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PandemiCam

PandemiCam

Our greatest chance to beat COVID-19

If not the deadliest, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is certainly the most serious contagious disease to have crossed continents in modern times. One of the biggest challenges is screening en masse for detection of infectious and or contagious individuals. Today’s methods are rudimentary (measuring only temperature) or very expensive and time consuming (swab test). Detecting infectious people at an early stage is key for disease control and management.

A joint venture between Spinview and VR Media Technology (www.vrmediatech.com), has created an effective weapon against coronavirus. In seconds, Spinview’s revolutionary device can, using a matrix of sensors, identify a wide range of symptoms to indicate infection.

Once the device is installed, you can perform unlimited tests without having to rely on consumable materials. The device is able to operate en masse and report to a central server for infection monitoring and tracking. Accuracy is much higher than with non-contact thermometers, as the system can scan thousands of measurements per second across an entire spectrum of sensors, including, but going well beyond only temperature.

COVID-19 is known to affect physiological parameters such as temperature, respiration, hydration, sweating, flushing and coughing.  PandemiCam is a non-invasive multi-sensory device which is designed to collect information from multiple sensors to ‘read’ the COVID-19 symptom parameters in every person it scans.

Through the use of mathematics and artificial intelligence (AI) the scanner will enable widespread screening with ease. The collected data is fused together by the system and feed through AI, to provide an accurate and fast detection of infectious people with far greater clarity than any single parameter test available today.

Appropriately named PandemiCam, this complex scanning system can limit the spread of COVID-19, helping to manage precious healthcare resources in real-time.

“Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence are two of the most effective weapons we have in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak” Dr Katarina Gospic, leading Neuroscientist

Where current single parameter tests such as temperature have to be measured individually, PandemiCam is able to screen groups of people and even scan at a distance for the safety necessitated by this particular disease.  Against a city grid, PandemiCam allows for the real-time mapping of symptoms.  Quick identification of hotspots allows for localised restrictions and resource allocations, reducing financial damage and human danger. Continuous en mass screening is key to win the battle against the coronavirus. The number of times we can repeatedly screen population(s), the better we will be at detecting infectious people and thus slowing and limiting the rate of spread.

Continuous en masse screening is key to winning the battle against coronavirus. In the US there are currently 65,000 tests being conducted per day (https://covidtracking.com/us-daily/). Even if they were able to increase this to 100,000 per day, in order to cover the entire US population of those over the age of 18 (330 million) it would take 7 years.

Spinview’s screening would bring that figure down and enable mass screening and information on its spread in seconds. The system will alert healthcare professionals to identify those in need of treatment instantly – no waiting for lab results.  Medical staff can carry out predictive triage – understanding based on the data received, correlated with the known passage of the disease through the system, what a patient is likely to experience and the support they will need. The system could also be used to ensure the health and wellbeing of the general public in order to resume freedom of movement.  By using the device within public transport and infrastructure systems airports, for example, could include this as part of their security checks in order to keep airports free of COVID-19 or other diseases. This would ensure that future outbreaks could be contained and monitored more effectively while keeping the economy going and people moving.

PandemiCam scans en masse, in seconds and will save lives.

For more information on PandemiCam please contact us at [email protected]

How does international business move beyond travel?

How does international business move beyond travel?

Amidst the stockpiling from supermarkets and the fast adoption of face worn air filters, much has been written about how people are defending themselves against the spread of Coronavirus, the latest respiratory threat making its way across the globe.

Few, however, are questioning how international business will be affected by government travel warnings and a workforce increasingly reluctant to fly.

This, when added to a woke generation hell-bent on fixing the damage done by polluting modes of transport to our planet means business must innovate once more.

We need to find new ways to be in the room when we can’t….or won’t actually be in the room.

The proliferation of video calling apps speaks of the need for something to serve the desire from business to connect internationally, but all are limited by either the number of participants, or if sharing an environment, the strength of the speaker and steadiness of the caller’s hand.

