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Virtual reality (VR) is growing in all different areas and industries. Architects use it as a tool to present their designs. For some companies, like AUDI AG, Digital Brand Experiences, where customers can take a look at newest car designs in 3D visualizations, is a fixed component of their communication strategy – and not just a vision for the future.
For Demodern, a multi-award winning agency specialized in creative technologies, virtual reality is part of daily business. They were honored by iF four times for their concepts: A virtual IKEA Showroom in 2017, an iF gold award in 2018 for their 3D world for the Birdly flight simulator above the historic German city of Ulm, and two iF awards in 2019 for their smart cities Retail Experience and the PETA “Eye to Eye” – VR Live Acting Experience they created in collaboration with Kolle Rebbe.
We talked exclusively to Alexander El-Meligi, Creative
Director and Managing Partner of the Demodern office in Hamburg, about the
present and future of VR and design.
El-Meligi: As soon as the overall concept is finished, we start implanting 3D or VR. In that way, we can evaluate concept, feasibility and quality very early. In the following project steps we enhance the application (either UX, design or development) after consulting with our clients.
see these topics as natural developments and not as a phenomenon. New
technologies and innovations are an essential element and driver of our
society. Virtual showrooms and digital brand experiences are a result and
consequence of a certain need in us. I believe, we should not ask how
successful these topics WILL be, but how long we CAN be without them. Especially
in retail there has to be a movement towards new technologies. In that way,
digital brand experiences could secure the continuance of local markets. Modern
users and customers want retail and product experiences beyond the shelfs.
Virtual showrooms can interlock the store experience and the classical
eCommerce to pioneer new ways in retail.
optimized shape and form factor for the device or headset you need for VR is
crucial! Users have to carry it on their bodies, so it has to be easy to wear
and comfortable to be a device for the masses. The current VR headsets on the
market are user friendly, but the projections are still not ideal. I think there
will be major leaps forward – simultaneously with the publication of Oculus
Quest and other standalone devices in 2019. These devices are wireless and
without a PC. In that way, users are more flexible and the device is easier to operate
and integrate without external sensor technology. Further, through upcoming
browser models and 5G-networks, programming interfaces like web virtual and
augmented reality (WebXR) will become much more effective. Apart from that,
they secure a relevant reach of VR and AR on mobile device.
El-Meligi: Just like any other new medium, VR is still in a phase of orientation and definition. There are some areas where VR still has to find its place – in others, it has great potential for innovation, like in gaming, tourism or entertainment. The user feels a strong connection to his surrounding – the virtual experience becomes real. Companies can communicate their messages much deeper and concerning the design aspect, there is more to come: VR designers and developers can create whole new worlds.
However, virtual reality has not yet reached masses. I believe, in a few years, it will be THE medium, since there are numerous fields of application – be that in the private or professional sphere. I think, the technology will develop quickly in the next years and will also be a part in the filmmaking industry, where it had been neglected in the past. But concerning the technically improved and soon wireless free VR devices, this will be a thing of the past!