It’s one thing to sell somebody a new lawnmower by telling them how it drives.
It’s another thing to have them virtually test drive it on a virtual lawn.
Using augmented and virtual reality technology the Des Moines-based team at Shift Interactive are able to take their clients to a space that has been unheard of in the marketing world. Instead of using traditional two-dimensional marketing materials, Shift can use technology to enhance a marketing strategy.
Getting the full experience
Chris Wagner calls himself a, “Codewizard” but is officially a software engineer at Shift. He designed the VR program for Toro and AAI.
“You can get the full experience,” Wagner says. “You can look around using VR and create hotspots so if you look at them, you can teleport to see different views. And then once you are done it exports a blueprint with a line item budget and an architectural drawing with all the spacing.”
Andrew Gillman, Public Relations Director, says when companies go to trade shows they are constantly looking for ways to attract guests to their booth.
Virtual reality attracts people.
“They (Toro) thought it would be a good application to get people engaged,” Gillman said.
And while he doesn’t knock the bread and butter marketing strategies, virtual reality is in a category of its own.
“We’re going to see more and more of our clients engaged in this sort of stuff and people are always trying to figure out how to get a bigger voice at trade shows to bolster their marketing efforts,” Gillman said. “I think is one way to really stand out. Up until this point its been cost prohibited. People are realizing you can get a really good VR product at a minimal amount of time and investment.”
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The only downside of virtual reality is that in order to use it to its fullest capabilities a lot must be setup in terms of equipment.
But with augmented reality, you only need an iPad.
“I think augmented reality is the next big thing,” Partner and Developer Nate Adamson said.
Adamson and his team created an app for Toro that utilized augmented reality to be fully interactive.
“You can do a live chat, call a salesperson, that’s kind of another example of virtual reality that you are seeing a lot,” Adamson said. “Using AR you can use your iPad to recognize the ad and have it come to life so you can see different products, get information or watch. It’s a fun way to make a static, regular ad come to life.”
Clayton Brady is an interactive programmer for Shift and was the designer of the app.
He said it took him a couple of days to complete.
“And it doesn’t need to be a page ad, you can scan a 3D object like a cup,” Brady explained. “So if it saw a Chic-Fil-A cup it could animate stuff around the cup. So it’s not just limited to page ads.”
Adamson says as cell phones evolve, so will the use of VR and AR.
“They are going to keep bolstering your phones hardware and sensors so your phone will start augmenting and interacting with the reality around you,” Adamson says.