None so far manage to allow people to share more than their face, voice and screen.

Step forward Agority from Spinview. A spatial reality space where you can connect with multiple people, spread as far across the world from each other as it is possible to be.

Effective collaboration requires true presence which up until now has only been available through face to face meetings.  But face to face meetings increase costs and carbon footprints due to business travel.  Spinviews’ Agority service offers remote teams a virtual extension of their workspace – a space where dispersed teams come together to share, learn, plan and create – or simply chat.  The ability to interact with others remotely as if you were face to face, accessing a feature rich toolset for effective collaboration, note taking and customisable space sharing without the inconvenience of travel – saves time and money.  By providing shared virtual environments where participants are present as if they were in a face to face meeting Spinview offers a complete set of tools for effective live remote collaboration.

Going beyond the sharing of screens and meeting of avatars that is normally associated with virtual reality networking, a variety of industries from oil and gas to telecoms to infrastructure and construction, retail and more are using and embracing this platform in ways even we hadn’t thought of.  From reducing travel time, cost reductions, error reductions and efficiency enhancement to reducing carbon footprint and the ability to create ‘virtual’ war rooms.

Here are just a few ways some of our customers are seeing an immediate improvement to their organisation workflow and providing a more sustainable approach.  If you’d like to discuss how Agority can assist your business please reach out to any member of the Spinview team or email us at [email protected]

1. Employee On-boarding

There’s the blue-chip tech giant who used to fly new team members from America to Eastern Europe every month to visit their factory. They tell us they now have a virtual welcome program which has seen a 100% reduction in these flights, saving the organisation hundreds of thousands of dollars per annum
New joiners are first welcomed with a video in the Agority space before joining a live tour of the factory. Wearing VR headsets eliminates the real world around them so they can be fully immersed into the factory visit – taking in a full 360 view and having their questions answered in real time as if walking side by side.

2. Leadership & Employee Training

For those responsible for training, learning and development or organising international meetings, Spinview’s Agority platform can allow you the feeling of physical presence like you are in the same room even if you are miles apart.  It brings back the sense of presence, the subtly of gesture and body language, of having a shared space with another human being that’s so important when coaching leadership.

For those that want professional coaching support we offer a unique service combining Agority with our training facilitator Q595 to provide professional expertise of running workshops and learning programs through VR, providing a cost-effective solution that’s also kinder to our people and planet.

Q595 provides leadership solutions to organisations in the area of Leadership Training Programs, Advisory Services and Coaching. Their Leadership Academy is focused on Leadership Effectiveness, Collaboration in Teams, Personal Impact and Sales. Q595 offers Leadership Coach Training and other programs as fully blended learning journeys.

Agority is really at its best however, when used in conjunction with the other applications on Spinview’s easy to use platform.

The partnership between Spinview and Q595 offers a powerful proposition that video conferencing can’t compete with, not just for the humanity of the interaction, but also through the additional connection of its intuitive media and document sharing platform.

In sharing this partnership, Spinview & Q595 hope to support people around the world in connecting with more humility and focus, when its need now more than ever.

3. Remote Inspections

Our European network client uses Agority to not only communicate between teams, but to drive greater efficiency in managing its infrastructure.
Using Agority, remote inspection of its road infrastructure, tracks and properties means hard to access tunnels, complex wiring and historical finds are no challenge to maintain when an engineer is able to share his or her view for expert, on-the-spot guidance and repair.

The application of our tagging software means they can annotate work completed or required so other teams can see at once where they need to be, what has been done and what they might need to bring with them to complete a repair or the next phase of work.

We can even predict when that repair might need additional maintenance….but that’s a conversation for another time.

So as you can see a shared spatial collaboration environment provides the ability to host meetings, presentations, and discussions without the need to travel.  Any worker can seamlessly collaborate in real time despite geographical boundaries – giving everyone in every business the ability to “see what you see” and a sense of physical presence and connection regardless of technical know-how.

