Leeds Business Week focused on digital solutions for the future

By Matty Ramage

Leeds Business Week has begun with local businesses being given a look at the possibilities of virtual reality.

Ben Stoney from Savvy Marketing gave a presentation on the usefulness of virtual reality and augmented reality in a business context, at Aspire conference centre in Leeds city centre.

Mr Stoney showed a university building in Bavaria that had been showcased in VR before construction had even begun. The possibilities of VR seem to be endless and he said: “We’ve only just begun to discover the potential.”

However many of the examples used, such as Land Rover and NHL team the Boston Bruins, are huge companies able to set aside large sums of money for research and development.

Stoney’s advice to those thinking about using VR was simple. He said: “You need a start-up mentality. VR and AR can be anything you want it to be.”

There was a keen interest amongst the packed out room to see the progress that had been made with VR and its growing commercial success. Mr Stoney added: “If you do VR and you do it well it will be popular.”

Mr Stoney gave a series of tips and considerations to the delegates when it came to implementing VR – for example age, with the generally agreed minimum age for VR use being 13. There was also the issue of motion sickness which can be a problem for people new to VR, with women being more likely to suffer from motion sickness.

Despite many focusing on the future of technology in business, some companies found the tried and tested still works just as well. Dave Ballard, senior account manager for Diva Telecom, who was part of the audience said: “Texting is still effective for marketing purposes.”

He added: “SMS allows a back and forth conversation”.

However Mr Ballard did admit there were limitations to other marketing tools still used. He said: “Email tends to get lost in junk folders”. While not being too problematic for Diva, this could cause issues to smaller companies who invest too many resources into email marketing alone.

Leeds Business Week is a five-day event taking place at various locations around Leeds, and offers an opportunity for businesses to discuss new ideas and showcase themselves. The event is run by the Yorkshire Mafia, a business membership organisation.

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