Category Archives: Interactive Design

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Virtual Reality: A Leap Forward in Aerospace and Defence Training

The Global Innovation Index has just ranked the UK as the second most innovative country in the world. But are we in danger of losing our edge?

Engineering skills across a number of industries are being lost as the workforce ages and too few trainees are recruited. Closing this skills gap as soon as possible is clearly vital. And cutting edge technology—such as virtual and augmented reality—could play a large part in achieving this.

The defence engineering skills gap

The UK’s aerospace engineering and manufacturing businesses make up nearly a fifth of the industry globally, but a number of recent reports have drawn attention to the shortfall in critical engineering skills within the aerospace and defence sector.

But with an estimated shortfall of 55,000 engineers, this skills gap in systems engineering is worrying for the future of the industry. The workforce is ageing and a vast number of talented, new recruits are desperately needed.

What’s causing the problem? Many have blamed the decreasing numbers of students studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), which is resulting in a shrinking pool of potential candidates.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Skills and Demand in Industry 2014 annual report shows around a third of employers blaming a lack of practical experience and technical expertise in school leavers.

The reports states that 59% of aerospace engineering employers are seriously understaffed and were often critical of their new recruits. Almost half of those employers surveyed bemoaned the fact that skill levels simply didn’t meet reasonable expectations

More training required

It’s clear that more suitable training is required that will allow new recruits to “hit the ground running”. This is a realisation that the Government seems to be attempting to tackle with its Degree Apprenticeships.

The recently announced Defence Systems Engineering Masters Level apprenticeship (part of the BIS Trailblazer Apprenticeships programme) is a three to five year programme of blended vocational training and traditional academic study. It’s designed to create rounded professional systems engineers.

The Defence Growth Partnership skills group has developed the aerospace and defence training programme, led by Allan Cook, chairman of Atkins, a team of defence employers and the Ministry of Defence.

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Virtual reality for eLearning is starting to take off, with increasing demand emerging from training and development organisations. There are 16 National Skills Academies in the UK, which work within their sectors to provide quality-assured training and share best practice.

We’ve recently finished converting a wide range of slide- and paper-based learning materials into eTraining solutions for the brand new £7 million National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR)—a joint venture between the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE), Siemens and the UK Government.

Some of our most immersive courses place trainees into amazingly accurate virtual environments using the Oculus Rift VR headset, in what’s a first for the rail industry.

Virtual reality—and increasingly augmented reality—can bridge the gap perfectly between vocational “hands-on” training and academic learning. VR programs mean that students and new recruits can learn best practice in handling complex machinery from an easily managed and safety critical classroom setting.

The high levels of interactivity required by engaging mentally and physically with a virtual environment drive accelerated learning, higher results and pass rates thanks to increased memorability. Plus, complex, expensive and difficult-to-access systems don’t have to be made available to trainees until further down the line.

Importantly, advanced simulations for aerospace and defence training can be part of the recruitment and onboarding process. Incorporating virtual reality not only allows trainees to accumulate important knowledge quickly and safely, but also creates excitement and raises engagement in technical topics.

Engineering is a fulfilling and fascinating career, but sometimes it remains hard to inspire young people to get involved. The opportunities for immersive eLearning and gamification can inspire the Minecraft generation to become the engineers of tomorrow… keeping UK plc. at the forefront of the aerospace and defence industry.

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Experiential Marketing: Exploiting Next Generation Tech

Experiential marketing places individuals, or groups of people, into an immersive, branded environment. This massively growing field is defined as an experience with some kind of physical interaction that goes far beyond passively watching a screen or a presentation.

What’s the point of experiential marketing?

It’s vital to grasp the fact that, despite the tech-focussed natures of Millennials, physical experiences are still more powerful than any other approach for new generations of customers. In fact, 78% are more inclined to become part of a brand if they have some kind of “face-to-interface” interaction. So get it right and you’re onto a winner.

Experiences that give rise to positive emotions and generate memorable mental imagery in potential customers are incredibly valuable to any brand. Designed well, with a little creative spark, such interactions create a closer bond between the brand and the consumer by immersing them in a fun and memorable experience.

On the surface, the engagement numbers might not convince you. But experiential marketing is all about quality over quantity. Carefully target the right people at the right time with a high quality interactive experience, and they’ll come back again and again, over a long period of time. This customer lifetime value (CLV) is a highly prized metric.

