Many employees will build a Proof of Concept VR app to get buy-in for virtual reality programs from their employers. This makes sense as VR has grown extensively in popularity, but many in C-suites may not be familiar with how VR creation works. So showing the budget holders what is possible is the best way to get buy-in for your VR for Training, VR for Hiring, VR for Sales, etc initiatives.
Creating a successful PoC VR app is key though. Cutting corners or rushing the Proof of Concept may result in disappointment by the end user, given the lofty expectations from so many successful existing VR applications.
We’ve helped many clients to create that initial PoC app that results in company buy-in. Although each PoC VR app is different, they have a lot in common. So we wanted to share some of that wisdom gleaned from clients with you.
In addition to these below tips, we also highly suggest you reach out to us to schedule a call/demo with our Sales team and also check out our InstaVR Interviews page, to learn more about how other companies and organizations have succeeded using VR.
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Thanks and good luck with your VR Proof of Concept!
1. Identify How VR Would Help Your Company Achieve Their Goals
How will you know if you’ve achieved your goals if you never articulated what they are? For too many individuals, their initial goal is to create a VR app — any VR app — just to show the technology to others at their company. This is an understandable impulse, since they’re so excited by the technology.
But the goal of someone in HR might be to be hire the best employees, or someone in Learning & Development to get the most information retention by employees, or someone in Sales Support to put together the best sales presentation that blows away the competition.
Each of these goals is predicated on a different user experience within the VR application. For instance, in L&D, you may want a much more interactive Proof of Concept app that shows you can create engaging VR experiences that transfer knowledge to workers.
Yes, simply presenting something in VR leads to better retention, as immersion leads to greater recall. But to truly hit your goal with your training VR app, you may want to include choices by the user, or cause & effect of actions, or add questions throughout. To see how to best film & author the app, you have to work your way backwards from your goal.
Another example is a VR sales presentation for meetings or conferences. You have to ask yourself # 1. What aspects of my company/product lend themselves best to 3D 360 immersion?… and more importantly # 2. What feeling do I want the users to walk away from the app having felt? (ie this company is really technologically advanced or doing interesting things) Begin with describing the user feeling you’re trying to achieve, and that will help dictate how you approach making the app.
One final thought re: goals for the Proof of Concept app — how you showcase it affects if you achieve your goal.
For many clients, it’s best to invest in a higher-end standalone headset, such as an Oculus Go or Quest. This is great if you’re showing the VR PoC to a small handful of individuals. If your end goal is training 1,000 employees, you may want your Proof of Concept to be a mobile app, since that is how they’ll likely experience it. We even have clients like Zuo Modern whose main goal is to place the interactive 360 on tablets that can be used by the consumer at trade shows.
Let the end distribution model also dictate the Proof of Concept that you build and show to others.
2. Plan, Storyboard, and Overshoot — All with Decent Hardware
Many a VR Proof of Concept has underwhelmed do to bad 360 filming equipment or poor planning. InstaVR allows you to do a lot of amazing things — but you have to bring to our solution top notch the 360-degree images, videos, CGI and audio that make up the PoC app. To do so, it’s advisable to avoid purchasing lower end consumer grade hardware for the PoC in hopes that you’ll get more budget later.
For instance, if you film using a less sub-4K resolution camera, and show the results in an Oculus Go/Quest — you’re likely to get complaints the video is fuzzy or not entirely clear. Just like with personal computers, video equipment for 360/VR filming has dropped while power has increased.
Insta360, for example, released the ONE X last year, a powerful and mobile 360-degree camera that costs less than $600 USD. They also sell higher-end, more powerful cameras like the Insta360 Pro. You may want to start by purchasing the ONE X for your PoC, then graduate to the Pro once you get buy-in for your VR program. But any camera less than $500 will probably leave users underwhelmed at the image/film quality.
The next important thing to do prior to filming is planning the shoot. 360 filming is in some respects easier than traditional 2D filming, as you don’t have to do multiple takes to get coverage. BUT you do have to plan for having a whole 360-degree view appearing within the app. So it’s really important to consider camera placement (tip: often at eye level), surrounding action (tip: make sure you’ve secured the area so nothing distracting happens in the scene), and lighting (tip: daytime shooting is almost always best for VR, particularly since headsets do better with bright lights).
A storyboard will help you to make sure you film everything you intend to on shoot day — helping you with #1 above on this list, creating an app with a goal in mind. Even rudimentary drawings and descriptions help. Just “winging it” is not something you should for the Proof of Concept. For a good read on how to approach shoot day, I suggest our interview with client Kelly Peterson of Chili’s Restaurants.
Finally, overshoot. Meaning do the same take multiple times. Keep the camera going longer than you would. And film some extra scenes. 360/VR does use up a lot of data, but the cameras now hold more storage or use SD cards. Plus, new laptops have more and more hard drive space. So don’t worry too much about overfilming and cutting later.
3. Author in InstaVR for Maximum Impact (aka Add Interactivity)
Yes, you need InstaVR to publish the final app to whatever platform you choose (ie Oculus Go/Quest, iOS/Android, Vive, Web VR, etc). But InstaVR also allows for a lot of addition during the Authoring stage — be it adding Hotspots, adding questions, adding voiceover, allowing users to choose between scenes, and much more.
Just using InstaVR to link scenes and create a passive VR app is OK. But at the Proof of Concept stage, you want to “Wow!” and make your audience remember your work. And the best way to do that is interactivity.
Interactivity could be as simple as creating a main menu and letting the user choose which scene they want to go to next. Or it could be as complex as asking questions within the app and then tracking in real-time what their answers are using our Reports feature.
You’ll also want to show — post roll out of the Proof of Concept app — the Heatmaps showing where users’ focus was during scenes. For some, this data will be important (ie where in a VR training app were users looking when prompted to identify fire dangers?). For other use cases, it’s just a cool visual that will help you iterate on subsequent apps.
You’ll want to pull out all the stops in Authoring to make things as interesting as possible. Remember, besides authoring a meaningful app to showcase how an end viewer achieves a desired goal, you’re also showing the power of the technology. That first Proof of Concept app will likely never be used for any real purpose within a company, but it should showcase why an investment in VR is valuable.
VR becomes more and more mainstream in businesses everyday. Yet, we still see budget holders often asking their VR enthusiastic employees to create a Proof of Concept app first before rolling it out company-wide.
This PoC app is very important to get “right.” An underwhelming VR experience could sour execs on the whole technology. So follow the above steps, and reach out to use for feedback and suggestions, as we want to see you and VR impact as many employees as possible!