Ocean3D: Innovation & Research Support

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WHO ARE OCEAN3D?

Ocean3D are leading Virtual Reality (VR) specialists creating interactive 3D tours of all sorts of spaces. Based out of Penzance, but working nationally, they use VR photography scanning to produce 3D imaging and then mark points of interest, to curate an immersive tour for prospective visitors to explore online. So far, they have mostly been working with businesses within the hospitality, arts, leisure, and travel and tourism sectors, but the “number of possible applications are unimaginable” says Chris Wood, Founder of Ocean3D. Visitor attractions and places they’ve already scanned include museums, hotels and train stations. Take a look at their gallery of interactive tours.

WHAT’S THE INNOVATION?

The technology used to create interactive 3D tours has been around a while and the innovation here comes from the way in which Ocean3D are using the VR to solve a very specific problem: accessibility. They’ve joined the dots between allowing customers to visualise unfamiliar places, so that they can plan their visit and minimise aspects leading to anxiety and stress. Their solution offers benefits to all sorts of people, from young families wanting to plan their visit; to those with mental health issues or disability and require additional support.

WHY ARE THEY DOING IT?

Ocean3D founder Chris Wood, along with his partner and Non-Executive Director Ros Oborne both have wide experience and qualifications in a number of fields but share a number of passions including that of making spaces more accessible for all.

Ros has a national reputation in SEND and Accessibility and was instrumental in securing the National Autistic Society’s ‘Autism Friendly’ award along with glowing praise from the society; whilst Chris has experience of mental health and PTSD on a personal level and, through his association with military sailing charity Turn To Starboard, of which he is a volunteer ambassador.

“Between us we took, use and developed a technology that is an amazing marketing tool in its own right and saw the potential for using it in other fields to help people for whom life can be more challenging on occasions” says Chris. “Accessibility is at the heart of all we do” Ros confirms.

Their interactive 3D tours have a wide range of uses: from marketing and training, to recruitment and sales. However, Ocean3D have pioneered the tours incredible effectiveness at combatting the everyday challenges of those living with autism, special physical needs or hidden conditions by facilitating people to virtually visit the space and plan their journey in advance.

Ocean3D, in consultation with ‘wearepurple.org’, also researched and identified a £249 Billion market open to businesses who fully embrace equality and accessibility for visitors with more complex needs. Take a look at the video below published by the National Autistics Society, which highlights the feelings of stress and anxiety that their innovation looks to relieve.

WHAT BUSINESS SUPPORT HAVE THEY RECEIVED?

To begin with, Ocean3D had a rather “scattergun” approach says Chris. After speaking with a dedicated Business Innovation Advisor, Ocean3D received some support with their market research and business planning. Chris explains: “we really needed help to focus, grow the business and get it to where it needs to be. It’s great to know you’ve got someone to ring up who can help. It’s an extra pair of hands and some extra brains. Both Ros and I already wear so many hats as business owners that without ATI our brains would be even more frazzled!”

It was ATI’s research assistance which highlighted the travel industry as a desirable market to hone in on and their advisor recommended that they apply for the Innovation Gateway award at this year’s New Civil Engineer Future of Airports conference, and helped them with their subsequent bid.

WHAT HAVE THEY ACHIEVED SO FAR?

Ocean3D were shortlisted for the Innovation Gateway awards and travelled up to London with their Business Innovation Advisor to pitch their idea at the New Civil Engineer Future of Airports conference. To everyone’s delight, they not only landed the prestigious Innovation Award and returned to Cornwall as winners; but the company was approached by a number of senior delegates and is now in talks with a range of major international and national airports, architects and construction companies. In addition, The National Autistic Society has also awarded Ocean 3D their ‘Autism Friendly Award’, which is a fantastic commendation for their innovative solution, calling their submission a “pioneering pass and an exemplary one too given your (Ros) knowledge and commitment …” Ocean3D are the first business without a premises to have been awarded this accolade.