How to Use VR for a Company Presentation
This past week, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport released their long-awaited “Culture is Digital” report. They did something unique to promote their findings — they created a 360 WebVR presentation using InstaVR.
This innovative use of InstaVR and the VR medium reminded us how the technology can be used to add visual and auditory flair to what used to be fairly standard presentations.
Let’s be honest: PowerPoint is starting to get a little boring. So we’re seeing more and more companies turning to VR. It helps presentations come alive, incorporating video and CGI, and makes for a unique and memorable viewer experience.
So this week we’re doing a deep dive on how to incorporate InstaVR-created apps into your internal and external presentations.
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1. Why Use VR for Company Presentations?
Virtual Reality (VR) has a number of unique advantages over printed or PowerPoint materials:
- It’s exciting, incorporating the visual (images & videos) and auditory senses. A picture is worth 1,000 words. But a 360 image or video — particularly a stereoscopic one — is worth way more than 1,000 words.
- It’s immersive, capturing the full attention of the user if they’re in a VR headset. This leads to greater recall and a stronger impression on the viewer of the experience.
- It’s interactive, if you add Navigation or Hotspot overlays to your presentation. This allows your audience to Navigate to the info or media they want, as well as enabling you to augment it with informative or entertaining image/video-based hotspots.
- It’s easily accessible, both for you in terms of making the experience using InstaVR, but also to your employees, partners, and clients. You can create an iOS/Android app that the user can pull up easily on their phone anytime they want.
VR isn’t just the future of presentations — it’s the present. In fact, a VR company late last year did their entire pitch to Venture Capitalists in virtual reality. And it worked! Don’t underestimate the power of VR to leave a good impression on your audience.
(Image from “Culture is Digital” 360 VR Presentation)
2. Begin With a Goal in Mind
The first step in creating a compelling VR presentation is deciding what the goal is. Once you have the goal, it will inform other questions like how to author the application and how to distribute it. It will even help determine which type of 360 media you want to use — images, video or CGI.
Do you want your presentation to educate the user?
This is the main goal of the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. They wanted to take the information found in the “Culture is Digital” report, and have it come alive with an interesting visual presentation. They mainly did this through Hotspots they overlaid in the 360 space, that users could interact with to get more facts.
You can also see this done excellently in client Mimacom’s VR application. Their office tour is augmented throughout with informational Hotspots informing you about facts concerning the company. So in the presentation, you not only get to see the office and the workers, you get to learn something.
Do you want your presentation to transport the user?
One of the huge benefits of VR is the ability to transport users immersively to a new location. So when we spoke with Charles Jordan of Nestle, it wasn’t surprising to hear they’re planning to use VR to get employees excited for a move to a new office in St. Louis. A company can use 360 videos to transport users immersively across the country, or across the world.
Do you want your presentation to energize the user?
VR is a great way to energize others — be it clients, partners, or employees. For instance, for their annual sales meeting, our client Premise LED put together a compelling before & after VR experience to showcase how their lighting has improved car dealerships. This type of application will later be used by the sales associates themselves. But the introduction of the new technology as part of their presentation at the sales event was a nice departure from the typical PowerPoint that you might see at these types of meetings.
Once you’ve determined what your goal is, you can start creating the media to author in the InstaVR platform. If you’re trying to educate, you may have to spend a bit more time in Photoshop creating innovate Hotspots. If you want to transport users, you may have to fly to a different location to take 360 video (or you can do like TUI Group, and mail Nikon KeyMissions to your other offices). But the first step is always determining what you want your users to feel once they take off their VR headset.
(Image courtesy of Premise LED)
3. How to Distribute Your VR Presentation
It may seem odd to start with distribution… this is usually the last step in your VR creation process. But which headset — or mobile device, tablet, or web screen — your audieence plans on using to access your VR presentation will affect your approach to creating it. So it’s best to go in knowing exactly how you plan to distribute. We’ll discuss the Pro/Cons of each of the major platforms for Presentation distribution.
WebVR — Either on Mobile Phone or Laptop
Pros — Widest distribution possible. All you have to do is either link to your VR hosted on our InstaVR CDN or embed your experience into your web page. Thus, you could theoretically easily send to all your employees through email, Slack, Intranet, etc. Also, you can utilize our Call-to-Action functionality to allow users to click through to relevant non-VR web pages.
