For over 15 years he has blended both worlds, the artistic, where human behavior and user experience rule, and the tech world where machines meet content. After a career as new technologies consultant in Belgium, he joined B·U·T ’s European HQ as the lead of the multimedia dept. He moved to the UAE in 2007, to lead the local branch office. Under his leadership, B·U·T Dubai gained a reputation as the number one digital agency for interactive and innovative installations in the region. For an extensive list of clients, amongst which are Etisalat, STC, Microsoft, Nokia, ADNOC, ExxonMobil and others, Wim and his team conceptualize and visualize the future: a vision for smart cities at GITEX, the future of digital healthcare, the evolution of IOT and wearables, etc. No task or inquiry is too complicated for his team, they have the tools and know-how at hand. Wim thinks the UAE is the perfect playground for his industry: “there is a drive here to innovate without the fear of failure, a willingness to jump face first into the unknown, that is what you need if you want to pioneer new technologies, that is what you need if you want to progress human evolution”
How did you guys get into AR and VR?
– We are always on the cutting edge off technology, one step ahead of the next technological revolution, so we jumped into AR and VR years ago. We did AR using webcams before the Iphone was on the market and we did VR as soon as the first prototype goggles were on the market.
What is it like working with you guys?
– We create bespoke solutions. First the what then the how. Content comes first, the choice of medium to convey it second. Your message is our raw material that we develop, mould and polish to the highest standards in conceptual design, technological excellence and meticulous execution. As a one-stop-shop digital agency with in-house production, we offer unbiased advice on the right cross-media approach – interactive, video, web, mobile, experience– tailored to your target audience. That has been the vision of our company for over 35 years. If a client has a story to tell and they want an original experience that captures an audience, that has the WOW factor then we create that for them.
How would you describe your company culture?
– We are one big family, everyone in our office; producers, copy writers, UI designers, 3D animators, programmers, electronics and robotics engineers. Everyone has some expertise that fits together to make a team that can do literally anything. At B·U·T nothing is out of reach, the impossible only takes longer.
What is your company’s core expertise?
– Blending storytelling and technological know-how to create a unique experience is what we do best. We are different from any other agency around because we have both the creativity and the in-house production team. We really know what we are talking about.
Do you offer any type of satisfaction guarantee or revisions of completed work?
– We are very flexible and almost anything we create content wise can be expanded on. We will always use software solutions that are open to everyone like Unity or Unreal as a platform, instead of black box systems like Ventuz, that can hardly be ported without expensive hardware and software licenses.
Can you explain to me why I should invest in a VR or AR campaign?
– AR is the future. I always explain to people in my speeches and presentations, that in a couple of years everyone will have AR glasses or lenses, and there will be no use of physical screens anymore. That makes people wonder, why would you need a screen if there could be an AR screen anywhere you want? That is the kind of impact this technology will have on our society. The best thing about AR and VR is that it is all based on real-time 3D and we can already create that now. So, all the content you produce now is future proof. That is the reason you can invest without doubt in AR and VR content creation.
If you were to speculate freely – what sort of XR experiences do you think we will see in the future, in terms of marketing?
– I personally wonder if we will see an AR advertising war of some sort between the big companies, Google, Apple and others. Who will regulate the AR space? A lot of people like Elon Musk and others are talking about regulating AI and the dangers that come with that. But what about AR? That is a technology closer to becoming an everyday thing in our lives and who will decide what the boundaries will be there? Advertising for example, who decides what I see where and when? Can I leave a message, video or 3D object wherever I want in our mixed reality world? That is a very interesting discussion that is not in the spotlight yet, but it will be in the very close future.
What are the risks and pitfalls with XR marketing?
– We encourage people to experiment in any way possible. The only pitfall, and this counts for any technology, is to reach above the limits of the technology. Therefore, make sure you have a team that has the correct know-how and
understands your objective and the audience. The worst thing you can do is create a bad user experience because that will give the audience a negative precedent towards a certain technology. User experience is still more important than cutting edge tech. Always dial down the novelty to ensure a good user experience if you must.
Pick a product that you like and tell me what sort of campaign you would create, given total freedom and an unlimited budget!
– The spectacular growth in online video chats and online meetings cannot hide the ugly truth. No matter how good looking you are, how professional your presentation skills are or how charming your humor is, in the end you will always be, a talking head. Limited by poor visualization tools, confined to the frame, glued to your seat and eventually, you will lose the attention of even your most devoted audience. Our answer to that is a new product: the PresentAR series of communication tools. This tool adds different 3D environments and Augmented Reality objects to your video chat, team session, online conference or virtual exhibition. It takes your live online video presentation to the next level by putting you in a truly interactive 3D environment, with Augmented Reality assets that you can manipulate freely. PresentAR brings storytelling and highly visual and three- dimensional presentations back into the conversation.
CollaborAR builds on PresentAR but broadens the scope to live online team video meetings, product demos or training, by allowing participants to actively collaborate and interact with the 3D environment and AR assets. ConferencAR builds on PresentAR concepts to offer a virtual conferencing experience, from guest registration to plenary talks, panel discussions and networking opportunities. ConferencAR is a modular set of building blocks that can be combined, branded and tailored to your unique company requirements. The best thing about our new and unique software solutions is that all the content created for it, is future proof.
How big can AR marketing get and what will it take for it to get there?
– AR marketing will replace all marketing we have now at this time, first wrap your
head around that! 🙂