ABOUT: It started as a university project but ended up being a VR real estate company. check out our interview with Thomas Blunden and Harry Kendall from UK company Proper-view.
How did you guys get into VR?
– Myself and Harry both went to university together and it’s where we actually met studying a computer games art course. For our final project hand in we each made small interior archviz environments and had access to an old oculus unit to showcase at our degree show. It was here that we both fell in love with virtual reality. I believe we were actually the first to use VR tech in a degree show ever in the University’s history, which sounds pretty cool when you say it out loud! This degree show subsequently was the birth of Proper-view but little did we know it would be taken any further than a make believe company for show purposes.
What can I, as a customer, expect in terms of communication and collaboration when working wit you?
– We’re both extremely driven individuals, theres something about having birthed an idea into a feasible career yourselves that motivates you like nothing else will. Our passion comes straight from the beginning of Uni really, so being able to carry over skills from that course and build on them makes us a strong team. As a couple of (kind of) young chaps we’re more or less attached to either a phone or computer at all times so I’d consider communication to be a very strong attribute of ours. I personally believe good communication is a fundamental foundation of our company, we want to build a relationship with our clients… It’s not always about doing the work, throwing it at someone and never speaking to them again. We pride ourselves on our friendly, approachable nature and like to think we make it a fun process for everyone involved throughout and beyond the project.
Can your company handle campaign volume production?
– Absolutely. We may be a two man team, but with good time management and a well divided task list there’s nothing we can’t get done!
How would you describe your company culture?
– I think its fair to say that our general culture revolves around being fresh and creative, sharing a fairly new technology with those who are yet to experience it gives us the biggest buzz.
What area, geographically speaking, are you available to work in?
– We’re based in Milton Keynes in the UK, however, due to our area of expertise and glorious tech like Skype, FaceTime etc… There’s really no limit to where we are able to work as its pretty much all possible remotely while maintaining great communication.
What is your company’s core expertise?
– Our core service is VR pre-visualisation. Utilising the vast range of skills we picked up through our computer games degree we apply the same techniques you would see in the games industry pipeline here, with architectural visualisations. This allows for full, realtime rendering with the possibility of extras like interactive content and is extremely flexible to edit at any time.
Do you offer revisions of completed work?
– We don’t consider it completed work unless the client is completely happy themselves. It’s very black and white, we work until you like it! However, with constant feedback throughout production, changes can be made on the fly (as aforementioned) very easily so theres no nasty surprises.
Money is a big issue. Can you give some examples of what you can do for a small company with limited resources?
– The pure working hours that go into creating great VR content in itself means it doesn’t come awfully cheap unfortunately. Each project will have a bespoke price attached, so once we receive a brief and can review the plans and take into account the size, interactivity etc… we can get back to the client in under a weeks time with an accurate price point.
I own an Italian restaurant. What sort of VR experience would you suggest for me? Money is not an issue. Go crazy!
– For a brief like this we could build the restaurant from the ground up to scale and allow full exploration through the building. The client would be free to interact with as much as possible, making it an engaging experience by being able to pick up plates and cutlery, this is a very simple way to immerse someone in a virtual world, as soon as you feel like you’re holding a real thing that reacts in real time to your hand movements the brain is tricked! We could even go as far as letting the client into the kitchen area and turning on a stove, grabbing a pan and throwing some meat in to cook. Or if you really feel like it… just throw stuff around! I think any chance we can give the client power to do things they wouldn’t normally be allowed to do in real life it becomes a fun, all be it bizarre experience they wont soon forget.
I’ve been living in a cave the last few years and just got back to work at the marketing department, can you explain to me why I should invest in a VR marketing campaign?
– You should invest in a VR marketing campaign as it’s the future! As technology progresses, VR tech will find its way into many aspects of our society. Real estate is already taking on this platform, as well as automotive industries. It’s growing – and being on board with it and spreading the word in its early years will prove lucrative for anyone involved.
If you were to speculate freely. What sort of VR experiences do you think we will see in the future, in terms of marketing?
– A whole multitude of experiences! I can see VR helping to sell holidays for example, getting a good look at a hotel, say, would help sway a decision. I also believe it will find its way into education; history and geography lessons, even science! You could stand on an old battlefield and watch it come to life in the VR scene for an engaging history lesson, or stand on the edge of an active volcano for a geography lesson. All while in the classroom! VR can reach impossible limits – and just showing off these kinds demos is very attractive when marketing to institutions.
VR is a no doubt powerful tool and the industry is young. What are the risks and pitfalls with VR marketing? Describe what you would advice against doing.
– As of right now, a common pitfall is the price of the technology – to have a good experience you need the expensive gear; the VR tech as well as a powerful set up to run it. This is proving a challenge to sway businesses to get behind it and embrace it – and is obviously hard for us to fund it ourselves in the early stages of our start-up. VR is becoming more mobile at least, making it more accessible – once the prices are driven down; I believe it will find its way into more people’s homes; giving VR companies new life and drive to produce content for a wider, more present audience.
Pick a brand and product that you like and tell me what sort of campaign you would create, given total freedom.
– I’ll choose proper-view for this – having total freedom we’d like to start off by putting demo VR booths into estate agents across the country, we’d also like to place VR booths into other areas, such as any private jet or yacht dealers. This would be a bid to raise awareness for proper-view and showcase what can be achieved using our services. The demos would include the ability to customise certain aspects of the property/vehicle and add in your own furniture and finishes. Our hope would be interaction from customers and an interest from potential clients, such as property developers, dealers or manufactures. The end goal of this would be to work with the developers to create any new-builds for them to showcase to their potential buyers and in turn, providing the grounds for a quicker sale – enabling businesses to turn over a profit much sooner.
How would you define a successful VR marketing experience?
– I would define its success by how many people interacted with it, and most importantly enjoyed it. The true success would be if someone went home that day and purchased the necessary gear – this would then influence other people perhaps to obtain one; and allow VR companies to lower prices and offer some deals to bolster their sales.
What is it about VR that gets you excited?
– The potential for VR is huge – there are so many uses for it, especially as society ventures into a truly technological age. I believe it will aid in all a whole range of manufacturing markets as well as design markets. It will have a large seat in Real Estate and architectural development; and we can’t wait for proper-view to be a part of that.