion and overall feeling of presence they’ll have when they’re in VR and the stronger their VR reactions will be.



Keep in mind that the research beyond VR and user experiences is still pretty new, (and consumers are turtles when it comes to worldwide-adoption) so with time we’ll have a better grasp on how people react to a lot more virtual situations, but for the time being, this is a pretty good start. This information does, however, help us understand the difference in designing for certain audiences, which includes people who don’t feel quite as immersed as others when they put on their VR headset for the first time.




Just getting started with virtual reality and want a hand getting things off the ground? We run a free introductory training webinar every other Thursday at 1 PM EST by our Client Success Manager to teach you everything there is to know about Yulio’s functions, features, and the nitty-gritty tips to help you effortlessly become successful with Yulio! Grab your seat here. Still looking into VR solutions? We’ve got a 30-day free trial with full access to all of Yulio’s fabulous features to give you a true taste of our product and how easy is it to start showing your designs in stunning virtual reality. Sign up for your free account here!

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AR, Business, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
We sat down with Ian Hall, Chief Product Officer and resident expert at Yulio Technologies about his experience with VR, his work within the industry, and where he predicts the digital reality market will lead in the future, and here are his top 9 major takeaways! 


1. Stop calling it VR!
This first thing that I want to note about the future of VR is a bit ironic – and that is to stop calling it VR – or at least recognize that that is a bit of a bucket term for a number of technologies. We’re starting to combine the terms VR, AR, and MR, into this kind of overreaching descriptor of digital reality (DR) – some people call it XR to fill in the gaps, but digital reality seems to be resonating a little bit better. So, we start projecting out 6-12 months.. even a year and we look at it as that collection of visualization technology blending, merging, and working fluidly together in digital reality.




2. Hardware is always going to get better.

As anyone who has tried VR today can attest, it’s powerful, but there are still challenges. Even people who have had an experience in a professional tethered rig, like an HTC Vive, or something like an Oculus Rift – you’ve got this cable running from the back of your head, it gets sweaty, it’s clunky, it can be a little bit off-putting. The mobile devices, while they’re getting more and more powerful – everyone wants it to be higher resolution, lower latency, bigger field of view, longer battery life, less overheating to solve the convergence problem because there are a bunch of things that are all understood and I point to the Oculus Go – it moves forward on five of those things I just mentioned, in a substantive way, while absolutely plummeting the price. Two years ago I would’ve killed for an Oculus GO, and now future of virtual reality is here with it. It’s self-contained, has a long-lasting battery life, great tracking, excellent visuals – that DIDN’T exist two years ago, and now it’s available $200 street – for the cost of a music subscription, you’ve got this powerful new communication medium. To do what the Oculus Go does today by combining a phone with an enclosure, you’re looking at about $1000 street to have something reasonable – meanwhile, the Oculus Go is $200 for exactly the same thing.. I mean, that’s a staggering drop in pricing.


You’ve also got a major player in the space Leap technology. They’re promising full-blown, functional mixed-reality headset with hand-tracking as a reference design for roughly $100 street price. So, that’s what I mean about VR, AR, and MR all kind of blending.. As that hardware comes forward, we will exploit it. So, if $100 AR headset is out there, our AR pipeline (which is obviously in-the-making) will be able to exploit it.





3. We’ve got so much to look forward to for DR technology 

So, we’re seeing the evolution of technology – if anything, we’re actually seeing the technology outstripping everything else. We’re seeing the software ecosystem is getting better, richer, so standards are starting to evolve, things like GLTF which is a 3D data format, optimized for delivering this type of experience, WebVR, and we’ve got the big players working on things like ARKit and ARCore to give you dial tone for doing basic mixed reality behaviours, and you’ve got just MASSIVE research going into data compression, 5G data transport, and we can go on and on. We’ve actually got an entire, what we call, “TechRadar”, where, Yulio as a company – all of our mad scientists and product people are looking at the major trends in all of these relevant areas in software, hardware, standards, in the UX/best practices, and we update that frequently and we use it to inform our thinking – that’s how we skate towards where the puck is going. We’re projecting these things forward, we’re looking at the scientific papers recognizing that those papers are gonna be turned into functionality, and open source, and things that we can use and then we’re figuring out where our opportunities lie through all of that. So a lot of it is having that insight into what those variables are, who the players are, and how rapidly things are adapting.





