Company & Culture - May 20, 2020

Interactive 360 degree experience with virtual reality.

Virtually visiting rooms is no longer an unrealistic concept. Virtual meetings or classic video recordings can provide a glimpse into rooms and environments—without the need to be there. But that wasn’t enough for Bechtle IT System House Karlsruhe. The normally highly frequented digital workplace, the heart of the branch, was a ghost town due to the current situation. The idea: if the customer can’t come to the digital workplace, bring the digital workplace to the customer. How? Keep reading to find out!

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So we needed to bring the digital workplace to customers—virtually. But simple videos or meetings where they could only view the room were too simplistic. We needed another, more innovative solution. The watchword here was virtual reality, and after some head-scratching, a concept was born—customers needed to be able to enter the room virtually and engage with content.


Step 1: VR headsets.

It became clear to us that customers needed VR headsets. But an actual VR headset was not an option. They are large, expensive, and above all, how were they supposed to get to the customer? So we opted to use cardboard VR glasses. You simply slot these cardboard glasses together, insert your smartphone in the front, you're ready to start your virtual experience. Branded with the Bechtle logo it's a great freebie item!



Step 2: The tool.

The plan was ready—in theory. Now they we needed a practical solution for implementation. We hit the jackpot with the Virtual Reality Suite from Present4D which lets you combine 360° images and videos into virtual presentations. Presentations can be complemented with media content such as images, videos, PDFs, 3D objects, and CAD files.


The Virtual Reality Suite is particularly attractive as it enables presentations to be shown on various end devices. The immersive version uses traditional VR glasses or, in our case, cardboard VR glasses and a smartphone. And there’s an app for Android and iOS. There’s one for the PC, too, letting you view your project on your computer, albeit with less immersion. You can also export your presentation in HTML format to embed it on a webpage.


Step 3: Content.

Idea—check. Cardboard glasses—check. Tool—check. Content—loading...

The solution was ready, it just needed to be populated. Designing the tour was the first task. Where should the 360° recordings be made and what should be included? We were then able to take the finished design to concept production. Making the 360° recordings with the right type of 360° camera was new territory for us. We needed to ensure that no one was in the frame when recording—which is easier said than done in 360°!


The finished recordings could then be put together to make a tour and we were one step closer. So now we were able to jump from location to location, but the individual segments were somewhat bare. So—more content was needed. We added in more videos, product datasheets, and a 3D model freely placed where we wanted in the space and making the tour that bit more interesting. Explorer mode on!

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Step 4: Publication.

Project completed—great! What now? Present4D made this part easy, too. The project is loaded into the cloud and then accessed and downloaded via the app with a six-digit portal code. And to make it even easier for our customers, we included a how-to guide including QR code on the cardboard glasses. In two easy steps they could access the tour—slot glasses together and download the app. Everything they need to take a virtual tour of the Karlsruhe Digital Workplace!


Presenting a company or, in our case, a room in 360°, experiencing it live through VR glasses, and interacting with products and information—a really impressive experience! We learned a lot of new skills during this project, let our creativity reign free, and hopefully were able to bring a little joy and fun to our customers!


Want to find out more? Get in touch with your Bechtle account manager or visit our Digital Workplace at Bechtle Karlsruhe—now available digitally!

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This post was published on May 20, 2020.