In her 15-day sail from London to New York in August 2019, Greta Thunberg referenced the Swedish concept of flygskam (flight shaming) and this has led a movement toward staycations and short-haul preference in the leisure space – now exacerbated by Coronavirus.

But for business, the show must go on, despite the health challenges we face today and the environmental hurdles of tomorrow.

How can you be there when you can’t actually be there? Our clients believe Agority is the answer.

We exist to share our technology with everyone, to help everyone in every business to be more productive and sustainable, so talk to us about how you might benefit from Agority today.

For any questions or to arrange a virtual tour, please contact us:

Spinview Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Continuity Plans

Spinview Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Continuity Plans

Spinview is committed to providing a safe environment for our employees and ensuring business continuity, to the best of our abilities, for our customers and partners.

We are confident that coronavirus will not significantly impact the Spinview platform. We have ensured that our team members can work remotely if needed and to continue doing their jobs securely and we will continue, as always, to prioritise communication with you, our customers.

Following local country guidelines, we may need to change some timelines with you if we need to delay any planned on-site services. In the event of this, your account manager will contact you and provide you with as much notice as possible.

Internally, we are currently taking the following measures of precaution:

  • We have cancelled all non-urgent business travel and recommended that our team avoids non-urgent personal travel as well.
  • We require any team member that boards an aircraft, either domestically or abroad, where there are confirmed cases and in accordance with WHO stated list updated daily, to work from home for a 14-day precautionary period before coming back to the office.
  • We have cancelled all planned events, parties, meet-ups, and conferences.
  • We have reduced on-site meetings to a minimum, proceeding with our Agority VR App, video and phone calls instead.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your account manager with any questions or inquiries.

Thank you.

The Spinview Team

Spinview and Q595 create the first VR leadership partnership.

Spinview and Q595 create the first VR leadership partnership.

As the world looks to mitigate climate change and limit the impact of airborne health risks, international business faces the challenge of how to continue to get the best out of people separated by geography.

It’s hard to consider a drive across town, much less boarding an international flight and, if these things are affecting us individually, then the impact to business is multiplied many times over. Barriers such as these do not stop the needs of business, they just change them – significantly. How do we adapt to these changing circumstances? How does international business move beyond the need to travel?

Whilst there is no shortage of video conferencing apps or platforms and the last ten years has seen an explosion of different offerings, enhancing togetherness, providing the true sense of presence and improving user focus is still missing. None so far has managed to allow people to share more than their face, voice and screen.

That is until now.

In the race to adapt to these changing circumstances, Spinview and Q595 have joined forces to support international organisations in finding new ways to be together, communicate together and train together when they can’t physically be in the same location.

For those responsible for training, learning & development or organising international meetings, Spinview’s multi user Virtual Reality service, Agority combined with Q595’s expertise of running workshops and learning programs through VR, provides a cost-effective solution that’s also kinder to our people and planet.

“Let‘s turn challenges into opportunities. We have been experimenting for years with VR and blended learning. It works – it creates a new sense of togetherness and focus, even beyond the classroom.“ says Tobias Kiefer, CEO of Q595.

Spinview’s Agority is a virtual reality space where it is possible to connect with up to 8 people across the world and this virtual collaboration which combines the subtlety of gesture and body language, brings back the sense of presence and of having shared a physical space with another human being – so important when coaching leadership.

Q595 provides leadership solutions to organisations in the area of Leadership Training Programs, Advisory Services and Coaching. Their Leadership Academy is focused on Leadership Effectiveness, Collaboration in Teams, Personal Impact and Sales. Q595 offers Leadership Coach Training and other programs as fully blended learning journeys.

The partnership between Spinview and Q595 offers a powerful proposition that video conferencing can’t compete with, not just for the humanity of the interaction, but also through the additional connection of its intuitive media and document sharing platform.

With Spinview’s Agority platform, a Q595 facilitator is with you and it feels as present as if you were together in the same room. Click here to see Agority in action. Linda Wade, CEO said “We are excited to bring Agority to a new audience, enhancing global training with the subtleties of human interaction in order to transcend geography. We are proud to make our technology accessible for everyone and this new partnership extends our
ambition to fuse the real and digital worlds for a sustainable future.”

