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Empowering non-experts to create interactive 3D VR experiences

A major challenge for customer facing executives is effective product demonstrations and knowledge sharing. Over the years, executives have used various methods ranging from displaying physical prototypes at dealers and trade shows to carrying multimedia on laptops for face-to-face meetings. The current pandemic travel restrictions have made this options nearly impossible. Executives have no option but to conduct product demonstrations over screen sharing apps like Teams, Zoom, and Webex. Manufacturers of standard product lines can get away with digital catalogs containing high-resolution images and videos, but this approach cannot easily convey nuances and complex details of a product. Bespoke machine manufacturers are faced with even greater challenges. Understanding customer requirements without face to face meetings,  explaining details using 2D drawings or visualizing 3D models on flat screens, at low bandwidth while working from home, across language and cultural barriers is exhausting.

Virtual reality sounds like the right, even obvious, solution. It is a phenomenal technology but it comes with challenges. What we see all around us are truly amazing lifelike experiences of sitting in a luxury car or walking through a museum, and villa on a beach. These experiences require studio expertise, weeks to build, and come with a price tag that can easily run into tens of thousand of dollars. If your requirements are to achieve a realistic physical rendering then you probably have to find a virtual reality studio with expertise in Unity, or perhaps you have an in-house production team that can create a bespoke product experience.

In most cases, you are probably looking for a self-service, efficient, and cost-effective virtual reality solution that is still orders of magnitude more effective than using images and videos. In addition you may also want the ability to jump into VR with your customers to show off some cool features, or let your customer explore the product features interactively with your assistance. You want to empower your team to build, publish and manage your VR portfolio.

At iQ3 we were faced with just that challenge during COVID lockdowns in 2020. We were tasked to provide a solution where a non-expert could take a complex product model and turn it into a collaborative VR experience to showcase at an industry expo. The first part of the challenge is importing the 3D CAD into a VR platform with its design intent and not just one bug lump of 3D data. Having the design intent enables the author of the experience to create animations and highlight details in the product with ease. The second challenge is the sheer amount of data in the CAD files that can clog up a VR system. Figuring out how to optimize the model is an art requiring significant experience and expertise. Performance of VR systems is sensitive to model size and complexity. Small changes in the frame rate inside the VR headset can make a user nauseous. Third is creating the background environment in which to place the product. This is easy in a 2D image, but a full 360 experience requires stitching and studio expertise. Finally, how do you deploy or publish your experience to make it easily accessible to your customers, prospects or anyone globally? Most VR experiences are large files and apps that have to be downloaded and shared to different locations.

Empowering non-experts to create interactive 3D VR experiences
A Tractor Model in VR

We have addressed these challenges in the iQ3 VR collaborative platform which provides an integrated, self-service solution for any non-expert to create powerful VR experiences in minutes. We created the tractor experience in a few minutes and published the experience as a weblink accessible to anyone. The link can also be embedded in your website, training portals, and promotional materials. A user simply has to click on a link to instantly enter the 3D experience with a VR headset or simply navigate using the mobile, tablet or PC. It’s also easy to display the experience in conference rooms on large screens. Collaboration is built-in so anyone sharing the link can join the same 3D experience with friends, teams, customers, etc. in seconds. No downloads or nothing to install! 

Try it yourself. Contact our team to learn more about how you can empower your team to build powerful, shareable 3D experiences in minutes. 

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