08 Feb 2017

The New Reality: Using Virtual Reality to transport Prospects into Customers

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What is Virtual Reality:

Virtual Reality is a totally 3 Dimensional immersive experience that can put the viewer in an environment that is extremely different than what they’re currently in.  Virtual Reality can transport somebody across the room, across the country, or anywhere around the world.  What started out as a popular gaming platform is transforming the way companies are generating new business around the world.

Today, companies are using Virtual Reality with great success at trade shows and special events.  Virtual Reality gives exhibitors the ability to take visitors directly to a any location or venue of choice: Production Facilities, School Campus’, Real Estate Home Previews, Commercial property tours, Vacation Destinations and more.  The Virtual Reality technology also allows visitors to view areas or procedures they may not normally be allowed access to such as surgical demonstrations, dangerous work environments, or sensitive production facilities and the like.  Other methods of incorporating Virtual Reality into trade show buzz is through interactive games unlike anything anyone has ever seen.  Whether it’s a head-to-head Nascar racing simulator complete with a leaderboard, or a golf simulator so real you’ll swear you’re on the links at Pebble Beach, attendees will climb over themselves to try on the glasses and slip into a virtual world.  All customized to build your brand and reinforce your message.

“We wanted to leverage VR and take visitors from a trade show floor to actually feeling like they’re on-site”

As part of an effort to help demonstrate the unique capabilities of their training facility and proving grounds, one company used VR to give show attendees a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ feel. Booth visitors would experience a 185-foot view of the grounds in the world’s tallest reach boom lift; get a feel for standing in a boom lift basket; take a behind-the-scenes look into the activities of their expansive training bay; and have a seat in their hands-on classroom. All without leaving the show floor.

Short of physically being in a location, great VR can communicate a sense of place, position and personal experience better than any other medium. It also creates a powerful “did you see that?” conversation at the event and long after.  And as the technology gets better, so will these experiences and the way we use them.

So how can you get in on the Virtual Reality Game?  

The first step is to develop great content, hiring a production company with the right cameras and planning abilities to create an experience that is on target with your marketing goals.  Then determine how your customers will experience the Virtual Reality adventure.  You will need to decide on which headset to use, from the many options now on the market, including Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, HTC Vive, Gear VR.  Another great option to use on the floor or as a giveaway, you may consider Google Cardboard, a folding cardboard viewer that provides a very effective VR experience using your smartphone.  Google Cardboard viewers can also be branded with your company logo, slogan or tradeshow theme.  On the show floor it is important to create a safe VR zone and practice good sanitization techniques if participants are sharing headsets.  Screen mirroring is also an important consideration and can be done through Flat Screen monitors or using tablets in our iPillar Locking iPad Kiosks.  Screen mirroring lets everyone not wearing the VR Headset participate in the experience, and draws attention to your booth.  And lastly, ensure you have a follow-up plan to turn these experiences into leads after the event.

 

7 TIPS TO BETTER VR

1: Do Test Runs Before the Show

This will get your staff experienced in using the equipment and work our any glitches or challenges with the experience.

 

2: Be Patient with VR Virgins

This technology is still very new.  Most people may have heard of virtual reality or seen it on TV or movies but many will have never experienced or used the equipment.  Ensure your software has an easy to use navigation and information Help areas throughout and your staff are prepared to answer questions.

3: Ensure Your Technology is Ready to Play

Ensure your technology is ready for your customers.  Charge all batteries before and during the event.  If you are using a smartphone platform viewer, ensure your notifications are turned off.  Having alerts and message pop-up on screen will kill the VR experience.  Put the phone in airplane mode or turn off wifi.

4: Create a Virtual Reality Safe Zone

Some users really get into the experience and if not careful may bump into walls, people or knock over parts of your exhibit.

Offer swivel chairs for people if they desire. Also to increase immersion, be generous in granting your visitors enough space for them to turn around freely. Consider roping off the area  for the VR Demonstrations.

5: Concentration on Sanitation

At many successful events, your VR headset will come into contact with hundreds of faces. Wipe down the headset with alcohol wipes and microfibre cloths in between guests to ensure that your equipment smells fresh and sanitizer clean between every use.

 

6: Generate Social Buzz

Take pictures and videos of people enjoying your VR experience to support your publicity efforts. Showing people that your event was a success rather than telling them will help with online posts and articles concerning your trade show experience.

 

7: Cardboard Viewers to Take Home

Print your logo on cardboard viewers make a great giveaway that will keep your brand top of mind.  The visitor can watch and share your presentation with other decision makers at their office as well as gain access to many other VR Apps, Games and Youtube videos online today.

 

Whether you choose to incorporate VR into your exhibit, it’s safe to say more and more exhibitors will add Virtual Reality to their marketing mix. If you are considering it we would love to help to ensure it’s a good fit for your product or service, and can help you produce content that is a good match to keep visitors engaged and learn about what your company can do for them.  For more information contact me today gary@flashdisplays.ca.

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