The Dassault Systèmes Virtual Experience
Agency: Cook + Associates
Client: Dassault Systèmes
Event Name: Dassault Systèmes Virtual
Agency Website: www.cookandassociates.com
Cook + Associates was originally commissioned to deliver the Dassault Systèmes (DS) business chalet at Farnborough Airshow 2020, based on creating an immersive delegate journey in a conventional physical space. The chalet was designed to include a 4-zone playground with touch screens and VR headsets to demonstrate how the DS’ 3DS software and solutions can be used to address 4 key topics, i.e.
• improve supply chain management,
• manage complex systems,
• design for flexible manufacturing,
• and deliver high performance operations.
Our concept involved the development cycle of a new aircraft “Spirit of Excellence” as the basis to illustrate the key concept.
The cancellation of Farnborough Air show created a new challenge – how to translate the original brief into a virtual immersive alternative, enabling DS to deliver a memorable experience and engage seamlessly with customers in a virtual rather than physical environment.
We brought our Exhibition 3.0 virtual event concept into play, a new system we had been evolving prior to the pandemic with hybrid events in mind. We accelerated the development process in time for DS’ event and re-imagined the event brief with the client team to create something entirely new, innovative and exciting.
The Solution and Activation
The inspiration behind the concept was to maintain a totally interactive experience for customer groups – reflecting how they would have converged on the physical playground in DS’ Farnborough chalet. Key to this was maintaining a free communications flow between the 3DS presenters – using 2-way video so that everybody could read each other’s reactions and emotions naturally and instantly. Importantly, we designed the presenters’ tools with the objective of holding the audience attention while explaining highly technical and complex processes. Our solution was to mix live presenters with explanatory Augmented Reality technical content, requiring a secure, robust yet simple video conferencing platform that would seamlessly connect attendees from remote locations all around the world. Every element had to be intuitive and easy to use, without the need to download software on to different devices of all denominations.
Key to realising this virtual concept was the technology behind the platform. After an extensive market search, we decided that the only solution was to develop our own custom branded, end-to-end encrypted browser-based presentation conferencing software, Connect. We knew that control was crucial from start to finish, from the moment the delegates logged in – controlling what they saw, enabling them to talk to the presenters in real-time, asking questions, reacting to responses. Avoiding distractions is key to engagement, so we wanted to avoid the usual features associated with other programs.
With Connect, pre-registered attendees and their 3DS client executives simply had to click the link sent out pre-event, taking them to a green room 10 minutes ahead of the start time. A support tech checked that all the attendees could see and hear each other, pointed out the “push spacebar to talk function” and troubleshooting as required. Having built contingency between green rooms and live sessions throughout the day, the studio manager was able to monitor the green room and hold back the actual start time of a session to allow the support tech precious minutes to resolve problems if necessary.
The physical recording environment was a completely transformed meeting room in the client’s headquarters in Paris. We brought all the required elements to create a live streaming environment that allowed the presenters to be in full control of their live software presentation, giving them the ability to see and interact with their audience at the same time. As the content of the presentations was highly technical and needed to be understandable for various levels of knowledge, we developed a fully live augmented reality layer that the presenters could deploy whenever appropriate. This gave them supplementary tools to explain complex concepts – for example using an animated 3D model to detail how the airflow is affected by changing different parts of the wing of an concept aircraft. Each session had up to 35 participants that were fully moderated, while still having the feeling of being in the studio with the presenters.
The conference setup with video to video connectivity was a key element to us, as a means of ensuring participants’ engagement while maintaining a sense of live involvement. The ability to see and hear participants and make them aware of the physical element of the setup, was intended to increase attention and retention rates. Behind the scenes, a professional broadcasting team was in place to manage meetings, content requirements and ensure smooth transitions between the sessions.
The DS 3DExperience Experts held a total of 35 sessions over the 4-day event, engaging dynamically with participants from leading global brands in the aviation and supply chain including Rolls Royce, Airbus, Boeing, JLR, Expo Group, and GKN.
The event provided a dynamic and essential alternative to the Farnborough Airshow, traditionally a key part of the aviation industry’s commercial calendar. DS was able to connect with its customers, listen to their challenges, explore action plans and work collectively towards a more sustainable future. Our custom-designed online platform provided a virtual environment where all participants felt equally part of the action, collaborating and interacting naturally and spontaneously. This enabled a significantly improved connection between the DS client managers and their customers.
The event gained over 1.2k views, including Senior Executives, Executives and Managers. The final 2 plenary sessions of the event then attracted over 550 external registrations from a range of industries across 25 countries worldwide, as DS launched a new campaign with the Farnborough International News Network- Workforce of the Future.
Clear takeaways from the sessions included feedback that the 2-way communication system had been a major success, allowing DS and its customers to exchange the critical information for future investments decision-making. The participant retention rate was also significantly higher, with participants clearly being fully engaged in sessions.