Mantel Group has announced it is now using virtual reality (VR) to offer a virtual hub for its team to use.
Using Oculus VR headsets, team members across the eight brands at Mantel Group have been meeting weekly in a virtual environment. They have been setting it up in readiness for the wider team to now use as a hub. The hub is never the same. Users of the meta hub can meet beachside in the middle of the Australian winter, in meeting rooms when a serious presentation needs to be given with the best virtual audio/visual set up, and in space when inspiration is needed and the possibilities are, well, endless.
Using various platforms including Meta’s (previously Facebook) Horizon Workspace, Mozilla’s Hubs and MeetinVR 2.0, the Mantel Group team has been working collaboratively to test the tools, the quality and the personalisation of each of these platforms.
Virtual Reality has become more mainstream since the price reduction of the Oculus headset from Meta, which now costs less than an overnight business trip from Melbourne to Sydney. In addition, there are a lot of reports that Apple will soon announce an AR/VR headset to be released in 2023, thus generating even more interest in the segment.
Dan Bradby, emerging technology and innovation principal at Mantel Group says, “There are so many use cases for remote interaction that feels far more personable, and also allows for a greater experience through virtual reality. We have defaulted to chat bots and messaging for customer service due to the convenience during COVID, but this reduces the two-way interaction and ease of direction, especially when doing something technical. Imagine being able to self-serve or be directed one-to-one through virtual demonstrations – specific to the support you need from the brand you purchased the product or service from.”
Mantel Group also believes VR can help those businesses that are facing disruption or changing due to customer expectations.
Head of Marketing at Mantel Group, Heath Walker has a history in the automotive industry and sees a huge upside for the way that industry could operate: “With a shortage of vehicles in the market, high demand and a shift to electric drive trains, the demand on manufacturers and dealerships has never been higher. Yet the customer still wants a better experience. Ordering online is becoming the norm, with trusted vehicle endorsement from family and friends being the strongest consideration of brand. Imagine being able to sit inside a vehicle whilst in your lounge, looking at the interior and exterior design, changing colour and interacting with the technology, all the time having a friend or family member also able to join you. Ordering your car whilst in that experience with the design you customise. When delivered to your driveway, a similar experience could occur with a walkthrough of your new vehicle, but this time with AR, to create a digital meets physical interaction. Making the experience personalised, interactive and easy.”
Bill Gates supports Mantel Group’s thoughts, last year writing in his blog; “Within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids…to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars.”
Mantel Group plans on sharing their learnings with companies over the coming 12 months, ironically, in physical meet-ups at their hubs, at least until they have enough companies with headsets to start running them virtually as well.