Up to 1,000 guests can move around the BMW i Virtual Garage Experience at the same time, which is also accessible via 2D mobile and desktop devices
➨ We are Jerry and GOVAR developed the BMW i Virtual Garage Experience
➨ The experience works on Engage and uses Pico Interactive’s Pico Neo 3 Pro headset
➨ The first BMW i Virtual Garage Experience took place on 1 July
BMW i Motorsport, the German car manufacturer’s brand for Formula E, is using virtual reality as another means to engage with sponsors and guests alongside live events.
Germany-based sports consulting agency We are Jerry and virtual and augmented reality developer GOVAR have developed the BMW i Virtual Garage Experience to showcase the car manufacturer’s electric vehicle-focused Formula E motorsport brand to partners and guests that are unable to attend hospitality and other events in person.
BMW i Virtual Garage Experience works on Engage, the events and communications solution from Immersive VR Education, and uses Pico Interactive’s Pico Neo 3 Pro 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) virtual reality all-in-one (non-PC) headset.
The feeling of a live meeting
With Covid-19 potentially forcing live events to cancel or be severely restricted during the course of a season, BMW i Motorsport wanted to recreate what was missing—specifically social interaction—rather than replace it, according to Karsten Streng, founder and managing partner of We are Jerry.
Streng says the question posed was: “How do we compensate for the Covid-related limitations for the partners and guests of BMW i Motorsport and, at the same time, create completely new target group-compliant customer experiences in the digital world, all as efficiently and synergistically as possible?”
Virtual reality was identified as the only technology capable of answering this question, and all-in-one headsets from Pico Interactive were chosen to deliver the experience. Stefan Göppel, managing director of GOVAR, says: “Pico has by far the most powerful VR glasses, which also offer six degrees of freedom (6DoF) for spatial movement in the experience.”
“Spatial distance does not mean sacrificing social interaction. The virtual workshop and live experience for BMW i Motorsport is therefore an encounter, thanks to the immersion it creates the feeling of a live meeting.”
It was also important that the software used offered more than ‘just’ virtually mapping the possibilities of the previous hospitality events as part of Formula E. Engage solved this problem, by allowing the experience’s creators to integrate CAD (computer-aided design) and 360 deg data of the BMW E race cars, videos, live streams, presentations and other content.
BMW i Motorsport can also provide sponsors and partners of the Formula E team such as Julius Baer, Einhell, Fortinet and others with their own virtual experience areas.
Up to 1,000 guests can move around the virtual live experience at the same time, which is also accessible via 2D mobile and desktop devices.
The first BMW i Virtual Garage Experience took place on 1 July. Select marketing decision makers from BMW i Motorsport partners received a special pack containing the Pico headsets and pre-installed experience, as well as exclusive team merchandise.
During the garage tour of the experience, a BMW engineer introduces the technical concept of the electric racer. Guests can look through the BMW Formula E racing car and view all the technical details at their leisure. They also get first-hand insights from the two Team BMW i Andretti Motorsport drivers, Maximilian Günther and Jake Dennis, who are on hand to answer questions.
This part of the experience includes a 360 deg lap of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit as a co-driver of a BMW i8 Safety Car. Guests are then able to visit the roof-top bar to network.
The future potential of virtual events
Lutz-Philipp Kugler of BMW Group comments: “The virtual workshop and live experience platform developed by We are Jerry and GOVAR opens up new ways and opportunities for us at BMW i Motorsport to work with sponsors, partners and customers. Instead of setting up hospitality events over and over again for each Formula E race, we only had to develop the virtual platform once and can now flexibly change and adapt it.”
“Our sponsors and partners have responded very positively to this new form of customer engagement and interaction—not only as an alternative during the Corona pandemic, but they welcome being able to create their own virtual experience spaces for their own content and experiences. This experience clearly demonstrates the future potential of virtual events.”
Images: Pico Interactive