In sharing this partnership, Spinview and Q595 hope to support people around the world in connecting with more humility and focus, when it is needed now, more than ever. For any questions or to arrange a virtual tour, please contact [email protected] and [email protected]

Introducing Spinview’s Director of Neuroscience, Katarina Gospic

Introducing Spinview’s Director of Neuroscience, Katarina Gospic

How harnessing the power of the brain can shape the future of businesses

With 15 years’ experience in brain research and neuroeconomics, Katarina Gospic plays an essential role in the Spinview DNA, bringing a unique perspective and level of scientific insight.

Katarina’s expertise will be particularly pertinent on the subject of employee wellness where she has created a series of highly intuitive programmes that range from employee productivity and engagement to health and safety and training. So often we think of employee wellness in the frame of optimising what already exists. It could be replacing chairs with ones that have additional lumbar support. But human beings, as we know, were not designed to sit in chairs for nine hours a day. To provide real long-lasting support and benefits to employees in the workplace, we must go deeper, take inspiration from nature and learn how the brain works in specific situations.

By creating immersive virtual environments inspired by nature, our brains respond to these stimuli as they would do with real life places. Combine that with additional layers of biometric measurement such as heart rate and brain wave activity, you have a risk-free, low-cost but highly effective method of supporting your staff and protecting their wellbeing.

Businesses who place their people as a priority are the most likely to be successful, but the possibilities of what can be achieved through VR and immersive programmes go far beyond engaging individual employees. With the world’s leading climate change scientists warning that we have only 12 years to take drastic action and prevent irreparable damage to the planet, the opportunity to reduce business travel is one that companies are beginning to take very seriously. By creating highly accurate and realistic virtual worlds, Spinview allows businesses to transcend video-conferencing or phone calls by placing people together and allowing real interaction.

As an entrepreneur herself (along with a lecturer and author of six books), Katarina is perfectly placed to shape the understanding of the potential and possibility of VR/AR technology within businesses and how they can use it to become more effective. By continually pushing the boundaries and connecting the latest research and innovation with cutting-edge technology, we are able to maximise the potential for businesses to grow and thrive in their specific marketplaces.

Katarina specialises in helping companies make smarter decisions, informed by years of experience and scientific knowledge along with neuroeconomics, neuroleadership, future workspaces and social e-learning in VR. By using a deep understanding of emotional responses, how the brain processes information and reacts, it becomes possible to create and embed specific technologies within businesses to enhance and improve decision-making.

CEO Linda Wade commented: ‘At Spinview, we are completely committed to making sure businesses utilise technology that has a measurable purpose, not just tech for tech’s sake. That’s why we’re so delighted to have Katarina on-board with her extensive experience working with businesses and as one of the leading voices in her field.’

Spinview welcomes two new hires as the team continues to grow

Spinview welcomes two new hires as the team continues to grow

Following a pre-series A raise of £1.35m, Spinview are pleased to announce the expansion of the UK team with the addition of Greg Roach and Ben Rotheram.

Recognised as a worldwide leader in his field and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, Greg Roach is a ground-breaking innovator in the world of virtual reality. Starting his career as a live theatre director, he is passionate about creating unique visionary experiences that often incorporate the latest in cutting-edge technology.

He went on to set-up and run HyperBole Studios, one of the earliest developers in interactive games, film, video and storytelling. Working with clients such as Microsoft, 20th Century/Fox, Warner Music Enterprises, Honda and many others, it was one of the fastest-growing companies in Washington State in 1998 and 1999. Additionally, Greg has founded several other successful businesses, spanning a variety of sectors and industries but with immersive technology and storytelling at the core. These include VirtualCinema®, a powerful tool for the creation and distribution of immersive stories, films and games, and Spirit Quest World, a unique travel and media company exploring the convergence of travel, spirituality, technology and social media. All three of these businesses have a strong association with Spinview’s vision, and places Greg in the perfect position to take the company into the next stage of growth and innovation.

