Vincit Talks

Driving Customer Experience with VR/AR Technology

Vincit Talks
September 25th 2020
Vincit Talks is a monthly tech meetup held in Southern California. It’s designed to bring directors down from their towers and tech professionals out from their cubicles. We feature speeches on a variety of topics ranging from marketing and business development to software engineering and design. Talks are brief, but informative. Check out vincittalks.com for upcoming events.
On our September 24th event, David Gull prvovides an overview on how businesses of all sizes can benefit from investing in VR/AR technologies.
Sean Richards: Thank you everybody who has joined so far. We're just going to give it one more minute to have more attendees that are joining us. We'll get started briefly.

Sean Richards: All right. Welcome, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. We've got quite a big group, and we've got some special guests. So, let's get going right at the top of the hour at 10:00 Pacific Time. We've got a special guest that I'd like to introduce, but first, just kind of reintroduce why we're all here and why you're joining us. Thank you for joining us at Vincit Talks. I'm Sean Richards, SVP of Strategy and Partnerships here at Vincit US. For those that are new, Vincit Talks is a monthly event to discuss various topics about what's happening in tech development. We talk about user experience design, business strategies.
Sean Richards: Our programming about virtual and onsite speaker series looks to provide some interesting talks from notable industry leaders such as our guest today, passionate experts, knowledgeable individuals in topics that we find interesting and our audience finds interesting to help engage you as a business owners, developers and designers and marketers alike. So, we'd like to just talk briefly and informatively and ask questions and answers throughout this session. So, there is a Q&A option within Zoom. If you have questions you'd like to ask during this session, feel free to send them over. We will answer them throughout the webinar as well as towards the end. We have really exciting topics today.
Sean Richards: So, personal favorite of mine and projects that I've enjoyed working on in the past is in virtual and augmented reality. We have a special guest speaker that is a professional in this space. We're really looking forward to the conversation we can have and understand the virtual and augmented reality space in today's sales and marketing strategy. So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce David Gull, he's the CEO and Founder of Outer Realm. It's a technology company based in Los Angeles. They help companies fully realize the projects and products virtually before they can go to market or after they've been built with immersive AR and VR technologies.
Sean Richards: He's an entrepreneur with a background in architecture and design and a deep expertise in the real estate sector. So, he'll speak about that today. He's definitely at the forefront of this technology. We're certainly thrilled to have him here and have this conversation. So, I don't want to make assumptions on your full history. So, David, if you'd like to give a little more background about you and maybe tell us a little bit more about how you got started in this space of virtual and augmented reality products and services.
David Gull: Awesome. Thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me. Happy to do that. So, it can be a long story or a short one and I'll try and get somewhere in the middle. But basically, I started out in with an education in architecture. While I was studying at Cornell University, I also had the opportunity to get mentorship from a gentleman named Professor Don Greenberg, and he was one of the founding fathers of computer graphics. If anyone is familiar with computer graphics, rendering techniques, he invented the Cornell Box, which really was a way to simulate how light bounces through virtual renderings. So, I had a chance to work with him and create a couple of off-curriculum courses and that's really where my interest began.
David Gull: But then working out of school at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the largest architecture firms in the world, what I saw along the way was that our customers and clients were really struggling to understand just 2D renderings and 2D floor plans. Even as architects, the design team, we were super reliant on 3D models and 3D technology as a way to understand what we were designing before it was built. So, when I had a chance to try one of the Oculus DK1 Headsets, which was one of the earliest prototypes of a headset that that in recent years, virtual reality has been around for a long time, but one of the more recent ones that actually was developed. I went to a job interview. I tried this headset, and I literally quit my job the next day.
David Gull: So, after having put it on, having experienced what it was like to sit in a digital office overlooking Bryant Park and in an office that hadn't yet been built, I knew that this would change the way that we showcase and talk about anything that was three-dimensional in the future. So, I had this kind of flash of inspiration, quit my job and joined this tech startup. This was Floored. I was there for two and a half years, but the reality was virtual reality wasn't really ready yet for primetime. So, we kind of set it aside. Two and a half years, three years later, that company was acquired by CBRE, the largest brokerage firm in the world. That acquisition coincided with the launch of the consumer versions of that prototype that I had tried.
David Gull: So, the timing was great then for me to jump ship and found Outer Realm, and really use these tools as a way to get past the limitations of technology today, which is really that we live and breathe in this three-dimensional world, but all of our communication mediums have been two-dimensional up until now. So, we finally have this opportunity to really help people see a three-dimensional version of the world in these communication mediums. So, that's what got me excited. That's what got me to where we are today.
