Randon Group Uses Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to showcase products at trade show
Randon Group is the largest manufacturer of trailers and semi-trailers in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. For more than 60 years, the company has been manufacturing different types of road equipment including semi-trailers, trailers and truck bodies in the grain, dry cargo, tank, dump, silos, sugar cane, forestry, sider, and van lines, among others.
Located in the south of Brazil, Randon Group today is made of the following companies:
- Randon Implements
- Randon Vehicles
- Master Automotive Systems
- Jost Brasil Automotive Systems
- Suspensys Automotive Systems
- Randon Consórcios
- Randon Bank
For the 2019 launch of 10 new semi-trailers at the largest event in Latin America geared toward the over-the-road cargo transport industry (Fenatran), Randon wanted to show the details of every component that make-up their state-of-the-art semis, increase engagement between the brand and event-goers, and attract new visitors.
Some of the challenges included:
- Find a way to show parts and components that were “hidden” or not clearly visible.
- Showcase new semis to event-goers.
To do this, Signia Digital developed a Virtual Reality Experience and four Augmented Reality apps. The entire project was completed in just 30 days, and here’s how it happened.
Virtual Reality Project
Imagine having to ship 10 semi-trailers from your factory to an expo center 622 miles (1,002 km) away. In addition to being unviable for reasons of physical space at the trade show, the logistical costs and risks involved would’ve been too high. But on the other hand, how to show the public these new state-of-the-art semis and all of their technological advances and details?
The solution – both for convenience and innovation – was to create a Virtual Reality Experience. By using virtual reality, visitors were able to have a fully immersive experience and were able to take an in-depth look at the new semi-trailers individually. For each model, a different detail was highlighted.
Signia Digital developed the entire virtual environment, consisting of three warehouses. The decision to use three different warehouses was not by chance: when all the semi-trailers were placed in a single virtual space, the image would freeze and would not follow the user’s movements. When the trucks were divided into warehouses, the images loaded much quicker and the experience became much smoother.
This is how the user moved through the Virtual Reality Experience:
As you can see, with the VR glasses, the visitor could “walk” through each warehouse, look around, get close to the semis and check different details of each one.
Virtual Reality | Project Details
As with every client, after signing a non-disclosure agreement, Randon Group sent Signia all of the CAD models to get the project started. The files were used as a reference because, in order for the images to be optimized (lighter), without compromising quality and lifelikeness, Signia’s 3D artists had to remodel each semi-trailer. For this, it was necessary to choose which parts of the product would receive more prominence and be highlighted in the VR experience.
To make this choice, Signia’s team took into consideration the project sent by Randon Group. For example, when the objective was to show an axle, it had to show much more details than the rest of the truck.
One of the challenges in the VR project was regarding the VR glasses’ plugin, as Signia ended up encountering several problems. To solve them, one of Signia’s programers had to recreate specific functions and functionalities specific for the device.
Augmented Reality Project
In addition to the ten semis presented to the public through virtual reality, Randon Group brought four semis to Fenatran. Each of them had Augmented Reality markers in which the user, after accessing the AR app created by Signia, pointed the camera of their mobile device and was able to see details of the parts in question, in addition to written information.
In total, Signia Digital created 25 markers and 25 descriptive items (varying between videos and AR).
Randon also wanted whoever visited their stand to take the ten semis home. At first, the company thought about producing physical miniatures. But after talking with Signia, they opted for an AR app.
Visitors received special drink coasters with Augmented Reality markers as gifts. After downloading the AR app developed by Signia and pointing the camera of the mobile device at the coaster, the visitors had, in front of them, smaller versions of the newly released semis. In other words, the desire to give the visitor the opportunity to take the new semis home came to fruition.
Catalogs of the Syspensys brand also had Augmented Reality experiences built-in. In this case, the visitor pointed the mobile device at the folder and could see various the axles and suspension systems used in the semis
Randon Testing Center (CTR)
The same AR technology was used to show the public the CTR Test Center in a way that escaped the traditional video.
By pointing a tablet’s (or smartphone’s) camera at a marker at the company’s booth, visitors were able to view the various CTR tracks in 3D. Each track showed its own characteristics. To view the particularities, the visitor clicked on the tablet and was able to see photos, videos, and texts that highlighted – also in AR – important details.
Augmented Reality | Project Details
Much of what was done for Virtual Reality was reused for Augmented Reality. For example, remodeling the images. The difference is that if for VR the visualization is more “generic”, while for AR, the images have to be more precise.
For this reason, Signia’s 3D artists had to dedicate extra effort to take the images, optimize them and still maintain the high quality of the details.
Another challenge related to the Augmented Reality project was related to the AR app used to read the drink coasters distributed as gifts. Since the app would be downloaded by the general public, it had to be less than 100 megabytes. In order for that to happen, Signia had to look for ways to optimize the app’s performance while maintaining quality. In the end, our team was able to keep the app at 98mb.
When it comes to Virtual Reality, which provided a completely different and more immersive experience – which most people were used to experiencing at trade shows -, the feedbacks obtained by Signia Digital were incredible!
The initiative had an impact on Randon’s clients and booth visitors, especially as they were able to be immersed in a highly realistic first-person experience, giving them the impression of being inside the actual warehouse.
The same positive feedback came from the Augmented Reality apps developed by Signia. The markers that were on the semi-trailers, for example, helped Randon’s sales team to showcase new technologies, upgrades, and details that were impossible to see with the naked eye.
The initiative was so successful that all of these projects executed by Signia will be used by Randon’s dealerships and sales teams as a sales tool to help with the sales process and bring their clients closer to the brand.
- All content within the apps were developed by Signia, including videos, 3D, animations, and texts;
- In addition to the videos inserted in the apps, Signia also produced six videos to be played on screens at the Randon’s stand;
- Virtually all Signia professionals were involved in the project at some point;
- Good communication and project management were critical to the success of this project. Thanks to this, every challenge was overcome and the project was delivered with quality and on time.
- Account Manager – Rodrigo Santos
- Project Manager – Marcus Vinicius
- Assets and 3D Modeling – Francisco Deucher, Rafael Nicolazzi, Sidnei Gonçalves, Denis Bassi & Cadu Puccini
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – Neemias Watzko & Gustavo Dietrich
- Lookdev and Textures – Neemias Watzko, Gustavo Dietrich, Rafael Nicolazzi & Denis Bassi
- Graphic Design, Interfaces & UX – Marcus Vinicius