As Chief Technology Officer at Spinview, he will be responsible for using his decades of experience as a visionary in high-end cinematic virtual reality to drive innovation within the business and push the boundaries of what has been previously seen in the VR/AR for business space.

Ben Rotheram has joined the team as UK Sales Director and has a wealth of experience in both Adtech and mobile sales. A keen salesman since he knew how to walk, Ben started out his lucrative career by mowing lawns at age 10, and hasn’t stopped selling since. He has a keen eye for opportunity and is looking forward to developing strong client relationships and working to help them achieve their business goals. He specialises in bringing new creative and data solutions to agencies and clients and is keen to discover new and pioneering ways that immersive technology can allow businesses to become smarter and more effective.

Outside of the 9-5 he’s a keen golfer, and can often be found on the greens if he’s not in the office, either that or watching 90’s cricket videos.

CEO Linda Wade said of the hires, ‘we’re delighted to welcome both Ben and Greg to our growing Spinview team. With the company in an exciting period of development, ensuring we have the right people driving the business and the brand forward is absolutely key. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact our new recruits will have on our clients and partners.’

Virtually mainstream? VR is already changing the way grocery brands market and sell products. And with costs falling and consumers ever-more enthusiastic, it seems the future’s virtual.

Virtually mainstream? VR is already changing the way grocery brands market and sell products. And with costs falling and consumers ever-more enthusiastic, it seems the future’s virtual.

“Advancements in VR hold big opportunities for bricks and mortar retailers like these, believes Linda Wade, CEO of Spinview Global. Not least in understanding shopper behaviour via the creation of virtual stores at a fraction of the previous cost.”

Interview with Spinview’s CEO Linda Wade by Megan Tatum for The Grocer 10 March 2018

To view the full article please visit The Grocer website here

https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/home/topics/technology-and-supply-chain/virtually-mainstream-how-vr-is-changing-the-face-of-grocery/564249.article

Article first published in The Grocer 10 March 2018  

JCDecaux Airport UK & Spinview launch UK’s first 360 video VR sales tool

JCDecaux Airport UK & Spinview launch UK’s first 360 video VR sales tool

JCDecaux Airport UK, in partnership with VR experts Spinview, have launched the UK’s first 360 video VR sales tool.

JCDecaux Airport and Spinview have created a VR site tour of Heathrow Airport with 360 videos. The technology has empowered JCDecaux Airport to visualise advertising options at Heathrow Airport. The sales tool has the unique ability to interchange ads inside the VR to demonstrate the impact that existing and potential advertisers’ creative will have within the airport’s environment.

Spinview’s tool means JCDecaux Airport can change advertising on panels and screens inside the VR tour in real-time and share the immersive experience with target customers immediately. The technology enables advertisers to understand the value of the commercial environment and how their creative will fit into it.

In addition, JCDecaux Airport will use the tool to test the ads and build insights into audience behaviour. Spinview will link the VR content with live digital feeds and relevant marketing collateral to create a richer picture of the audience.

Steve Cox, Marketing Director, JCDecaux Airport, “We are very excited about our partnership with Spinview. The ability to not only give clients the closest experience to a real site tour via immersive 360 video but also display their creative in situ, significantly boosts the volume of dynamic sales material at our fingertips.”

Linda Wade, CEO, Spinview, “We believe that properly implemented technology, aligned to client needs, leads to improved revenues and we couldn’t be more delighted that JCDecaux Airport are our first UK ​sales tool ​partner. Our tool can be applied to all OOH environments as well as other sectors and it’s fantastic to be working first on something as iconic as Heathrow Airport.”

 

 

About Spinview:

Spinview is a platform available for brands and companies to license. Using the Spinview Platform will help you deliver your business objectives; whether that be monetisation, bookings, conversions or market research. It facilitates effective hosting, management, analysis and distribution of virtual reality content across multiple devices. Update your content with real-time messages and updates, including images, text, video and programmatic advertising.

