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The Bully Pulpit

Words about things and stuff.

December 19, 2014

Nuclear Training VR: Next-Generation Disaster Preparedness

When disaster strikes a nuclear power plant, sometimes you only get once chance to fix the problems and save lives.

When disaster strikes a nuclear power plant, sometimes you only get once chance to fix the problems and save lives. So of course, reactor engineers need special training to stay cool and collected during a crisis. While special simulator rooms can provide this instruction, the good ones are hard to come by and can be very costly.

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Enter Nuclear Training VR – a virtual disaster POC developed by Bully! that features a faithful VR reproduction of a reactor control room where trainees can interact using Oculus Rift headsets. When an earthquake cripples the power plant and puts the facility into crisis mode, participants are tested on their stress levels during the simulated disaster.

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The goal of the experiment is to ‘raise the blood pressure’ of the trainees, to give them a taste of what it’s like during an actual crisis. Early trials of the virtual training simulation are promising and demonstrate just how effectively VR can immerse someone in a virtual world – earthquakes or otherwise!

November 3, 2014

Augmented Reality: When What You Really Want Isn’t Close at Hand, but Your Phone Is

You really want Polaris’ new Slingshot, I mean really, really want it.

You really want Polaris’ new Slingshot, I mean really, really want it. It’s a super-slick, three-wheeled ATV that looks way better than that Speed Buggy thing we all saw on Saturday morning cartoons. Great. So what’s stopping you from taking a look at it? Well, as of now only a few showrooms have it and none of them are near you.

No problem. Polaris’ Slingshot 360º App has you covered. Using augmented reality technology, you can see the Slingshot from every angle imaginable.

Bully! in collaboration with Integer Group created the app with the latest in Augmented Reality technology from Vuforia, a product of Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc. The actual machine may not be in front of you, but it feels close at hand because of the stunning detail captured in the Unity3D-based model. The virtual vehicle can be rotated and scaled for optimal viewing and interaction.

Augmented reality has a real strength in the practical application of increasing customer interaction prior to full-scale product launch. The time-to-market window is shrinking and revisions and adjustments are being made right up to the time a product is made available to the public. Feedback loops are faster and more direct from consumer straight to producer. Augmented reality creates a dialogue that is grounded in a more hands-on experience without actually seeing the product in person.

So go ahead, download the Slingshot 360º app and experience it for yourself. You don’t even have to leave your couch.

August 15, 2014

Scaling the Experience

One of the beautiful things about Unity 3D is its ability to port to multiple platforms. With a “check of a box” *, content can be packaged for deployment across mobile platforms, desktop executables, web browsers, wearable systems, and all the major consoles.

Unity 3D Plus Smart Content, Smart UI and Smart Apps

One of the beautiful things about Unity 3D is its ability to port to multiple platforms. With a “check of a box” *, content can be packaged for deployment across mobile platforms, desktop executables, web browsers, wearable systems, and all the major consoles.

* Ok. Not quite a check of a box, says my developers.

Wrap the content with a smart UI system, however, – one that adjusts not only for aspect ratios but also for device specific control signals – and you have a single stream of content that can be experienced across multiple channels.

Take it a step further and build in a structure that enables client-side apps to pull down only what suits the user experience for that device, and marketers have the ability to deliver responsive, channel-specific experiences to a broad audience from that single set of content.

Benefits include the cost of content creation is amortized across these channels, and built-in continuity for brand messaging no matter how it is accessed.

Example 1 – Automotive Marketing

An automobile manufacturer may develop a very deep content stream containing all options for all vehicle models. If structured correctly, and by utilizing a responsive UI system, apps can be distributed to targeted channels – cross-platform mobile, dealer kiosks, and tradeshow installations. These then automatically present experiences tailored to the platform.

• The mobile experience assumes a more leisurely exploration of the content stream and allows for a deep dive into the full range of vehicles and options.
• A dealer kiosk checks inventory and promotes only what is in stock and only at a mid-level depth to encourage interaction with sales associates.
• A gesture-based tradeshow installation features premium models and engages passersby in quick, attention-getting interactions designed to keep people moving.

And because each pulls from the same content stream, updates to the stream automatically update all channel experiences.

Example 2 – Consumer Packaged Goods Brand Engagement

Cross-channel content utilizing this strategy is not restricted to product presentations. Narrativized content, interactives or storylines, can be deployed in a responsive, content stream system as well.

Created as part of a Starcom pitch, these Keebler concepts illustrate a cross-platform deployment of several interactives designed for a Create-a-Cookie/Share-a-Cookie campaign. Each revolves around ingenious ways the Elves create cookies and includes a global Cookie Counter that tallies all digitally created cookies across all channels.

