As we mentioned in our previous blog, we will now talk about how some of the big companies are approaching Virtual Reality and changing the way things are done. And to start with this series of ours, what could be better than a community engagement and upliftment programme. Don’t you worry, we are not planning to take you down a preachy road but just on a fun run associated with a cause. Sounds exciting, right? So with this week’s blog let’s talk about how the title sponsor of Asia’s largest marathon, Standard Chartered, gave a new meaning to the Virtual Reality technology and took it to unexpected places.

Running a marathon is an experience to cherish. While many do so every year, others just dream of it. Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, the Asia’s largest mass participation sporting event is no less than a phenomenon now, with more than 40,000 people participating in it every year. But as we said, not everyone gets to cherish the dream of being part of such a large scale event. While many people can’t be physically present for the marathon because of individual reasons, there are a lot more who might not have heard of what a marathon is. So chalking out the same issues, Standard Chartered wondered that yes many people can’t come to the marathon but what if marathon goes to all such people? Well, however weird it may sound, the company actually managed to do this and all thanks to one and only Virtual Reality. This marked the inception of the 2016 ‘Run For A Reason’ campaign- a virtual 360-degree first digital initiative that was aimed at helping the masses connect with the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon on a personal level and cherish this experience. With no intentions of bragging, this ‘Virtual Reality 360-degree run’ was made possible by SpectraVR Studios, India’s premiere full stack Virtual Reality content studio as it is the only one in the country with in-depth knowledge and experience of VR 360-degree filmmaking.

Standard Chartered launched its much talked about campaign with a short video titled, ‘Why I Run’, which focused on delivering the emotions of what running means to a Mumbaikar, bringing across the feeling of it being more than just a physical activity. The true vision of the campaign was to bring the experience of a marathon to the maximum possible number of people, standing true to which it introduced the India’s first Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) Virtual Run. With the help of a treadmill and the Gear VR, a virtual environment was created and an immersive and engaging experience was delivered where people could feel just like being part of a marathon.

Talking of the initiative, one of the heads of the company was quoted saying, “We wanted to do something beyond the usual, where we could give a taste of what it is like to be a part of the SCMM even if you aren’t a part of the actual marathon itself. Using the new and upcoming 360 VR video technology to shoot some of the actual locations of the marathon route, we created a first -of- its- kind immersive experience, aimed at bringing the Marathon to those who may not be able to physically participate on the race day.” Anyone can now experience the Virtual Run either on youtube or by connecting it to an HMD.

But, this was just a small part of the campaign. As previously mentioned, the company literally took the technology to unexpected places. In association with WASHE (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Education), Standard Chartered enabled the girls studying in municipality schools to experience the first marathon of their lives with the SCMM Virtual Run. As a matter of fact, these girls walk/run up to 5kms every day to use a washroom because of lack of facilities in the villages. But because of Standard Chartered’s initiative, for once they found another reason to run and a truly joyful one. Isn’t that so much of goodness at once? Well, do watch the video to see how this emerging technology is becoming the little bundle of joy.

As one of the organizers of the marathon rightly pointed that, “The reception has truly been overwhelming. But nothing beats the look on a 9-year old’s face when she is introduced to virtual reality. That makes everything worth it.

Like we say, the opportunities with Virtual Reality are boundless, all you need to do is try your hands at it. Do keep us updated on anything about VR that you come across and keep watching this space to know about more such amazing applications of the technology.

Keywords: Virtual Reality, Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon

By: BindaShah

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