VIRTUAL REALITY HAS REAL-WORLD BRAND POTENTIALVirtual reality, or VR, is on the way.  And, it’s another gamechanger for brands. It’s the technological gift that consumer businesses have been waiting for.  For years, marketeers have been seeking ways to immerse potential audiences in their brand and values – and here it is.

 

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Iain Morrison

8th August 2017

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DRONE ON

 

 

Looking to the sky one evening I became aware of a not so distant buzzing above. As my eyes focused in the early evening light I could make out what was either one of the largest Arthropods I had ever seen or a drone being operated by a nearby pilot.

 

As the latter came closer to my building it was possible to identify the craft as a DJI Mavic Pro, not cheap at just over £1000. I began to imagine the owners face as he or she watched the affront to my peace and quiet being swatted out of the air by the large broom I keep in our shared hallway. The operator must have sensed my heinous daydream, and began to fly the drone back across the buildings from whence it came. One of those buildings happened to be The Palace of Holyrood, very much a no-fly zone.

 

Image: Unfortunately out of broom reach....

 

Contrary to the tone of the above, I am a massive fan of drones and the opportunities they offer. Despite my enthusiasm for the technology, I appreciate the concerns from the increasing ranks of members of the public that rightly point out the dangers of their misuse.

 

For the past six months, I have been struggling to write my ‘Operations Manual’, one of the many hoops through which an aspiring professional drone operator must leap, or in my case crawl. In early 2017, I attended an intensive course on safe flight and maintenance of UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) which ended in a nerve-wracking exam. Writing the affectionately known ‘Ops Manual’ (for which I have no affection) is the next stepping stone that culminates, on approval by the Civil Aviation Authority, in a two-hour flight test before eventually being awarded a ‘Permission for Commercial Operations Licence’.

 

The number of flight regulations the afore mentioned Mavic breached were countless, but I secretly applaud the pilot for their curiosity and willingness to reach out beyond virtual to genuine reality. Anything that facilitates an adventurous spirit and a sense of imagination and wonderment is to be encouraged. The skies have long provided a source of inspiration and galvanised man’s resourcefulness to investigate them, the freedom to move at speed around a space that is typically out of reach is usually an ability reserved for Avians and the lucky few who have regular access to aircraft. As a result, I can excuse one drone overhead every now and again.

 

As I slog to the end of my Ops Manual, and gain the approval of the CAA, I know it will be worth the time and expense involved and, as a designer, my new skill will augment the way I see the world. Whilst the UK government has taken steps to register crafts, I would argue the technology requires rigorous training, similar to a car or indeed a plane, before unrestricted use is approved. Whilst the hazards of drone use are substantial, there are many positives that come with the new technology and the inspiration it provides for a generation that can all too often be found staring down at screens instead of upwards towards the clouds.

Fancy a chat?  Sometimes it’s nice to pick up the phone and talk to a real person. So, feel free to give us a call for a blether.

Iain Morrison

8th August 2017