About JCDecaux Airport UK:

JCDecaux is unique in the Airport advertising field, with both global and local scale. Our UK portfolio is wide-ranging and diverse. We view airport individually, sensitive to the fact that each is unique, but underpinned a mutual requirement to prioritise a positive passenger experience. We work closely with all our airport partners to provide media spaces to complement the existing infrastructure, working in harmony with it. Partnership means tackling challenges together; designing, developing and installing sites bespoke and fitting for each airport, each specific area of that airport, and the particular passenger experience in that particular location.

 

For sales enquiries, please contact: Fraser Hynes – +46 (0) 707 320 753; [email protected]

For media enquiries, please contact: Claudia Moselhi – 07521975756; [email protected]

Online Grocery Shopping In The Virtual Age

Online Grocery Shopping In The Virtual Age

Can you imagine buying your weekly grocery shop in virtual reality? It may not be one of the most obvious uses for virtual reality technologies, but some may suggest that it’s a reasonable prediction as adoption grows. Virtual reality supermarket shopping brings the supermarket shop to life, allowing users to feel like they are there in the aisles without the time and expense of travelling to multiple locations for their shop.

VR Walkthrough Experiences In Retail

Many virtual tours involve the use of a 360-degree camera or a regular camera and fisheye lens to capture a physical space. The images are then stitched and patched together to create a environment. Users can then walk through the space, moving by simple clicks or gestures, exploring the space at their leisure, accessing further information and experiences within the virtual environment as they go.

Perhaps the most well-known applications of these virtual tours is in the Real Estate industry, where agents are finding a virtual reality  tour a highly useful tool for marketing property. However, the Retail sector, including grocery, can experience huge benefits, in terms of both ROI and customer sentiment, from the use of this technology.

Virtual reality allows retailers to try out and to test store layouts, shelving, concepts, decor, and marketing materials. Currently, retailers can spend sometimes huge amounts of money on research and development projects and in-store testing. With mobile virtual reality, however, vastly more customer traction can be gained than would be possible within the physical in-store environment which in turn can save a lot of money.

One of the key examples of the use of virtual tours in ecommerce and retail comes from China, specifically Alibaba’s Singles Day, which takes place in November every year. In 2017, the event generated $25bn in sales for the e-commerce giant, aided in no small part by the Buy+ phenomenon that was rolled out the previous year. Buy+ is powered by a simple Google Cardboard headset, and offers an “interactive shopping experience” wherein users can tour a real-world store, focus on an item they’d like to purchase, and simply nod their head to add to shopping cart.

The Buy+ platform is an example of a readily-available innovation for retailers that can add an engaging new channel for user experience. Additional text, image, and video integration can be placed into the tour, which a brand can use to show promotions or deals, adverts, or just fun little elements to engage shoppers in new ways.

The example from Alibaba leads us into the potential for more sophisticated virtual shopping systems for grocery shopping. A straightforward virtual tour-style experience can be integrated right into a grocery store’s website, so that users can choose to tour a virtual supermarket and add their favourite products to their trolley from their mobile or desktop without the need of a VR headset.

 

Machine Learning, VR, and Omnichannel Shopping

It is possible to integrate machine learning algorithms into virtual reality shopping in order to tailor each customer’s experience to their individual needs and desires. Returning, logged-in customers will be presented with the products that they are most likely to purchase, which the algorithm will ascertain from data gathered from the customer’s previous shopping trips; true omnichannel marketing. For supermarkets and stores that offer a card-based loyalty scheme, data can be carried across from in store to online experience, in the same way that many supermarkets use now, but with the additional channel of a VR supermarket shop to choose from.

Market Research With VR and Eye Tracking

Retailers have been using VR in market research for the last few years, allowing retailers to test store and shelving layouts and product placement options before enacting a real-world refurb: a significant cost-saving measure from in person testing and research.

