Queensland-based digital marketing services provider Datisan helped create a mixed reality (XR) virtual Open Day for an Australian university, a project that seen it named as a finalist in the Customer Experience category of the 2021 CRN Impact Awards.
When COVID-19 first hit in 2020, the marketing team at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland decided that they would take their Open Day online to deliver a virtual experience for students across the country.
To achieve this, the university worked with Datisan who helped create a plan for an interactive and immersive event, along with USC’s creative agency RedSuit who built the digital ads that directed people to the site.
"The primary aim of the Open Day project was to build an environment for USC to connect with visitors when it wasn't possible to be on campus,” Datisan chief executive and co-founder Chris Rozic explained.
“However, in the back of our mind, longevity of such an environment was also critical for the university and return on investment both in resources and audience solutions.”
Datisan brought tech from vendor partners Xpon Digital and Google Cloud to meet USC’s needs.
Using Xpon’s Holoscribe 360 degree XR publishing tools, Datisan, the Holoscribe team and the internal USC team created the virtual world for students to explore.
Xpon’s Wondaris data platform along with Google Cloud was used to enable data collection and analytics from the environment.
This enabled XR-optimised behavioural analytics providing insights on how people moved through the experience, as well as what they looked at and interacted with content.
Being an Open Day, the virtual event had high standards to meet to deliver the needed information to the students.
In total, the experience involved 27 360 degree scenes, four different audience journeys, and detail about 20 areas of study.
A huge amount of content needed to be ingested and managed, including creative assets, campus imagery, interviews, videos and course information.
Live video streams also had to be integrated and it needed to function smoothly no matter what device was being used.
A major benefit of the virtual Open Day was that the event was not limited to a single day. While attendance on the day was equal to that of a real event, over the following weeks more visits were made, providing a greater return on investment for the university.
In addition, the average visit time for the event was 3x longer than the average XR experience interaction time that Xpon usually saw.
“We were really thrilled with both the aesthetics and the performance of the platform Xpon Digital built for us with Datisan’s support. We weren’t sure what to expect on the day, but the number of visitors - over 1,500 prospective students on launch day – matched what we’d have expected of an on-campus Open Day,” said USC Australia marketing and external events director Karyn Brinkley.
“And after that, we had an Open Day where people could explore in their own time, and return to when it suited them. Our long-term visitor expectations were exceeded by 46% within the first 30 days of the virtual environment going live.
“Most importantly, there was really high engagement with the platform with long - 89% visitor satisfaction with the virtual experience. It was a no-brainer to recommit to and further develop the platform for 2021.”