By: Penny Sitler, Marketing Manager at Draper, Inc.
Like most marketers in the AV industry, I’ve enjoyed working with rAVe for many years. They are incredibly ambitious to provide thorough coverage of a convention floor—some of it sponsored, some of it editorial. They send energetic young reporters to take quick product videos and photos, and they bring seasoned reporters like Sara Abrons and, of course, Gary Kayye, to the scene as well.
When Gary invited us to help pilot a virtual reality booth tour with rAVe at InfoComm 2018, we were flattered. I looked at it as a big step up from the regular tours. And it was the perfect time for us to do something special — our booth was twice the size of our 2017 exhibit, with a lot of exciting new products and partner projects with NEC, Sony, Leyard Planar, D3, Absen, and more. And for the first time, we were sharing our space with our Swedish subsidiaries Evoko and SMS. We had a lot of news!
What I didn’t realize then was that the VR tour would be more than a little something special. It turned into a whole new game.
First, the recording had to happen outside show hours. With everything up and running in our booth. Kevin Barlow, our business development director, and I coordinated that process one evening—and it was a bit more complicated than usual because much of the equipment in our booth was only ours on loan. And Rick Castro, leader of the US Evoko sales team, had to come back to fire up the Evoko meeting room products.
Then, the recording process took much more time. We toured the booth thoroughly with Joel Rollins and Jacob Blount (two of their VR shooters), picking the key vantage points where they would take 360 degree images.
We had to plan out our product intro videos to line up with those vantage points, so there would be at least one video to go with each point.
And then, we had to get out of the way! No on-camera talent needed. Joel and Jacob worked quite a long time after Kevin and I left that evening.
But that was only the beginning. After the show, there was much more work to do. The rAVe team worked, checked in with us, and worked some more. We got a pilot — very exciting — but it wasn’t launch time yet. I got some VR glasses and learned to use them.
And then there were the finishing touches. Business cards for the welcome desk. Chats with Gary about how to promote it. Fun and excitement!
Results: I would still say that a VR tour is no replacement for visiting with us at the show. For one thing, you can’t ask questions! But if you missed the show, it’s the best way to catch up. The cool thing about the rAVe VR tours is that they have designed the process to be viewable with any kind of VR glasses — or with none at all. So you can just pull it up on your phone or monitor and use your pointer or touch to wander around, select the videos, read the business cards, and more. Or you can immerse yourself by using the goggles of your choice. If you haven’t tried a VR headset yet, this is a good excuse to check them out. This approach makes all kinds of sense, but it’s innovative — not at all normal!
I understand that the rAVe team has been polishing this whole process since piloting it with us, so it will never happen quite this way again. It was fun to ride along on the very first trip!
So, whether you visited us at InfoComm or not, here’s your chance to try out our VR tour. Try it on your phone, on your desktop, with and without VR glasses. And if you have questions about what you see in our booth, ask us!
See the tour here.