Another key benefit in digitising research is the ability to combine qualitative research with Eye-tracking in virtual reality. Accurate results can be presented in real-time with heat and route mapping to show how viewers have interacted with the content and to gain insight into where customers’ attention is drawn when perusing a shelf, how long they spend looking at certain products compared to others, and which ones they select to view more information on.

“It is crucial for us to involve users in product and service design and evaluation,” says Simone Benedetto, UX researcher at TSW, a market research lab based in Italy. “This doesn’t mean just to ask them their opinion, but to collect objective data coming from their eyes and brain while interacting with the product or service.”

This helps the retailer to ascertain the most desirable shelf placements are for particular items, which shelves offer the best ROI, and the best places for signs and other promotional materials throughout the store.

VR Grocery Shopping In The Future

VR could solve one of the biggest problems that supermarkets experience with their online shopping offering, the death of the ‘impulse buy’. People usually shop online using lists, which they stick to. They can see what they’re spending and consult their budget appropriately. There are few distractions to lead them from their path, and internet stores there’s far less opportunity to tempt the shopper visually the way physical stores do. But in VR, they can, in an engaging way that makes the experience exciting and alluring. For example, adding interactive content to the experience. In virtual reality, a shopper will not just see the supermarket fish counter, but experience additional video content showing them, perhaps, how to fillet a fish, or simply a recipe using the ‘Catch of the Day’. These interactive elements can be combined with special offers and promotions, stimulating the re-uptake of the ‘impulse buy’ whilst making the experience of shopping enjoyable, unique, and informative.

Once we introduce artificial intelligence algorithms which will place items that are relevant to the customer in the right place in the VR store at the right time, the virtual supermarket starts to look like a powerful proposition.

The jury is out as to whether virtual reality supermarkets will be a hit with customers, or whether it is augmented reality to lend a hand for in-store shopping that will prove most successful. Behind the scenes, as grocery retailers continuously aim to optimise the in-store shopping experience and maximise spend across the store, VR technology, along with machine learning and eye-tracking, are proving powerful assistants.

VR adoption within the home is growing, By 2025, it’s estimated that VR will be a $25bn market, with indications that most homes will be hooked up before long. As such, it’s easy to imagine that many of the experiences and chores we conduct via our laptops and smartphones may migrate to the more immersive virtual environment in parallel with this increased adoption. There is little reason why our supermarket shop won’t follow suit.

Living The Fantasy: Resort and Destination VR Marketing For Travel & Tourism

Living The Fantasy: Resort and Destination VR Marketing For Travel & Tourism

Travel industry marketing is ready for a revamp. As virtual reality continues to gain momentum, the opportunities to deliver more engaging and immersive experiences to encourage conversions are becoming ever clearer. Some of the biggest names in Travel, from Marriott to Thomas Cook, have put their money into VR as the next great development for the industry. The ability to provide more compelling content for prospective travellers through VR is not, however, a luxury reserved for the big names. VR experiences for Travel marketing can be easily delivered on even the tightest of marketing budgets.

The Stats

85% of holidaymakers use the internet as their first port-of-call for travel planning. Research by Google ThinkInsights has found that the average traveller visits some 22 travel related sites during 9.5 research sessions before booking their trip. Another extensive study for Omni Hotels found that when online travel shoppers were presented with immersive virtual resort tours they were 67% more likely to book a room online. A similar study by Ice Portal and Hotel-Seekers.com found overall average bookings increased by 18%. Those statistics are not to be sniffed at. Thomas Cook appears to have taken this sort of research firmly on board with its move towards more VR-focused marketing campaigns, as we’ll explore in more detail below.

Furthermore, 2015 research by Greenlight VR identified that both Generation X and Baby Boomers listed Travel as their number one area of interest for virtual reality, whilst Generation Z and Millennials listed Travel as their number two choice (after Gaming). Virtual-Reality-In-Tourism.com identifies that, in less than a year after the Greenlight VR study was published, over 70% of respondents rated Travel as their number one choice for VR content.

