360dgrees and Azure create Country Road’s compelling retail experience, boost insight

When Toby Ellis’ young daughter asked what he did at work he told her that he used technology to help people see things differently.

Sometimes that’s in training videos to show people how to operate safely and effectively, sometimes it’s creating new and engaging retail experiences for consumers, sometimes it’s showing someone the inside of a theatre or stadium and letting them see the view before booking that seat from directly within the platform, or it’s about showcasing a property that’s for sale; the fact is that immersive and interactive virtual reality has few limits.

Ellis is the CEO of 360dgrees, a flexible platform developed using Microsoft Azure Media Services to support live streaming and immersive virtual reality (VR). Azure’s rich APIs means video content can also be integrated with additional functions that, for example, navigate a user through a training exercise, allow consumers to order and pay for goods and services displayed in the video, or experience something unfamiliar for the first time in preparation for the real thing.

Microsoft 360dgrees

The company is now working with a series of retailers, including Country Road, to create brand new customer experiences, drive revenue and deliver innovative training.

It will launch and showcase the technology and retail use cases at the US National Retail Federation trade show in New York in January 2018.

“We are excited about the opportunity for retailers to experience 360dgrees at NRF. With our partner Microsoft we are committed to empowering retailers through a solution which can not only provide a unique training solution for staff across the organisation but also deliver a heightened experience for customers”, says Ellis.

“We had this theory that if you use virtual reality you can connect better to customers, and let customers and staff experience unique events like Black Friday sales”.

“One of the conversations with Country Road group – is about how to create immersive retail customer experiences. Imagine going into the retail clothing store and instead of seeing the clothes hanging there – you put on a VR headset and see the fashion in the context it was designed for – that could be on the beach, at the races, lunch with friends – you are seeing the clothes in action.”

Retail in action

What sets the solution apart from advertising videos which might also show the clothes in real settings, is the interactive component of the solution that allows people to select garments to try on, to buy or put on a wish list from within the virtual reality environment. If you use the system in a store the clothes you want to try on will be in the change room waiting for you – in the correct size and color.

Microsoft 360dgrees


“For Country Road this is about how to connect better to the customer – and create an innovative experience, new opportunity. So at the races you can create a pop-up store – with the full range there without you being in the store.”

“Or if you are in the store and the next season hasn’t been released they might have some previews of it to experience it virtually,” says Ellis.

The experience can also be gamified in order to influence behaviour, or reward loyalty.

Meanwhile the platform drives better insights for the retailer says Ellis. “Think about the analytics – the retailer can say ‘what items are people selecting that they are not necessarily trying on? How can we leverage the customer loyalty system? Can we use a point of sale inside the VR to expedite that transaction?’”

Retailers are alert to the necessity to turn data into usable insights and 360dgrees’ patented analytics layer provides a unique insight about buyer behaviour.

Using Azure as the platform has made the solution much more affordable and largely done away with the need for computer generated images and 3D modelling that have in the past slowed the adoption of virtual reality. It’s created a new class of service – what Ellis describes as “interactive reality.”

“This essentially democratises the technology for the first time. This is technology that anyone can use to design, create and publish their own experiences.”

Training for tomorrow

It also offers a compelling training opportunity by placing people into situations that they might not previously have experienced; it both prepares them for the unknown and optimises responses to particular situations, enabling them to experience the consequence of any action.

In retail where there is an often young and mobile workforce the opportunity to allow employees to prepare for and refine their customer engagement is particularly useful, says Ellis.

The training applications of the solution are gaining traction outside of retail also, particularly in logistics, supply chain, mining and construction, airports, health and education.

He also says that knowledge retention is boosted significantly.

“Knowledge retention from listening is at 5 per cent, from writing something down 10 per cent – but from doing it’s 75 per cent. When we make the content interactive and gamify the experience people are learning by doing so knowledge retention goes from 5 per cent to 75 per cent.

“But the real kicker for interactive reality is the ability to experience consequence safely – experience drives behaviour. In nine out of ten cases knowledge is not the problem – if you can let someone experience the consequence of something whether it be the customer experience in a store or instruction while driving you can go a long way to changing behaviour.”

This article has been published on https://news.microsoft.com

360dgrees and Microsoft – showcasing how interactive reality is shaping the face of connected retail at NRF 2018


With retail environments across the globe undergoing highly disruptive digital transformation, 360dgrees.com and Microsoft have developed an immersive, interactive solution to help retailers delight customers and drive profitability.

