WEDNESDAY 30 SEP 2020 2:24 PM


Corporate communicators can more easily integrate 360 degree content into their content strategies. Are businesses missing a trick by not engaging with this technology? Vismedia's Jonathan Sedger discusses

If your workday is anything like mine, you probably spend a lot of time in a tiny little square on someone else’s computer. I often end up feeling like I’m living in my own one-room production of The Truman Show.

Zoom fatigue is clearly a zeitgeist in business right now. But, just think: where would we have been without it during this pandemic? And, had businesses fully embraced video calling way back in 2003 when Skype burst onto the screen, would we have worked past the teething problems already?

I’m certain that the early adopters of a video-first approach to meetings have been operating more productively and with lower operational costs. I’m sure they’ve found a healthier, happier balance than the tailenders of 2020, too.

It begs the question: what other communication technologies are comms professionals missing out on?

There’s a chance for early birds to catch a particularly juicy worm: 360 degree content. It’s the most developed that it’s ever been, and so criminally underused in communications. Let me show you why 360 degree content is a trick you’re missing.

Since 2007, Google has been using 360 degree interactive web content for Street View. The idea is that you can explore a destination (out of the 10m miles Google has captured so far) so you know where you’re going and what to look out for when you arrive. A quick click and – hey presto! – you’re virtually there. You can look around in 360 degree using your mouse or thumb to navigate on your laptop or phone.

360 degree content goes beyond mapping roads. It’s 'digital déjà vu:' the feeling like you’ve been somewhere before… but on the internet. I wish I came up with that, but it’s how a comms leader described the Sky Garden restaurant as we sat down for dinner. He’d visited the 360 degree website that we’d built for Sky Garden just prior, and immediately felt at home in the real world.

Lots of early adopters of blended 360 degree and video have brought their physical spaces to life in the digital world. 360 degree content helped Cory Riverside Energy take overseas investors on a digital journey around their energy facilities to help sell their business (way over the valuation). For internal teams, Barclays opened the digital doors to their Barclays Group Archives to engage employees all over the world.

You might be thinking: “So what, Jonathan? I don’t need to show anybody around a space.” Well, businesses can also use 360 degree content for gamifying their communications.

EY’s internal comms team reached over 80% of its UK & Ireland workforce with a gamified 360° experience. By getting colleagues together to play three quiz games, the company was able to qualify their ability to deliver in three key areas: technology, talent and trust.

The space was custom-built to help explain EY’s comms objectives. From modern décor to the objects on the wall, each detail helped to sow the seeds of strategy.

What I touched on above is using Computer Generated Images (CGI) to create a 360° environment, and this has proved to be a really successful (and Digital Impact Awards 2020 nominee-worthy) tactic.

B2B Marketing created a 360 degree destination for its Ignite London conference. The vast majority of delegates associate the event with the Business Design Centre in London where it usually takes place, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the event was moved online but the organisers wanted to recreate the sense of destination their audience had come to expect. 

The acclaimed experience was nominated for two Digital Impact Awards.

By adding video chat functionality and streaming live video to a 360 degree environment you can create the feeling of destination and exploration that is so absent at webinars and online events.

Don’t let gravity get you down: real world limitations don’t apply in CGI world. The beauty of CGI is that you can free your creativity, like in this example where Barclays created a branch on Mars. Where will you build yours?

Jonathan Sedger is the head of content at Vismedia. He is speaking at the Corporate Content Conference on 6 October.