With a name that’s known for creating transformative products and supporting innovation, it should be no surprise that Dyson is embracing the metaverse and the benefits it may offer.
The metaverse is essentially shared digital environments, accessible through virtual reality and augmented reality headsets, where people are able to interact together.
The concept has been around for a long time, but was brought to the mainstream in 2022 when Facebook’s parent company announced it was changing both the focus and name of the company to reflect its pivot to the future of the web.
That has prompted companies near and far to consider how it can get ahead of the game, like Aotearoa’s Invivo, which anticipates selling its wines via virtual avatars in the metaverse.
The company’s first major step into the arena is the Dyson Demo VR, which allows customers to trial, test and get more detailed technological information about the company’s products, its global e-commerce director Sean Newmarch told Newshub.
“Real world trials are of course fundamental to ensuring Dyson products are high-performing and reliable, but enhanced online simulations mean that customers at home can test a wide range of products in unique scenarios,” he said.
“At Dyson, we strive to provide the most realistic VR experience possible by drawing on the real simulation and visualisation technology which Dyson engineers and designers have been using for years in the prototype and development stages of design.
“To do this, we are using the same models in the experience that we use to manufacture our machines, as well as the same software algorithms to match the airflow physics and movement mechanics as accurately as possible to how our machines respond in the real world.”
Improvements will keep coming to the experience too, Newmarch told Newshub.
“Eventually, you’ll be able to throw dust and debris on different floor types, try different vacuum cleaning attachments and visualise the potential pollution in your home – all without a physical Dyson product,” he said.
Both air pollution and the temperature of airflow are very difficult to demonstrate when they can’t be seen, Newmarch said. But the thermal imagery mode in the VR experience changes that.
“The core advantage of VR is the ability to make the invisible visible,” he told Newshub.
“As humans, we love to understand how a technology works, but it can sometimes be difficult to understand how a technology relates to us.”
VR allows customers to see how airflow from a hair dryer or purifier is directed, how it interacts with the hair or the environment and even what debris a vacuum is picking up.
And with those improvements will come a new VR shopping experience, currently in the final stages of testing, Newmarch said.
“You will be able to explore the full range of products and colours we have available, how they work and see live pricing updates, all from within the VR experience.
“In the future, we will also provide the option for you to be joined by a Dyson Expert, beamed directly into the experience with you, live from one of our physical locations,” he said.
However for those that prefer venturing out and into shops rather than online shopping experiences, stores aren’t going anywhere just yet.
While some had been struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dyson had opened 30 new shops during that time, with another 19 planned until the end of this year.
It’s all part of Dyson’s growing focus on direct to consumer retail both on the high street and online, the company said.
But while the metaverse is very much on the agenda for Dyson, the company was more coy when it came to two other major technology trends – NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
“Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Dyson and this is true in how we approach our retail and shopping experiences,” Newmarch said.
“While we can’t reveal all the areas we are currently researching, we are confident we will have more exciting retail innovations to share this year.”
“We plan on integrating e-commerce and purchase functionality within the VR world that is similar to what consumers have on their mobile today, accelerating a shift in how people buy as online and offline worlds combine.”
Ultimately, Dyson’s move to embrace the metaverse is to put them where their future customers will be, whether that’s on highstreets and in malls, or in a VR world with other avatars.
“We believe that virtual reality provides a bridge between the offline and online world, to provide Dyson shoppers and owners with a new, tactile and immersive experience – an experience without limits,” Newmarch said.
Providing you don’t mind strapping on a VR headset and venturing into the metaverse, that is.