Sean Richards: Yeah, thank you for that. I know every conversation you and I have in the past, we both tend to get giddy about the opportunity of what we can build. You start to think about virtual and augmented reality. For those that AR and VR is a little bit new to, what would you say is that kind of baseline definition of augmented virtual? I believe there's a new term you've been using as well. Can you explain that?
David Gull: Yeah, for sure. So, virtual reality will be anything that puts you into a headset that completely obscures the real world and shows you a digital simulation. So, that's virtual reality. Even if the content that you're looking at in the headset is a representation of something that's real elsewhere, like a digital photograph or a 360 photograph, it's still virtual reality, because you're no longer present in the real world that you just left when you put on that headset. So, that's virtual reality.
David Gull: Augmented reality adds digital information over top of the real world. So, that's taking either your cell phone or a pair of digital glasses, and then augmenting what you see with digital information. And then there's really two terms that we can add to that. One is just XR, which is a catch all for the entire industry of extended realities that captures VR and AR as subcategories. And then there's mixed reality, which is somewhere in between AR and VR. So, they're really just nuances, but mixed reality means instead of augmenting with a piece of text over an image, you might be actually simulating a full furniture layout for example, where it's somewhere in between this fully virtual and this fully real view.
Sean Richards: Perfect. Yeah, I think that helps us orient us as we get into this conversation. I hate calling it an emerging technology, because as you stated, it's been around for a while, but I believe from a consumer standpoint, it's really emerging to become more of a household experience now than it ever has. Now, at the same time, businesses are learning to ultimately adopt virtual reality as a sales tool. That's definitely a topic we want to dig in today is how can companies start to think about virtual and augmented reality as a sales strategy and a tool that they can leverage for growth.
Sean Richards: What I'd like to understand from you on this particular area is a sense of the timeline of AR and VR. I mean, just briefly, when did you observe its real breaking point and the growth and the innovation in the space? And then ultimately, where do you see the next innovation to actually be based on the experiences that you deal with day-to-day?
David Gull: Yeah, for sure. So, I'd say virtual reality in the form that we currently know it, which is something that's capable of essentially simulating a full environment at relatively high-quality visuals in a way that's not indistinguishable from reality, but pretty close, convincing. One of the thresholds that we defined as convincing was when some of our customers would take these physical controllers that you hold during the virtual reality experience and then try and set them down on a virtual countertop. So, that's pretty convincing when someone thinks that something's real when it doesn't exist. So, that virtual reality has been around for about three to four years.
David Gull: Even just this last week, Facebook announced the Oculus Quest 2. That's a headset that's fully mobile, meaning it's not tied to a computer, and it can run very high-quality visuals. So, we are now at least two generations from where that first consumer launch was at a point where it's a low price point. It's easy to use and I think capable of running pretty much any experience that you would want to run. So, virtual reality has come a long way in the last three years.
David Gull: On augmented reality, we have to split it into two categories. There's tablet-based or phone-based augmented reality. That's at the point where it's very useful and runs very well. So, you could place say, a digital sofa into a living room and see how it fits in your space. You can do that today in a very convincing way. The other part of augmented reality is this glasses-based solution, where you put on a pair of glasses and you see these digital objects overlaid. Those are at their first generation, where they work and they're convincing, but there's still a higher price point. They're a little bit cumbersome to use. So, we're not really at a place where I can see that as widespread use. It's more early adopters and experimental users on the augmented reality glasses side of things.
Sean Richards: Yeah, that's very interesting. I'm surprised you said it was setting a controller down on a table and not walking into a wall, which I think is a lot of people's big fear.
David Gull: Yeah, they've got pretty good what they called guardian systems at this point. So, it's a digital grid that pops up when you're about to run into a physical wall. So, the safety factor is there. That's pretty easy to set up at this point. It used to take a while to kind of calibrate. Now, it's very easy. So, yeah, and then in terms of you asked about what's coming next and what the future is, I think on virtual reality side, we're still not quite at the what I call the iPhone moment, where it's this tipping point where everyone is going to own and buy one.
David Gull: I think the Oculus Quest 2 will sell a lot of units. I think it'll be very convincing in the business world and then in the enthusiast world, but I still think that we're a generation or two away from an iPhone moment in virtual reality where there are enough uses that people start to get FOMO and want to own it, because all of their friends have it. I think we're still a little bit away from that.
David Gull: And then on the augmented reality side, we're still a couple years, maybe one or two years away from Facebook or Apple launching their glasses products. Those are likely to be more heads-up displays, where you can again display a text message or the weather in your glasses, but not necessarily have a super powerful digital experience.