The not-too-distant future

Remember the personalised, holographic adverts featured in Minority Report? This type of highly personalised experience is likely to become an important part of marketing.

Cameras and facial recognition systems can already be used to determine the gender, ethnicity and emotional reaction of audiences to content on an interactive screen. Imagine if that content could be customized to each person in the audience!

Tracking technologies such as RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags could soon be fully integrated into events and experiences, allowing developments such as intelligent signage, and personalized sound, video, lighting… the list goes on. Beacons on physical objects could unlock interactive content in a live event or retail space.

Next generation tech NOW

Treating a handful of potential customers to a sky dive might help your company sell its energy drinks with an unforgettable experience, but it’ll cost the earth. So, marketing executives are teaming up with digital agencies such as ours to pioneer the future.

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Emerging digital technologies – platforms such as mobile apps, Microsoft Kinect, biometric recognition software, virtual reality, and the much-hyped Magic Leap augmented reality – can mimic this kind of experience in a way that’s portable, repeatable and reaches more customers in a cost effective way in all aspects of life, including trade shows, pop-up shops, and meetings around the world.

The tools are all out there – it’s just a case of putting them to use imaginatively. By combining the real world with the digital world, we’re creating a new era of experiential marketing in which the customer can “touch” or “interact” with your product.

Here at PAULEY, we’ve been using drones, Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, and interactive content not solely for marketing, but also to deliver immersive training and sales tools.

Brands can extend the reach of their experiential marketing by encouraging customers to create their own content, making something that is tangible and shareable beyond the lifetime of the event. And social media can be integrated into marketing events to make the experience stretch further.

We’re always keen to work with companies with grand plans for using next generation digital technologies. Get in touch to discuss your ideas and we’ll make them a reality!

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Interactive Touch Screen Technology: Sell More in Store

Looking for more public engagement, an enhanced sales pipeline, and interactive content for multi-channel use in a retail environment? It’s time to get ahead of the game with interactive touch screen technology.

The growing appeal of online shopping means that retailers are pushing for new ways for get shoppers into bricks-and-mortar shops. We need new, entertaining reasons for going to stores, and more exciting product launches. The future of shopping could involve digital sales assistants, RFID-activated messages and supercharged touch screens.

Capitalising on Christmas

Mall and shopping centre operators are creating increasingly interactive experiences in order to draw customers into stores over the Christmas period.

This festive season, mall operator Macerich has launched a virtual Santa HQ in ten locations. Children can stand on a platform that determines how good they’ve been, displaying their names on “naughty” or “nice” boards. Visitors can also see their faces superimposed on cartoon dancing elves, and tablet-based augmented reality reveals rooms full of presents. Texting technology means there’s no waiting in line to meet Santa himself.

Taubman malls are also hoping to net families with virtual experiences created by Dreamworks and Disney.

At Target, creating wish lists is easy with a game-like app that reviews the toy catalogue and shares those dream items on social media. Hold an iPad over the catalogue, and the pages appear in 3D, showing more information about the products.

Interactivity coming to a store near you…

shrek1Coca-Cola recently launched highly interactive vending machines in Asia and Australia. Combining the Internet of Things (IoT) with digital signage, screens share content with customers at the point of sale, encouraging them to share their experience on social media by offering games, discounts and more.

It’s working: Beverage sales on a new digital cooler were found to be 12 percent higher than standard coolers.

UGG Australia has some incredibly high-tech outlets, with queues out of the door. The first, technology-driven concept store in Washington D.C. is a test bed for retail interactivity. Using RFID technology to trigger content on huge touchscreens around the shop floor, customers can interact with the products more than ever before.

Try on a pair of boots, and you can personalize the design of your choice, such as adding Swarovski crystal embellishments. Meanwhile, the screens will show offers, options, styling tips, relevant marketing campaigns and complementary products.

A new store “employee” at a San Jose department store knows immediately the real-time stock levels and location of all the shop’s wares. Impressive, eh? The person-sized, robotic OSHbot has a 3D-sensing camera, which can scan an item such as a screw, identify it, and guide the customer to where they can find similar products. Its built-in technologies include voice recognition, autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance.

Other robots in development for retail include a personal robotic shopping assistant and a security guard.

BodyScanner4Elsewhere, 3D scanners are popping up. We developed such a concept here at PAULEY several years ago. As the technology continues to improve, companies such as Size Stream offer full body scanners. Each scanner has 14 sensors that take 450 body measurements in just six seconds. This kind of technology has been used to help fit medical garments, but could now start to seriously branch out into custom tailoring.

