On the Pitch with the All Blacks

Combining a love of rugby with a passion and commitment to innovation for its customers, AIG is pleased to bring Virtual Reality (VR) innovation to All Blacks fans through our branded Haka 360° campaign. The virtual Haka 360° experience app directly connects fans with dynamic All Blacks content which can be brought to life with the use of VR headsets. Imagine standing on the pitch amongst the All Blacks pre-match, watching the team performing the traditional Maori Haka up close. This is the thrill the Haka 360° app and headset delivers.

The Reality of VR

Until now VR wearables have primarily been the domain of gamers, but the head tracking and interactive gesture recognition they offer is starting to see broader industry experimentation and application. Facebook was one of the first large companies to envision the future, featuring in daily headlines with their rumored interest and eventual acquisition of VR champion, Oculus VR, for $2 billion in 2014. [1]

For clarification, it’s worth pointing out the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (AR). A VR user is completely removed from the external (or “real”) environment, usually with a fixed headset and compatible headphones. However, AR users exist simultaneously in the “real” and virtual environments by way of information layered on an external screen, for example with a handheld smartphone or AR wearables.

Today’s VR is not altogether new. With a legacy tracing back to the 1950s, the next generation of VR is breaking free from the confines of the 2D frame to bring users a fully integrated 3D immersion experience enlivened by 360 degree visuals, spatial audio, and responsive motion sensors.

Early Days: Insurance and VR

In varying capacities, some insurance companies have already incorporated VR into their health and financial protection service offerings, most often through simulated road safety, workplace hazard, and disaster preparedness training. VR-enabled drones are further prospects for quick deployment, expediting steps to claims fulfillment. VR can additionally function as a therapeutic wellness aid, facilitating physical and mental recovery. While it remains early days for insurers to fully engage VR as standard practice, viewing publicly available footage displayed on VR headset quickly showcases the new pathways to possibility opened by these frontier technologies.

[1] The Wall Street Journal: Facebook to Buy Virtual Reality Firm Oculus for $2 Billion; Social Network Agrees to Pay $400 Million Cash Plus Stock for the Goggle Maker, March 25, 2014.