4. We’re going to see DR technology being used more and more as a standard in the construction industry

That is happening in other industries as well. That’s happening in construction now. Construction is already adopting augmented reality so you’ve got a pipefitter who puts on an augmented reality headset, and they will see, because of the plan, that there’s supposed to be pipes running along the wall – they’ll see where they’re exactly supposed to go in real-time, at-scale, where it’s supposed to be cut-in and cut-out – they can do the work and check their work. Then the inspector comes around – he can put on the same headset – looks at the original drawings and be able to compare workers efforts against the original design -and THAT is utterly transformative for the entire industry for bottom-line costs, maintaining clarity for regulations, quality working effort, at a level of fidelity that we’ve never seen before.





5. VR doesn’t always have to be flashy

Have you ever tried watching something in a headset? For instance, watching Netflix with your peers or something like that. It’s small and simple, and if you’re living in an apartment and you don’t have space for a 60” television, then you can sit there and have an IMAX size theatre screen in front of you in your very own living room and you can watch whatever you want! Entertainment executions like this will continue to help drive the future of VR.





6. DR is the next major gaming platform

So, we’re ahead of the game. The adoption of VR as a way of consuming traditional media in a new way is, frankly, disruptive stuff. If you take a VR mount into a gaming room, (and there are some really good titles out there that are breathtaking and forefront stuff in virtual reality) and you come out with this emotional high that you just don’t get sitting there with other mediums. That’s what’s transformative about future of virtual reality – it’s an evolution of a storytelling medium and it’s the emotional connection that drives it that’s so exciting. You see more and more of these big studios when they do these big quality AAA games with  – and they ain’t doing it unless they can get their money back. So you’ve got the Sony’s and Samsung’s of the world pushing consumer VR but frankly, it’s in the very early days – for instance, instead of 100 hours of play, we’ve got 5 hours of play but it’s a REALLY cool 5 hours. Things like the Oculus Go suddenly become an install base of millions upon millions of content will follow. So, the big leagues for consumer VR are going to be content production – content that has a little bit more awareness, a little more accessible hardware.





7. Consumer adoption of VR will come as fast as we invite it

Technology moves fast, moves strategically, and it’s moving to address fairly well-understood problems… the bigger challenge is when you move into the human side of things –   which is the consumer consumption of digital reality. Now, obviously, Yulio as a company, we’re primarily focused on the business applications of this… that said, the business applications don’t exist in a vacuum. As consumers get exposed to DR and AR, kind of like first harbingers, they will lay the foundation for further investment in the space. Business or not they’ll build the future of VR because as consumers use it, more people will build hardware, more people will build software, so the building blocks that we use to create our products will branch from user adoption of the tech.





8. Digital reality training is coming full force – and it’s working! 

Education is another big one. The best example is Walmart who started dabbling with virtual reality as a way of training employees. They have this massive training program; whether you’re the one greeting at the door, or you’re the one stocking shelves or at the cash, you go through this very rigorous training program that introduces you to the “Walmart way” of doing things – and they will celebrate improving those outcomes all day long. If you can improve testing outcomes and improve customer feedback through that training program it has a huge impact. They introduced VR – and they saw double-digit improvements OVERNIGHT. So, they went from doing this as a trial to rolling out a full training program to every Walmart training center around the world and that was in the course of 12 months. So, again, this is a BIG IMPACT of DR transforming businesses.


So imagine that the same person is stocking the shelves wearing an MR headset and it gives them reinforcement of that training because they’re seeing it  in real-time, and the social stigma of looking funny with a big headset on doesn’t apply if you’re stocking shelves – So, business applications, some of those constraints that are going to slow down consumer adoption, don’t exist in business. If I’m going and doing a ‘pick and place’ in a warehouse – Putting a load into a box to mail to you, I don’t care what I look like. To put on a DR headset to be better at my job to improve efficiency is just something you’re going to do. That is becoming deliberate – this kind of idea where you wear these headsets in warehouses and remote diagnostics is already picking up traction. Microsoft jumping all over the whole platform. They literally just announced that the entire framework that allows you to use their HoloLens platform to do exactly what I just described. Have an expert come in, look virtually over your shoulder, and point to something and say “noo don’t turn that gear turn that gear” and they’ve come up with an entire platform for building applications like this.





