The 10 best product marketing cases using virtual reality

During product launches you need to grab the attention of the target audience. Marketing using VR has changed the game. Both world famous brands and small niche market companies have turned to virtual reality to breath life into their marketing campaigns. From new product launches to modernising old brands, marketing with VR has proven to be a great tool for professional marketeers. Here are ten successful examples of product marketing using virtual reality. We also wrote a artical about how VR Sync is used for marketing campaigns.

1. Audi

Auto manufacturers and virtual reality are a match made in heaven. The Audi Sandbox promotion features the Q5 model in a virtual desert, ready for a test drive. Unlike a real ride, this time children were also allowed to take a seat behind the wheel. And adults would feel like a kid again playing in a sandbox playing this immersive presentation. With product launches you will have to provide more information compared to promoting existing products. Marketing in VR helps to show any new product or service without using any words.

2. Birdly

This game lets the player fly over New York like a bird. To make the presentation more immersive a wind machine was used, and players had to flap their wings like a bird. A special, human sized controller was used that resembled an ironing board with movable wings to create the feeling of actually flying like a bird.

3. Cirque du Soleil

The artistic acrobats of Cirque du Soleil are world famous. But most people are more familiar with the brand than the actual shows they perform. Therefore they created several short performances to compliment live shows, this time filmed with a 360 camera. The videos were so successful that they were released as a commercial VR app for mobile devices.

4. Coca Cola

This famous soft drink brand was early with marketing in VR, and produced several innovative projects featuring virtual reality. They created a factory tour that turned into a dance fest where viewers were invited to join. They also designed a virtual sleigh ride during Christmas. Although Coke is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, they need to keep innovating in order to stay relevant. Marketing in VR achieves this goal.

5. Honda Civic

This is another automobile brand that uses VR for marketing purposes. For an event in Thailand they commissioned 1000 Google Cardboard smartphone holders which allowed attendees to watch a Kiosk mode 360 video on their own device. Printed Cardboards have been very successful in VR marketing as they travel far beyond the original venue and are shared with family and friends.

6. Jon Lewis

The Buster’s Garden Experience used VR goggles in a real life garden. Not only did the surroundings match the VR presentation, the headsets were placed inside large (fake) animal heads to great effect. Players walked around like furry characters, which was also a sight to behold for the audience in the store. Campaigns that combine a virtual presentation with real life elements tend to be appreciated the most.

7. Mountain Dew

This brand falls under the umbrella of the Pepsi company. Although they don’t market the soft drink as a sport drinks, they do use athletes to promote the brand. With a series of extreme sports videos in 360 degrees, Mountain Dew enters an ‘extreme’ marketing arena previously dominated by Red Bull. Marketing in VR allowed the brand to place customers in the shoes of their famous Influencers for maximum impact.

8. Mountainside

When selling premium homes you also have to design a premium campaign. The standard Google Cardboard smartphone holders were deemed too ‘cheap’, so Mountainside opted for a more luxurious model to distribute among prospective buyers. They also produced immersive videos showcasing their winter homes, to be shown worldwide.

9. Old Irish

The Irish are known for many things, most of them not exactly positive. Beer brand Old Irish took their negative image head-on and commissioned a 360 virtual reality video that was equal parts funny, scary and memorable. The “Virtual Journy to Irland” as it was called, combined video with real life stunt work for a viral effect. First the viewer would see the Irish landscape, but it soon turned sour with an aggressive actor appearing. After removing the headset it turned out this person was actually there, ready to attack unsuspecting participants for a memorable conclusion to the show.

10. Star Wars

Product launches are not limited to tangible products, movies also benefit from VR marketing. The second Star Wars trilogy was a commercial success, but both critics and fans were not too pleased with the direction George Lucas took the famous Sci Fi franchise in. During the marketing of the latest series of Star Wars films, the marketing team went to great lengths to showcase the attention to detail in this continuation. VR games, 360 set visits and more methods were used to show the ever expanding Star Wars universe in an immersive setting.


The best VR headsets for in the classroom

Virtual reality has been proven to be a valuable educational tool. Classroom VR has evolved from a gimmick to entertain students, to a bonafide audiovisual learning method. The most important aspects of using education VR are the hardware and the software. On this page we will focus on the best VR headsets for in the classroom, and we will address how this connects to the selection of educational content. We also discussed how to use VR Sync to start teaching with VR in your school.