The solution not only enables a vastly improved customer experience but can benefit retailers across the supply chain, and drive cultural alignment across geographies and brand portfolios.

360dgrees at the NRF in New York

Regarded as one of the top retail events in the world, NRF attracts over 35,000 attendees from over 95 countries and provides a fantastic opportunity for attendees to experience first-hand the 360dgrees solution.

360dgrees at the NRF

Retailers, like all companies operating in the new digital economy, understand the necessity to turn data into usable insights and 360dgrees, which is delivered over Microsoft’s Azure platform, has a patented analytics layer which provides a unique picture on staff and customers which becomes valuable IP across the organisation.

360dgrees delivers more impactful, standardised training of retail staff, regardless of their geographic location. From warehousing to marketing to in-store sales staff, 360dgrees can enable staff to both experience the consequences of their actions and experience the environment from the customer’s perspective. The business benefits range from more efficient supply chain management through to building greater empathy and affinity with the customer.

About 360dgrees.com

For customers, 360dgrees provides more rewarding experiences for shoppers to drive sales, loyalty and advocacy. This includes providing retailers, real-time, deep insights for more personalised communication of offers and promotions.

toby Toby Ellis CEO of 360dgrees said: “We are excited about the opportunity for retailers to experience 360dgrees at NRF. With our partners Microsoft we are committed to empowering retails through a solution which can not only provide a unique training solution for staff across the organisation but also deliver a heightened experience for customers”.

Visit 360dgrees at Microsoft booth

#2803 NRF, New York, 14-16 Jan, 2017

The 360dgrees.com Platform Now Supports Flat Video Gamification

by Max Harris, Media Producer at 360dgrees.com
  • 360dgrees.com’s Interactive Reality platform empowers anyone to create immersive, interactive experiences
  • The platform now supports flat videos, allowing users to augment non-360 video with POS and interactive links between videos that the viewer can control.
  • The process is simply, easy, intuitive and powerful.

As Mixed Reality has rapidly expanded into the mainstream in 2017, devices and software platforms have become increasingly accessible and affordable. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive dropped in price significantly (triggering major market share booms), consumer-grade headsets like the Oculus Go were announced, and development platforms like Apple’s ARKit and Nvidia’s Holodeck were opened.

360dgrees.com is committed to bringing Interactive Reality further into the mainstream with a video platform that empowers anyone to create dynamic immersive experiences. Simply upload 360 degree video content and augment it with interactivity through a simple and intuitive interface.

Now 360dgrees.com is excited to announce the introduction of flat video functionality, meaning that anyone, with any camera, can easily and quickly create and gamify dynamic, interactive, flowing experiences.

This is achieved by placing interactive hotspots into your videos – points of sales that can open forms, link to websites, or transition to other videos – empowering the creation of flowing narrative paths that the user can choose between. These hotspots can be moving or static; invisible or represented as virtual objects. The implication is that you can gamify your content, and create decision-based interactive videos that can be used for entertainment, education, or training. You can insert custom or preset icons, badges, timers, text, picture-in-picture interfaces – and the possibilities are limitless. The platform also provides analytics and insights into how users respond to the interactivity and the choices that they made.
Check out this interactive video created for Sydney Aquarium on the 360dgrees.com platform which employs both flat and 360 degree video. Click the interactive hotspots in the video represented by the shark and the “buy” graphics to trigger different sections of the video.

To sign up or learn more about the platform, visit 360dgrees.com. Our experts are waiting to empower you to create your own interactive experiences.

How Mixed Reality Gave Me Purpose & Made My Daughter Proud

Written by Toby Ellis, CEO at 360dgrees.com 

I’ve worked in the Innovation and Technology sector for a few years now, but it was a simple yet really confronting question my 8-year-old daughter asked me at breakfast one morning that forced me to think about technology, what I do, why I do it and helped to pivot the focus of our entire organisation. I’ll get to her question in a minute… 

I want you to think about training. Imagine safety training for a warehouse.  There are 10 people in a room and none of them want to be there. They would all prefer to be back doing their jobs. They’re working from a folder and in that folder, is a question. That question is “should you be looking at your personal device while walking across the warehouse floor where there are forklifts and PT’s operating?” Now, no-one gets that question wrong, but it doesn’t change behaviour because the second they leave that training room they’re all on their mobile phones.  