On mobile platforms, an Elf greets the user, frames the experience with Keebler messaging and challenges the user to create a cookie type of their choice. Each interactive begins with simple cookie creations, for instance moving a helper Elf – holding a large blank cookie – back and forth to catch falling chocolate chips. Once mastered, more elaborate versions of the theme are presented where the user can create an increasing number of cookies at a time.

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For Point of Sale (POS) displays, content is more streamlined. The Elf presenter – looks out from the Keebler tree window and waits for a user. A Leap Motion sensor allows swipe gestures for interaction and, in the chocolate chip cookie interactive, controls the movement of the Elf catching chips. When time runs out, the cookie is virtually bagged and the user is prompted to share a cookie with a friend and, then driven to mobile or social channels.

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A Magic Mirror/Kinect sensor variation of the POS – for theaters or malls with more floor space – presents an Elf MC that actively tracks and waves to users as they pass. And instead of an Elf holding a blank cookie, the cookie is virtually composited in the user’s own hands. The user must then move back and forth within a certain area to catch virtual chips falling from above.

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Larger installations, driven by a combination of Leap Motion, floor and Kinect sensors, spread the interactive content out across multiple windows for broader interaction. Also introduced here is an accountant Elf who is seen counting digital cookies from other channel deployments.

Scaling the Experience

The explosion of digital platforms is opening up many more channels for marketers to reach their audience. To take advantage of this, without breaking the bank, content needs to be designed in a way that effectively scales to different platforms, from mobile to desktop and beyond. Unity 3D gets you half-way there but to truly accomplish this, what’s needed is a careful structuring of the content, a UI that adjusts to the device, and client-side apps that tailor user experience.

July 1, 2014

Augmented Reality is the Future of Marketing

Just a little infographic we’ve been working on …

Just a little infographic we’ve been working on …

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May 12, 2014

Pelé Wants to Give You Tickets to the World Cup

The countdown to the World Cup has begun, but not everyone can make the trip to Brazil. Even fewer can kick a winning goal. But if you can flick and swipe, then you might get the chance to do both

The countdown to the World Cup has begun, but not everyone can make the trip to Brazil. Even fewer can kick a winning goal. But if you can flick and swipe, then you might get the chance to do both — with the Pelé: King of Football app, our collaboration with Cosi Productions and One Global, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores. Start playing now because time is running out on your chance to win World Cup tickets, the opportunity to meet Pelé, a tryout with the Oldham Athletic A.F.C. (an actual professional team in England), and more!

In a special event at the Apple store in Soho, Pelé had a Q&A with a few of his adoring fans, while our lead developer on the app, Mike LeGrand, walked everyone through the app’s features. You can watch the event here on iTunes.

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Intrigued? Follow in Pelé’s footsteps in career mode and work your way from the backstreets of Brazil all the way up to the grandeur of the World Stage or play in Pelé Blitz and pit yourself against your friends and challenge the world in hourly online competitions. Choose from hundreds of uniform combinations, use special power-ups to help you through tricky levels and watch our exclusively recorded interview footage of Pelé. By the way, you can thank the Baltimore Blast (and motion capture) for helping us get the soccer players’ movements just right.

You earn special tickets just through playing, and these enter you into real world prize draws. What are you waiting for, soccer fans? Let’s hit the field!

Pelé: King of Football Game Teaser from Bully Entertainment on Vimeo.

November 5, 2013

Toyota – Millennial’s AR Spot

Bully! recently wrapped the live action component of a broadcast Toyota spot codenamed Millennial’s AR. Shot in beautiful downtown Baltimore, the spot features near-future glasses tech that allows a sidewalk café patron to scope out the new 2014 Corolla.

Toyota spot live action shoot in downtown B-more

Bully! recently wrapped the live action component of a broadcast Toyota spot codenamed Millennial’s AR.  Shot in beautiful downtown Baltimore, the spot features near-future glasses tech that allows a sidewalk café patron to scope out the new 2014 Corolla.  From his POV, we see his Face-bubble Friend’s reactions (Bully!’s answer to Facebook,) vehicle features pop out and a prompt to find the nearest Toyota dealer – all in (simulated) augmented reality.

The project (with 186 Advertising – holla!) was an exploration in wearable-tech interface design and gesture recognition – and let us get back to our roots and play in the broadcast space again.

Establishing and POV shots of the Corolla from the vantage point of our coffee drinking actor were expertly choreographed (thanks to HackStone Film Group) and a variety of swipes and gestures where shot on green screen for later compositing.

The spot is slated for release the end of 2013.  The actual glasses with our interface, hopefully sometime soon.