Cons — Not as immersive. Also, WebVR is not as good for 360 video, something we’ve discussed more in depth here. But if you’re just going to be doing an image-based VR experience, and are not as concerned about the user experience, the positives of easy distribution (like with the “Culture is Digital” project) is important.
Low-Cost Mobile VR Headset — Google Cardboard or a Generic Plastic iOS or Android Headset
Pros — Low cost, so you can purchase many of them if you need it for a company event. You can also brand Google Cardboards, making the VR presentation even more memorable. User will have your app on their phone until they delete it.
Cons — Not nearly as immersive as the other headsets. So if your presentation is for say an important client, it’s probably best to invest in a more heavy-duty, larger Field of View VR headset such as Gear VR or Google Daydream.
Higher-End Mobile VR Headset — Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, or (soon) Oculus Go
Pros — Easy to carry or ship for presentations at other offices, including clients and partners. Nicely immersive and can also be enabled for long-form VR, if necessary.
Cons — Can be fairly expensive (each phone + Gear VR will cost you about $800 USD) or lack phone compatibility (Daydream still limited to only a handful of phones).
Higher-End Tethered VR Headset — HTC Vive or Oculus Rift
Pros — Can do very detailed, high-resolution, long-form VR. No chance of overheating (as sometimes happens with Gear VR, if used for too long).
Cons — Can be expensive, as you need a higher-end computer and graphics cards to run these. Because most companies will purchase only one or two of these, only 1-2 people can experience your VR presentation at a time.
Picking the right distribution model is important. It also informs what kind of VR you create — image vs. video, short-form vs. long-form, passive vs. interactive. Definitely consider distribution model on your VR presentation before you actually even start the 360 filming or CGI creation process.
4. Authoring Your VR Presentation
We already have a couple of tools for helping you to author your VR application, including:
- Our “Comprehensive Guide on How to Author a VR App Using InstaVR“
- The Interactive Tutorial, which you can access directly in your Console (or watch on video)
- Live training every Thursday at 10am EDT at https://join.me/instavrandrew
So we’ll use this section to discuss some of the questions you’ll have to answer while Authoring your VR presentation.
How long should I make the VR experience?
Those new to VR might be tempted to make a fairly long VR presentation. When using standard video, it’s not uncommon to have 4, 5 or more minutes of video. But VR is a little different. Being immersed in a VR headset is pretty intense, and for some headsets (ie HTC Vive), can get uncomfortable if worn for too long.
There’s no perfect length for a VR presentation. But you can make a strong impact, with lasting memories, with 2 minutes or less of 360 video. If you overshoot and overproduce, you get diminishing returns.
Should I Make the VR Passive or Interactive?
Passive VR is when a user can sit back and just watch a 360 video. Interactive VR is when the user can engage with the material they’re watching — either by choosing the next scene, engaging with Hotspots, opening web pages from the VR, etc.
Generally, if you’re presenting to a large group or those completely new to 360 media, passive VR might be easier. It requires less activity by the watcher. Whereas in a smaller group — like if you’re doing a sales presentation or showing your VR on a Vive or Rift — making it interactive makes more sense. Interactive VR is by nature more memorable, as the user’s brain has to be engaged, so it’s definitely advantageous if used with the proper audience.
Should I Use 360 Images or Videos (or CGI)?
The CGI question is easy if that is your primary use case for VR, as is often the case for companies in the architecture or engineering space. But even if you’re planning to use a 360 camera, you can augment your application with “computer enhanced” imagery using a program like Photoshop or Adobe Premiere Pro. The UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport clearly spent some time and effort to make their 360 experience pop, using exclusively CGI graphics.
The question of 360 images or video really depends on the use case. Images are static and not as engaging, but you can enhance the overall experience using InstaVR by adding mp3 voiceover or music. Videos have a greater recall, but will take you longer to film and are best experienced in a VR headset. If you’re presenting information, 360 images might be better. If you’re trying to evoke a feeling through your presentation, you may be better off using video.
Authoring a VR experience is relatively simple with InstaVR’s drag-and-drop interface. If you haven’t read it already, our intro guide on app authoring can help you get started. You’ll have to answer some important questions though before starting — such as length of VR experience, passive or interactive, and image or video.