David Gull: The end goal I think, ultimately, and this is really hard to pin down, let's call it 5- to 10- to 15-year horizon is where a pair of glasses that you would be proud to wear that look like normal glasses are capable of both high-quality virtual reality and high-quality augmented reality experiences all in one device. So, that's the ultimate goal and where everyone in the industry knows that it's going but has a hard time putting their finger on how long it will take.
Sean Richards: Yeah, certainly, maybe even the holy grail is contact lenses where you can't even tell you're wearing that device.
David Gull: Exactly.
Sean Richards: Yeah, that's interesting to say. It really is great to see so many large companies that are investing in these areas like Apple and Facebook. There's unlimited kind of R&D resources to make sure that this technology progresses. And then it's up to companies like yourself and ours and others like us to figure out the applications of this technology and make sure that we can drive the demand and the pricing for affordability.
Sean Richards: But I wanted to ask the question around the application of augmented and virtual reality. So, from my conversations with many people, a lot of people often associate VR with gaming, right? Gaming is a big space in general, but VR is really kind of immersed itself into that. But there's certainly more applications of VR, we know that, we've seen it. But what are you finding the most common today? What industries out there are you hoping to see more adoption of AR and VR that you're not quite seeing yet today?
David Gull: Yeah, for sure. So, splitting that into two categories. On the consumer side, I think the uses are really anything that you've done on your mobile device in the past has the potential to be exciting and fun on a virtual reality experience as well. So, things like a meditation app like Headspace or Calm, which had been so popular, just adding a visual component to that, environments that you can sit in that are soothing, is a great example of a non-gaming application on the consumer side.
David Gull: But then you also have just utilities like a virtual desktop, where instead of sitting down at your computer, you can sit down in your VR headset and have a number of different screens that have all of your email or your YouTube up. So, kind of divorcing yourself from having to have these physical monitors is a pretty exciting use case. Actually, that's applicable to both consumers and businesses, where imagine a trader desk which right now has six different monitors, just the expense alone of that hardware is kind of ridiculous, but also the inability to expand beyond six just because of space constraints. In virtual reality, you can set up a full 360 of all the screens and all the tickers that you might want.
David Gull: So, on the business side, what we're seeing is training is a very popular use case. So, a good example would be training of Walmart employees on how to stock shelves. So, you're hired. On day one, you put on a headset and you walk through a digital gamified training that teaches you how to do your job. In our case, the real estate side, what we're doing is we're helping folks visualize properties before they're built. So, it's a new development, it's a new construction building. People fundamentally lack the ability to imagine what that will look like without seeing exactly what is in front of them. So, we can put people into a virtual simulation and help them make their buying or leasing decision.
David Gull: Other use cases in the business world would be for example Zoom, which we're on right now, being translated into a digital meeting instead, where you can have multiple people dialing in as avatars sitting around a table or doing a panelist type of presentation where you have an audience of avatars and a panel of avatars presenting. We've actually done a number of podcasts in that format during this time.
David Gull: So, co-presence and conferencing in virtual reality is actually interesting, because right now, I'm talking to you and I can see your face, but I'm also presenting to a large group of people but I have no interaction from them, right? I have no visual of them. I can't see them raise their hand or ask a question like you would if you were in a co-presence room. So, virtual reality actually today does that very well.
Sean Richards: Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting you mentioned some of that experience with conferences. Just recently, I've found a few conferences that are going completely virtual. They are doing their best to represent an experience as if you're walking up to them experiencing a product let's say at a trade show booth and then choose to walk away and move to the next one completely virtually. The dynamic of that is quite interesting. It probably will take some time for adoption, but the fact that companies are out there.
Sean Richards: And then this time wherein now where everybody's remote working, it is a perfect opportunity to test these technologies out, bring them to market and certainly capitalize them across industries that in the past might not have adopted it. So, it's quite an interesting play out of that experience. Yeah. So, I want to make sure that we can take some questions too from the audience as you're going. We'll keep an eye out for those while I continue to ask my questions.
Sean Richards: But years ago, as we start to think about business and how they can integrate AR and VR, a lot of companies considered augmented reality and virtual reality to be part of more of an experimental marketing investment. They weren't quite nesting it into their planned expenses as an ongoing investment. Are you feeling like we're beyond that now? Companies, I mean, especially in the real estate sector... Are they just starting to make it part of their normal expense, or is it still kind of on that precipice of that?
David Gull: Yeah. So, the real estate industry is self-described as slow to adapt or adopt. But the folks that have, what they've done and what's important for anyone who's looking to adopt VR or AR is make sure that you're actually looking at it as a rigorous kind of test, right? So, with a number of folks, I'll just use one as an example, Convene, which is a conferencing center and also a workplace center, so kind of like a mix of we work at a meeting center. They used us as a pilot on one of their launches. On the backs of the success of that, have decided that they're using it on every new property that they open going forward. So, what used to be for that initial project, they pulled from their innovation budget and took a risk, right? At this point, every new project has a line item that says, "Outer Realm experience."
