Virtual reality isn’t just for consumer activations. More and more companies are incorporating VR into their b-to-b conferences and events as a way to engage attendees and deepen their connection to content. NetApp, a data management company specializing in cloud and flash technology, used VR to create a fresh experience around Formula 1 racing for its customers, partners and prospects at VMworld Europe, which took place last October in Barcelona.
“Considering the fact that this conference primarily focuses on new trends and innovations, we chose virtual reality to get in touch with our visitors,” says Kate Lechowicz, senior manager, EMEA Enterprise and Events Marketing at NetApp. “It is a constantly changing environment, and our customers expect the latest. I always try to stay one step ahead of them.”
VR offered NetApp attendees something they probably hadn’t tried before, which was one reason for its success. Here are three more:
1. It was relevant.
As a premium sponsor of VMworld, NetApp used its nearly 900 square-feet of exhibit space to showcase its products and solutions. The company hosted technical sessions and offered one-on-one sessions with its executives and experts. But the virtual reality in its racecar simulator incorporated elements of its Data Fabric campaign to reinforce the importance of constant access to data in today’s world. “The use of virtual reality at the booth helped create a life-like experience of our campaign in a simulated 3D world through the use of computer technology,” Lechowicz says.
2. It was rewarding.
Attendees with the fastest lap on the simulator for each day and the fastest lap over all three days of the show won Oculus Rift headsets. Attendees also received a do-it-yourself NetApp-branded VR carbon glasses kit as a giveaway so they could interact with the game online and further engage with the brand.
3. It was redundant (in a good way).
NetApp’s VR activation gave attendees the chance to put on an Oculus Rift headset and race around Barcelona’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya racetrack. The experience took smart advantage of the company’s partnership with Formula 1 racing to serve up a fun reminder that NetApp not only powered pieces of the VR experience—it powers Formula 1’s high-tech needs, too.