Virtual reality in the classroom

There are two ways to approach educational virtual reality; classroom VR and decentralized education in VR.

1. Classroom VR

In a room full of students one virtual reality device can be limited. It’s possible to dedicate a room or corner for a VR setup including PC, monitor and a VR headset. Another approach is the use of multiple VR headsets that are synced wirelessly so students can experience the same content simultaneously.

2. Decentralised education VR

This is a completely different approach to VR learning. Students can be in any location, provided there is an active internet connection. Besides self-study with a preset curriculum there’s also the option to hold lectures and lessons in a virtual classroom. You can compare this method to a Skype video call, but using immersive VR headsets instead of a static screen.

Because the second option poses additional challenges and requires custom solutions, we will focus on classroom VR where there’s more control over the surroundings.

What to look for in a VR headset

There are numerous options for virtual reality hardware, the specific usage will determine the best VR headsets for in the classroom. Here are six important considerations before the best option can be determined:

1. Price

Let’s face it, all schools are working on a tight budget. This means the price will be a determining factor in the choice of the best VR headset. There are expensive options that require a fast PC to run, there are also cheaper options that are more geared towards 360 video content. The Oculus Quest is an affordable middle ground option that is affordable yet versatile. If your planning education in VR for a larger group of participants concurrently, the Oculus GO will offer the most bang for your buck.

2. Size

The more expensive options are usually larger in dimensions. Apart from the physical size, you will also have to consider the playing area. Headsets like the aforementioned GO and the Pico G2 only support rotation but lack movement detection. Therefore very little space is required. Headsets like the Rift S, HTC Vive and the Quest require a large playing area. If a larger number of headsets is used there need to be enough storage facilities to store the devices while not in use.

3. Mobility

You can’t just take a VR headset outside, they’re designed to use indoors. That said, battery operated standalone devices can be used in almost any space. Thanks to several generations of virtual reality goggles and adventurous early adaptors there are now various safeguards in place to prevent walking into walls. The Vive uses a warning system, the Quest has a similar see-through feature that requires no external tracking devices. The GO and G2 are mostly used for sit-down experiences like 360 video, although they both are wireless devices.

4. Storage

PC headsets are only limited to the harddrive inside the host computer. Standalone devices have to rely on internal storage. The Pico G2 supports external memory cards, the similar Oculus GO does not. If streaming video is used there’s no need for a large storage capacity. So in this case the actual use case will determine the best option.

5. Graphics

In terms of graphical fidelity the bottleneck is either the screen used in the headset or the graphical processor unit (GPU). Mobile systems utilize GPU’s that can be compared to smartphones, while PC headsets offer more advanced graphics. However, for 360 video even the basic Oculus GO kiosk mode for VR apps can easily display 4K resolution video. For complex simulations in medical schools for example the classroom VR system will require a PC to run properly.

6. Usability

In the end you can purchase the most expensive and fully featured option, but it’s worthless if there’s not a teacher in the building who can actually operate the device. Only the standalone VR headsets offer a plug & play installation. The GO in particular offers an enormous amount of educational titles in the App Store. For more advanced features such as painting in three dimensions you could consider the Oculus Quest.

Conclusion

There is not one device that is the best VR headset for classroom VR. If your intention is to show multiple students 360 video, the Oculus GO provides an affordable, reliable and scalable option. For PC based VR the Rift S or Vive Pro are both solid options, although the Oculus Quest offers a wireless connection to PC which makes it a versatile choice. Before investing in hardware, first contact a specialized dealer who can determine the best solution for your specific requirements.


The 15 best VR & 360 videos for education

With an app like VRSync you can experience 360 video together, for instance in a classroom. Here are 15 SyncVR videos that will brighten up any curriculum!

1. 1941 Battle

This video from Wargaming shows a re-enacted battle from 1941. So you get the crisp image quality of a modern day video with the sense of being in the fields during the Second World War. Nothing is glorified, there’s no Hollywood artistry, just the realism of war.

2. A walk through dementia

This video is mostly a conversation that shows the effects of dementia in a simple yet intriguing way. It feels like a radio play with one 360 image. The simplicity draws you more and more into the harrowing tale of a lady suffering from dementia.

