Show and tell: New ways of sharing your company's story and products

IT can help sales and marketing groups explore and use new 3D tools

The decision to develop a video-based positioning program to study the guts of a Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid was born of a business need. The German car manufacturer was trying to figure out a more effective way to train large groups of service people worldwide on all aspects of the car's interior, as well as teach about technical innovations on other new models. So officials adopted a concept called projective augmented reality (AR) so that service teams worldwide could learn about technical innovations by literally seeing the ins and outs of new models.

Where "traditional" AR uses a camera and add-on graphics to combine the real with the virtual in a live stream shown on a smartphone, tablet or computer, projective AR adds a projector to overlay a 3D visualization onto an exterior surface.

"Three-dimensional design data is projected onto the surfaces of a production vehicle, in the correct position and in perspective even from different viewing angles," explains Jürgen Leohold, head of Volkswagen Group Research. "This creates a kind of 'virtual X-ray vision' for the viewer, which enables them to see otherwise hidden components and structures inside the vehicle." In addition, projective AR makes it possible to superimpose individual components and component designations, or to project prepared animations onto the vehicle.

Volkswagen's projective AR
3D images of new cars can be sent to service techs and others around the world to allow for more effective training, Volkswagen officials say.

As a result, the development and functionality of the Touareg's hybrid technology can be explained to employees at a level that would not have been possible using normal animation.

Depending on the use case, IT has an important supporting role as a technology implementer or adviser -- or evangelist, in some instances -- to ensure marketing's success with these new technologies, industry observers say.

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