AccuWeather's new app presents forecasts in VR
- AccuWeather is launching an Oculus-powered virtual reality app for the Samsung Gear headset, according to a company press release. A standalone VR app is the latest part of an ongoing collaboration between AccuWeather and Samsung.
- The app will provide users with 360-degree video content for severe weather events, including extreme close-ups of a tornado in Wray, Colorado, that has almost 1.5 million YouTube views. New videos will be added to the app weekly.
- Users will also get daily and hourly forecasts including wind speed, dew point, wind direction and precipitation, as well as severe weather alerts and warnings. The app will also let users experience a range of dynamic weather conditions in real-time via animations of events like stormy rain, snow, thunderstorms and clouds.
At this early stage in virtual reality's adoption and development, marketers are still searching out strategies that apply the immersive technology in a way that resonates with consumers. Weather-related 360-degree video content is already popular with viewers on platforms like YouTube, so the new AccuWeather offering could see a good deal of traction.
VR experiences and 360-degree video — often considered a sort of "VR light" — can trigger both strong emotional reactions and higher engagement times with users compared to more traditional mediums of presentation, according to research from YuMe and Nielsen.
It's not hard to see why such technology, when applied to already intense footage like extreme weather events, is popular. The VR content on the new app should also be a novel way for users to get more regular forecasts and other weather information.
AccuWeather has been active in looking for new ways to report the weather in an era where up-to-the-minute forecasts come built-in with most mobile devices and computers. The company has dabbled, not just in VR, but also connected TVs and cars, along with wearables gear, according to the release.
For marketers more broadly, keeping track of early VR use cases like the AccuWeather app will help determine what VR content users are most interested in and where brands should begin investing as they look to dabble in the space.