David Gull: I'd say that's true for a number of our customers, where we start with a pilot, they measure the success of it and then they add it to their budget going forward. It doesn't necessarily have to be an add to a budget. It could be replacing something that you've done in the past. So, I've interviewed customers where they say, "I used to spend anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 on print advertising." At this point, that budget has just been reallocated towards digital virtual reality advertising, right? So instead of spending on fancy paper and gold bindings for their books, they're reinvesting that in into digital advertising.
Sean Richards: That's really great to hear. Are you finding that the affordability of these companies taking on this as a marketing and sales support tool... Is the affordability really getting to a point where it's not just the big players in the market, but small to medium businesses can take advantage of this as well?
David Gull: Yeah, for sure. So, the first couple of years, on the creator side, on our side, it took a lot of effort and expense to get to a convincing virtual reality or augmented reality experience. You had to pass those costs on to the customer. But with tools like Unreal Engine, and Unity, which are big game engines that develop these types of experiences possible, getting better and better and spending more, investing more resources into making the development of this easier, it really does drive down the price over time. So, we're seeing the adoption for sure from some of the smaller players that previously had said, "This is outside of our budget."
Sean Richards: A question from one of our attendees, Joseph, is "How do you determine pricing for your experiences? Is it a service?"
David Gull: Yeah, so on the real estate side, we've been doing this for long enough that we priced by the square foot. That's because we have enough data about the effort that it takes us to do the digitization of those properties by project type. So, we price by the square foot. That's different for commercial office space. Actually, this virtual background is a commercial office space that's digital that we just finished for a customer. It's a different price for residential, different price for exteriors and that sort of thing. It is a service that creates the digital marketing and then it's a software that delivers it. So, we have a platform that delivers it. That's the software component. The service is the creation of the 3D assets.
Sean Richards: Great, got it. Appreciate that insight. When you're talking to your customers and you finish these products and you're instructing them essentially how to measure whether this is successful for them or not, what are you finding as the common way in which most companies you work with are measuring the success of this investment?
David Gull: Yeah, so I think it's really conversion in the case of our real estate customers. So, whether they're selling or leasing product. That's ultimately what you have to look at. It is challenging to A/B test the real world, especially real estate transactions. It's difficult to say, "This space would not have leased if we didn't have this digital content," but you can say, "This space did lease at least quickly." We believe based on just the meetings and the conversations that we had and the engagement that we had with the tenant on the digital content that this was a useful part of the process. So, it is a challenge to again A/B test the real world, but you have to look at it in terms of the success that you're seeing.
Sean Richards: Makes a lot of sense. I believe you have a demo you'd like to show our audience. I think we're about halfway through the hour and it'd be a great time for that. But before we jump into that, when thinking about the inclusion of AR and VR as a sales strategy, as a tool for salespeople as you're talking about, what are some of the successful examples you have delivered and were observed? You mentioned Convene, but are there some other maybe even non-real estate companies that you've also seen success with?
David Gull: Yeah. So, I can actually pair that with the visuals on the demo, but basically, the sales process, regardless of the industry, is very similar, which is that you have a sales funnel. You have to capture interest at the top of the funnel, which is generate interested leads. And then you have to meet with those leads and show them more information and answer their questions. And then you have to negotiate with them to close the deal, right? So regardless of the industry, that's the process. Even if that's all happening online through a website where someone's entering a credit card, you're still walking them through that decision-making process. So, we just help you do that in a better way by providing better content.
David Gull: When I say better content, it's pretty well-researched for example that a downloadable PDF is the least preferred format by today's standards. A video fly-through or an interactive tour is the most preferred. That's just done based on industry surveys. So, I kind of joke when I'm talking to our real estate customers that the least preferred format is the most used in the real estate industry. Any website you go to is going to have a downloadable PDF for commercial real estate. So, we're really just helping them adapt to the times.
David Gull: Of course, the consumer industry moves more quickly. We're all on our cell phones all day long. We see 4,000 to 6,000 images a day I'd say on average. If anyone pulls out their cell phone and looks at their screen time, that they're probably on it four to six hours a day. So, to have formats and content that really thrive in that ecosystem is what we help people do.
Sean Richards: Makes a lot of sense. I mean, the more I think about it as in any technology or any marketing, convenience and then confidence are the two really important critical factors in understanding someone who invest in a virtual experience. The confidence that it represents true to life reality of what that product or that service could be I imagine is an extremely important part of your business.
