In October, Nreal, a maker of consumer smart glasses, partnered with BMW to continue its exploration of enterprise use cases. The companies have teamed up to provide a virtual mixed reality (MR) showroom for BMW’s iX1 electric car.
The duo also collaborated on the project with Axel Springer National Media & Tech, AUTO BILD and Deutsche Telekom. Together, the team successfully crafted an interactive MR marketing presentation led by Robin Hornig, Associate Editor of AUTO BILD.
The presentation allows participants to inspect a digital twin of the BMW iX1 vehicle. The digital exhibit includes a fully modeled car with additional assets including photos and video.
Nreal provides the MR wearables to deliver the BMW showcase. Android and recently iOS users can connect their smartphone to an Nreal device to access immersive broadcast events.
Nreal Air smart glasses allow wearers to stream media to immersive screens up to 102 inches tall. The partnership also marks an ongoing effort by Nreal to expand its immersive streaming capabilities with device-exclusive content.
This year, Nreal has expanded its operations with successful debuts in the US and UK markets. UK regional partners EE are selling Nreal Air smart glasses on their website for £299.99.
Nreal and BMW organize an immersive showroom
When an Nreal device owner starts BMW’s digital presentation, they can explore a fully digitized model of the iX1 car using gesture control. Nreal recently updated its Nebula SDK to improve gesture tracking capabilities across its product portfolio.
Nreal has focused its SDK update on advertising use cases. Now, with BMW’s campaign, Nreal can showcase its new SDK alongside the iX1.
A user can start Robin Hornig’s presentation at any time. The Automotive Expert appears as a fully digitized real-time 3D rendering (RT3D) that walks the user through the finer details of the vehicle.
Sven von Aschwege, XR Topic Manager at Deutsche Telekom, noted that a virtual MR showroom provides a way for the public to get additional information. He explained how audiences could experience familiar experiences from a new and unfamiliar perspective.
by Aschwege also added,
“We demonstrated a different form of reporting based on presenting a car and showed what these new experiences could look like. experience things in an even more diverse way thanks to mixed reality”
Development of a virtual BMW showroom for Nreal hardware
Axel Springer developed the project, in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, the BMW Group and AUTO BILD for the Nreal platform. The group digitized Robin Hornig, created an iX1 digital twin, and developed an app for Nebula OS.
The project aims to elevate the current level of immersive showrooms and customer experience (CX) opportunities.
Chris Krauss, Immersive Media Product Manager at Axel Springer NMTexplained how MR technology will change media consumption over the next few years.
Krauss also added,
“At Axel Springer, we research immersive technologies and are already developing skills for the future. – Today we presented a hands-on experience to gain more experience”
The History of BMW’s Exploration XR
Christophe Koenig, Head of Communication BMW Group IT, Digital and Driving Experiencesaid the recent “joint high-tech project” with Deutsche Telekom and Axel Springer was an “important step” for BMW in its XR transformation.
Koenig explained that BMW found the iX1 MR showroom project appealing. He added that from BMW’s perspective, XR apps hold huge potential, especially to improve communications.
“We believe very strongly that this is increasingly playing an important role in the digital ecosystem our customers will play”
BMW is a notable adopter of immersive XR technologies. The company works with augmented, virtual and mixed reality (AR/VR/MR) platforms for various use cases including marketing, design and manufacturing.
BMW has been used to harnessing immersive technologies since the COVID pandemic. In 2020, the pandemic forced the organizers of the Geneva International Motor Show to cancel that year’s event.
At the event, BMW was going to showcase its upcoming Concept i4 electric car. Although, in response, the firm opted to launch the car in VR instead.
At the time, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BMWexplained that the company chose to take advantage of the technological solution because it was essential to show respect to the people who collaborated on the project.
BMW has also partnered with Engage in 2021 for another immersive showcase event. The car company held a Formula E Motorsport engagement workshop which Engage project partners helped deliver on Pico VR headsets.
More recently, BMW launched an MR real-time driving experience in early November. The experience relies on Varjo Technologies headsets to distribute an app that converts an entire M2 vehicle into an MR controller for an immersive gaming experience.
Nreal technology partnerships
The BMW collaboration comes as Nreal aims to secure its place as a trusted immersive media streaming solution provider.
In addition to Nreal hosting the BMW virtual showroom on its product portfolio, the Chinese smart glasses maker has hosted various other immersive shows since its international growth.
In September, Nreal joined forces with another automotive firm: Nio. Together, they launched smart glasses specially designed for Nio’s electronic vehicles.
The product allows drivers to operate Nio vehicles with additional immersive cockpit tools, and passengers can stream immersive media. The device contains anti-glare and anti-shake technology to improve the performance of smart glasses in a moving vehicle.
In early August, Nreal teamed up with BT Sports to stream the Premier League on the Chinese firm’s Air and Light smart glasses. Nreal operators watched the Premier League broadcast with additional immersive features such as RT3D AR player and game metrics.
Nreal has also collaborated with the Devon Football League to stream the 2022 SuperCup with similar additional AR features.
The Chinese company is also expressing interest in opportunities in healthcare. In March, Nreal teamed up with Microsoft and researchers at the University of Bristol to create PeopleLens.
The experimental healthcare device improves social interaction among blind children by reading an individual’s name aloud when a child looks at them.
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