Using VR and AR during the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Henry Stuart March 17, 2020

Augmented and virtual reality can connect people to events, products and other people during this worldwide shutdown.

We have had a lot of enquiries over the last few days/weeks about how we can help a broad range of clients with their specific issues related to the CV-19 virus. Without being able to physically visit places or events people are looking for ways of continuing their work with other tools. Straight video is limited, it does not transport you in the same way a VR film does, product photos are limited too, you don’t feel like you really know the product in the same way as you do when it is on your desk in AR. Here we’re going to look at some of the best current uses of the technology in these constrained times, they can be categorised in to:

  1. Immersively Streamed Events
  2. Augmented Reality Products / Shopping
  3. Virtual Reality Conferencing
  4. Immersive Hangouts
  5. Venues and Attractions
  6. VR Fitness

Immersively Streamed Events

You can setup one, or a number of 360 video cameras around an event, streaming footage to an unlimited number of people around the world. These people can watch with VR headsets, on mobile devices or on their desktop computers.

Uniquely, streaming in VR gives the viewers the feeling of being there at the event, something hard to get from traditional 16×9 video. This is the only way to take real experiences online and allow people to view them like they were there.

Working with our partner Meta Camera, we are able to live stream events in VR in unrivalled quality and have done so for EE, Vodafone, Bastille and many other clients. Check out the EE 5G Network Launch case study for an example.

One of the main issues to get around at the moment is actually being able to film something whilst maintaining social distancing. We have developed a kit that can be couriered to a location and then easily setup and allow for immersive streaming at a high quality. The kit has a Meta Camera, a workstation, a microphone and a tripod. Following the simple instructions anyone can setup the camera. Once up and running, we can control it remotely, allowing anyone to be transported to an environment or moment of your choice.

We have a lot of experience in this area so drop us a line if you’d like to chat!

Augmented Reality Products

For a lot of companies getting products in front of people or in their hands is going to be an issue for a while. Luckily there have been huge steps forward in augmented reality (AR) technology.

Not only are the smartphones themselves able to lean on Apple and Google’s brilliant AR Kit and AR Core respectively, but there have also been huge advances in 3D scanning and photogrammetry.

The result of these technologies mean that you can incredibly realistically place objects, products or even people right in front of you and explore them, see all their detail down to the individual stitches, truly bringing the high street to the home.

Check out Ikea’s Place and also Nasa’s brilliant ‘SpacecraftAR‘.

Right now we are making a virtual catalogue for one highly respected international brand, by scanning their shoes and allowing people to place them on their tables, look at them from any angle and find out more information. It’s literally having to replace a show where buyers of their products would normally pick and choose the items to stock for the coming fashion seasons. For demos and more information on 3D scanning and AR product apps, please get in touch.

Virtual Reality Conferencing

HTC have taken things altogether a step further, allowing their Vive Ecosystem conference to continue by having participants join a completely virtual world as an avatar.

The event is called the Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference (V²EC) and is uing Engagethe education & training-focused social VR platform created by Immersive VR Education.

Avatour by Imeve is another option for virtual connections to people, this time putting avatars over real-time live streamed 360 video footage.

Visualise have a number of tools and connections that can enable virtual conferencing, from the fully interactive and social through to streamed 360 content get in touch with us if you have any questions.

 

Immersive Hangouts

One of the bigger success stories during the world’s CV-19 lockdown has been AltspaceVR, they are Oculus’ official place to attend live shows, meetups, cool classes and more, all in VR.

We’ve been doing some of our meetings here, it feels so much more real than zoom or hangouts to be able to move around and interact with the world while you are meeting.

There are lots of other immersive meeting spaces too, like VR Chat, Rec Room and Sports Bar VR. We can work with your organisation to produce communal social spaces that let you work and communicate in a way that is tailored to you. Get in touch to hear more.

Venues and Attractions

The majority of venues and attractions may be physically closed but a huge number of them are providing ‘virtual tours’, immersive visits and other ways to explore them from the comfort of your own homes.

Here’s some of our favourites from London, our home town:

The British Museum – There is loads of content from the British Museum that’s accessible online, this blog explains how best to use it all.  Our personal favourite though is ‘History Connected‘ a brilliant way to connect the dots with history.

The Natural History Museum – Again, lot’s of content all nicely organised in to virtual galleries and nicely laid out and explained. There’s even unique content from David Attenborough. This link takes you to the piece on their stunning Blue Whale in the entrance hall. More of their other pieces here.

The National Gallery – Again, a google sponsored virtual tour, with a lovely quality and fidelity of photography, you can really feel like you are in the gallery if you have the view set to full screen and some baroque music playing in the background!

We have been helping museums and visitor attractions use VR and AR for years as an aid to their existing channels, it’s fast growing in importance and right now is the best way to actually see the art. Give us a call or drop us an email to chat through how immersive technologies can help your location.

VR Fitness

One of the biggest success stories of the CV-19 period has been VR fitness. There are a large number of experiences that allow you to box, cycle, dance, train or play to get fit. There is even a whole online magazine dedicated to reviewing these and tracking calories burnt, heart rates caused etc and comparing these to real sports! Check out VR Fitness Insider.

Our personal favourite is the boxing game, ‘Thrill of the Fight‘ it’s seriously good fun and exhausting, I challenge anyone to go 12 rounds with Edward “Moneymaker” Jones and still be able to use their arms the next day!

There have been some excellent uses of VR and AR already during this crisis and there will only be more as people are forced to innovate, have a look at how quickly the fashion industry has joined in this Vogue article here.

At visualise we are working on using AR and VR on a number of new, CV-19 hit projects, give us a call to chat about yours.

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me says

At least spell coronavirus right..