Amongst all the hype has VR come of age?

Mathew Cutts | 1 March 2016

I have always been a bit sceptical when it comes to VR, which is strange as I am an early adopter and love techy stuff. When QTVR first appeared in 1997 I flew from London to Sydney for the day with my special tripod, makeshift special lens on an early digital camera to take pictures. I returned to the office to stitch them together with code and overlaid graphics for a presentation!

A few years later I was involved in developing a virtual asthma experience, we had special effects guys, 3D video, air compressors and all sorts of box of tricks in a great big truck! The result was HCPs wearing compression vests to simulate the limiting effect that asthma had on their patients’ lives every day and how important it is to get the right treatment for the patient.

Recently we have been involved in a VR project that has meant us exploring the more cost effective end of the market.

Looking around we found that there is some fantastic footage out for Google cardboard as well as Samsung Oculus. (If you get the chance get yourself an inexpensive Google cardboard and the Discovery VR app which is free to download and tell me you’re not impressed. If you have kids, they will love it too).

As in any form of communication really good content is key and it is great to see that it is starting to make its way onto the platform. The ability to capture 360 degree footage has become much easier with Samsung, Nokia and Ricoh (to name but a few) releasing affordable hardware meaning more people can venture this way. YouTube and Facebook both have the ability to show this content without the need for a headset and excitingly brands are starting to use it for social advertising. The BBC has broadcast their first ever 360 degree show via their click program and claim this is a first in broadcasting.

So where does this leave us? We have just returned from a medical conference in Munich. Stand attracts have changed so much, up until recently the majority of exhibition stands had enormous screens for mass messaging. Now we are able to deliver a specific experience by rolling up with a Peli case and unpacking headsets and handing a headset to a delegate. It is amazing how you can start your customer on a journey where you have their undivided attention for over three minutes, something that is almost impossible in any other environment.

Of course there was a stack load of strategic, creative and production work before this but for me the platform has finally come of age.