9. The A&D community was perfectly primed to use DR technology

Today, in the architectural community in particular and more so the design community, we’re starting to see DR as table stakes – it’s not just a nice to have, but it’s becoming a must-have. When we started doing this over two years ago, we had to explain to our early adopters, “what IS VR?”, and they really just had no frame of reference… but in the last 6 months, I don’t remember the last architectural firm who didn’t have some sort of active VR initiative, and some of the more sophisticated ones have already started dabbling in AR and mixed reality – so that is an entire industry, and we just so happen to be perfectly primed for taking advantage of this. Speaking directly to Yulio, our clients use visualizations to convey design ideas, so visualization is definitely key. So these businesses are primed to use this technology and in a matter of 24 months, we went from getting reactions like, “what the hell is VR” to “we can’t live without VR” and that is absolutely transformative.


So, the implications for business make sense in the areas with the greatest ROI – where you see a ten-fold improvement overnight as opposed to traditional means. But as time establishes, more people try things and they find that it works… it’s substantially better than the alternative – you’re going to continue to grow in the business environment and this is absolutely the center of where Yulio exists. We are addressing those problems, we are working with our customers and trying those scenarios, we’re eliminating the ones that don’t work all that well, we’re focusing on the ones that really do, and we’ve already seen those successes in a repeating pattern. Using Yulio / a VR platform to convey your design ideas – early stage / late stage is correct. And we know that today because we have architects backing us saying, “we’re trying for a year to communicate to a customer why this thing needed to be this big and we finally had the epiphany – we were already using VR for our designers, and we decided to turn it around and put it in front of the customer, and they looked at it and had an ‘Aha’ moment. They looked at it and went ooooh I FINALLY get why it had to be so big .. we didn’t believe you and now we trust you and they finally became a partner in that dialogue.”


Until that moment – using the best methods available to architects today – models, floor plans, renderings, and all that kind of stuff – they weren’t able to convey that in a year, and VR was able to convey it in a split second. And that is transformative.




The Future of VR 

It’s more of that. It’s finding those niches. It’s finding those applications and it’s just transforming how people do business. I think winning business patterns will drive the future of VR.





Ian Hall is Yulio’s Chief Product Officer and has been working in the industry for an eternity in VR terms. He recently attended VRX 2018 and recorded the top trends that he saw. Read about them here. To learn more about VR best practices for business, check out our Whitepaper on the right way to integrate VR into your business for maximum ROI.


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

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.







Yulio tip:

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.



Yulio tip:

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


Yulio tip:

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.

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AR, Architecture, Business, Design, Everything Else, News and Updates, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

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.



Check out an example of text hotspots on our showcase here.



 

 

 

 


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

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

VR for architecture is often looked at as a key presentation tool to benefit your clients. Don’t get me wrong, that’s definitely something that VR does best over all other presentation tools in the industry – VR has the power to illustrate the unknown… it generates long-lasting, memorable experiences for clients that are much more tangible and impactful than anything they’ve seen before. Plus, VR provides a window on reality instead of what could be a hard-to-imagine mock-up, so there’s less guessing and more understanding when it comes to the details.



 



So, since VR is so successful for presenting designs to clients, we often lose sight of the other uses VR for architecture has that can amp up your VR game. We’ve compiled a list of other fun and useful features that VR can do that most people forget about (plus, these features don’t require you do to any extra work – so there’s that too!)


Get buddy-buddy with your contractor

Yes, ok, this is still using VR as a presentation tool – guilty – But like we said, VR is the best tool to use to show someone a design in the clearest, most precise way possible – so why not show everyone?

Consider sharing your 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!


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

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

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


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

 

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


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

Simpler Navigation

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

Better Access to Resources

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

Simple VR Design Trial

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

 

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

 

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

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

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





 


Plainly put, presenting with 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!

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.

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

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


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


There have been plenty of articles discussing the consumer benefits but what about the benefits for those who can see immediate ROI? Let’s look at the four reasons why Oculus Go 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.





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

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AR, Guest Blog, Industry News, VR

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






The transition to 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

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

@charliefink l Charlie Fink.com l Wikipedia I LinkedIn

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

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


Being able to create a perfect understanding is a huge benefit of using VR for designers.

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 immediate quality feedback

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


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


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



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

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





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

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


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.

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

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


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




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

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


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



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

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

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Architecture, Business, Design, Technical, VR

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.



