Commentary

Virtual Reality Turns Its Eyes Toward B2B

When people talk about virtual reality projects, they talk about really cool things.


“Experience life through the eyes of a refugee,” suggests The New York Times’ VR site. “Go underwater or on the campaign trail.”  Animal Equality’s virtual reality film, “Factory Farm” let viewers experience a hog butchering plant from the eyes of the hog, and became something of a nauseating hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Virtually everybody is trying virtual reality. Exciting!

So let’s bring that down to the ground. Let’s talk B-to-B.  

But not boring! Virtual reality is working out in surprisingly interesting ways for Bluetext, a digital marketing firm based in Washington, D.C.

Although its business has lots of of well-known clients with more conventional campaigns, Bluetext is creating a niche for itself producing 360-degree videos for some customers.

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VR, it turns out, does a good job of providing complex information. And because of the VR aspect, at least at this early stage of the game, B-to-B 360-degree videos can get gawking attention from client-customers.

Varonis Systems, supplier of a software platform that lets companies structure their data and detect leaks in the organization, has a complicated business supplying security for IT systems.

So Bluetext created an intricate multilayer 360-degree video, which the company provides to would-be clients. The Varonis “digital briefcase session” lets viewers veer off on these virtual tours. A company’s chief tech officer can go off in that direction, while the HR exec  aims his goggles in another direction. (You can imagine the conference room scene.)

This is probably the least important part, but I love it. Varonis took its VR exhibit to the crowded, noisy EMC World show floor in Las Vegas, and at that crucial tech show, it captured a very distractible bunch of  floorwalkers by handing out headsets -- branded with the corporate logo. Then they hustled them into the booth to watch the briefing.

Varonis increased its traffic six fold with all those customers watching video. (Varonis also offers a VR app at Google and Apple stores.)

“If you think of those shows like those fighting for attention with their noisy 10 by 10 booths, you can see the advantage of just giving them a Cardboard and letting them watch,” says Bluetext founder Jason Siegel.

A Bluetext client can easily supply headsets to dozens of people at a company that features a detailed look at what service the client is offering, with graphical offshoots that fill in the details for those who want it. They can even watch at home.

Siegel says Bluetext is currently working on three projects including one for a well known tech firm. Like all company heads, his thoughts about Bluetext, which also is a successful conventional marketing communications firm,  are certainly all blue sky.

Bluetext has two projects in the oven for major Fortune 50-level clients.

Others see inroads for VR with engineering and real estate firm, but who know where it goes?

Siegel points out, excitedly, “There is research that shows sales increase the more senses are involved,” and spherical video has at least three--hearing, seeing and feeling. That’s one more than everybody else.

pj@mediapost.com

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