AR and VR have transcended from being a part of sci-fi movie scripts to the world of gaming and have now grown to find its application in business activities. Businesses today are capable to provide a walk through demo of the products from their board rooms instead of going to the site or location or carrying a heavy bulk machine just to give clients a glimpse of how the machine works. Patients are equally empowered to see what chemical processes go on when a pill enters their body. These are only a few examples that depict the power of these technologies to alter our view of the world.
However, India is still an emerging market in the AR-VR domain compared to its western counterparts. Consequently, it needs a partner who brings in an understanding of the various challenges and limitations of the domain and can help it scale new heights. One such player who has not only grown with developments in the AR and VR domain but amalgamates technology with art is Pune based Oorja Interactive. Narrating their journey into this domain, the Founding Director of Oorja Interactive, Ravi Bhalla says, “We started more than a decade ago with our primary focus on research and development in experiential solutions. We researched heavily in the field of HCI (human computer interfaces) & developed lots of customised algorithms and solutions. Back then companies were not too confident or even educated in how well interactive experiences can be used for consumer engagements. Gradually the markets have evolved with a significant rise in demand for technology oriented smart engagement solutions compared to conventional websites or mobile apps.”
Delineating on their approach to AR-VR technology, Ravi Bhalla explains that at Oorja Interactive, they do not look at AR-VR from a technology point of view but rather its adaptation from an experiential point of view. They concentrate on designing engagements that are unforgettable and impactful. Ravi Bhalla adds, “Because we drive ourselves from a storytelling point of view, our solutions always stand out differently.”
Future ready solutions
Oorja Interactive has put forward several future ready AR-VR solutions that not only meet the demands of the market but sets benchmark for the industry.
Oorja’s Hobolox is an eye catching truly Make in India product that enables the user to see 3D content floating in thin air. The projection could be that of machine, 3D model of a car, a watch, a piece of jewellery or even a human heart. It has a strong potential in advertisement, exhibitions and education sector. Complementing Hobolox, is a product called Tesseract which enables physical interaction with digital content blurring the boundaries between both the domains. A product kept on top of Tesseract is detected and relevant content is then played inside the Holobox. Ravi Bhalla explains, “Let’s say we need to educate kindergarten students on objects as simple as an apple or a ball. Instead of using displays or touchscreens and interact with just 2D content, the Tesseract enables them to place an actual Apple or a ball on the sensor platform to begin engagement. Once placed, the Holobox can then display further information related to the object. These is merely the simplest example. The aim here is to bend the technology to conform to how we understand and feel the world around us rather than we conforming to how technology works. This is where we create a clear distinction between our solutions and the conventional communication mediums.
Imagine showrooms where placing a colour card on a platform lets you envision the product in required colour combination. In a way, it helps one display same product in different combinations without the need of actual inventory on display. The possibilities are just endless.”
AirTOUCH is one such solution that allows one to interact with large content area with minimal hardware investment. For e.g. instead to having a large video wall made interactive using much costlier touch screen technology, AirTOUCH rather uses cheap yet robust sensors to make the entire screen interactive. It can even detect presence of a user nearby and display welcome messages that invite the user to begin engagement. From complex hand gestures to simple body movements, AirTOUCH has the perfect set of tools that one needs to engage the end user. Using simple hand gestures
you can swipe the content, scale it, rotate it, and even interact with live objects. This is exactly what Airtouch does.
Oorja Interactive also won the Publicis-90 award under a worldwide campaign for selection of best ideas and projects recently. Their project ART (Augmented Reality of Things) allows mixed reality and digital actuality to be amalgamated with day to day activities like lighting up a bulb by just pointing your mobile at it. The ART framework also eliminates the need to download dozens of applications for augmented reality or related experiences and replaces them with one application that can then be used for delivering any AR experience.
Sparsh is Oorja’s answer to all multi point touch interactive needs. It’s a suite of designer kiosks and touch tables along with software tools to present the content in the most amazing ways. Sparsh can also enable one to detect objects kept on top of touch screens enabling a new dimension of tangible interaction. This feature enables users to go beyond the use of their hands and fingers and rather use objects such as coffee mugs, mobile phones, markers, cards, toys and even daily use products to interact with the touch screen.
These solutions find applications in and across a wide range of fields such as education, exhibitions, malls, retail, showrooms, banking and experience centres among many more. These tools help agencies not just envision but literally conceptualise creative ideas for their clients.
The scope of AR-VR is yet to be exploited to the fullest. Thus, the market holds great expectations from AR-VR vendors who are equally pressured to live up the expectations. Experience is a trait that equips Oorja Interactive to stand strong against odds. With clients coming in with different expectations and ideas the team at Oorja takes a consultative approach, explaining the potential of these revolutionary technology, the limitations and challenges and most importantly how best can a solution be designed. In fact Ravi Bhalla reveals that they make it a practice to discuss with the clients and also show them new experiences that they have designed and developed at regular intervals. This not only serves as an education for the clients but inspires them to extend their imagination to get better experiences designed.
Ravi Bhalla however emphasis that simply designing a solution using the latest technologies does not give an awesome experience. One must tell a great story through these tools using content as well as appropriate hardware to complement the experience. Ravi Bhalla explains, “For an experience to work well, there shouldn’t be a huge learning curve for the end user. That is where most of the AR/VR experiences fail. Like I mentioned earlier, the technology should conform to the user and not the other way around. For e.g. even a six year old can master a game if it is well designed. This is the kind of approach we take while designing mixed reality experiences.”
Oorja Interactive has a nascent but growing presence in the US as well; a strategic position that enables the firm to stay in pace with the technological developments in the industry. Apart from these strategies, Oorja believes in collaborations with start-ups for as Ravi Bhalla puts it, “Nothing compares to a young innovative mind that hungers for new innovations.”
Oorja Interactive houses minds who are driven by the hunger to innovate. The firm boasts of an enviable clientele such as the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mitsubishi, Abbot, Infosys, Asian Paints and many more. Their dedication can be gauged by the fact that Oorja Interactive’s project was among of the 90 winning projects that were selected from the 3555 projects submitted at the Publicis90 initiative organised by the Publicis Groupe at Paris.
At Oorja Interactive, they do not look at AR-VR from a technology point of view but rather its adaptation from an
experiential point of view
Envisioning the future, Ravi Bhalla hopes to keep expanding making their presence felt throughout the word. Ravi Bhalla concludes saying that he hopes Oorja Interactive emerges as the new age experiential agency that helps delivering unforgettable experiences and not just digital applications or solutions.