Now I want you to reimagine that training using our 360dgree.com platform. First, the participant puts on the Mixed Reality headset and is immediately immersed in the environment. They are in the warehouse. They take the point of view of the person walking across the warehouse when they hear an SMS and a phone appears at the bottom of their view. They look down to read the text and in that split second, they are hit by a forklift.  Sounds a bit rough right, but not nearly as rough as not getting home to your kids. 

Did you know, that in Australia at the end of August 115 people had died as a result of workplace accidents and that that number is higher than the corresponding period last year?   Workplace accidents cripple people financially. A global number of cost is touted at $6bil but the impact on individual families is devastating. You see the problem is, traditional safety training produces poor real participation rates, low knowledge retention and is done in abstraction of consequence. 

Our Mixed Reality Training Platform creates immersive, interactive, gamified training experiences that makes it impossible to not be present and engaged during the training. We turn training into a game where you make decisions and learn by doing not by reading and data tells us that when you learn by doing you can lift knowledge retention from 5% to 75%. When you experience consequence, you get to feel the outcomes of your decisions and that’s what drives behavioural change.  

You become the forklift driver, the nurse, the student, the teacher. You’re not doing the training, you’re in the training. Actively participating, making decisions and experiencing the outcomes of those decisions. 
If safety and training are important to your organisation and you aren’t taking advantage of Mixed reality technology then please reach out to us today as we have a platform that can help you tomorrow. 
Now, back to that question my little girl asked. Matilda said “Daddy, how do you make your money?” At the time, my answer was “Ï help people see things differently using technology.” It was a cool answer but it lacked purpose. I wanted more purpose. My parents are teachers, my wife’s a teacher, my brothers served in the navy, I have cousins in the police force and friends who are nurses. I wanted more purpose in my work. I didn’t like my answer so I sought to change it. Now, our platform is making a real difference to businesses and communities. The next time my kids ask me how I make my money I am able to say, “Daddy helps people go back to their families the same way they went to work: Safe.”

To learn more about 360dgrees.com and how we drive real outcomes through virtual training, get in contact with us or visit 360dgrees.com.

Consequence Driving Accountability

Toby Ellis, CEO at 360dgrees.com

The real battleground for Safety Training is creating a culture of safety accountability.

It’s the ultimate outcome in a minefield of tasks. Tasks like hazard identification that make us think we are doing our part when, unfortunately, the only thing we are improving is our ego.

A recent LinkedIn exchange really stood out for me. I was having my daily catchup/update on LinkedIn when a contact of mine commented on a post. The post was a picture of someone at heights without the appropriate safety gear. The person had been travelling to work and, thanks to a great/authentic attitude towards safety practices, was able to identify a safety problem: A powerful skill. They took a photo and posted it on LinkedIn with an important message like, “Workers at heights without harnesses. Be safe out there guys. Look after your people.”

Like lots of other people on the thread I applauded the post and fully endorsed the message. Be alert and aware and make safety something you actively look out for. Not just for yourself, but for those around you. Everyone deserves to go home safe. There were lots of comments of praise and lots of people who empathised with the post having too seen an incident that same day and how all too common scenes like this were. All you needed to do was be attuned to identifying safety issues and you could see them everywhere.

It was a 6-word comment from my contact that brought this illusion crashing down for me. He asked: “What did you do about it?” Wow! Exactly. What did you do about it. Did you stop and speak to someone on site? Did you go over to the worker and mention it? Or did you just take a photo and post it on social media?

I get it. It’s potentially complicated. There are people and emotions involved and it can be confronting. But it makes for a great discussion. If you are focused on safety and if that means ensuring that people get home to their families at the end of the day, when does the skill of identification actually deliver on this outcome? When you act on it and do something. And by do something, I mean something more than take a photo and share the message. That’s helpful and raises awareness, but in that moment, when that worker was at risk of not going home to their families, that’s when they most need you to be safety accountable.

Creating Safety Accountability is something that is hard to engender in people without them really appreciating the consequences of safety incidents, safety complacency and poor safety practices. This is exactly the types of outcomes that Mixed Reality (MR) Training is helping organisations of every size deliver to protect their people.

The ability to create MR Training experiences that let people experience consequence without being in a position of danger places safety identification in the context of action.