David Gull: Yeah, absolutely. So, it's definitely about certainty. I think that's a great word or uncertainty, right? So, having a virtual representation of something that shows you exactly what it's going to look like gives you certainty and therefore removes doubt, which lets you move forward with the process, the sales process.
Sean Richards: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. We do have a couple more questions, but what I'd like to do is jump into see some of the actual experiences. I want to make sure that the audience gets an opportunity to see everything we're talking about. And then when we get back, I'll run a couple questions by you, and we'll take some more Q&A from the audience.
David Gull: Okay, great. Let me tee up my screen and just let me know when you can see it.
Sean Richards: Yup.
David Gull: All right. Great. Yeah, so, this will be a mix of trying to explain the technology and what's happening there and then also the use case simultaneously. So, I'll breeze through these. So, we can circle back to them if anyone has any questions, but this is an example that we just discussed, which is Convene. So, convene rents meeting space like the one that we're about to walk into, and then they also rent office space. So, at any new opening of our property, they have this challenge that is they want people to move into the space and to start running events, but they don't have a space that they can show it to them. So, this is a digital walkthrough. Everything that you see here is virtual. It shows someone exactly what the space will look like when it's done.
David Gull: In this case, I'm doing a self-guided tour, but we also give folks outside the headset, the ability to control the experience inside the headset. So, on the left-hand side, here, you see a user interface that treats it like a three-dimensional PowerPoint and will let a host jump people from room to room, space to space, and give them a guided curated tour. So, that's an example of the real estate industry. I think in terms of use cases, another fun one is really any future technology that doesn't exist yet. So, this is a space station that's meant to be the first space station for space tourism. This is in the early stages.
David Gull: So, this virtual reality experience lets you understand what a consumer space station might look like. As you can imagine, there aren't really any comps for this in the real world. So, it's not like you can say, "Hey, it's like this hotel," because it's a space station. So, to give people an example of exactly what it would be like to occupy that capsule in space is a great way to do two things.
David Gull: The first was that they use this for fundraising, so, this is to showcase to potential investors, and then to help get people to put down a deposit to be one of the space tourists. So, you can see the fun factor here is you're moving around with zero gravity, which is something that you can't really simulate in any other way. You're able to interact with objects and see what they would look like in the space station and then also in zero gravity.
David Gull: So, another fun example of this is Boom Supersonic, which is also an early stage startup and using this for fundraising as well. So, two different formats here. On the left, augmented reality where anyone on their cell phone can place a digital model of the airplane onto a surface in their home and see exactly what that plane will look like when it's built. And then a headset-based experience, which lets you go inside and see what the seat layout will look like and what the passenger experience will look like. That looks like this. So, when you're at a trade show or meeting with Boom in their office, they can put you into this headset. You can experience the interior of the plane, see what the future of travel looks like.
David Gull: You can see these seats are clearly nicer than anything else you're currently traveling on today. And then again, a level of interactivity that really makes it fun and makes it real. So, that instead of feeling virtual, it starts to feel real immediately. This is again to help sell to existing airliners. So, showcase this to an executive at an airline company that's considering putting in a pre-order for this aircraft or to showcase to a potential investor and say, "Hey, here's what we're building. It's more real than you think it is, because here it is and come on board." So those are just three examples of different use cases and different formats for virtual and augmented reality.
Sean Richards: Those are really great examples. The space station version just really underscores this idea that it gives us an opportunity to demonstrate things that we otherwise could not do in today's world without the help of virtual technologies. The buyer confidence when it comes to products and services can be reinforced very well through this technology from a sales strategy perspective.
David Gull: Yeah, and just to go deeper on that, that company was considering building what would be called a ground model, which is a mock-up of that capsule. Just looking at the price delta on that, let's just say, I'll value that digital experience at around $50,000 to create versus building out a ground model, which would be about a million dollars. So, you can see more than 10X difference in price. The same for Boom Supersonic, they had an individual seat priced to be manufactured. The cost to do so was around $500,000. We built that virtual reality experience again for a 10th of that price.
David Gull: And then add to that the benefit that when it's digital, you can iterate on it. So, they have gone through more than five iterations of that digital seat with us. Whereas if you built that physically and then you wanted to iterate on it, it's going to cost the same amount every time that you do it. So, massive savings on iteration and improving your design over time. I mean, it's a 10-year horizon to develop that aircraft. So, you don't want to have to reinvent it every time physically.
Sean Richards: Yeah, that's quite an interesting example and appreciate the insight into kind of the cost perspective as well. I think a lot of the attendees are very interested in that. I do have a couple questions, but before we get to those, I'd like to talk about the production of VR and AR as a solution. What does it take to build these things? How do you on the creator side build them? But then how do you embed that into an existing experience like a website or a mobile app? So, a few of the questions that I'd like to discuss is what kind of time does it take to produce a VR product on average? So, take one of the ones that you demonstrated as an example. How long does that take?