App-ealing to savvy shoppers

More and more retailers are launching their own apps, which can be used to shop on line and increase engagement in store. Macy’s recently launched Image Search – a function that allows users to take a snap of something they like and sends them similar items from the store’s inventory.

The new app from Starbucks facilitates mobile payment and keeps tracks of purchases to make it easy to track and redeem reward points. Simply click to pay and a barcode appears, which the cashier scans.

Shoppers at Tysons Corner Center in Virginia, USA, who have the center’s app now see a welcome message pop up when they enter the store. Acting like a virtual shop assistant, the app immediately answers questions via text message and asks if the customer wants their purchases delivered to their home.

Interested in increasing interactivity & engagement?

At PAULEY, our bespoke digital solutions create exciting, immersive experiences that will leave a lasting impression on your customers.

We’ll work with you to make your brand more memorable, help you visualize and demonstrate complex products, and create streamlined, shareable content for all platforms.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today! Get in touch by calling 01908 522532 or email info@pauley.co.uk.

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Work Smarter, Not Harder: Boost Digital Sales & Engagement With Interactive Content

Investing in interactive digital content will help sales teams struggling to close deals by delivering clear, cohesive messages and effectively demonstrating even the most visually inaccessible products.

The thought of investing in bespoke digital sales software can be scary. But what if it promised a rapid 100% return on marketing investment and long-term boost to sales?

The benefits of equipping your sales team with interactive content for field sales, exhibitions, and presentations are numerous, and, designed well, can grow with your business.

Cisco, for example, have used gaming strategies to enhance its virtual global sales meeting and call centres to reduce call time by 15% and improve sales by 10%.

People love interactivity. Our brains are programmed to respond to colour, movement, sound and physical interaction. Interactive digital sales content can deliver this, resulting in deeper engagement every time.

Providing your potential customers with exciting and inspiring mobile apps, dynamic websites, touch screen displays tailored to your business will lead to:

  • An uplift in sales & an enhanced sales pipeline
  • A happier, more confident sales team
  • A lasting impression and greater memorability for your brand

The outcomes for products that are hard to visualize or demonstrate to potential customers – either because they take no physical form, can’t be seen in action, are technically complex, or can’t be brought into meetings – are especially impressive.

You only have to look at the Audi R8 V10 Plus advert to see that insight into the interior of a product can be hugely powerful in demonstrating its value, its appeal and its worth.

Creating unique media such as eBrochures, 3D animations, product simulations and 360° tours of such products will result in more sales, thanks to sales staff being able to show rather than tell what you sell. This type of interactive digital sales content will:

  • Enable your team to close deals anywhere, anytime
  • Equip sales team to explain products accurately and consistently
  • Render visually uninspiring products eye-catching
  • Make complex processes understandable and memorable
  • Demonstrate how your product fits the precise needs of potential customers

Uptake in interactive digital sales applications is growing fast. Gartner predict that more than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 companies are expected to have deployed at least one “gamified” application by the end of 2014. It’s time to get on board.

Need further convincing? Take a look at our testimonials to hear from happy clients in their own words.

Stay ahead of the competition and request a free consultation with us today! Get in touch for advice and a no obligation chat about digital sales by calling 01908 522532 or emailing info@pauley.co.uk.

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3D Product Explosion: Murata PS Smart Meter

Do Interactive Digital Product Demonstrations Really Improve The Chances of A Sale?

Effective product demonstrations have always been an essential sales and marketing tool, but advances in digital technology and changes in consumer expectations are taking their potential to convert prospects to customers to a whole new level. Engaging and influential, digital interactive product demonstrations are now a key tool in pre-sales and the qualification of a lead into a prospect. They allow your prospects to take control of their ‘pre-sale’ product experience and form their own individual bond with them.

There are now so many innovative ways to use digital interactivity to present your products, and they are being applied to all industries to help increase sales through engagement and inspirational visuals. Interactive product presentations are becoming an essential part of all marketing and sales strategies; The ability to offer the prospect an ‘experience’ to outdo any other, whether this be in store, on an exhibition stand, online or in person. Customers have a new found expectation as a result of faster computers and more powerful graphics cards. Improving technology has meant that consumers expect suppliers to do something amazing with it. Companies cannot afford to ignore this expectation and must embrace the new power of computer graphics and interactive technology to keep consumers engaged with their brand and ultimately sustain and improve their sales.