3. BBC Click

This is a ful 360 episode of the British TV series Click. Unlike most items on this list it’s over 20 minutes in duration and features broadcast quality production values. The content is completely optimized for a full panoramic frame. By showing several varied subjects the video never becomes boring. The shots are mostly calm, although there is quite a bit of camera movement making it slightly more ‘advanced’ viewing.

4. Explore The Solar System

This short 360 video is an animation with informative narration. There’s a lot of content packed in just a few minutes of time. The way the virtual camera is positioned invites the viewer to look around and explore the universe. The static framing prevents nausea which makes it a great introduction to VR video. VRSync let’s multiple viewers take part of the experience, this video will inspire each student to further explore the solar system.

5. Go Habs Go!

If you are interested in ice hockey this short documentary is really interesting. It’s not as exhilarating as you might imagine from a video about hockey, it’s more a look into the history of a hockey team narrated by an actual ice hockey champion. Canadians in particular will appreciate this stroll down memory lane.

6. Honor Everywhere

This video is about army veterans, with stories from survivors and how important it is to have war monuments to remember the atrocities of war. Fights in the past have laid the foundation of life in the present. If a real life excursion is not an option VRSync can provide the solution.

7. Insane 360 video of a close-range tornado

The title says it all, really. The viewer travels along in a car that is fleeing from a tornado nearby. As raindrops slowly fall onto the windows of the car, you can see the tornado raging. It’s not a simulation, you are experiencing the real thing. The original audio from the camera mic is not more than wind noise which actually heightens the tension in this nail biting video.

8. Let’s go Rickshaw

This video let’s the viewer take a ride on a Japanese rickshaw. It’s not exactly a replacement for the real thing, in fact it might inspire the viewer to take a trip to Japan. The driver / runner brings some levity to the video with an amicable tone of voice. SyncVR allows every viewer to take place in the front seat.

9. Medical Realities – Surgical Training

This educational video is certainly not for the squeamish. You will witness an actual operation with students observing the procedure. This medical 360 video is great for both medical students and everyone interested in this particular subject matter.

10. Meet the largest dinosaur ever discovered

If you let David Attenborough host an educational video you know you’re in for a quality experience. This connoisseur of both animals and people manages to grab the attention, even though he is ‘standing’ right next to a digital dinosaur. The computer animation allows for breathtaking special effects such like an x-ray vision.

11. Mythbusters Sharks Everywhere!

Swimming with sharks is an English expression, this time the viewer is surrounded by the terror underwater. Although sharks rarely attack humans the threat is palpable. Fortunately Adam Savage from Mythbusters provides some levity by narrating this mini documentary.

12. Out of Syria, back into school

Combining an educational video about war with the story of actual students is a great way to educate children about the consequences of war. Viewers will feel empathy for the kids on screen. The story is told in still frames with narration, there’s no full motion video. Yet the impact of the message comes across loud and clear.

13. Surrounded by Lemurs

If you are unable to visit a zoo, this 360 video is the next best thing. A caretaker tells about the way this Madagascar institution takes care of Lemurs and what makes this species so unique. With VRSync the students can take a trip to the zoo without ever leaving the classroom.

14. What happens inside your body?

This video is presented in a light-hearted way. Quite literally actually because a beating heart is the first thing you will see. Don’t worry, it’s an animation with a narration that is very suitable for a younger audience. The way the story is told makes watching the video more fun than you would expect from this topic.

15. Where’s Waldo

Both kids and adults are familiar with the character Waldo, subject of many ‘find the character’ drawings that have been published over many decades. This contemporary update let’s the viewer discover Waldo, complete with fun narration throughout. If you’re too slow Waldo will escape the scene. Can you find the guy in the red/white shirt before it’s too late?

Virtual reality education does not have to be a solitary experience with the VRSync app and multiple VR headsets. SyncVR is ideal for the classroom and allows you to share the experience. Also read: the 10 best uses of virtual reality in theme parks.


Google Stops With Tango

Tango is more than a way of dancing, it is also the first Augmented Reality platform for mobile devices that can record depth very accurately. Or rather; it WAS an AR platform because Google has announced that they will discontinue the development of this revolutionary project in 2018.