David Gull: Yup. So, a digital space typically takes anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to create. So, that really does depend on the scope and scale. But for example, Boom Supersonic, which we just showed, the first iteration of that was just a four-week process to create. That's important, because again if they had gone with the route of building out a physical model, it probably would have been a six-month process. Not only would it have taken that long, but they actually had a VIP event coming up in one month. So, they would not have had any experience for their VIP event. That VIP event was where they raised their series A.
David Gull: So, to have this digital experience and actually successfully raised that series based on having it is transformational for a company like that. So, the timing, yeah, 4 to 12 weeks for a typical project. What goes into it, you have to build the digital environment out. So, there's a 3D modeling expertise that any company that you work with has to have. Again, the virtual background that I'm sitting in front of here, everything there is digital. So, what you do is you start with creating the geometry, you add in the materials, and then you add in the lighting. So, it's an iterative process to get to the final product. And then on top of that, you have the development work that's typically around the interactions.
David Gull: So, what you want a customer to experience when they're in the headset, whether it's user interface that they have to interact with or buttons they have to push or if they're just walking around. So, typically, you would separate that into what we call sprint. You might have the digital background first, and then you start to layer in this experiential element to it. Sean, when you and I've worked together in the past, what we do is we'll deliver versions of it and get feedback along the way. So, that when we get to the final product, you've already given us all of your comments on the visuals. Now we're just iterating on the experience of it for example. So, that's typically the last thing that you do.
David Gull: And then in terms of delivery, the headset-based experiences are delivered through either Oculus home or SteamVR home. And then we also typically produce a web-based version of that experience that can be more broadly consumed by people that don't have a headset. That's where partnering with someone like Vincit to embed that into a website or to build it around digital experience is super valuable and making sure that it's seamlessly integrated with the rest of the product.
Sean Richards: Yeah, that's certainly good insight into the process here. When we think about the right development partners for integration just for some of our more technical audience members, what are some of the right development partner attributes? What kind of technical skills and user experience design skills do you often require to make sure this is delivered? Is it brand new technologies? Is it common coding practices? What are you seeing?
David Gull: For sure. So, yeah, and let me just share my screen again, because I think that this is a helpful visual as well. Yeah, this particular one was not done in partnership with you guys, but it's certainly a good example. So, the Boom Supersonic experience that we created in a headset, they also wanted to have an experience on their website. So, this is their website. XB-1 is their demonstrator aircraft that they're rolling out in the next couple of weeks. They wanted to embed this into the website.
David Gull: So, XB-1 is this particular page, they have the rollout. This is all something that a web developer creates and not ourselves. So, we don't create any of this interaction. When you click on it, basically, what it's going to do is it's going to load up a 3D model hopefully. It may take a little longer than we have here on the screen. And then it also relates it to a number of images that are uploaded and updated. As you can see, the last update was made just recently. So, to interact with this 3D model and then also see updates that are made for the website, that's more complex development work that partnering with someone like you guys would be really valuable.
Sean Richards: Yeah, thank you for that. I also want to stress too that while we think about virtual reality and augmented reality, it extends beyond the tech and innovation world or the new product to market innovation world. There's examples of this that we can see in today's market where someone has as simple as a product. Maybe it's a handheld product, a bicycle or a phone and can leverage technologies like augmented reality to actually get a better sense of scale size and whether it might fit, as you mentioned earlier in the talks about whether it fits in their home or fits in the space that they're looking to put that product.
Sean Richards: When we talk about those development skills, do you believe that the majority of the developers out there and the programmers that jumping into this industry, programming for this kind of technology... Is that a large barrier to entry, or is this something that someone with some skills in technology, knowledge could get into?
David Gull: Yes, I think anyone with these skills can certainly get into it. So, now that this is loaded, you can see, and I can talk about it a little more intelligently. So, this 3D experience that you see here that I can interact with, this is just embedded with what's called an iframe. That's an HTML toolkit. And then it actually talks to the page using an API that lets it load. So, when I'm looking at the center inlet here or the wings, it's actually loading images that are relevant to that 3D view outside of the iframe. So, that's an integration that certainly wouldn't be possible with a typical web builder, an off-the-shelf web builder, but then someone like yourselves would be more than capable of doing.
David Gull: It makes for a really seamless integrated experience to have this mix of 3D, which is what captures someone's attention and keeps them on your site longer or engages them more in your product, but then have it paired with this 2D information that's still really valuable and tells a bit more of the story. So, you always want to be thinking the 3D component is just a part of it. You also want to be telling a story that's still ultimately the most important part is that you explain something about your product or whatever you're trying to showcase.
