Wired Magazine reports on Future Science, Culture & Technology and such is the high-regard it is held in, that the tech community would say it is a beacon and compass for tech trends. So when our founder Tim Fleming was asked to fill a main stage slot and talk about Virtual Reality at the annual Wired Retail Summit held at the British Museum we were enormously proud and reaching for the bucket list to tick off one more large item.
Presenting our Shopping & immersion Platform (SIPVR) developed in association with John Lewis we talked about the incredible opportunities for companies to innovate wildly using VR. No longer constrained either by floorplan or location. Every user of SIPVR would be able to enjoy a customised flagship store experience tailored to their preferences. The opportunity for retail brand experiences to embrace their customers allows for bold innovation at the new intersection of online and physical stores.
Zuck shows us what social could look like for Oculus. Facebook's motivation in buying Oculus was to prepare for two scenarios, (1) avoid a perceived threat rise from a new technology platform by buying it (2) if said technology could be so disruptive then there would be way to use it to enhance the Facebook platform. Turns out, the second is by far the most interesting of these possibilities. VR's inherent qualities of presence and the ability to put people in situations and scenarios that are either impossible or prohibitively expensive are well demonstrated in the film below. Talking to his colleagues in VR who are geo-located in different locations shows how social in VR will be awesome. This happy trio of tech socialites head to the bottom of the sea and the surface of Mars before pulling in Zuck's wife via skype into their VR world to take a selfie....amazing !!! We particularly like the moment where one of the gang draws themself a sword in VR to have a quick joust with Zuck, truly extraordinary possibilities.
After working together for nearly a year we were delighted to take the Shopping and Immersion platform in-store to Oxford Street to get some exposure to and feedback from real customers. It has been an awesome journey working with the various teams at John Lewis and we have been super-focussed on delivering a customer experience that transforms the customer perception of what Virtual Reality is. The data from this trial showed that customers found VR to have real tangible benefits in planning their home.
We've just been commissioned to develop a Multi-User project that we are super excited about. Multiple-Users in VR has always been seen as something of a holy grail. The ability to design and work collaboratively in Virtual Worlds from multiple geo-located positions......its the future right ? Whichever way you look at it, the ability to work, think and play together in the metaverse has huge potential. Multi-User development will allow us to create a collaborative digital workshop where we can pass objects to each other even though we are physically separated by 1000's of miles. Now where's my copy of Snow Crash.
The culture of John Lewis is based on Partnership and on July 1st this year John Lewis celebrated Partnership Day through the theme of "Connection". Partnership Day provides an opportunity to pause and remember the values that are the foundations of John Lewis’s retail success. They are values that go back to the days of John Spedan Lewis, who took over the retailer from his father and stamped his revolutionary worldview upon it.
We worked with John Lewis to give Partners an experience that bought them face to face with John Spedan so that they could be reminded of the values that underpin the John Lewis Partnership. Using an old film of Spedan Lewis we recreated the magical Longstock gardens in Virtual Reality and set the scene for the Partners to have an intimate audience with Spedan.
The Partnership day took place in "The Flying Spedan" a converted John Lewis vehicle that allowed up to 10 people to have a Virtual Reality experience.
Working with the Goodall Foundation has given us an insight into their passion for "levelling the playing field." Through their work in Tanzania the GF team have been working to bring resources to the organisations and families they work with. Started by Andrew Goodall as a philanthropic division of his real estate company we worked directly with Andrew and his Foundation Director Eugenie Teasley. Andrew is a man of vision so when he saw Virtual Reality he understood the potential immediately, he knew that Virtual Reality is a medium that can be transformative and he funded the creation of two work streams with Future Visual.
The first stream was a realtime module developing language skills. We took the viewer to our CGI version of the African Savannah where they saw the story of the Beetle and the Bee, a modern day fairytale taking place with a supporting cast of Zebras, Elephants and Lions. There was then a question and answer session at the end that tested the user on some key phrases from the experience. The experience was available to be listened to in both English and Swahili with the graphics for both languages translated throughout.
The second module was a pre-rendered 360 CGI film developing Maths skills. The film focussed on fractions as this is an area that children learning Maths often find a tricky concept. By combining space and our friendly Maths Robot we were able to show a number of ways of looking at fractions as well as providing a really fun experience.
We partnered with our friends at Make Real to deliver this ambitious Virtual Reality project for McDonalds.
Behind the scenes access is a significant attribute that Virtual Reality can deliver. In the case of McDonalds they wanted to be transparent with their customers, to take them on a journey and show their customers the pride and effort they took in ensuring ethical, healthy and progressive environments from their food suppliers. This campaign received great national coverage and allowed customers a fully transparent insight into the food journey of McDonalds.
As part of our Study into Operational and Pedagogic Innovation we have been investigating the use of VR with Dr Michael Williams at Queens University in Belfast.
After trials at the Centre for Medical Education, staff commented "It has the potential to be a powerful learning tool with the capacity to introduce trainees to complex clinical scenarios in a safe environment."
Great fun as we take part with 10Group in the i-Cockpit launch in Paris.
Our 360 shoot of the new i-Cockpit interior was then composited into a CGI environment built by the Future Visual team, as Head Designer Gilles Vidal takes us on a tour through the i-Cockpit functionality.
Great day at the Google VR Symposium. Good to hear about Google's ambition for VR. Awesome times !!
Future Visual have won an Innovate UK Smart Grant to study Operational and Pedagogic Innovation Using VR.
