In October, Nreal, a manufacturer of consumer-grade smart glasses, partnered with BMW to continue its exploration into enterprise use cases. The firms partnered to deliver a mixed reality (MR) virtual showroom for BMW’s iX1 electric car.

The duo also collaborated on the project with Axel Springer National Media & Tech, AUTO BILD, and Deutsche Telekom. Together, the team successfully crafted an interactive MR marketing presentation led by Robin Hornig, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AUTO BILD.

The presentation enables participants to inspect a digital twin of the BMW iX1 vehicle. The digital exhibition includes a fully modelled car with additional resources, including photos and videos.

Nreal is supplying the MR wearables to deliver the BMW showcase. Android and recently, iOS users can tether their smartphone to a Nreal device to access immersive broadcasting events.

Nreal Air smart glasses allow wearers to stream media on immersive screens up to 102 inches in height. The partnership also marks a continued effort by Nreal to expand its immersive streaming capabilities with device-exclusive content.

This year, Nreal grew its operations with successful debuts in US and UK markets. UK regional partners EE sell Nreal Air smart glasses on their website for £299.99.

Nreal, BMW Host an Immersive Showroom

When a Nreal device owner starts BMW’s digital presentation, they can explore a fully digitised model of the iX1 car using gesture control. Nreal recently updated its Nebula software development kit (SDK) to improve gesture tracking capabilities on its product portfolio.

Nreal focused its SDK update to suit advertising use cases. Now, with BMW’s campaign, Nreal can showcase its new SDK alongside the iX1.

A user can start Robin Hornig’s presentation whenever they wish. The automotive expert appears as a fully digitised real-time 3D (RT3D) render that talks the user through the vehicle’s finer details.

Sven von Aschwege, the XR Topic Lead at Deutsche Telekom, noted that an MR virtual showroom presents an avenue for audiences to get additional information. He explained how audiences could experience familiar experiences from a new and unknown perspective.

von Aschwege also added,

“We demonstrated a different form of reporting based on the presentation of a car and showed what such new experiences could look like. We are convinced that this will increasingly find its way into our everyday lives in the future and that we will be able to experience things in even more diverse ways thanks to mixed reality”

Developing a Virtual BMW Showroom for Nreal Hardware

Axel Springer developed the project, in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, the BMW Group, and AUTO BILD for the Nreal platform. The group digitised Robin Hornig, created an iX1 digital twin, and developed an application for Nebula OS.

The project aims to raise the current standard of immersive showrooms and customer experience (CX) opportunities.

Chris Krauss, the Product Lead of Immersive Media at Axel Springer NMT, explained how MR technology would change media consumption in the next few years.

Krauss also added,

“At Axel Springer we are researching immersive technology and are already building competencies for the future. – Today we presented a hands-on experiment to gain further experience”

BMW’s History of XR Exploration

Christophe Koenig, the Head of Communication BMW Group IT, Digital and Driving Experience, said that the recent “joint high-tech project” with Deutsche Telekom and Axel Springer was an “important milestone” for BMW in its XR transformation.

Koenig explained that BMW found the iX1 MR showroom project enticing. He added that from BMW’s perspective, XR applications hold massive potential, especially in enhancing communications.

Koeing added,

“We are very strongly convinced that this is increasingly playing an important role in the digital ecosystem of our customers will play”

BMW is a notable adopter of immersive XR technologies. The firm works with augmented, virtual, and mixed reality (AR/VR/MR) platforms for various use cases, including marketing, design, and manufacturing.

BMW has a history of leveraging immersive technologies since the COVID pandemic. In 2020, the pandemic forced the Geneva International Motor Show organisers to cancel that year’s event.

At the event, BMW was going to showcase its upcoming Concept i4 electric car. Although, in response, the firm chose to debut the car in VR instead.

At the time, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management for BMW, explained that the firm chose to leverage the technology solution because it was essential to show respect to the individuals that collaborated on the project.

BMW also partnered with Engage in 2021 for another immersive showcase event. The automotive firm hosted a Formula E Motorsport engagement workshop that project partners Engage helped deliver onto Pico VR headsets.

More recently, BMW debuted an MR real-time driving experience in early November. The experience leverages Varjo Technologies’ headsets to distribute an application that converts an entire M2 vehicle into an MR controller for an immersive gaming experience.

Nreal Technology Partnerships

The BMW collaboration comes as Nreal aims to secure its place as a trusted immersive media streaming solutions provider.

In addition to Nreal hosting the BMW virtual showroom on its product portfolio, the Chinese smart glasses manufacturer has hosted various other immersive broadcasts since its international growth.

In September, Nreal partnered with another automotive firm: Nio. Together, they debuted purpose-built smart glasses for Nio’s electronic vehicles.

The product allows drivers to operate Nio vehicles with added immersive cockpit tools, and passengers can stream immersive media. The device contains antiglare and anti-shake technology to improve the performance of smart glasses within a moving vehicle.

In early August, Nreal partnered with BT Sports to broadcast the Premier League on the Chinese firm’s Air and Light smart glasses. Nreal operators watched the Premier League broadcast with added immersive features such as RT3D AR player and game metrics.

Nreal also collaborated with The Devon Football League to broadcast the SuperCup 2022 with similar additional AR features.

The Chinese firm is also expressing interest in healthcare opportunities. In March, Nreal teamed up with Microsoft and researchers at the University of Bristol to establish PeopleLens.

The experimental healthcare device improves social interaction among blind children by reading an individual’s name aloud when a child looks at them.



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