David Gull: So, to use the example that you just mentioned like one with a consumer product like a bicycle example, you might have a website where you go to the product listing. You browse some 2D images of a bicycle, and then you have a button that says, "View in 3D." That's going to pop open an augmented reality window. It's going to prompt you to scan the room around you and find the floor. And then it's going to drop a full-scale version of that bicycle on the floor right in front of you.
David Gull: So, you can now go from this kind of abstract to experience to actually standing in front of the bike as if you were in that store. Again, that is if you were in a real bike store, you might only have one version of that bike with a black frame for example. But if it's digital, you can now start to toggle through all the different frame colors that are available. That happens instantly, but it's still sitting there in front of you as if it really exists. So, that's kind of the power of having this versus just retail experience for example.
Sean Richards: Absolutely. Great point. I want to take a couple of questions from the audience if you're good. We've got a few here. One that I think is really interesting and maybe you can answer quickly, but what's an example of a wrong way you've seen VR and AR used in business?
David Gull: So, I think actually the best example that comes to mind is Google Cardboard. So, early on, there was this innovation that was to put Your cell phone into a cardboard viewer and have a virtual reality experience. it seemed like a great idea, a great way to expose more and more people to the technology. But in effect, I think it actually set the industry back a few years because it gave people the worst possible version of the technology. So, it kind of cheapened the experience and maybe turned some people off, right? So, I think that's a good example of it gone wrong.
David Gull: I think another good example would just be and we were totally guilty of this, which is putting people into a headset and then just hoping that they're going to have a good experience. It's really something whether you have a host like we do now where someone outside the headset actually controls the experience of someone inside the headset or you don't. If you don't, then you have to give them a really thorough kind of tutorial and help them be introduced to the user experience. So, yeah, I think not just hoping that people have a good experience, but actually making sure that they do.
Sean Richards: Yeah, certainly. The customer experience mindset when it comes to your strategy on implementing AR and VR through your business. I personally have had experience with, and I can speak volumes to how important that is. Before you even decide that they the AR and VR experience is the right one, you ultimately need to understand how the consumer understands it and experiences it. So, definitely believe that.
Sean Richards: Along that questioning, another question that we have from an attendee is, "Can virtual reality technology create even more isolation than what social media does? If so, are their kinds of support systems as well for someone to not be fully consumed by the technology?" So, is it easy to get immersed into it? Does it create a sense of isolationism? But are there things that are happening? We always heard about original Oculus is starting to make people sick or it just kind of shutting people off from the world. Is there advances in that as it relates to AR and VR?
David Gull: Yeah, for sure. So, I think the two advances there are... The nausea of problem is really pretty much gone. That was initially there, because of lower frame rates and lower quality experiences. That means that when I turn my head in the real world and then the digital screen turns my head a second later, that lag between what my eyes are telling me is happening and what my inner ear is telling me is happening is what causes nausea. That's for the most part gone. There's probably some super susceptible people out there that are still experiencing that. And then the second part is multi-user engagement. So, I think that in terms of isolation, we've come a long way in the ease of creating experiences that allow multiple people to enter the same experience.
David Gull: I think a fun recent example of that would be Burning Man, where it was canceled this year, but instead, people kind of rallied together and created a digital version of that. I popped in and out of it. At any given time, there were 80 to 100 people interacting in that experience. So, it really does have the potential to bring people together instead of isolate into a headset and give them a chance to connect with people that they otherwise wouldn't have connected with. I think a good parody would be going back to the early days of AOL Instant Messenger, where when I went off to college, I was able to stay in touch with my friends from high school much more directly than I probably otherwise would have if we were just dialing each other.
Sean Richards: Makes a lot of sense. Really great points during the evolution of not just the equipment and the technology that drives it, but the really advancing how people experience it. Not just making it an individual's experience, making it a community experience is I think a really important topic to touch on. I want to ask the question from the audience around analytics pipeline and just ultimately, how you measure it. We touched a little bit on it earlier, but do you have the ability to actually tag activities and behaviors within the experience, so that a marketer and a salesperson can actually learn from what they're looking at visually in the experience then use that as sales information as they come out of the experience?
David Gull: Yes. So, I mean, there are definitely companies that are solely focused on this. How do you help developers integrate things like advertising and user experience? So, one that comes to mind that I follow on social media a lot is ad mixed. Basically, they make it a drag and drop for you to put digital banners into the experience. As a part of them then charging people to display that information, they're tracking exactly what you're looking at and how long you're spending looking at it. So, it's definitely possible and it really just comes down to how does it fit into your budget.
