The Hundred Avatars Wins Fan Engagement Award

The prestigious Broadcast Sport Awards took place at London’s Park Lane, and on a very special night for The HundredSky Sports and the entire Avatar team, The Hundred Avatars was victorious in several categories. Of greatest excitement for Arcade was the win in ‘Best Use of Fan Engagement’, which rewarded experiences that ‘put fans at the centre of the action like never before’.

The Hundred Avatars were designed to give fans the chance to ‘Meet the Heroes’ of The Hundred in immersive augmented reality, and marks the first time motion captured avatars have been presented to sports fans at this kind of scale anywhere in the world.

Our thanks go to our partners Sky Sports and the England & Wales Cricket Board for having the courage and belief to invest in this kind of cutting edge innovation, and to Dimension Studio for working tirelessly to produce the 3D avatars themselves, ready for us to offer up to fans via The Hundred and Sky Sports apps, and in WebAR via 8th Wall.

We were thrilled that Sky Sports also won for ‘Best Sports Graphics for a Live Production’, and received the Broadcast Sport Special Recognition award for everything Sky has done for cricket.

To Meet the Heroes yourself download The Hundred app, or visit our 8th Wall project on mobile.

Read The Case Study

The Hundred Avatars Shortlisted for Broadcast Sports Awards

We are delighted to announce that The Hundred Avatars have been shortlisted in two categories of the prestigious Broadcast Sports Awards 2021. ‘Best Use of Fan Engagement’ rewards work that ‘puts fans at the centre of the action like never before’ – an apt description of the AR avatars that allowed The Hundred audiences to bring their cricketing heroes into their homes and gardens.

Our partners Sky Sports have also been shortlisted for their presentation of the avatars in the ‘Best Sports Graphics for a Live Production’ category, and for overall ‘Best Sport Production’.

The awards take place on November 3rd – wish us luck!

Read The Case Study

Get Up Close To The Hundred Superstars In AR!

CRICKET GOES IMMERSIVE

The Hundred is a brand new cricket tournament bringing speed, excitement and innovation to England’s summer sport. In partnership with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Sky Sports en Dimension Studio, the Arcade team has been working feverishly for the past few months on creating a world-first in sports fan engagement: augmented reality avatars of The Hundred players that audiences can bring into their homes, gardens or anywhere else they want.

Fans can see their heroes batting, bowling, wicket-keeping and even recreating iconic moments from cricket history, with more players being added throughout the month-long tournament.

The ‘Meet The Players’ experience is available in three different places – The Hundred app, the Sky Sports app and via 8th Wall WebAR – and gives a glimpse of the future of sports engagement.

To learn more about immersive tech in sports

Missing gigs? Bring the music to you…

Coronavirus has taken many things away that we previously took for granted, including live music. Artists and music venues have been robbed of their ability to put on live shows, so important for both their exposure and their livelihoods. And fans have had to make do with internet streams and recordings.

In response, Arcade has teamed up with US-based music industry activation platform Buzznog to launch one of the world’s first spatial gig experiences. Fans anywhere in world can bring iconic venues and artists into their homes to enjoy sets played out in front of them.

The first experience united the famous Knitting Factory Brooklyn venue with California indie band The Mowgli’s.

Users can control the lighting, effects, crowd noise and more, and choose where and at what scale they want to watch the 30-minute gig. 

This first gig was released as a native app for iOS and Android, and delighted fans all over the world.

You can download it here: onelink.to/mowglis

More gigs at different venues will follow, and we will be adding capabilities to experience performances via web, and in either AR or VR. Though initially offered for free, the platform will create a vital way for bands and venues to bring in badly needed funds, giving the industry a vital lifeline after suffering so heavily from the effects of the pandemic.

Let the music play!

Interested in what virtual experiences could do for you?

Arcade awarded Immersive Storytelling Fellowship by StoryFutures and UK Parliament

We are thrilled to announce that Arcade is one of five industry-leading SMEs to be awarded an Immersive Storytelling Fellowship by StoryFutures, the Creative Cluster that creates and helps fund R&D projects with creative businesses in the Gateway Cluster and Greater London.

Jon Meggitt, Arcade CEO, takes on the role of Fellow on a hugely exciting project that sees Arcade partner with Royal Holloway academics and UK Parliament to immerse audiences in the rich historical and contemporary narratives that make Parliament so important to today’s society.

The overarching goal is to make Parliament feel relevant to audiences of all kinds, creating meaningful connections with its history and ongoing activity. To do so, we will create a ‘Spatial Story Platform’, a new way of using immersive technology to serve contextual, multi-vocal stories that are tailored to the user, whoever they are and whatever their interests.

