marketing

Highlights from VRARA Vancouver Branding for the Future (Sept Event)

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VRARA Vancouver's biggest chapter event to date, Branding For The Future, took place September 26th at Hootsuite HQ. We had a full house sell out of attendees for an informative night discussing how immersive technology will disrupt the ways brands, companies, and retailers connect with consumers. 

The night started with two keynote speeches to explore how Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have already begun to change storytelling to consumers, and how immersive technology will continue to shape and enhance brand experiences. 

First speaker was Alan Smithson, CEO of MetaVRse. On his talk "VR/AR for Business 101", he said traditional human communication mediums, such as TV, Radio, Internet, Mobile will not be going away anytime soon with the introduction of VR/AR. Simply put, augmented reality is going to be the next medium. He shared several examples of use case of AR in consumer engagement, including IKEA Place app. Alan spoke about how AR Kit was released 3 months ago, but IKEA managed to get their entire catalogue out because they started working on the product two years ago.

He urges businesses to "start now, because in a couple of years when [AR] is a commonplace and all of the big brands and your competitors have started this, you don't want to be left behind when this takes off as a communication medium."

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The night was followed by second speaker, Mira Leung who is lead in ARCore at Google on "Engaging Audiences in VR/AR". She educated the audience on the technical foundation of immersive technology, and discussed engagement and visualization with AR. She says "the question will not be if but how and when VR/AR will be a significant portion of business process and customer experiences." She ended her speech on an encouraging note that what's next for VR/AR will rely on those in the audiences. Mira asked them to show the VR/AR industry what's possible, show what experiences and interactions they can create using their creativity and storytelling in combination with the technology.

Fireside chat was moderated by Nikolas Badminton, world-reknowned futurist speaker, author and researcher. The panelists were composed of industry thought leaders, including Chris Bedyk from Perspective Films, Daniel Japiassu from YDREAMS Global, and Graham Cunliffe from Finger Food, as well as the two speakers, Alan Smithson and Mira Leung. The fireside chat was a discussion about several topics. One of which was on quality of AR that is available today. Because the technology in its infancy, costs of delivering high quality VR/AR experiences is high. However the value and experience a consumer could get is often greater than having a high definition experience, especially if it is an experience that is unaccessible, such as BC Lions' dressing room.

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After the speaker and fireside chat, attendees enjoyed themselves to refreshments and delicious selection of food, sponsored by Foodee, to enjoy while networking. There were also a handful of innovative companies showcasing their technology, such as Blueprint Reality, Questupon, Perspective Films, BioInteractive Technologies, cognitiveVRradical.io, and LlamaZOO

Here's the event recap video by NovusTV:

 
 

Here are the full speaker talks:

 
 

We would like to thank everyone that attended our event. Special thanks to our amazing speakers, as well as sponsors who made this happen: Hootsuite, Tradable Bits, Voyer Law Corporation, Vancouver Startup Week, LNG Studios, BC Lions, Unbounce, Futurist Nikolas Badminton, Cambridge International House, Entax, Foodee, and

Written by Laura Ryu, Marketing and Communications Manager VRARA Vancouver

Transforming Digital & Marketing Agencies with VR and AR | Q&A Series #3 featuring Pound&Grain

This is the third feature in the series showcasing Vancouver digital and marketing agencies (non-traditional VR/AR companies) 

Our own Laura Ryu (Marketing and Communications Manager at VRARA Vancouver) sat down with Michelle Knight of Pound&Grain based in Vancouver. They've worked with a number of clients on their interactive digital and brand strategy including SAP, Arc'Teryx and Lululemon.

Tell us about your agency & what you've been working on.

At Pound & Grain we work hard to add value to the brand by creating something useful for the user. We found creating a VR experience is an all-round win. It’s a tool with immersive qualities that are unparalleled. We’ve used VR as a demo tool for SAP and to show off CFL’s new Adidas gear. We also love the odd passion project.

Tell us about a VR or AR campaign that you've enjoyed or were inspired by.

We are huge horror fans (sisters), but when it comes to VR storytelling we first fell in love with loVR. Who knew a data led love story could be so beautiful? It was the game changer for us, or as some would say our ‘Jesus moment.’ That being said, cowzVR is a pretty fun and an incredibly random experience.

We are starting to see competition build up in advertising, especially with big players such as Saatchi & Saatchi building on-site VR labs. What are your thoughts on competition and what do you think will set apart the strong agencies from the rest?

We’re in such an exciting time right now! For us, a VR experience should only be created if it makes sense for our client and the concept is VR first. Today, like any new platform, there are gimmicky experiences that don’t add as much value. The difference between the ‘strong’ and the ‘weak’ VR agencies will come down to content and of course context.