Does that mean the end of Augmented Reality for Google, or will we see the experiences with Project Tango in other products?

 

What is Project Tango?
Project Tango started in June 2014, it was a small-scale project led by Johnny Lee who previously played an important role in the development of the Microsoft Kinect camera for the Xbox game console. The concept behind Tango was a platform where people and devices are always aware of their location.

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To test this concept, a “Peanut” smartphone was developed and a seven-inch tablet. In 2016 Project Tango would be further rolled out to consumers in collaboration with Lenovo. The Phab 2 Pro smartphone was the first smartphone for end-users with the Tango AR hardware built-in.

 

Tango will end in March 2018
UPDATE: As of March 1, 2018, all support for Project Tango will stop. ARCore is the new focal point in the Augmented Reality for Google.

While it won’t come as a surprise to the insiders, Google officially announced on December 15, 2017, that they will stop developing Project Tango. While no layoffs will accompany this decision, support for Tango hardware and software will cease as of March 2018. With only a few devices that use this technology, there will be few users of it, for lovers of AR technology it is quite disappointing.

 

Why was Project Tango so special?
The project was led by Johnny Lee, years before Tango started developing hobby software for the Nintendo Wii game console. In addition, he managed to turn the Wii-mote controller into a kind of 3D scanner.

Partly because of his experiments, he was hired at Microsoft where he worked on the Kinect controller for the Xbox game console. This was a 3D scanner with vrsync that could capture the movements of a person and translate them into computer games.

Although the Kinect has not been a resounding success, we now see the same technology in the Microsoft HoloLens, a Mixed Reality headset that has many similarities with Tango in terms of functionality. At Google, the focus from the start was on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The camera was able to scan a room in 3D in real-time. When this space was indexed you could add an Augmented Reality layer.

 

Tango in practice
Let’s say that technology has not really become popular with the general public. The smartphones with a special camera were too expensive in relation to the possibilities, in addition, there were hardly any apps available for it.

The technology was more appreciated in controlled circumstances such as museums, the combination of positioning and Augmented Reality proved to be very effective in supplementing a museum with extra information. Visitors were given a Tango tablet with which “invisible” information was visible on the screen, from informative texts to tanks entering a showroom.

 

Tango returns in ARCore
The discontinuation of Project Tango does not mean that Google is now stopping developing AR applications, only the ambition has been scaled back. When Apple came up with ARKit, an Augmented Reality development platform for standard iPhones, Google couldn’t be outdone.

The 3D sensor technology was removed from the code, and the platform was renamed ARCore. Based on this system, you can use AR with a standard Android smartphone (with the right processor). Although this system is less powerful than Tango, it is an approachable way to reach the general public.

 

ARCore or ARKit?
Google is usually quite open in the development of technological innovations, they actually use the general public as beta testers. Apple has a more conservative way of working, they are waiting for the time to come to introduce a new feature.

Due to the minimal impact of both Google Tango and the Microsoft HoloLens, Apple suddenly convinced the world of Augmented Reality for mobile devices with the introduction of ARKit. When Google then quickly swept ARCore into the virtual world, it seemed like a copy, when in fact they were already much further than Apple. Technically, the two systems currently do not differ much from each other, although Apple has the advantage that they can exercise much more control over the available hardware.

 

End… or a new beginning?
With the end of Project Tango, Google does not stop developing Augmented Reality, they just adjust their ambitions. If the hardware permits and 3D scanning becomes affordable in a large area in mobile devices and “wearables”, the functions will undoubtedly return in the “new” ARCore platform.


10 reasons why AR has so much potential

Augmented Reality, you have heard a lot about it lately, but what can you actually do with it? There is already a lot of experimentation, and if you look around you will see the potential for AR in the future. Here are 10 reasons why AR has so much potential!

 

1. AR technology is getting better every day
Apple introduced a new camera with a depth scanner on the iPhone. With that you can, for example, replace the background without a green screen in the Clips app. The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro already had such a system last year. The system can even convert entire buildings to 3D data.

Several manufacturers are working on AR glasses, which are already being used for professional applications. We are on the right track with the hardware, what about the AR apps?

