Keith Cox

Bloc Digital at Farnborough Internation Airshow: Driving real world impact

For years Farnborough International Airshow has been a key date in the calendar for the aviation and aerospace industry – a place where industry professionals gather together to learn and do business. With 1,500 exhibitors and $192 billion of orders placed, the last Airshow proved a great success. But this year looks a little different.

Whilst anticipated, this year’s cancellation amid COVID-19 has placed a rogue cog in the aviation industry’s well-oiled machine. It’s left businesses unable to communicate with potential customers on the valuable, global exhibition stage.

Over the years myself and the Bloc team have supported market-leading multinational companies to exhibit at Farnborough – helping engage visitors with innovative digital solutions. Despite COVID-19, this year is no different.

In a two part series we’ll be exploring how our capabilities facilitate communication between clients and visitors at Farnborough Airshow, both past and present. This first part we’re calling ‘real world’ Farnborough – reflecting on previous years we explore how digital visualisations can showcase products and innovations in an interactive, impactful setting.

Read how we’ve been supporting our multinational clients to adapt to the new digital normal in part two, ‘virtual’ Farnborough – innovating the shift to the virtual world.

Rolls-Royce: From animation to mixed reality

Having worked with (and even for) Rolls-Royce for many years, we know a cutting-edge, innovative, pioneering mindset is central to the multinational engineering company. In 2018 they were launching their eVTOL concept – a next generation electric air taxi – at Farnborough International Airshow as well as showcasing the Pearl engine family and the step-changing UltraFan engine. But with Rolls-Royce seeking to reduce the need for transporting the huge physical products to the show, this impact had to come from our visual media.

From early concept eVTOL renders to Pearl engine animations, Bloc brought ideas and products to life. An ‘inside outside’ box, which has LCD screens covering the inside and outside of the stand, displayed these renders and animations giving event visitors the chance to explore and engage with the virtual products up close.

Rolls-Royce’s Pearl Engines were ‘beautifully designed, brilliantly engineered’… and creatively animated for the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow. Dynamic visualisations detailed component integration, facilitating visitor engagement and understanding.

Working against the clock in our Derby-based studio, we also created a complex interactive mixed reality (MR) experience in record time for launch at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow. We were one of the first companies in Europe to use this Microsoft HoloLens technology in industry, using it to emulate operation and demonstrate product investigation of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB Engine.

Following this success, we were proud to learn that Microsoft incorporated the app into their own HoloLens demonstration campaigns to show real-world use of the technology in industry.

General Dynamics: Virtual reality emulation

General Dynamics’ portfolio spans from the realm of the world’s most technologically advanced business jets to control systems. Like Rolls-Royce, delivering innovation is at the core of the business.

Knowing immersive experiences give users the unrivalled ability to explore realistic scenarios in a digital setting, we worked to develop a virtual reality (VR) experience to help General Dynamics engage with potential customers at Farnborough International Airshow 2018.

Using our VR pilot emulation, potential clients could experience what it’s like to be a pilot in one of General Dynamics’ jets. Emulating real world scenarios from this unique point of view, such experiences improve retention and recall – playing into the notion that ‘seeing’ (or in this case ‘experiencing’) is believing.

Innovating the shift to the virtual world

This year events look a little different. For those who use exhibitions like Farnborough International Airshow to drive business, COVID-19 cancellations have impacted revenue streams now and potentially post-pandemic. Adapting to this impact, helping businesses survive and thrive, our virtual event innovation is facilitating a digital method of communication between exhibitors and potential customers in the new normal.

Read how we’ve been innovating the shift to the virtual world in Bloc Digital at Farnborough Airshow: Part Two.

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