VRE

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


FPR

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


Hotspot




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


Goggle-less Viewer or ‘fishbowl’



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



 

Presence

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


Haptics

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


HMD

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


Interactive Virtual Reality

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


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




Virtual Visits

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


360 Video

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


4D Virtual Reality

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

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




 

Stereoscopic

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






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


Stitch

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


Head Tracking

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


Eye Tracking

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


Heatmaps

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





 

Position Tracking

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

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



FOV

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


Latency

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


Simulator Sickness

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



As more and more people explore VR as a medium, and more use-cases are discovered, this list of basic terms will grow – but for the meantime, this should keep you abreast of virtual reality terminology.




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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

 


                   

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

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

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

 

 

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

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





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

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

 

 

Would you say it can potentially allow for quicker experimentation?

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




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

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

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

 




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

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





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

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

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





How has VR changed client presentations?

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

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





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

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

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

 




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

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

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


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



 


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


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


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

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VR

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

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



Mobile vs. Tethered

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



Mobile

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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



Tethered

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


Pros:

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

Cons:

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


Options in the market: Mobile

Samsung Gear VR
   

 

Price: $149.99 – Samsung Store

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

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




Google Daydream View
   

 

 

Price: $140 – Google Store

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

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


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




Homido V2
       

 


Price: ~$85 (69.99€) – Homido Store

Compatibility: Compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones

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




ETVR 3D VR
       

 

 



Price: $79.99 – Ebay

Compatibility: Compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones

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




Homido Mini
       



Price: ~$20 (14.99€) – Homido Store

Compatibility: Compatible with all smartphones

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




Google Cardboard
   



Price: $15 – Google Store

Compatibility: Compatible with all smartphones

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




Options in the market: Tethered


Oculus Rift
       

 

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

Compatibility: Rift Hardware

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




HTC Vive/Steam VR
       



 

 


Price: $799 – Microsoft Store

Compatibility: PC Computer

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




Sony PlayStation VR
       

 


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

Compatibility: Playstation 4

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



Matching the headset to how you want to use it

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


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

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

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


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


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



5 Years

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

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



11 Million+

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



51%

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



171 Million

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



$12.1 Billion

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



$40.4 Billion

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



1 Billion +

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



41%

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



44%

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



250

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



82 million

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



90%

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



So what can be garnered from all the big numbers in our 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.


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AR, Culture, Lifestyle, Travel, VR

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

Before VR, consumers have had to trust in reviews from other travellers, what could be false or misleading ratings from travel agencies, and the authenticity of experiences, photographs, and videos of the destination to drive the decision-making vehicle when investing in a trip; however, with the power of 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.


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

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Business, Culture, Design, How to, Industry News, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
There’s not a lot that hasn’t been tried when it comes to sales. Humans have been doing it forever, in a multitude of forms. From wide-smiled salesmen going door to door to charm their way to an impulsive purchase, all the way to personalized digital ads being delivered to shoppers at the optimal moment of weakness in their day. Delivering the right product, in the right way, at the right time, is a pot-of-gold-process that’s under constant scrutiny and being constantly disrupted and refined.    Now companies are selling with VR, throwing a virtual hat (or headset) into the ring. We’ve looked previously at the ways VR is being used brilliantly by marketers, designers, and retailers. It’s time now for those in sales to grab a headset and pay attention. We have a few tips for selling with 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.



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Architecture, Business, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

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


 

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


 A problem shared (with VR) is a problem halved. Try a quick exercise. Envision telling someone what your kitchen looks like so they can help you remodel. Now consider – how much easier and faster is it if you show them a picture? Now, what if they could stand inside? 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.
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Business, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Like all great disruptive technologies, VR has begun to establish itself in a way that makes business leaders … uncomfortable. They’re hearing more about it. They’ve had clients mention it. They’ve heard their competitors are trying it. They just haven’t got around to doing anything about it … yet. If current predictions are correct, they will. And when they do, they’ll likely have questions that sound something like the ones below. So we’ve put together an outline of 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.
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Architecture, Business, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
New Year, New Job: How to find VR jobs
It may not yet have reached the heady heights of Astronaut, Pro athlete or 1980s Apple investor, but finding VR jobs has become a major aspiration for an increasing number of career seekers. Whether it’s budding young minds entering the workforce for the first time or those looking to change career lanes mid-journey, interest in pursuing VR as a career is booming and the question of how to get a job in the industry is one we get asked a lot.