Photo-realistic, 3D product models, which look and behave exactly like the actual products, allow companies to present sophisticated on and off line products and demonstrations. Extraordinary interactivity allows customers to experience products in a virtual 3D environment, with the ability to rotate, zoom, measure, and interact with the product’s features and options. Through user interaction, selling is transformed from a passive process to an active, dynamic one that gives users control over their own experiences.

If well executed, prospects can effectively be nurtured using tools that allow them to fully explore the key benefits and features of the product and even explore opportunities to tailor it to their requirements. Especially in the case of complex and highly technical products, interactive demonstrations can help ‘break the ice’ when understanding technical jargon. In the past, prospects would only have had the option of trawling through technical specification sheets or calling up the sales team to gain a full understanding of what is on offer. Now, a prospect can be given all of this information (and more) in a visual presentation that allows them to explore details on parts of the product that they wish to get information on, rather than having to trawl through loads of technical text. Furthermore, this presentation can be given through many different display mediums, for example, online via a website, on a mobile device or app, touch screens in foyers, in store or at events, and through webinars (online sales presentations). This range of display options gives their application the power to sell anything from anywhere. No longer are there restrictions around getting prospects to a physical showroom or store.

Touch Screen Monitor with interactive graphics

Touch Screen Monitor with interactive graphics

A well-executed visual presentation permits customers to review instructions at their own pace, put up their queries as and when required and revisit areas of interest as necessary. No amount of text can ever be equated to a visual demonstration of the product. Shooting fancy words or an eloquent usage of language skills is unmatchable to the impact that a live moving image can create. 3D models of a product that can be pulled apart (extracted) and queried by the viewer allow them to focus on areas of the product of interest to them. These presentations can also offer the viewer the ability to ‘customise’ aspects of the product (for example, changing the colour, size etc.). This gives the consumer so much more flexibility and the option to interact with products on an emotional level, creating their own unique visual experience. If the emotions of a consumer can be provoked successfully, they are much more likely to relate to a product and want to make a purchase.

3D interactive demonstrations are now also being applied in new and innovative contexts. During a recent attendance at this year’s Retail Business Technology Expo in London, we experienced a new application of an interactive product demonstration on a touch screen on Samsung UK’s stand. They presented a 3d product demonstration alongside specification and stock information, on a touch screen transparent box around an example of the physical product itself (see image below). Retail outlets with limited space are using 3D product demonstrations and catalogues to expand their ranges displayed in store.

Samsung interactive product display unit

Samsung interactive product display unit

They may only have one physical product on the shelves, but an associated interactive display allows them to show the customer what else is available in the warehouse. Demos are also used more frequently by Sales teams to demonstrate products on the move using mobile tablets or through a web-based presentation. This process has been proven to shorten the sales pipeline, and reduce costs of running the sales teams. Prospects can be pointed towards an online product display before a visit from a sales representative may be required. Then if they choose to request a demonstration of the physical product at a later stage, they are much more likely to make a purchase, making more productive use of the sales representatives time. Interactive demonstrations are also used on touch screen devices on exhibition stands to add to the overall brand experience.

Interactive demonstrations can also make great training tools, ensuring that staff know as much as they can about the product they are selling. They can then be used to continuously train your sales and support staff, sales channel business partners and customers. Helping everyone to understand your product better is the most effective way to reduce both sales and support costs.

With product demonstration evolving as an excellent tool for marketing, one thing that remains certain is that the content of any marketing tool must be visually appealing and engaging. In order for a demo to create a long lasting impression on the minds of the customer, the content must be inspiring. Interactive features can include 360 degree product rotation, drag, drop and zoom and pan, step by step animated information, hotspot information, custom menu and navigation design, user input via search or select, product customisation (eg, colour, finish and dimentions), video user controls, sound effects and audio overlays.

So for the sceptics amongst us, embrace the technology available to ensure you don’t lose market share over your competitors during the pre-sale process. Potential customers are much more likely to buy your products if they can experience them in a way that allows them to tap into their personality and emotions; a place where they can make their own choices in their own time. People generally don’t have the time to trawl through large documents or data sets to find the information they want. Interactive demonstrations can take thousands of words and present them in a visually stimulating way, guaranteed to capture the imagination of your customers.

If you’d like to find out more about interactive product demonstrations and how PAULEY can help you achieve your goals, please contact Christina Lacey on 01908 522532 or info@pauley.co.uk.

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