What do VR, Apple Macs, Staff Training, and Waterslides Have In Common…?
Not a lot… but… these are three of the core stories this week in the world of Virtual Reality.
Firstly, and very importantly for me – given my history of frustration that I would have to buy a new computer to run VR simulations on, Apple are now stating that their iMacs are powerful enough to run VR through.
Boring, you might say. Important, I counter. If everyone has to purchase new computers to run simulations on, the true potential of VR may never be realised by the masses – this is just one small step.
This brings me to one other slight issue I have had with the world of virtual reality and one that is a challenge to push through. VR is a solo experience. I remember so clearly moderating a panel at the VR and AR show in Dublin a few years back. One of the panellists stated that the one thing that let VR down was the “power of the point” i.e. when in a simulation you weren’t there with others. In reality, we may well point at something and state how amazing it is. With solo experiences, this is obviously impossible.
WalMart VR Training
As such, I find it interesting that Walmart are using VR to recreate the chaos of Black Friday. Working with VR firm StriVR, they are putting Walmart employees through their paces – one at a time.
It is an interesting strategy employed here because, ultimately, “VR is expensive and space consuming.”
However, don’t let that detract from the ability to position people in situations they would never ordinarily find themselves in. It then gives the organiser the ability to really help the user feel immersed in a situation that they can learn from. To quote CEO of StriVR:
“We’re using computer vision to map scenes, so we literally know exactly where someone’s looking. If they don’t look at [the right place] and press the button indicating that they have seen the stimuli that we’re looking for, we know.”
Incredible in its application, just frustrating that it currently struggles with multi-user experiences which would really be revolutionary.
Topshop and The Oxford Street Waterslide
Talking of revolutionary, I must just mention the great experience that Topshop has created here in London. I remember clearly, when advising a VR and experiential firm, the first Topshop experience in VR, which live streamed a 360-degree view of London Fashion week. This is another class move.
In an obviously streamlined campaign with other media (something the initial campaign lacked as they were obviously trying out the medium), Topshop is simulating a waterslide through Oxford Street.
What I think is particularly clever is how the experience has become integrated throughout the store thus the omnichannel aspect of multimedia is all around. I am slightly worried, however, about the sensory addition of the smell of suncream that is said to be piped into the experience.
I’m not that confident on that last bit! But……well done Topshop. Another winner showing how you can work with VR in marketing and use it as a great PR machine.