 

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

Why VR jobs?
The obvious truth is, VR is not one big collective thing that can be studied and perfected. Within it, exist a multitude of different opportunities, some technical, some creative, some unique to VR and some not so. It’s because of this that it’s important for anyone with an interest in having a career in VR to find out what it is that really gets them excited.   It could be- A desire to create immersive stories that move people A desire to help build new platforms for a newly emerging technology A desire to combine creative mediums with analytics and strategy to help grow a business -or, it could be some other aspect of business where VR is planting its feet. But remember, you don’t necessarily want 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
There are a lot of VR resources out there already and more popping up every day. The space is changing fast, so keeping up to date with the areas that matter to you i.e. hardware, software, emerging stars, new applications, etc, is a good way to start uncovering the possibilities of VR jobs. There are some great media outlets and some great thought leaders who are out there tracking and alerting their followers of the major movements in the space. Our Chief Marketing Officer follows a few of these influential folks on Twitter; Rick King – https://twitter.com/RickKing16 Sanem Avcil – https://twitter.com/Sanemavcil Ryan Bell – https://twitter.com/ryan_a_bell Tom Emrich – https://twitter.com/tomemrich   And members of our team also like to read content from some of these great accounts; Within – https://medium.com/@Within Haptical – https://haptic.al Robert Scoble – https://medium.com/@scobleizer The Metaverse Muse – https://medium.com/the-metaverse-muse   Want to get a concise snapshot of how VR can be integrated into a business? Simple. Take our 5-day course with Chief Product Officer Ian Hall.


 
Learn the craft of storytelling and then adapt it

 

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

Get educated

 

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

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


 

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

We recently launched a free 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 looking and while simple in concept that technology is quite complex. But we’re there now. The advent of inexpensive gyroscopes, displays, and graphics processing in mobile phones have brought the costs down and the quality up, making it practical at scale. And the industry has responded huge investments by Facebook, Google, and Apple through 2016-2017 indicate VR is here to stay. Add to that the exponential growth in the availability of inexpensive VR headsets and the ability to run VR from any smartphone and you have a storytelling medium that has arrived.

     2. There are Established, Winning Content Patterns

Each new medium is challenged by content creation – and we typically try using old patterns in new media. When TV was first introduced, the early shows were just pointing a camera at people doing a radio show. BlackBerry was sure you needed a tactile keyboard to type emails on a smartphone. We have learned over the last few years that winning use cases for VR content typically fall into one of three categories 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 cable monkey – someone monitoring the user and making sure they don’t trip or get tangled. Obviously, this is the least flexible format – you have to have someone come into your office, or (but it might be great at a tradeshow booth), and you can’t share the experience remotely It also has the most barriers when it comes to being motion sick – we’ve certainly seen a lot of installs of this where there really is a ‘sick bucket’ off to the side. Additionally, we’ve heard reports from clients of ours who tried tethered VR that in spite of the increased level of immersion, their end clients aren’t engaged enough in the experience to come in repeatedly. The tradeoff hasn’t been worth it. By contrast, mobile VR can be operated on any smartphone so you can send some goggles to a client for them to experience VR anywhere – especially valuable if you work with clients at a distance. And since there are no cables or headstraps, mobile is fast VR – something you can pop in and out of while discussing design in a social experience – it’s less isolating and easier to use as the discussion calls for since you don’t have to get into a rig each time you want to check something.

Finally, don’t forget that goggles aren’t ubiquitous. Look for a solution where you can share VR work on social media or your website, and not assume everyone has a headset – for Yulio we call this ‘fishtank’ viewing – a browser experience you can use to get some interaction with the design. It’s obviously not a true VR experience, but it rounds out the viewing options and is great for very motion sensitive people.

    4. Budget
We can also give you a very quick primer on budget. If you’re talking about Tethered VR, Oculus Rift is around $500-$700 depending on some tracking options and you’ll need a computer of about $1000 to run it. Mobile VR headsets range from $10 for a decent quality cardboard or plastic viewer to about $100 for an experience like the Samsung Gear VR, or the Noon. But of course there’s also the need for a smartphone to display the images – and some hardware only works with certain phones, especially as new headsets enter the market. For example, At its launch, the Google DayDream only worked with 3 or 4 phones. While it will increase the cost significantly, consider dedicated phones to avoid interruption in viewing – if the presenter uses their personal phone, there is the possibility that incoming calls or text alerts will interrupt the viewer. You can certainly save some money by having a pool of devices, but if you can afford it, I recommend you give each salesperson or presenter a headset and phone That will stop disrupted viewing experiences but possibly, more importantly, it stops the potential for sharing the wrong file with a client and protects you from any issues around non-disclosure agreements. It’s absolutely possible to run VR without these things, but you will want to think through procedures to minimize any issues if you go the shared route.