 

Effectiveness on a Small Budget

Large brands, such as Qantas, have succeeded in creating hugely successful experiential travel marketing campaigns that can be accessed on anything from the HTC Vive to the Google Cardboard. Qantas created a virtual reality experience of  Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia, home to the famous Ayers Rock. The immersive experience transported users to the iconic location in a way most had never seen before, delivering a ‘wow’ factor that is virtually impossible to replicate with standard two-dimensional imagery or even video. However, there is no reason why a virtual reality travel marketing campaign can’t be successful on a much smaller budget. As the above stats show, virtual reality resort and destination tours can be hugely effective at boosting both engagement and conversions.

Emotional engagement is, perhaps more than any other industry, the driving force behind conversions in the Travel and Tourism sector. What persuades tourists to visit one destination over and above any other is the sense of emotional connection with both the landscape and the values that it communicates.

Differentiating one destination from another, particularly ones that are superficially similar (tropical beach resorts/European cities, for example), is a tough job, but one that is best communicated through the more interactive mode that VR offers. What’s it like to stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower on a spring night, looking out over the city? Or to stand with your feet in the crystal clear ocean and see tropical fish swimming around your feet in the Seychelles? Virtual reality is like a free sample of what the consumer could experience when they book a trip with you, as you can see in these examples of experience created in collaboration with Spinview, of Charles Bridge in Prague, and of this 360-degree view of Veliko Gradiste.

One of the stumbling blocks to VR adoption at present is the perception that the devices are too expensive. This is, of course, at odds with the market; the perfectly serviceable Google Cardboard retails at just £15, and represents the easiest way to get even basic VR content in front of audiences. Travel providers have the opportunity to provide branded versions of the Google Cardboard inexpensively as a free promotional tool. Considering the clear interest in VR tourism, it’s certainly an avenue worth considering to allow people to experience online VR content from home.

 

From Online To In-Store

It’s not just online, however, that VR destination marketing is proving its worth. Tui (formerly Thomson) is currently rebranding with the aim of widespread in-store tethered VR. Jeremy Ellis, Marketing Director at Thomson and First Choice, has said:

“Brochures have served their purpose and now is the right time to reinvest the money that we are spending on paper and better investing it in our customers by creating mini holidays in-store through immersive technology. People have to be able to experience the holiday to make the right choice… We still see a strong demand for the personal touch, which is why we see our stores continuing. Rather than being a sales and distribution centre for brochures, the stores will become experience centres.”

Another large travel company, Thomas Cook, has been using VR in its travel marketing for some time already, having won ‘Most Innovation Development in Entertainment’ at the Mobile Innovations Awards for their ‘Try Before You Buy’ virtual holiday experience, which – again – was hosted in-store, at Thomas Cook Concept Stores in Germany, Belgium and the UK. As a result of their virtual experiences at their Discovery stores, the company experienced powerful increases in sales of Caribbean cruises.

With recent bricks-and-mortar travel agency footfall falling dramatically as more people focus online for their holiday bookings, in-store examples like these aim to keep the high street travel agency experience alive.

If you’re questioning why it’s necessary to keep the bricks-and-mortar travel agency alive at all, bear in mind that half of Tui’s sales are still made in-store. “People still want the expertise of a travel agent can deliver in a store,” says Erik Friemuth, group chief marketing officer at Tui. The bricks-and-mortar store is far from dead; driving a deeper experience is, nonetheless, what people are looking for now. And that deeper experience is certainly what virtual reality provides.

The power of experiential VR has proven itself time and again in the Retail sector, particularly in fashion and apparel. Virtual reality has been used for fashion shows and to promote new clothing lines with everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to Topshop. But The North Face is a perfect example of how transporting customers to far-flung locations is an effective vehicle for capturing shoppers’ imaginations. The outdoors-wear brand created virtual reality experiences in which users travelled to locations such as Yosemite National Park and Nepal. The message is clear: if virtual travel can help sell more clothes, then selling the destination itself is a no-brainer.