Austella were commissioned to create a 3-minute pre-rendered CGI 360 experience for British Gas, highlighting the government initiative to provide every home in the UK with a smart meter before 2020. The experience was to be delivered through both the Android (Google Play) and iOS (iTunes) stores for both Apple and Android Smartphones. Customers were sent a cardboard VR headset in the post, whereby they could scan the printed QR code that would initiate the app download. The experience was also exhibited to staff across British Gas offices worldwide.
The Technical Challenge
Unlike Android, Apple Phones do not have a native 360 video player. iPhones 7 and below also do not play 360 videos on YouTube (now supported on the later iPhones), the client estimated roughly 17% of their customers were therefore using Apple Smartphones that would not be able to view the experience. This was enough for them to consider cancelling the project. The task was 2-fold – firstly to create a pre-rendered experience that combined the complexity of CGI animations, motion GFX and 2D cinematics; secondly create an iOS 360 video player that could be embedded into a Unity app alongside the CGI experience.
Overcoming the Challenge
Following trials with off-the-shelf 360 players, we concluded none would adequately build for an iOS platform without significant re-work, meaning it was more cost effective to develop a player from the ground up. Therefore, we had to create the CGI experience with an understanding that we would be outputting both an mp4 format video (for Android), and QuickTime (for Apple).
The experience was exhibited across British Gas offices globally, with a reach of over 5,300 staff. 92% of those who experienced the app rated it ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.