 

2. Smartphone becomes a tool
The first batch of Augmented Reality apps for ARKit mainly consisted of experiments, the virtual tape measure immediately stood out because it is such a clear application. Blocker is also a good example of “Augmented Tools”, you can determine camera angles with a smartphone by placing virtual characters in the environment. This app is specially developed for professional photographers and filmmakers. We see more and more apps appear that are not intended as toys but to make life easier and more productive.

 

3. Shopping becomes an adventure
The retail sector has a hard time, how do you make a shopping centre interesting for the public again? Online shopping is better in many ways, but you still miss that physical presence and discover that feeling of a special article. With AR fitting rooms or displays that come to life, turning your traditional shop around is a true adventure.

For example, ToysRUs has developed a special “Play Chaser” AR app that can only be used in their toy stores, and you can take an AR selfie with moving Star Wars characters that appear when you stand in front of a cardboard promotion board. Coming soon to a store near you! This is a nice application for Marketing AR.

 

Augmented Reality tours lead the way
We have long known the guides who lead groups of tourists along with the tourist spots, we have also been introduced to virtual tours that you can view at home with VR glasses, now there are also AR tours.

In London, for example, there is a “Treasure Hunt” in which you can search for virtual “jewels” with the aim of securing the Queen’s crown jewels. Yes, that indeed looks like Pokémon GO, but specifically aimed at Augmented Reality tours in specific locations.

 

5. The museum comes alive
Have you ever been to a war museum? A tank from the Second World War is impressive, but when the tank drives through the wall, it is really convincing. With Augmented Reality, a dull museum can be transformed into an interactive experience that will remain with the visitor for a long time.

It does not always have to be a funfair, there is the possibility to hang paintings on a neutral wall without text or explanation. The visitor has the choice to view more information with AR glasses, smartphone or tablet, in any desired language.

 

6. Remove limitations with AR
A night out in the theatre can be very special, when you are deaf following a play is very difficult. This has been solved to date by staging special performances with displays next to the stage displaying live titles. Very nice, but you cannot look in two directions at the same time.

That is why a system has been developed in London based on Epson AR glasses that can show live subtitles. So you just look at the stage and you can see the actors, titles appear at the bottom of the screen as we are used to in the Netherlands with foreign television series and films. AR glasses offer an “upgrade” for people with disabilities.

Now it is also possible to offer help from afar with AR glasses. However, you will need support software like the Realwear HMT 1 Remote Support Software.

 

7. Making AR apps becomes accessible
Now the Augmented Reality apps are still released sparingly, this is mainly due to the high development costs. Having AR apps made is still quite expensive, but that will change quickly. Poly is a database from Google with a huge amount of free to use 3D objects for use in AR and VR (vr sync) applications, Snapchat and Facebook both have the development tools for their

AR filters open to external creatives, Appypie is a platform for the design of interactive projects where you can now also use Augmented Reality functions, and Metaverse is a free app with which you can create interactive AR quizzes based on 3D objects, photos and movies.

 

8. Games, games, games
According to statistics, games represent more than half of the AR app downloads in the Apple App Store. The free virtual pet app AR Dragon is the undisputed leader at the moment.

We do not count Pokémon GO for a while because Augmented Reality is an extra option. Games like AR Dragon, Zombie Gunship Revenant and AR Sports Basketball were created from the ground up as Augmented Reality games. Ideal for anyone who dreams of a puzzle without missing pieces!

 

9. Learning with AR
Toy manufacturer Parker has made an Augmented Reality bear, a real soft teddy bear that you can treat with AR as a patient.

Rabobank has developed PinPin, a pocket money app that resembles the normal Rabo app, but works with virtual coins (not bitcoin) to teach children how to use real money. And we know the various AR apps from Albert Heijn, with which savings cards provide information about animals on Earth, and distant planets that you can view at home.

 

10. Children grow up with Augmented Reality
It does not matter what adults think or want, youth has the future. And children flock to Augmented Reality. Castorama has already designed AR wallpaper with virtual characters that tell countless stories, you can also buy Augmented Reality blankets. That invisible friend from the past is now visible thanks to AR technology.

 

(11) Bonus
Albert Heijn has been working with an AR App scanner for the store for some time; which is a good application of AR in the Retail industry.

This list contains applications and apps that are already available, there will be many innovative ideas in the coming years.

 

Also, read 5 best examples of Virtual Reality training.