News 01.10.2020

Need to Know

Facebook reworks the workplace with virtual reality, air-purifying face masks that tackle pollution, and AR retail experiences boost shopper confidence.

Facebook envisages an infinite office via VR

Infinite Office by Facebook, US

US – Facebook is building on the functionality of its virtual reality (VR) software as an alternative solution for remote working.

Infinite Office, as the product is known, is intended for use with the Oculus headset and aims to replicate a physical office environment. While wearing the VR headset, users will be able to customise multiple displays – controlled by gestural hand movements – as well as type using a physical platform and have virtual meetings via AR platform Spatial.

Infinite Office also offers Passthrough, a mode that allows users to toggle between full VR and mixed VR, so they can simultaneously view their virtual and physical surroundings. As workers adapt to the long-term reality of remote working, new innovations are emerging to allow people to live and work in a different way, using technology for both connection and efficiency.

In the inter-Covid period, businesses are having to adapt and explore virtual headquarters – something we explore in Reworking the Workplace.

Good Measures uplifts pandemic wayfinding

Good Measures, UK Good Measures, UK
Good Measures, UK Good Measures, UK

London – Good Measures is a new company offering design-first wayfinding for the inter-Covid period.

Set up by vinyl print house Puck Studio and interiors company Interesting Projects, Good Measures aims to challenge the clinical and unwelcoming signage that has become a familiar element of the pandemic. The company takes a warmer, more welcoming approach to functional messaging on hygiene and social distancing with a range of colourful vinyl stickers. The range includes 2m distance reminders, sanitation signs and patterned tape to be applied to flooring.

'We realised pretty quickly that people would need social distancing signs and we started to see the usual hazard-style, health-and-safety versions cropping up in various places,’ explains David Gibbons, director of Puck Studio. ‘The problem is that not only does this tend to be a bit depressing, but there is so much of this sort of signage around that it becomes white noise, and loses its impact as a result.’

As we explore in our Positive Barriers design direction, the need for enhanced health and safety measures is prompting designers to reframe the visual language of public messaging.

LG introduces face masks with wearable air purifiers

PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier by LG, London PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier by LG, London

London – Electronics company LG is releasing a battery-powered face covering that also functions as a wearable air purifier.

The PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier comes as several countries have made face masks mandatory in public spaces, recognising both the normalisation of mask-wearing and the issue of inconsistent quality of disposable masks. Featuring integrated fans and HEPA filters, the LG mask allows users to breathe in filtered air while detecting the cycle and volume of the wearer’s breathing to adjust the fan speed.

‘The PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier is an exciting addition to our growing line-up of products designed to deliver meaningful health and hygiene benefits,’ explains Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. ‘At a time when consumers are seeking ways to make life safer and more convenient, it’s important that we’re able to offer solutions that add measurable value.’

While many tech-based solutions are being designed to specifically target viruses, this solution posits longevity with its environmental benefits. Discover more urban environment innovations in our Smog Life series.

Stat: Shoppers are leaning into the benefits of AR

Immersive Journalism by Jim Brady and Ward Goes Immersive Journalism by Jim Brady and Ward Goes

While augmented reality (AR) technology has previously been categorised as a novel addition to shopping experiences, shoppers are now appreciating its more functional uses.

In a recent survey by AR technology solution provider Vertebrae, 76% of consumers who had tried the technology online reported that it improved their purchase confidence. The inclusion of AR technology is proving successful among consumers, with 68% of users saying they are ‘likely or very likely’ to purchase from retailers who offer web-based AR shopping experiences.

Vince Cacace, CEO of Vertebrae, said: ‘The ability to try on accessories virtually is reassuring to shoppers who don’t want to risk store visits – and who don’t want to deal with the hassle and expense of returning items ordered online that fail to meet their needs.'

From window displays to packaging, retailers are increasingly investing in AR to create multi-layered touchpoints that combine both physical and digital environments.

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