    5. Implement for Success

The most successful VR implementations are the ones that choose software and hardware for the jobs they need to get done – not for the highest fidelity visuals, most immersive experiences etc. Consider how you want to use VR inside your organization, and with your clients. Do you want team members to collaborate on low fidelity versions of your design? Do you want to bring clients into the office, or to present remotely? Or do you want to share finished designs on your website or portfolio to generate leads? Thinking through your workflow from how you create designs, collaborate, present and build your portfolio will guide you in making important decisions like choosing mobile or tethered solutions, which authoring is supported and which qualities you will prioritize – like the ease of jumping in and out of VR versus more immersive experiences.

That’s a quick review of some of the key things to consider when you’re investigating VR this year.
Be sure to get up to speed quickly with our
free VR course, and download our state of the industry presentation. You’ll have a jump start on your Q1 goals in no time.

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How to, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

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


 

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

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

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


These are just a handful of industries where we see VR being used transformatively. The truth is VR has the potential to bring significant changes to a lot more. What we suggest? Get started today, for free. You can bring VR to your vision with Yulio in a free account.
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Business, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Virtual reality in any format, be it full tethered rig VR (like Oculus Rift)  or mobile VR headsets (such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR), has a few key jobs it can perform for your business: sharing your vision, accelerating your sales pipeline, adding new lead generation channels or helping your clients make better, quicker decisions.   If you’re ready to bring virtual reality to your business, your success will depend on a few key things:  

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


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


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


Tethered Headsets

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


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

Mobile VR

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


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



At Yulio we’ve made our bets on mobile VR for its flexibility, portability and greater comfort of use and training…while still being able to immerse people in a totally new environment, quickly, easily, and wherever they are.   Whether it be used to deliver A&D portfolio presentations, ‘Try before you buy’ product demos, virtual property tours or to put potential donors directly ‘into’ an environment being highlighted by a non-profit, VR’s ability to engage people with emotional connection to an idea, an environment, a product or a cause is its real power. For more on integrating mobile VR into your workflow, check out our FREE 5-day email course and a recent article on sharing information through other media in VR, like audio, video, and text.
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Business, Design, How to, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
In the early days of television, it would be fair to say there was a ‘breaking in period’. It took broadcasters some time to get to grips with the new medium. In fairness, they and their listeners were used to news, information and entertainment primarily being delivered to their ears via a radio and therefore, with little appreciation for the context of a visual medium, the earliest shows consisted of little more than a camera being pointed at a radio presenter. Similarly, VR is the new and compelling game in town with the power to entertain, to communicate and to tell visual stories in an entirely different, multi-dimensional way. Creating strong content for this new medium inherently comes with the same challenges – how to effectively use all the various tools that VR offers in the right way and at the right time, to create the most engaging and immersive experiences possible while still giving users plenty of information. Long held design habits, honed through work within multiple different formats can be tough to shake and so, based on the findings from over a thousand hours of user testing we’ve carried out, we’ve put together a few things to consider that we think will help when trying to use text, audio and video in VR without interrupting the immersion.

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


VR text displayed without interrupting the visuals of a VR game

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


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


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

a nighttime backyard scene with vr audio hotspot icons

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

 


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




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



Our VR Design Tips for Your First Projects:

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

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

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


VR design tip 1: Yulio Sketchup example render with camera too high


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



Yulio Sketchup VR design tip example: render with camera at correct height  

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

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


Take a look at some sample designs in our VR design showcase. And when you’re ready to learn more how VR can be a practical tool for your business, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course and how VR can enhance your workflow.
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Uncategorized
New to Yulio and looking to make the most out of it? Watch this brief introductory video to get started. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za37GBzKtsg

Our program was specially designed to fit the needs of architects and interior designers. Discover how to implement Virtual Reality in Architecture and Interior Design. 

Interested in trying VR for free? Head to www.yulio.com and start your free trial today.
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