How do you think the structure of agencies and its landscape will change in the next 5 years given anticipated rapid growth in VR/AR technology?

There will be an AR team and a VR team and the two technologies will exist independently of each other, with the odd overlap during integrated campaigns. It will also become a more specialized and integrated role throughout the agency at a deeper level. We hope AR will become a tool people rely on to get from A-B, to cook, to shop etc. While VR will allow the user to escape into a new role – hopefully interacting at a greater level with the possible addition of haptic responses and more attention to sound.

What is currently your biggest challenge (or as the industry) in regards to integrating VR/AR?

Getting headsets onto faces is still a pill the smaller brands are battling to swallow.

We know that VR/AR will be disruptive in many different industries, how will this affect your company and clients?

VR will allow us to share our client’s emotional and intellectual being in a space of presence. AR will allow us to communicate and create ways that make brands more useful and integrate them into everyday life.

Why is it important for agencies to be onboard now and join the VR/AR Association?

VR is the coming together of many, many skills and mindsets. And we are all in a learning stage, we want to harness all failures and celebrate all successes together. This combined knowledge will allow us all to experiment and learn at a much greater pace.

What benefits do you see in being a member?

Collaboration and insight. We are part of two committees with professionals that are open to share and learn from each other. Being part of the VRARA means being part of an inclusive group of professionals playing with one of the most powerful storytelling tools that’s ever existed.

 
 

We'd like to thank Michelle Knight from Pound&Grain, please visit them at www.poundandgrain.com

Join the VRARA Marketing Committee and others, here

Transforming Digital & Marketing Agencies with VR and AR | Q&A Series #2 featuring Domain 7

This is the second feature in the series showcasing Vancouver digital and marketing agencies (non-traditional VR/AR companies) 

Our own Laura Ryu (Marketing and Communications Manager at VRARA Vancouver) sat down with Kevan Gilbert, Director of Engagement Strategy of Domain 7 based in Vancouver. They've worked with a number of clients on their interactive digital strategy including Microsoft, Telus and UBC.


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Tell us about your agency & what you've been working on.

Domain7! We've been working on using virtual reality as a way to inspire our partners to envision a more positive future. From in-studio demos to taking the technology to conferences, we see this as an opportunity to help people reduce their cynical barriers, and start dreaming together about the future we want to co-create. 

Tell us about a VR or AR campaign that you enjoyed or was inspired by. 

We're loving the demos coming from ARKit from Apple, including the portal-to-another-world demo: http://mobilesyrup.com/2017/06/30/new-video-of-apples-arkit-shows-off-interdimensional-portals/

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We are starting to see competition build up in advertising, especially with big players such as Saatchi & Saatchi building on-site VR labs. What are your thoughts on competition and what do you think will set apart the strong agencies from the rest? 

Rather than simply stealing attention or building on negative habits, the way our over-optimized 2D web has become, perhaps the work that will stand out in VR is work that answers this question well: "Does it help the human who is using it live the life they want to lead?" 

How do you think the structure of agencies and its landscape will change in the next 5 years given anticipated rapid growth in VR/AR technology?

I think it will remain important-as-ever to invest in healthy workplace cultures, since there will be more competition amongst agencies for smart technologists, designers, writers, creators, etc. How can we grow healthy workplaces that affirm human value even in this coming gold rush, where companies may become tempted to start taking shortcuts in hiring and culture.

 

What is currently your biggest challenge (or as the industry) in regards to integrating VR?

The chicken-and-egg-ness. What comes first: becoming an expert in the technology, or waiting for client demand? Since the technology doesn't have wide adoption in the user base, clients aren't necessarily asking for it. But in the meantime, they'll never ask if they don't see expertise and opportunity. 

We know that VR/AR will be disruptive in many different industries, how will this effect your company and your clients?

I'm curious to see how, in 10 years time, fully integrated VR/AR solutions have the opportunity to influence HOW we work, not necessarily what we work on. For instance, workspaces are very physical right now, because of the need for computer monitors, and the human desire for social proximity that has no other outlet. But if through VR/AR, the work isn't on your screen, how would we redesign the workplace? Similarly, if through VR/AR I can "feel" like I'm right beside my colleagues, even when I'm in my house, do we still need offices in the same way? And if a certain percent of the workforce can become not just "remote" workers, but "virtual" workers, how can this influence commuting, and thus, carbon emissions and air quality? (I'm not saying we'll all become hermits, but I do hope we ask ourselves more, "Why am I commuting, and is there another way?")

Why is it important for agencies to be onboard now and join the VR/AR Association?

To anticipate what's coming, to develop your imagination, and be part of a community of changemakers. 


 
 
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We'd like to thank Kevan from Domain 7, please visit them at www.domain7.com

Join the VRARA Marketing Committee and others, here