The ability of sport to reach massive audiences and explain ground breaking technology has and will be a constant theme. Major sponsors are looking to be seen as being ahead of the latest developments and that is the thinking behind the 2014 O2 campaign with English rugby.
Billed as ‘the first fully immersive 360-degree virtual reality sports experience’, which is a bit of a mouthful, the campaign uses revolutionary Oculus Rift technology to bring fans right to the heart of the action.
This is a step up from webcams on the shoulders of referees and more akin to the promise held out by Google Glass’ recent experiments in the area of sport.
Being spoken to as a member of the team, being tackled by some of England’s heavy hitters or receiving a pass on the wing may be the stuff of memory for some, reality for others but now the experience will be real from the comfort of home, or at first perhaps wherever the immersive screen worn over your face can be demonstrated.
After developing the technology to capture the video, it took a further 160 hours of filming and 320 hours of development to create an experience that allows users to turn their head in any direction, with the content responding and moving in unison, displaying a full 360-degree visual spectrum.
“We love discovering new ways of using technology to deliver exciting experiences for our customers,” said O2 Marketing Director Nina Bibby, “and what better way to bring England Rugby fans closer to the action than ‘Wear the Rose’ from O2.”
“We’ll transport you into the virtual rugby boots of the England squad, taking in the heart pounding action of a full training session. This exciting technology really has to be experienced to be believed and we’re looking forward to bringing it to rugby fans across the UK this year.”
Mike Catt, England attacking skills coach, added: “It was great to work with O2 on the development of ‘Wear the Rose’, getting to see the technology used for the first time in sport was fantastic. We tried to re-create as authentic an England training session for rugby fans as possible, and we really hope they enjoy the experience.”
Ireland play England at Twickenham on February 22nd and it may be possible for Irish fans travelling to the match to experience the technology first hand but for now…