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Case Study: VR

Using immersive virtual reality to make the right decision

Mid-way through a major project for a fast-moving global food brand, we needed to help the client with the final design decision. Due to the complexity of internal sign off processes and the overall project requirements, it took some radical and proactive thinking on our part to help them decide between concepts – so we put them fully in the picture through the power of virtual reality.

The Challenge

Having already gone through the initial briefing and consultancy stages with Alrec, our client was feeling stuck – facing a choice between multiple design routes, configurations and pricing options. A broad range of stakeholder opinions, and the need to make sure business requirements were always being met, had begun to significantly delay the final decision. We had to be flexible enough to identify the issue and adapt the process to come up with a solution that would really help them focus.

The Solution

We created an immersive ‘Design Clinic’, built around a detailed and engaging virtual reality experience that enabled our client to explore the design routes as if they were standing in front of the finished build. We took the experience to their HQ – using a portable VR system, printed boards, 3D animations, transparent LCD screens displaying the client’s own campaigns in context and an on-site voting system, we created an environment in their office where they could truly experience the design and immediately vote on their preferred choice. This also meant we could get an office-wide opinion – including everyone in the process, from the delivery drivers to the CEO.

Presenting in virtual reality had several huge advantages:

  • Our client could experience the unit in 1:1 scale before the prototype stage
  • We could accurately show which products were visible to customers at which height from both from an adult’s and a child’s point of view
  • Our client was able to critique the designs as if they had been built, and appreciate the full visual impact and the usability
  • Staff were quickly deeply engaged in a fun yet informative decision-making process

The Result

We succeeded in helping our client experience the ‘big idea’ in an inspiring and exciting way – and helped them make the final decision with confidence, well before the significant cost of the prototype stage. We recognised the need to be flexible, and our investment in a technically-challenging virtual reality experience was quickly proven to be not just useful, but essential to fast-tracking the project’s progress. Our client has since also told us that this approach gave their people a greater sense of pride and ownership by giving them the opportunity to influence the project in a meaningful way.

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cost saving on prototyping design concepts

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