October 15, 2018 Bottle Rocket Media

A Year in Virtual Insanity: Gear Rises

 

header image source: www.oculus.com/go/

Jamiroquai’s 1996 hit song recently echoed through our Chicago office and the hair on the back of our collective, nostalgic neck stood up. We all felt the relevance.

Now more than ever, we are living in “Virtual Insanity.” Immersed in new technology. A portal to another world is most likely in your hand or your pocket right now—we mean your smartphone.

Perhaps the most “insane” example of the digital explosion is the recent rise of VR gear. With a just a headset and an Internet connection, users are learning valuable career skills, traveling to far off locales, and experiencing new products like never before. As Bottle Media’s co-founder, Dan Fisher, recently remarked so astutely, “This sh*t ain’t slowing down any time soon!”

As a video agency, we have been embracing 360 video production in our own work for a few years now. While we like to think we have gotten pretty good at creating a virtual experience, we are not too proud to take cues from the creative examples that have emerged in just the last year alone:

Training: Why tell someone how to do their job when you can literally SHOW them? Eliminating the need for additional training staff, businesses are finally waking up to the benefits of immersive video technology, a cost-effective solution to introduce a wide range of challenging scenarios for employees learn from. Heard of Oculus Go? Only two years old, the leading industry brand has already been tapped by giant, Wal-Mart, for 17 thousand of its wireless standalone units to help train one million workers in customer service and new technologies beginning this fall. Less hassles at Wal-Mart? Count us in!

Meanwhile… it was only a matter of time before the gung-ho military and police forces would have their way with VR gear. And why not? Taking simulations to the next level, VR is helping to keep our bravest sharp and abreast of the latest assault and defense tactics. According to a piece in Forbes, an emerging name in VR gear, Virtra – currently being used at the L.A. county Sheriff’s Department – is “much more realistic than range training,” and less expensive than hiring actors to play both criminals and innocent civilians.

Education: Teachers across the country are learning the incredible educational benefits of bringing gear into elementary schools. Thanks to Google Earth VR and Google Expeditions, for example, students can virtually explore parts of the world in 3D—without ever leaving the classroom. And, for the more advanced STEM scholar, there are now solutions out from companies like Unity Technologies and Labster VR that create immersive experiences in virtual laboratories and medical settings to help prepare our future doctors and scientists.

Oh—and ever wish you could take a bus to Mars? Well, now kids from K-12 can, thanks to the brains behind Lockheed Martin and Framestore VR studio. Complete with virtual windows to the red planet and motion sensitive technologies, students are experiencing what it would feel like to ride through 250 square miles of a landscape millions of miles away from Earth. What’s next? Venus? Saturn? New Jersey? The possibilities are endless!

Product Introduction and Promotion: VR gear now represents the most intimate pathway for consumers to get up close and personal with products and services of all kinds. One need only look at the success of the Ikea Virtual Store to understand just how far virtual shopping has come. From the comfort of any home or office, VR gear users can “stroll” through actual store aisles and showrooms without the worry of pedestrian foot traffic, long checkout lines, or hunting down employees for assistance. If only Toys ‘R’ Us had thought of that!

Finally, Macy’s has truly jumped on the VR bandwagon by supplying 70 of its stores with headsets to make it possible for customers to explore out of-stock items and actually visualize them in their own offices and dwellings!!  According to CNBC.com, “In the beauty department, Macy’s is in the process of adding virtual mirrors to some of its U.S. stores where shoppers can ‘try on’ lipsticks and eye shadows.”  Mind blown, yet?

Whether connecting with students, employees, or consumers, VR-gear has become the most personalized vehicle yet—bringing a 3D world of knowledge directly to the user, without the need to take a single step.

And the “insanity” continues…

Been a while since you listened to Jamiroqaui’s “Virtual Insanity?” Check the official music video here (you’re welcome!).

Virtual Insanity (1996)

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