Jon Meggitt
Jon Meggitt, Arcade CEO & Immersive Storytelling Fellow

Using the majestic Westminster Hall as our physical canvas, we will create a visitor experience that offers a personalised interactive tour through hundreds of the historical and contemporary stories that have defined the UK Parliament. Many will include multiple perspectives on the same narrative and invite the user to make up their own mind about which side of the debate they would have supported.

Artist's impression of the Westminster Hall experience

In addition to physical visitors to Parliament, it is important for the experience to foster this stronger sense of connection amongst those who are unable to reach Parliament for physical, economic or social reasons so we will also create a remote experience, built around a digital twin of Westminster Hall. Users can virtually place the hall in the physical space around them, before ‘stepping inside’ and enjoying a similar experience to physical visitors, but from anywhere in the country or, indeed, the world.

“It is a huge honour to accept this Fellowship,” said Jon, “and we are thrilled to be working with such prestigious institutions as StoryFutures, Royal Holloway and, in particular, UK Parliament. The challenge from an R&D perspective is pretty huge, but that’s what make this so exciting. It’s an opportunity to try and do something completely new, with permission to fail. But of course we’ll be doing everything we can to succeed!”

Read the full StoryFutures press release hier.

How to succeed in a virtual world

During lockdown, organisations of all kinds have been scrambling to virtualise the way they interact with their audiences. From #MuseumsAtHome to VR conferences, online music festivals to virtual product launches, virtual experiences have, by necessity, taken over.

Lockdown conditions may now be easing, but there is little doubt that the world we emerge back into will be far more virtual than it was before. Here’s a brief look at the impact of Coronavirus on the evolution of immersive experiences, and how they can help you succeed in an increasingly virtual world.

For a quick primer on immersive technologies including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) check out our 'What is AR / VR' page

The Lasting Impact of COVID-19

Some of the brightest minds today have described Coronavirus as more of an ‘accelerant’ than a catalyst for true change. For most of the industries we work with this is absolutely the case: its lasting impact will not be to change the course of history but to accelerate the arrival of an ever-more virtual and immersive future.

Arts, culture and heritage, vistor attractions, retail, events, FMCG brands, education, corporate comms, sports and more have all been affected by digital disruption and the new opportunities it has brought for audience engagement, but the past few months have forced them to dramatically accelerate. As a result, the professional and social attitudes to immersive experiences that have been evolving for years have now been supercharged.

Related: read more about virtual galleries hier

Interest in shared virtual spaces such as Mozilla Hubs has surged during lockdown

The return to ‘normal’ will of course include going to the shops, visiting museums and enjoying theme parks, but this new normal will also include far more digitally immersive activity that is better integrated into engagement strategies and more readily embraced by post-COVID audiences than ever before.

So the lasting impact of Coronavirus is to force organisations to confront a challenge that has been slowly building for years, by asking the key question: How do I succeed in an increasingly virtual world?

REAL SUCCESS IN A VIRTUAL WORLD

Below are a few important considerations to help you meet this challenge head-on.

Focus on the strategy, not the medium

In many ways, experiences delivered via immersive technologies such as AR and VR are no different to any other types of audience engagement. 

They are fundamentally about telling your stories, expressing your personality, achieving your objectives. As such, they should have the unmistakable stamp of your brand just like any other physical or digital experience would, irrespective of the medium through which they are delivered.

SEA LIFE's Roxy the Ranger amplified their 'Amazing Discovery' brand essence

It's about the experience, not the technology

Similarly, if you want audiences to care about what you’re doing, and perhaps even pay for it, the most important factor of all is the same as it has always been: the quality of the experience. Immersive technology may be new and different, but for an experience to succeed it must be about more than novelty, or audiences will lose interest pretty fast.

The Coronavirus has triggered something of a digital land grab, with organisations suddenly desperate to do ‘something digital’. As a short-term fix this is fine, but today’s audiences are discerning and spoilt for choice; if it’s not worth people’s time, if it fails to be as fun, interesting, challenging, rewarding or generally as ‘good’ as it should be, then audiences won’t engage with it, much less pay for it.

Camden's Music Walk of Fame reveals the artists and music behind the stones

Start with what you've got

Creating new high quality, three-dimensional immersive content remains the easiest way to burn through budgets, so begin by looking at what you have.

Most organisations today are swimming in more digital assets than they can keep track of, and many can be repurposed for immersive experiences, making the process even faster and more affordable.

Even 2D images can be repurposed for exploration in a virtual gallery

It's cheaper than you think

Like any new technology, it has taken time for immersive tech hardware, software and content creation techniques to mature and costs to reduce. The good news is that the ‘early years’ for immersive are well and truly over. 

The industry has grown and the tools we have at our disposal make it easier, quicker and cheaper than ever before to create rewarding experiences for your audiences.

