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

Positive Social Change: Microsoft Summit 2017


Just over a week ago, Microsoft launched their free global Tech Summit in Sydney. This is their first ever attempt at this event, and a success story which will now move ahead into 13 other countries. This first summit took place at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Sydney’s Darling Harbour from 14-17 November and brought C-Suite/BDMs, Partners and the tech community together over the course of one week. The conference provided expertise, skills, and connections for businesses and individuals to network, discover, and share their solutions in a digital landscape that is transforming at an increasingly rapid pace.

The Summit was kicked off by local Microsoft managing director Steven Worrall, who announced that “cultural transformation is the vital ingredient to any successful digital transformation”. Microsoft’s global head of industry, Toni Townes-Whitley elaborated on a similar theme, asserting that public and commercial leaders have a responsibility to establish business success that delivers a positive social impact. “Global companies like Microsoft need to think of the broader societal implications and transform responsibly,” she said, a statement that strikes a chord with what we are trying to achieve at 360dgrees.com.


360dgrees.com was the first ISV (Independent Software Vendor) Microsoft partners that were selected & invited to participate and showcase within the beating heart of the summit – the expo area. We were hugely excited to be involved as this is the world’s first expo where ISVs were included in the Data and AI story. As Microsoft partners, the Summit was a fantastic opportunity for us to share our transformative solutions, make new connections, and strengthen our existing relationships. However we also find the key themes and ideas shared at the conference to resonate strongly with our drives and beliefs, with a strong emphasis on success being driven by “the ability of companies to adapt both their leadership and their organisations for the digital era” as Worrall put it.

New technologies and solutions, like 360dgrees.com, are defining incredible new business opportunities at a rapid pace. From the global macro view to local industry deep dives, it’s a tangible solution to advance organisations’ digital transformation. But significantly, we are dedicated to ushering positive social change by revolutionising the way safety training is delivered. The fundamental goal of the 360dgrees.com platform is perfectly summarised by Microsoft’s mission statement – “empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”. This is the core promise of our platform, to simply deliver the advantages of interactive reality software to anyone. The feedback from our customers and partners throughout the course of the week was overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to the future.

To learn more about 360dgrees.com safety training, visit 360dgrees.com/safety-training/.

HoloLens, AR and the future of Business Intelligence

Join us for two exciting events

Find out more about HoloLens and the future of Augmented Reality

Sydney’s most in demand 360 video agency is presenting two special events for marketers, brand experts and business owners.

This who are interested in integrating the latest techniques in modern technology to discover new outlets for product promotion will find this session highly informative.

HoloLens, AR and the future of Business Intelligence

Session One:
Thursday 17th November, 6pm @ Lakeba HQ
Click to book

Session Two:

Thursday 24th November 4pm @ Microsoft Brisbane

Hosted by 360Dgrees’ Darren Younger, this session will deliver exciting insights into the soon-to-be-released Microsoft HoloLens. Darren will introduce the technology of HoloLens and cover topics including how business can access this groundbreaking product to better reach and engage with their customers.

When combined with Augmented Reality, Microsoft HoloLens has the power to shape the next generation of business intelligence. Ivan will be discussing the big ideas and the simple ways to harness HoloLens to improve all of an areas of your business.

This talk will include guest speakers from Microsoft, who will deliver first-hand accounts of how Microsoft HoloLens is already infiltrating the marketplace.

Join us at one of these sessions for your chance to be let in on industry secrets and for the opportunity to network with industry peers in your city.

What is Microsoft HoloLens?

Haven’t heard of HoloLens? Get ready for the onslaught!  Look like a virtual reality headset, HoloLens uses Augmented Reality to overlay ‘holographic’ objects, combining them with the reality of what you are seeing around you.

HoloLens is being worked on by developers around the world who are exploring its potential to completely revolutionise the worlds of design, training, gaming, education and marketing.

By combining the real world with the digital one, Microsoft HoloLens is creating an entirely new dimension where people can work, play and be entertained. Users will be able to use swiping motions to control their HoloLens world and will also be able to direct what they’re seeing using simple head movements.

Think about the possibilities – viewing your overseas colleagues as 3D holograms during meetings, learning on virtual products in real time and gaming in an environment that combines your lounge room with a fantasy world.

Customers will be able to pop on HoloLens to see what their entire home would look like completely redecorated or even to superimpose new outfits onto themselves from home. The possibilities are endless!

To hear more examples of how Microsoft HoloLens can integrate with your business, book your seat at our information-packed session today!