- OnePlus Technology, a Chinese maker of smartphones, released its OnePlus Nord model in the first launch event hosted entirely in an augmented reality (AR) setting. AR platform Blippar developed the 26-minute livestreamed event to showcase OnePlus's new smartphone to viewers worldwide, according to an announcement Blippar shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide watched the livestreamed event through the OnePlus Nord AR app, a custom-built app for iOS and Android devices. The app's features included a 3D AR stage with high-definition video content and animations, along with a digital avatar of Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus who presented the OnePlus Nord smartphone to viewers.
- The AR app let viewers see detailed specifications of the new smartphone and interact with its features. App users also could create their own avatar to share reactions to the launch in real time, per Blippar.
OnePlus's launch event for its new smartphone shows how AR technology can be used to supplant in-person presentations that are typical for technology companies. With many live events being canceled during the coronavirus pandemic, AR technology can provide brands with a way to engage target audiences in a more immersive experience. OnePlus's AR demonstration of the OnePlus also highlights how AR content can be integrated with a livestreamed video that lasts longer than typical short-form AR experiences, as Blippar notes.
OnePlus's live events are typically available to 5,000 attendees, but the AR event likely broadened that audience because a virtual setting isn't inhibited by space limitations. The company sent event invitations to 50,000 people with a preview of the OnePlus Nord phone. The invitations included QR codes for people to scan with smartphone cameras to see event teasers in the OnePlus Nord app, along with a countdown to the event. People who missed the livestream can see it on demand, along with a four-part docuseries that OnePlus created to provide an inside look at the development of its new phone. The final episode of that series will show how Blippar and OnePlus created the AR event.
For Blippar, the virtual presentation for OnePlus may herald an area of growth for its AR technology. Before facing financial difficulties, Blippar had been considered one of the U.K.'s few technology "unicorns" for having an estimated value of more than $1 billion. Last year, the company went into administration, a British form of bankruptcy, before finding a financial savior and hiring Faisal Galaria, a former executive at Spotify and Kayak, as CEO to help turn around the company.
Blippar is steadily expanding its clientele, as seen its work on a web-based AR experience for Italian coffee brand Lavazza and the U.K.'s Arsenal Football Club. The brands in April created AR content to connect with soccer fans who had missed the sport during pandemic lockdowns.