Dippy came back to the Natural History Museum via an inexpensive Snap Lens

Add, don't subtract

Immersive experiences are here to stay, but it would be a mistake to think that they will, or should, replace what has come before. Outside of once-in-a-generation crises such as Covid, traditional audience engagement methods will always have their place.

The very best virtual galleries or museums cannot replicate the experience of standing in front of a physical artefact in an ancient cultural institution, and nor should they try to.

Instead they should complement and enhance, by offering new types of experience that stand alongside those which already exist.

A Vixen's Tale was designed to bring new audiences to Welsh National Opera productions

Business models change

Digital disruption has already forced business models across many sectors to adapt. The disruptive impact of immersive technology has been dramatically magnified by Coronavirus, so more and more commercial models will change over the coming months and years.

People will still pay to park at a gallery, walk through the gates of a visitor attraction, buy food and drink at a heritage site, or be in the same room as interesting contacts at an event, but as the experience economy moves on and becomes more virtual, we all – providers and consumers both – will have to adjust to new commercial relationships. 

By following the approaches above you will be well placed to create experiences that offer real value to your audiences, to the point that they become an important part of your commercial plans. Don’t be the last to embrace the change.

Marvellous Missenden offers a way for audiences to engage with the Roald Dahl Museum outside of its walls

GET STARTED TODAY

To discuss how the increasingly virtual world is going to impact on you and your sector, and explore the role that immersive technologies can play in helping you adapt, kom in contact.

To find out more about success in an increasingly virtual world

A New Sense of Place in the Digital Age

Family Using Augmented Reality App in Aquarium

The term “sense of place” has been the subject of much Architectural and Social discourse – conceptually it is used to “define the undefinable” bonds between people and places. A sense of place can be described by specific characteristics of a physical place, or by the perceptions of people who visit a place. Crucially those characteristics help foster a sense of authentic human attachment and belonging.

At Arcade we believe that a sense of place has never been so critical to society as it is today. Indeed, our long standing mission is to help define and create a new sense of place in the digital age. Whilst the explosion of digital technology has had huge undeniable benefits, academics are only now beginning to identify some of the widespread side-effects. The decline of traditional social structures mixed with an unparalleled access to technology has uprooted the traditional notion of community. People have been left to self-define their identity through reference to a myriad of media and technology driven sources, often detached from their physical whereabouts. We have become disconnected from our places.

Our medium is Augmented Reality (AR), with which we have identified a huge opportunity for technology to right its own wrongs. Critically AR ties digital information to the real world, thus giving us all the chance to reconnect to the world around us – not despite of, but because of our want for new technology. We believe that the most prescient opportunity for AR to evolve is within the visitor experience industry, where consumers are now demanding personalised services and participative encounters, which ladder towards a new sense of place.

Underpinning our work is the identification and understanding of several key characteristics, which we respect with every line of code we write and every polygon and texture we create. These characteristics combine to create places that are playable. We define play through its more esoteric sense – not gamification – but learning & discovery leading to liberation and empowerment. The playable place achieves the following:

PERSONALISED INTERACTIONS

In the new world of complex identity it is critical that a place should be able to connect to its visitors on their level, displaying a diversity which encourages them to build their own sense of place and empower their self-identification.

LEARNS FROM ITS VISITORS

Our relationship with a place should not be one-way in nature. Our playable places learn from their visitors experiences, and then adapt accordingly – they become responsive in nature and thus elicit a greater emotional connection with their visitors.

BUILDS COMMUNITIES

The very definition of a sense of place lies within the physical and emotive connection to a group of people. Places should not force this, they should cater for many types of emerging community groups and become a place for the many, not the few.

INCREASES PARTICIPATION

The consumer now expects participation ahead of a passive experience, our technology provides this closer connection to a place by encouraging its visitors to truly participate. That could be through the contents of the place, the history and meaning behind a place, or by re-imagining new uses and functions for a place.

REVEALS ITS SECRETS

The static materials and forms that make up our physical world all have stories to tell, every brick and every blade of grass contains a thousand words could it but speak. Well now they can. Through AR we reveal narrative driven information that has never before been experienced in-situ.

IMPROVES OPERATIONS

The custodians of a place have a duty to make the connection between that place and its visitors as meaningful and continuous as possible. This will help advance operations across estates, and can include marketing and brand benefits.

EXTENDS ITS ESTATE

For millennia many places have been hampered by their geographic location, especially when attempting to build relationships with new typologies of visitor. Our technology can break down these boundaries, enabling cross pollination of estate assets and relationships with the user before and beyond their visit.

A new sense of place is not just academic posturing. The building of new identities and new communities within a truly user focused framework leads to advanced levels of engagement. This manifests in higher rates of repeat visit, increased dwell times, higher satisfaction scores and ultimately the achievement of commercial goals.