This grant will focus on the needs of professionals who operate in high-risk environments – and therefore require training for rare, unusual and/or hazardous scenarios -- perfect for the application of Virtual Reality, we are going to focus on the aviation and ophthalmology sectors. Additional aims of our study will be to prove market demand for pedagogic and operational innovation using Virtual Reality, to assess the benefit of 3rd person viewing and adaptive learning within Virtual Reality.
This grant is going to allow us to work with industry to identify business cases and solve existing challenges with VR.
Future Visual featured in "The Times" special on Virtual Reality. Some big players featured in this edition, we are in good company.
Loving your work 2015. Next !
Following the announcement of our partnership with John Lewis, we were invited to bring our HMD's to the John Lewis 2016 trend event on November 16. We met some of the extended John Lewis family and got to meet the wider John Lewis team. Of course the most exciting part of any day when demoing VR is hearing people say "Oh My .... It's Amazing".
Always puts a smile on our face.
We are delighted to announce that Future Visual has won the highly competitive category of Immersive Retail, part of Innovate Uk's ‘Virtual and Augmented Reality Innovation Contest’.
Our Shopping and Immersion Platform (SiP) will allow customers to experience John Lewis products in a completely new way. As VR takes it's first tentative steps in becoming a recognised and widely adopted format, we will be there delivering new customer experiences with John Lewis.
Will VR deliver the radical shift in customer behaviour that we have seen with online, is this the dawn of a new customer centric format ?
Our journey is to provide a fantastic customer experience that compliments the very best of current retail experiences whilst building new radically innovative possibilities.
Lots of cool stuff at Oculus Connect last month. Seemed to be a big emphasis on Minecraft getting ported to Gear which took a little too much air time for our interests at Future Visual.
The item we were really excited about was the Toybox demo, showing how people at either side of the earth could interact seamlessly in the same virtual space. Absolutely incredible with just huge potential.
Following on with the theme of Social, there was a great piece on Upload VR http://uploadvr.com/social-virtual-reality/ about Social in VR.
An optimistic piece that suggested Trolls Need Not Apply, extract below.
In the end, social VR may be one of the most impactful uses of the medium. Social media in its current form is still at its infancy stage. In 2007, when social media truly began to take off Facebook was Queen of All Social Media. We since have seen spin offs (remember when you used to think Twitter was just where people who posted too many statuses on Facebook went?) and evolutions in the social media landscape. Over the last eight years of that change, society has adapted to a larger and more global culture. But that growth has also come with the scars of impersonality and callousness, which are apparent in the negatives that have come with the medium. Social VR could allow us to do away with the scars that marred the previous iterations of the medium; enabling us with the ability to blossom into the truly flat and global society we are headed towards. It has the ability to connect us in the ways the Internet promised us, but without the impersonality. It brings true face-to-face communication to the digital world, perserving with it long standing societal norms, while breathing life into new ones. The digital social world will never replace the physical one – at least not completely, nor should it however, social VR could “augment our social lives,” rather than replacing them. The world is becoming a global society to borrow from Marshall McLuhan and VR is the next big step in taking us there; trolls need not apply.
Find out more about Marshall McLuhan here http://tinyurl.com/nvx74ct
Perhaps the greatest attribute of VR as a format is it’s astonishing ability to put us in someone else’s shoes.
Whilst invading galaxies and flying around in spaceships is all good fun the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes could be it’s greatest contribution.
VR can deliver Location Agnostic Hyper-Empathic Experiences ™.
Will this be the device that makes us really understand that we are all living a shared experience and should just be a bit damned nicer to each other?
Have a look http://www.wired.com/2015/09/vr-ebola-film/
In Summer 2015 we conducted a small scale pilot study with University of Sussex in order to explore participant’s experience and perceptions of Virtual Reality.
The study was based on an 8-10 minute VR experience created by University of Udine's HCI Lab and was modelled on the landing of Flight 1549 into the Hudson River. Following the experience participants were given a 15 minute one to one interview. There were 36 participants in total drawn from a selection of staff and students.
There was huge positivity around the ability to “look around” and a really interesting set of conclusions ranging from the impact of audio to how prepared participants now felt compared to the usual flight safety briefing that occurs prior to flight.
Zuck is very VR friendly.
Zuck states that immersive 3D content is the obvious next thing after video. YES !!!!!!
Well the Zuck would say this after dropping 2 large on Oculus, but you would’nt bet against him would you ?
Zuck says “Just as video has given FB a big push in the way they connect people, product and places.”
Side note, if you ever need to reference the fact that you’ve paid 2 billion for something you can say you dropped 2 Rockefellers, might be handy one day…..maybe.
New consumer version looking good. Lighter, faster, stronger.
With a feeling that Oculus were losing momentum to Vive, this announcement is a big one. The CV1, Consumer Version 1 needed to pack a big punch and confusingly a big part of the announcement here seemed to be that they were going to release it with…..wait for it……. an Xbox controller !!
Wow, this was the killer blow we had all been waiting for, with recent gestural startup acquisitions we were hoping that the 2016 Q1 release would surely include a knock out input system. You know a Leap Motion that worked ! As well as the Xbox controller….(whatever that is) we have Oculus Touch. These bad boys look a lot more interesting than the Xbox controller and we can’t wait to try them out.
Aviation Training In Virtual Reality.
Future Visual Founder Tim Fleming presented to the 2015 Aviation Ground Handling conference in Istanbul.
The discussion around Virtual Reality and wearables was lively with a huge interest in the quality of training that these devices are able to offer.
Ground handling of aircraft is a dangerous environment. VR allows us to put trainees in the heart of any simulated scenario for the best possible training experience and familiarisation with the wide range of possible incidents that ground handlers may encounter in their careers.