Business presentations are a dime a dozen, but what if you could give your presentation in a whole new way? With a VR walk through business presentation, you can!

fme AG is always checking in which way a new technology can help our customers and the metaverse is a thing to check. So, we were curious what kind of business use cases can be realized and one of the first things we tried out was to create a self-experiencing walk-through business presentation - our fme Metaverse Expo.

We used all the material - the background checks, market analysis and research we did - and filled a virtual reality environment with these information. Now we use this VR exhibition to talk to customers and partners, offering the possibility to experience this particular use case. The following paragraphs will let you participate at our thoughts and our journey to create our fme Expo.

Why did we choose a business presentation as first use case?

One of the most important dimensions in all business realities is the way you present yourself to the customer and how you can interact with them. The metaverse adds an additional dimension to this and opens a new channel to reach out and interact with your customers. We chose the business presentation as first use case because the following aspects could be checked:

  • Is the metaverse a suitable place to represent your company?
  • Can the metaverse really be used to get in touch with your customers?
  • Is the interaction different from other channels and does it offer any added value?
  • How complicated is the content creation?
  • Can a virtual reality use case be integrated into the everyday business?
  • How much effort does it mean to create something like this in the metaverse?
  • How complicated is it to find a technical set up and do the first steps within the metaverse?

After deciding on the use case to answer the questions above we started with the preparation.

Which platforms and technological set up did we use?

There are a lot of different devices granting access to VR spaces as well as a lot of platforms and VR applications that offer the possibility to create and customize VR rooms or worlds.

On the hardware side we decided to use the consumer version of the Meta Quest 2 as it is untethered, easy to set up and directly came with a wide variety of available apps within their own store as well as the app lab.

Afterwards we checked out a lot of different VR apps like Arthur, Engage, VR Chat, etc. In the end we use Spatial (https://www.spatial.io/) as this suited our need the best. It is easy to set up new environments and upload content or integrate it via OneDrive for example. It also offers a VR as well as a non-VR-browser access.

Conclusion on hardware and software

From today’s perspective I would go with spatial again, although there are some flaws when it comes to the room-set-up experience.

From a hardware perspective the Meta Quest 2 was fine and with the switch to the Meta-account you do not have the hassle with facebook any longer, but for future use cases we will always check if the Pico 4 Enterprise (or the current Pico neo 3 pro) is not the better choice. In opposition to Meta, Pico has a better enterprise background and is capable of delivering services an enterprise need.

Which content did we use?

As we wanted to build up the use case quickly and check what can be achieved with everyday business utilities, we did not create any special 3D content. We only used pictures, logos, texts, and presentations we already had as well as public multimedia content. The only thing we solely created for the VR experience was a floor plan - yes, a floor plan for a presentation. After having set up the environment it became obvious that a typical Power Point agenda does not help at all to orient within the expo. So instead of creating an agenda we created a floor plan and divided it into different sections. Afterwards we filled the sections with the content fitting to the topic.

Conclusion on content

Creating a gathering the content for the VR experience was not different from what you do if you create a sophisticated business presentation slide deck. The difference was that you spent more thoughts on nailing the information down to the point as well as how to group and present the information. Instead of thinking 2D you need to think 3D and preparing everything felt more like creating a museum rather than creating a boring slide deck.

But my major take away is that preparing this VR environment was much more fun and felt way more encouraging than any slide deck I have ever created. Walking through a huge hall and positioning slides as if they were artwork was a great experience - even though it takes more time.

First experiences with the new VR exhibition

So far, the results and the experience we made are very positive and realizing this use case was - and still is - worth the time. Especially as we created something persistent and still use the VR environment and develop it further.

On our journey we also learned a lot about the obstacles of these kind of presentations. Because there is not yet so much experience with VR and VR business presentations in particular, one encounters skepticism at the beginning, and you need to either convince people to try it out or find curious enthusiasts. Secondly the additional device you need to access the VR is a hurdle. Not everyone has a VR headset so far and the current devices are getting better with every generation but still feel a little bit cumbersome. Alternatively, People can participate via their browser which worked very well but this is more like a browser game, and you do not have the same immersive experience.

We also found out that interacting with your clients in VR is completely different from a MS Teams meeting for example. Although everything is virtual you have the feeling of presence. You see how your audience moves, where they are looking at and if they are listening or not. One day somebody teleported himself directly in front of me and I literally jumped back (in VR as well as in the physical world) because it was very close, and it felt like bumping into somebody.

Spatial offers the additional benefit of uploading a photo of your face to your avatar - so the customer sees your real face and not only a generated avatar face. In addition, there are features like spatial audio - hearing people louder if they are close to you and softer if they are further away - granting you a real feeling of being at a real exhibition.

Interaction is also different. Everybody knows emojis and uses them, but in VR you do not only see an emoji-picture, but you see how your audience does a happy dance, clap their hands or do a wave. This creates a different atmosphere.

Overall conclusion

I can only recommend trying out use cases like this as they help to get a different point of view and offer completely new ways to interact with customers, partners, and employees. The feeling of being together in a virtual room opens a completely new additional interaction channel that is worth to be opened.

Looking at the questions from the beginning, I would give the following answers:

  • Is the metaverse a suitable place to represent your company?
    Yes, it is definitely.
  • Can the metaverse really be used to get in touch with your customers?
    Yes, in totally different way that is worth to be integrated into business models.
  • Is the interaction different from other channels and does it offer any added value?
    A definite yes as well, if you can not meet the person in the real world, I would always prefer VR rather than a normal web meeting.
  • How complicated is the content creation?
    Not complicated at all, as we used only assets that were available already and combined them with only a small amount of VR-only content.
  • Can a virtual reality use case be integrate into the everyday business?
    Yes it can. It takes some more time to set up an environment as this, so I would not use it for a status report, but for information with a medium life cycle an integration is worth the time.
  • How much effort does it mean to create something like this in the metaverse?
    • 5 days of research and trying out the different tools (one time effort)
    • 2 days of content collection and updating
    • 3-5 days to set up the whole environment until it was “perfect” including testing with a pilot group
  • How complicated is it to find a technical set up and do the first steps within the metaverse?
    Not complicated at all, as we used only services that were already available. Biggest hurdle was getting and setting up the hardware.

If you are curious and want to experience it on your own, please just contact me and we will set up a live demo. Thanks for reading and looking forward to hear from you.

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

 

P.S.: If you are interested to hear more about the Metaverse and if it is relevant for business, you are also invited to participate in our german-speaking live webinar on November 30th. fme Business Talk | »Metaverse – Hype or Business Relevance?« (language: german)

 

Tags: Digital Transformation, Business Consulting