You understand the basic ins-and-outs of virtual reality (VR) technology. You also know that it is a technology in flux, with constantly expanding capabilities. You’ve identified your audience and solidified your messaging. You think VR might be your medium, but you want to know more.
So … what can this technology do for you? How can you apply it to your best advantage? What kind of VR experience are you hoping to give your audience?
There are distinct classes of VR hardware—different media within the medium. Being aware of the state of play in hardware will help define what content and design choices you can make when planning a VR experience.
Head-mounted VR displays (HMDs), handhelds, and 360 video are only some of the virtual reality media available to you right now—and each one can help you showcase your product in ways your industry hasn’t seen before. Brella is here to help you pick the right one for your message.
Oculus Rift is the HMD that is the face of virtual reality, and for good reason. Cutting edge, thy name is Oculus. The headset’s sensors use 360-degree positional tracking, along with OLED displays to ease or even prevent eye strain, and enable high-quality, seamless action. Oculus has been used in the healthcare industry for years: by medical practitioners for training purposes, pharmaceutical and biotech companies for marketing, and patients for healing and healthcare needs (such as VR treatment for phantom-limb pain). Facebook acquired Oculus Rift in 2014 and brought the tech to the masses this year: the first consumer-ready headset hit the market as of last week.
HTC Vive is Oculus Rift’s biggest competitor. Vive uses laser positioning to give the user the ability to walk around in a physical space and have the movements rendered in the virtual world. It allows greater freedom of movement, but also requires the space to use it. Vive will make its consumer-market debut this April. While both companies are enjoying wider distribution and offering more affordability, their requirements still include PC hook-up to systems with an Intel Core i5-4590 processor or equal, and over 8 GB of RAM to operate.
Top-of-the-line VR headsets are an investment, and some venues will give you a better return.
Think tradeshows. The static positioning of your product showcase, coupled with the superiority of gear such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, would make your exhibition unforgettable. Case in point: Toyota created a Distracted Driving Simulator in their TeenDrive 365 campaign to show teenagers what could happen because of common distractors behind the wheel, like answering a text or a phone call. The company uses Oculus Rift and presents the simulation at tradeshows throughout the country.
Oculus Rift and Vive probably aren’t options if, for example, you want to distribute VR hardware to all 500 people attending your professional meeting. Google and Samsung each have an answer for that.
Google Cardboard is a handheld viewer that brings the immersive VR experience to the public with smartphones. Google produces many versions of the viewer, starting at $19.95. Is the VR experience as sophisticated as what Oculus and Vive can do? No; not through a phone app, and not without a PC connection. What you gain, however, is accessibility and affordability.
For more intimate communication, handheld VR is the way to go. Give your consumer base the chance to take the tech home and make their experience with your company more personal and interactive. In the education industry, the Google Expedition Program is putting Google Cardboard in classrooms around the world, for free, to give children a chance to “visit” locations they might otherwise never see. VR gives them an immersive education experience you can’t find in a textbook or on a television screen.
Samsung Gear VR is another HMD that works with a smartphone. Where Cardboard works with any smartphone, Samsung Gear VR only works with the Samsung Galaxy. It’s a little fancier than Google Cardboard, equipped with proximity-based sensors that Cardboard lacks. Brella has implemented Samsung gear for several client tradeshows, providing 360 degree video experiences that have been highly successful. While neither viewer has the positional tracking capabilities of the heavyweights, in many cases you don’t need those extra features to achieve success.
Google Cardboard lets your audience take the HDM home and experience your product in their natural habitat. You can even design custom-made handheld viewers. This tech is perfect for education and events, and designed to encourage a shared, yet individual experience that viewers will be talking about long after the pitch is over.
We’ve talked about different classes and models of headset, but VR does not by any means require additional hardware. You can deliver a 360 experience through social media using video.
Brella can create a virtual tour of your facility and put it on your website. For example, YouVisit does virtual tours online that are viewable in simple 360 video as well as through Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard. Students entering college can view campuses, and travelers can visit restaurants, hotels, and international events from their computer screens or headsets.
360 video is also useful if you want to showcase an event. Facebook has enabled 360 video through their website, taking your social media marketing to new heights and increasing your audience reach. GoPro has also jumped on the 360 video bandwagon for sporting events. Bring your virtual reality product positioning right to your consumer’s laptop, tablet, or phone; no gear needed.
As VR’s uses expand, so do the possibilities for your company: it’s just a matter of whether it’s the right medium for you, and then choosing the right form of media. Google Cardboard is fine for short-term use, advertisement, and branding, but it doesn’t have the sophisticated tracking and sensor capabilities of Oculus Rift, and no headset on the market can reach the volume of people that a web-based 360 video can reach.
It’s all about the right platform for the right purpose, and Brella is here to help you figure that out.
And the hits keep coming!
Check out these B-sides on VR location challenges and keeping your camera person out of the shot. We also takes requests, so if you haven’t heard your particular tune, give us a call or email the Sales team at Brella – email@example.com.