Red Bull technology boss: Brand collaboration will unlock VR

Red Bull

Red Bull’s chief technology officer has urged brands to partner and collaborate with each other if they want to unlock virtual reality’s (VR) potential, stressing that success will only come if experiences are shared.

The technology has been at the forefront of the marketing industry for some time, but its limitations and the scale at which it’s being adopted has proven to be a barrier to any great investment.

In fact, only this month did Red Bull Media House launch its own virtual reality platform, which hosts an array of sport, travel and music content designed to be viewed using a VR headset or by slotting a mobile into something like Google Cardboard.

Andreas Gall, Red Bull’s chief technology officer, said that rather than seeing other content makers as rivals he believes the best way to build momentum and learnings is to collaborate with them.

“When you’re doing such new things, we don’t look at it as if we have competition. We work with Google and Lufthansa, for example, and it’s not competition. We put together all our ideas and out of the learnings from both sides we can bring speed to the success,” he said at the IAB's partner event at MWC today (28 February).

“It’s an 'open arms' process and we’re inviting everyone to work with us.”

Gall's solution for pushing the creative boundaries of VR came as a number of other brands try and tackle the technical issues. BT and Nokia, for example, announced at the same conference that they would partner to see how 5G networks could be used to improve the experience of customers watching live sport or entertainment through VR.

Harnessing biometrics in marketing

But beyond virtual reality, harnessing biometric data in content creation is an area of interest to Gall and two years ago he was behind a push to overlay the data it was gathering during the film-making process onto final videos.

Throughout his presentation, Gall wore a pair of Jabra Pulse headphones, which have in-built heart rate monitoring technology and displayed the data it was giving back on a big screen.

He said Red Bull also works with a number of start-ups, such as Jabra Pulse, in the biometrics space on a "hero kit" of technology that can be worn with ease (instead of lots of sensors attached to the body) by athletes it films. With their permission, that data is fed back Red Bull's content team and it can use it almost instantly in content creation.

“We're still in the experimental mode," he said. "But what if, during a soccer game, you can collect data and watch the player's emotional state and send them a message based on that body information?"

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