Nice is the internationally renowned Italian multinational company specializing in the Home Automation, Home Security and Smart Home fields. It offers a wide range of integrated solutions for automating gates, garage doors, solar shading systems, access in car parks, and wireless alarm and home control systems for residential, commercial, and industrial use, combining technological innovation, design, and ease of use.
The urge for innovation and accessibility has guided the company in the search for new effective solutions.
What’s the end goal?
Setting the goal to define the means
Nice’s goal was to promote one of its devices – Filo, the sliding gate automation system, specifically designed for large-scale international B2C sales – through a tool able to make its features as well as the assembly instructions clear. What would be the best way to provide a vast and heterogeneous public with a clear guide?
Join ourfuture weavers community
What’s the solution?
A strong, significant, highly communicative idea
Immersive technologies proved to be the best way forward. An experience was conceived, to explain all the steps necessary to assemble the Nice automation system, in an easy and accessible way. It has been presented both as an augmented reality experience through an app on the App Store and Play Store, and as a virtual reality experience at some of the Leroy Merlin stores in France and Poland.
The visual communication made possible by the immersive technologies reaches a great communicative effect in very little time, thanks to its strong, evocative power, immediate comprehensibility and easy memorability.
Storytelling becomes a training tool
When the users must put together their new sliding gate, surrounded by all the materials and components needed to assemble the Nice automation system, a narrating voice will invite them to use the controllers to install the devices step by step. Some examples are: turning off the electricity using a (virtual) lever, grabbing a shovel and digging a hole to mount the motor mounting bracket, placing the motor inside the gate, fixing it and applying the body, arranging the cables neatly, and letting the gate slide on its guide rails to adjust the limit switch.
Many of these steps – screw insertion, mortar pouring, sliding gate installation, and much more – are accompanied by animations. To complete the installation, the user must turn on the electricity by using the lever and activate the gate using the ready-to-use Nice remote control that appears next to their hands.
What is it about?
All the components of success
Conceiving and creating a virtual reality experience is a multi-step process. Setting the goals is the starting point to develop a storytelling path tailored to the user, with the aim of teaching something precise.
However, what makes a message attractive and memorable? The context, the characters, the graphic quality, the fluidity and the ease of use. Computer graphics have recreated Nice’s devices, the tools needed for assembly, the photorealistic scene, and a good assistant – Nicy!
At the base of each of these elements, there was a deep study of the materials, the features, the interaction with the context, the feasible animations and the brightness of the scene.
Finally, to make the guide understandable to the target audience, the audio containing instructions was recorded in French and Polish, and synchronized with the different steps.
How to spread the message?
Expanding the reach of communication through an accessible tool
The virtual reality experience, in terms of hardware required and conditions of use, was very suitable for stores. Going forward, how could instruction assembly instructions become available to everyone, everywhere, anytime?
An augmented reality mobile app was therefore designed. It can be downloaded from the Stores and it largely reuses the assets created for virtual reality to support users in their home environment.
The same goal had to be achieved in different contexts and in different ways. Therefore, two media were used to fulfill two different needs: virtual reality and augmented reality. The first reaches a higher level of immersion and “wow” effect on users; the second allows a wider availability thanks to the smartphone, a device we all already use. The app is simple, almost minimalist, and switching between one step and another is natural and intuitive. There is no need for any explanation, thanks to an intuitive design studied in detail and supported by tests performed on a sample of target users.
What makes these tools effective?
Neuroscience supports defining the storytelling and assets
Taking Nicy as an example, its features are the result of a scientific analysis of human behaviour and cognitive reactions to certain impulses, which gave life to the following features:
– a male voice, since it requires a shorter processing time for the (primarily male) audience;
– a round shape, as the human brain has developed a predilection for round shapes;
– visual communication, as people do communicate and process emotions through eye gaze.
The wow (surprise) effect is the art of creating amazement, offering a service or a product that goes beyond expectations and arouses wonder, triggers surprise. Our mind, in fact, tends to remember the positive moments that have left us with an emotional feeling and aroused wonder.
From the customer’s point of view, the wow effect is determined by three components: enjoyment, experience, and engagement.
Hence, attention should be paid not only to the product on sale, but also to the emotions that the company triggers as a the whole. We truly need to focus on the experience.
“Virtual reality is a very powerful storytelling tool. No other contemporary technology gets such communicative effectiveness.”
Gianpaolo Greco, Creative Director, Uqido
The surprise effect conceived for Nice was the inclusion of pets at the end of the experience. The users who interact with the VR scene do not expect to see animals around them, and they react with amazement and wonder. This led to an increased engagement of the users and made the trace in their memory stronger.
Several studies show that interaction with pets also triggers the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and cognitive activity) and serotonin (a contributor to happiness).