Imagine the following being delivered in fully immersive, gamified, 360, Mixed Reality:

  • You put the MR Viewer on to immerse yourself in a 360 MR Training experience  
  • See your colleague working around cranes under a suspended load? What do you do? Walk past it and mention it in the next team meeting or stop the job and get them out straight away?  You decide to walk past and speak scathingly of it in tomorrow’s meeting. Just after you decided to walk past it the lifting slings failed, crushing them. They died and the effect on family, friends and co-workers lasts a lifetime. 
  • See your mate working at heights without the appropriate harness? What do you do? Walk past it and mention it in the next team meeting or go over to the guy and say something? Again, you make a note of it and look forward to tomorrow’s meeting where you can play your part in helping keep the site safe. Just after you took that photo and drove away they fell and might not be able to work for 6 months. That’s devastating for the family. 

Instead of traditional training delivering these messages as a lecture/reading from a folder, you can experience it in MR and see the results of your decisions. You can see the accident and, critically, experience the effect and consequence of your action or inaction.
No-one wants to see a mate in hospital, be unable to be a dad or a mum to their kids, or see a family in financial trouble. So, when you use Mixed Reality Training to experience consequence without physically being there, you take a much larger step to creating armies of people who feel personally accountable for safety. And that accountability will drive action, not just identification.

Visit 360dgrees.com and get in touch with one of our Mixed Reality experts today.

Cover photo modified from original by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Consequence, Participation, Retention: The untapped value of MR Training

Written by Toby Ellis, CEO at 360dgrees.com

There’s a problem with traditional training:

  • Real participation rates are low
  • Retention of knowledge is low
  • Training is delivered in abstraction of consequence

And it’s not the fault of the training teams, the people taking part or the organisations: It’s a symptom of the tools at disposal not helping. Technology is to blame! But it doesn’t need to be. Mixed Reality (MR) Training is enabling organisations to reimagine training and pedagogies, to deliver improved results and a renewed enthusiasm on the part of the participants.
Let’s take a step back. Imagine a traditional training session at work. There are 10 people who are attending the 2-hour session away from their desks/jobs. Despite the very best of intentions of participants and trainers, too often the below is the real outcome:

  • 4 people are thinking about what they are going to do after work or at lunch
  • 2 people are consumed by the thought of all the work they could be doing if they were back at their desk
  • 1 person is reminiscing about the time they saw the Wallabies win the Bledisloe cup, on the siren, with a John Eales conversion in his very last game
  • 1 person is fading in and out of consciousness and is lucky to have the support of their colleague next to them who is providing some well timed ‘nudges’ to keep them from being noticed
  • 2 people are listening


I exaggerate to emphasise… but you get my point. In this example, there are 3 main problems:

  • Participation is low. In this example, only 20%.
  • Knowledge retention rates are low. Retention rates from learning by lecture are as low as 5% when compared to retention rates of 75% when you learn by doing.
  • This training very rarely lets people really understand and experience consequence of actions – what is the outcome and why is it important. So it becomes task focused, not outcome focused.

A lot of effort and a large commitment by everyone, that deserves a better result.

Fast forward to the same training delivered using MR Training.

  • The training is a game delivered using Mixed Reality. They put on the MR Headset, then get immersed in a game that shows them real people, asking real questions and each decision they get to see the same people show them what the consequence of that decision is. As if they are right there and it is happening to them in the 1st person.
  • Each participant can go through the training as part of a team or on their own, when it suits them.
  • The training team and organisation get access to the rich analytics of the MR Training for each individual and as a team/organisation to identify trends and think strategically about training needs.
  • The training can take a fraction of the time and the team are pretty excited about taking part in MR Training!! Let’s not kid ourselves… it’s cool!


MR Training solves problems we saw in the traditional approach.

  • 100% participation rates. By its very nature, MR Training is fully immersive. Try thinking about lunch or what you’re doing after work when you have an MR Headset on and are playing a Training Game!
  • Retention rates through the roof: from 5% retention rates for a lecture to 75% retention rates from ‘Learning by doing’ as a result of the gamification of the training.
  • Consequence brought to life: MR Training lets people experience consequence, without being in a position of danger! Outcome focused.

So, you’re left with more people participating, retaining more, with an opportunity to experience consequence.

These are exactly the sorts of outcomes 360DGREES.COM are helping enterprises achieve by challenging and innovating the way they deliver training. No longer a tick in the procedural box… training that delivers real outcomes. But it’s hard to explain… get in touch with us and we can show you so you can experience it for yourself.

1 Source: National Training Laboratories, USA
Banner image modified from original by Patsy Lynch @ FEMA Photo Library