Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Two major brands, Qantas and realestate.com.au, have rolled out virtual reality apps offering life-like immersive experiences, a move that signals the future of marketing and the growing demand for an interactive relationship with customers.
Qantas viewers can now download a virtual reality app from Start VR for an interactive and exploratory travel experience, and also showcases the services offered by the airline. Realestate.com users, meanwhile, can explore and view properties in virtual reality thanks to the launch of realestate VR.
The Qantas travel application gives viewers a first-person perspective, providing a multi-sensory glimpse of a range of ‘choose-your-own’ experiences including an inflight experience; a front-row view of a Qantas A380 jet from the tarmac and cockpit; and a virtual tour of the airlines’ First Lounge at Los Angeles International airport.
Also featured are experiences such as embarking on a scuba diving excursion through the coral reef; a helicopter tour then sailing through Whitehaven beach; panoramic views while climbing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and transporting to Kakadu National Park on a sunset river cruise then delving into the watering holes at Maguk and Gunlom Falls, the company said.
“For the first time, we are able to share the story of Australia to an international audience in a way that is more intimate, engaging and interactive than we have been able to tell it before,” said Start VR CEO and creative director, Kain Tietzel. “The amazing audio and visuals offer international travellers to Australia a new insight into our culture, heritage and local stories,” he said, indicating additional videos will be added in the coming months.
The app hosts a ‘book now’ button for iOS and Android devices so viewers can transform their virtual journey into a reality by purchasing a flight to the featured destination directly from the app. There are two modes to the app: Split screen for those who have a compatible headset or Google Cardboard, and 2D landscape for viewing directly on a smartphone.
The Qantas VR app is now available for iOS, Android and virtual reality platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
“Qantas has continued to prove its commitment to innovation with the Qantas VR app. The airline is among the first to leverage our Startgate VR publishing platform which is quickly becoming the standard tool for brands and content creators to build their own virtual reality experiences,” Tietzel added.
On the property front, users can explore and view properties in virtual reality thanks to the launch of ‘realestate’ VR by realestate.com.au, which is available in the Google Play Store for use on Daydream View, Google’s mobile VR headset and controller.
REA group chief inventor, Nigel Dalton, said the company is excited to be offering Australia’s first property app on Daydream, which will change the way people experience and interact with property.
“Virtual reality has the unique ability to give us back time, which is the most precious commodity we have. realestate VR will create time for everyone, whether that’s property seekers, agents or property managers.”