ABOUT: Always passionate about tech and consumer interaction California native Michael Shaiman helped start the company Reactrix, whose gesture-based tech technology would eventually find it’s way into the Kinect. After Reactrix he went on to start Helios Interactive “with credit cards”. The company now employs more than 50 people. Got hooked on VR after trying out the Oculus developer kit.
Why did you get into VR?
– I saw a demo, and was blown away. I’m always looking for new technologies to share with our clients to elevate their experiences, and this was one that stuck out as something special.
What can I as a customer expect in terms of communication and collaboration?
We are a very process oriented company. Over the years, we’ve developed a pretty standard way to execute projects – from the kickoff and definition of business requirements, expectation setting is absolutely huge, to production and development, to deployment – we’re with the client every step of the way.
Can your company handle campaign volume production?
– Yes, all of our experiences scale well, and we have a team dedicated to support for not only domestic US clients, but international as well.
How would you describe your company culture?
– We are pretty laid back and easy-going. The company is primarily made up of developers and designers, all of whom are passionate technology enthusiasts.
What area, geographically speaking, are you available to work in?
– We have offices in Portland and San Francisco, but have clients and projects all over the world.
What is your company’s core expertise?
– Really it’s the ability to take a new technology and create a compelling, unique interactive digital experience for a consumer. We do a great job of creating memorable brand experiences.
Do you offer any type of satisfaction guarantee?
– Not really, although since 90% of our work is returning clients, we assume they like working with us.
Do you offer revisions of completed work?
– Yes, we often will go back and improve experiences after we get user feedback, it’s a big deal for us to have the flexibility to do that.
Can you give some examples of what you can do for a small company with limited resouces?
– VR experiences can have wild cost ranges, but it can be done ‘on the cheap’ through some of the newer tools released. like Ricoh Theta and other 360 cams.
I own an italian restaurant. What sort of VR experience would you suggest for me? Money is not an issue. Go crazy.
– Food is such a tactile and sensory experience . . . I’d say that we could shoot an amazing 360 video experience for a consumer, build an interactive app to allow them to select various food items, also shot with video, and then provide a few tactile elements, like smell and heat from kitchen, in an event experience.
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?
– It’s not a given that you should . . . right now it’s a bit early for a lot of brands, and this experience certainly isn’t for everyone. That said, if you’re targeting millennials and want to get out ahead of the ‘next big thing’, it’s a good idea to start putting some thought into VR and how you’re going to have a presence in the space.
What sort of VR experiences do you think we will see in the future, in terms of marketing?
– Interactivity will be huge – using controllers and having the ability to navigate within virtual ‘stores’ without leaving your home could be the future of shopping.
Pick a brand and product that you like and tell me what sort of campaign you would create, given total freedom.
– Who doesn’t want to work with Coca Cola? You could create something innovative, unique, and beautiful – that’s a dream client right there.
How big can VR marketing get and what will it take for it to get there?
– As big as VR headsets can get . . . this is a new medium that will be placed in peoples homes, and once widespread adoption hits it’s going to be a massive market opportunity. It will likely take consistently great user experiences, low barriers to entry for first-timers, and the elimination of cables which can be an issue for some folks.
How would you define a successful VR marketing experience?
– Having a consumer come away with a smile, remembering and sharing the experience with others.
What is it about VR that gets you excited?
It is simply the most immersive new medium that I’ve ever seen – and it’s only going to get bigger.
STUDIO: Helios Interactive