What We’ve Been Up To in the NowLab: From VR in the Sky to New Ventures with Lionsgate & Unity

On Wednesday, July 12th, industry insiders from the media, entertainment, agency and software worlds converged on New York to attend the VR in the Sky Conference.  The conference is produced by the  VR Society and sponsored by AMD, Time Inc, Life VR and our Isobar partners at Unity.  From hands-on demonstrations and discussions around consumer research to keynotes from Tony Parisi, head of VR/AR strategy at Unity and Julie Shucker, VP of Business Development at Unity, attendees were given a close up look at the inner workings of the VR industry.  In addition, major players discussed the current state of the availability and adoption of VR content and experiences and what the near future holds for all of us.

Alexx Henry, founder and CEO of BlueVishnu gave a fascinating talk about photorealistic avatars, showing several compelling use cases for high quality avatars that have firmly crossed the uncanny valley. When used in medical applications, such as detecting body changes over time, these avatars could actually save lives. Imagine detecting melanoma or lumps on the body that otherwise went unnoticed. The event also featured an amazing VR animated film called “Raising a Rukus” by Robert Stromberg. The demo included a VR chair that moved the user around in sync with the visual cues thus dramatically reducing nausea.

As a digital agency with a strong focus on innovation, we fight back against Shiny Object Syndrome and create solutions for our clients that really matter to their business.  Over the recent years, we’ve developed a strong VR capability and have been working with clients to create unique experiences and enterprise applications that leverage VR as a means to create empathy, focus a user’s attention and push the current thinking of VR as a platform suited mostly for gaming.

As previously mentioned, we have developed a unique partnership with Unity, the premiere 3D game engine and runtime for the majority of VR and mobile games in the marketplace.  As a part of this partnership, we’ll be working with Unity and Lionsgate films to test the effectiveness of Unity’s latest ad format and product – a first of its kind VR-delivered experiential advertisement.

How exactly will we be testing effectiveness?  Working in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, we’ve developed a platform that allows us to capture the way users interact with VR content and, through the use of biometric sensors, gauge a real-time snapshot of the user’s current emotional state.

Our new VR Analytics platform provides opportunity for brands to understand how VR, AR and MR impact their customers.  This also allows us to share quantifiable data that can be used to determine the effectiveness of VR experiences in addition to informing our design process.  With access to hard data, we can make more informed decisions and uncover UX stumbling blocks that otherwise may not surface until an app is published.

With every conference we attend, it becomes more and more clear that the power of VR is hard to ignore, but there are still challenges for adoption.  Fortunately, with partners like Unity and collaborations like our work with the MIT Media Lab, we feel confident that Isobar is capable of helping our clients navigate the constant changes and ongoing evolution in VR marketplace and to help things mature, become measurable and make sense for brands in the coming year.




Isobar and Unity Crew from left to right: Adam Mayhill, Tony Parisi, Robin Prybill, Leigh Christie (Isobar), Natalie Grant



Photorealistic avatars by Alexx Henry, founder and CEO of BlueVishnu