David Gull: We don't do it in our real estate experiences, because all of them are hosted by a salesperson. So, you're literally seeing what the person is seeing and you're intuiting what they're spending more time looking at. You're actually having a real time conversation with them.
Sean Richards: Yeah, absolutely. I got two more questions for you. One is what advice you have for business owners, marketers, sales support directors to just get started? What are the first couple steps that they should consider when thinking about this?
David Gull: Yeah, I think the easiest one is just take a chance. What that really means is identifying probably the smallest possible experiment that you can do and try it. So, you are a great advocate of that in previous projects that we worked on together, which is just testing and trying it out. So, I guess I'll give an example from a project that we've already talked about a couple of times. Before Boom Supersonic built out the full interior experience for their VIP launch, all we did was we took their 3D engineering model and we put it into a VR headset as a totally white box, untextured, no visual quality experience.
David Gull: The goal of that was how quickly and cheaply can we answer the question, "Will it be interesting to stand inside of a virtual reality airplane?" Right? So, as soon as the internal team put on the headset and saw it, the answer was yes. So, we were able to just answer that very, very quickly. And then the next step of that was, "How effective is this in communicating our vision to airline executives?" We answered that question at that event when the executives of Japan Airlines came out of the headset, said, "That was the coolest thing I've ever done," and then signed a letter of intent the next month for that project.
David Gull: So, after that, it was, "Okay, what's the next question we need to answer? Can this help our test pilot actually design the layout of the cockpit?" So, we did a very quick prototype of that. So, I guess, the short answer is just test and prototype at the lowest possible cost and know what question you're trying to answer as you do that.
Sean Richards: That's a great answer, just getting your feet wet. There's kind of a layered effect from a financial investment standpoint that you can actually pursue. So, you can create an MVP version and test it out. Get user experience feedback and then iterate from there, which is a development model that we certainly adhere to. It's great to hear that in the virtual reality kind of creator space. That's a great approach as well. One last question for you, I know we've got about five minutes left. What is your dream project? What's something that has been on your mind, you haven't been able to do yet? Maybe it's the industry or maybe it's just a product, but what is the dream project for you in this space?
David Gull: Yeah. So, harking back to what our goal and our mission is, it's to help people understand things before they're built and then therefore make them possible. So, I would say my dream project as an avid boater would be to work on a super yacht and help someone imagine what a $200-million yacht would look like before they build it. For whatever reason, I can't get ahold of the right folks at the companies that build and design super yachts. So, if anyone listening knows someone, let me know.
Sean Richards: That sounds really exciting. I'll keep my ears open and eyes open for someone I can send your way.
David Gull: Beautiful.
Sean Richards: So, yeah, we've got a few more questions. We're just running out of time. So, I'll make sure to capture these questions and we'll be sure to get these answers the individuals that have asked them after this through our meetup page. But in general, I'd love to thank you, David, for your time and really talking on this topic. It's a passion project I think for a lot of people, but the reality is it's becoming a mainstream business opportunity for company and for many others that are in your space. As we lean further into these cutting-edge technologies and sales solutions, as they become more mainstream, so we're kind of looking forward to continuing partnering with Outer Realm and delivering best-in-class experiences.
Sean Richards: So, anybody watching today if you're curious of a virtual reality experience, can help your business and sales and marketing, feel free to reach out to us here at Vincit through vincit.com. David and I and our team will be happy to consult with you on a solution to engage your customers. We'll take a phone call and talk through some opportunities. So, reach out. As David mentioned, just try something. I believe you'll see some great experiences and great results from that investment.
Sean Richards: As a kind of a wrapping reminder, we do host these monthly talks as a company, VincitTalks.com. Our goal is to support our community, our partners such as David and Outer Realm, and our clients to provide the highest quality software and development design solutions. We also include engaging with like amazing talent of development and design business professionals. We're always looking to make sure that we can get the voice of our customers and our audiences and our employees here to talk about really interesting topics in sessions like this.
Sean Richards: Our next session is going to be in October. It's with Andrew Cullen, who's the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Yamaha Power Sports, as he discusses their successful marketing strategy and the tools that they use to support their expansive dealership network. So, be sure to check that out and more information out on VincitTalks.com. Follow us on our social channels to get those regular updates from our team. If you or anyone you know would like to get involved in the future topics and suggestions of speakers, feel free to reach out to our email contacts on Vincit Talks. But David, thank you so much for the conversation today and the answers. I certainly look forward to working with you more on these projects going forward.
David Gull: Thanks for having me, Sean. Really appreciate it. Always love the topic, love the conversation. So, thank you.
Sean Richards: Awesome. Thanks to our audience members. We'll see you next time.

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