5. Using Hotspots to Augment Your VR Presentation
We’ll talk a little more in-depth about one particular part of using InstaVR to make your experience interactive: Hotspots. These are 2D images (png/jpg) or videos (mp4) that can overlaid directly on top of the 360 media. For non-WebVR apps, we also enable clients to customize the Hotspot appearance, via time-based Hotspots and auto-playing Hotspots. (Without utilizing those advanced features, the Hotspots can be triggered by users while immersed in a scene by gazing/clicking/using a hand controller).
For presentations, Hotspots can be used for:
Giving A Close-Up View or Video of an Object in the Scene
For presentations, you’re often virtually transporting a user to a new location. Within the scene, a user may have an interest in learning more about a particular object within the 360 scene. That’s where a Hotspot can be particularly valuable — a user can initiate a Hotspot and get a more close-up view or video of the particular item.
Providing Additional Information
Though Hotspot images have to be .jpg or .png, it doesn’t mean they have to be traditional camera images. Using a program like Photoshop, you can use Hotspots as an information delivery method to your users. For instance, if I’m looking at a presentation of a proposed building from a construction firm, the Hotspot could convey information on building materials, expected completion date, square feet, etc.
Not all presentations are meant exclusively for conveying information. In some presentations, you’re just looking to entertain or energize the viewer. If you’re showcasing your company in VR for a recruiting presentation, you can add Hotspots to showcase employees having fun outside of the office, for instance.
Hotspots in InstaVR allow you to augment your VR presentation. If you’ve decided to go the interactive route with your VR app, there’s no reason to not utilize Hotspots. Use them for practical purposes (close-ups), informational purposes (adding text information), or entertainment purposes (to add additional 2D video to your scene)
6. Publishing Your VR Presentation
We discussed a bit earlier in this post the potential VR outputs. Hopefully after reading that, you’ve selected your distribution method for your presentation. Below, we’ll get into the specific mechanics of distribution.
InstaVR Pro offers the ability to publish to iTunes or Google Play. But since most presentations are for in-house or client/partner purposes, we’ll focus exclusively on in-house here.
Android is a very open platform, with Google allowing you to freely distribute the white-labelled InstaVR-generated .apk file. That means you could host the .apk on your company website, in a file sharing program like Google Drive or Dropbox, accessible via download through the InstaVR website, or through an InstaVR-created QR code. It’s simple!
Apple wants a little more control over in-house app distribution. So the main way to currently download this type of file, outside of the iTunes Store, is by sending an email invite for your users to download the application. That being said, you can create a generic username and password on InstaVR for the invite, and distribute that along with the link. So it’s not quite as easy as Android, but not too difficult either.
Samsung Gear VR / Google Daydream
Samsung Gear VR is a very popular headset for presentations, as it’s mobile and immersive. We cover the distribution methods towards the bottom of this article on publishing Gear VR apps. Using the InstaVR DeviceID app, you can easily collect phone IDs, create Oculus Signature Files, and publish a single app that will run on all the intended Samsung phones.
Google Daydream publishing is actually even a little simpler than Gear VR, as the DeviceIDs are not needed. Like with Android, you simply create an .apk file specific to Daydream-compatible phones, and sideload them to run in conjunction with the headset.
HTC Vive / Oculus Rift
The output file here is a .exe. So you just need to get that .exe loaded on the computer that is tethered to the Vive or Rift headset. Super easy!
You have two options with WebVR: utilize our CDN or embed on your web site using the InstaVR files. With the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, they use our CDN. They simply link to the presentation on their public web site and in press releases touting the presentation. Other companies would rather host it on internal-only sites, in which case the Zip File (self-host) approach makes sense. Self-hosting also allows you to provide additional context to the WebVR, meaning your VR could be incorporated as part of a larger presentation page.
Distributing your VR is made simple using InstaVR. Obviously publishing to the right VR headset, tablet or web is important. But distributing the VR is also important, to make sure your intended audience sees the VR presentation you spent time making.
Presentations are no longer boring. PowerPoint and paper handouts are a thing of the past. With 360/VR technology available to everyone, companies have to up their presentation game if they want to stand out.
Creating immersive, interactive, memorable VR is as simple as buying a 360 camera, a VR headset, and InstaVR Pro.
There are many things to consider when crafting a VR presentation. We’ve covered much of that above. But we look forward to helping you as you author your VR application. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email, Live Chat (business hours GMT on weekdays), or attend our live weekly training at 10am EDT on Thursdays.