24th February 2022
Steve Martin, Creative Director, KVA

No turning back

KVA have been kind enough to give everyone in the company an Oculus Quest 2 so we can all start taking our first tentative steps into the world of the metaverse, to help spark our imaginations and start coming up with creative ideas for our clients now and into the future.

So far two things about the Oculus Quest have caught my attention. Firstly, an immersive experience virtual reality project Notes on Blindness, which is based on John Hull's sensory and psychological experience of blindness. This project perfectly marries storytelling, binaural audio and 3D animations to create a compelling narrative of what it is like to be blind. Although a few years old now, it gives you a taste of how we could elevate a patient story to something truly unique and memorable and I would recommend everyone experiences it.

The second thing that caught my attention is not as ‘arty’ as Notes on Blindness but for some reason I find equally as exciting. It is the ability to not only hold virtual meetings with my colleagues but also be able to utilise Infinite Office. The idea of this is that your workspace operates in a halfway point between reality and VR.

It's hard to say why I am so excited by this. Maybe it's because I’ve spent the last 18 months working on a small desk in my living room with a white wall in front of me and the idea of working somewhere ‘different’, while still being at home, filled me with delight. Another reason I might have got excited is because, as my daughters continually point out, I'm a geek. Maybe it's just because it felt like this was a tangible part of what the metaverse will become.

Like many, my pre-pandemic attitude towards meeting someone virtually rather than in real life was that it seemed pointless and a bit of a novelty. However, travel restrictions, working from home and lockdowns have all changed this and online meetings have become commonplace.

Personally, I believe we will never go back to how things were before the pandemic. The KVA working model proves that it can be a success and with the introduction of technology such as Infinite Office you can argue the collaboration between our teams and our clients is only going to grow without any of us needing to undertake the grind of a daily commute.

But these aren’t the only changes of attitude we’ve seen. Prior to the pandemic each year I would head up the congress and exhibitions stand for one of my largest clients. These were physical stands, we would of course suggest an on-line presence, but nearly all the effort and time would be focused on the physical event. Over the last two years that has of course changed, the focus now being virtual exhibition stands, online congresses and team meetings. Our clients have embraced this change and the creative team presented by the challenge of this sudden change of emphasis have excelled themselves. This embracing of technology and the opportunities it presents for both brands and patients can be seen across the industry. I was recently lucky enough to be asked to judge at the PM Awards in the Innovation category and some of the work was truly…innovative.

As Lisa Suennen, the venture capitalist states, “... it’s clear that the pandemic has dramatically accelerated digital health’s adoption with such speed and volume that it’s difficult to see healthcare turning back from tech tools.”

The use of AR and VR has grown during the pandemic, technology is progressing, the lines between reality and the metaverse are already blurring and the results are amazing. Why would we want to turn back?

Being creative is always about looking forward as we are at the start of something new. The first explorers. Many of us have been pushing for this digital revolution in the pharmaceutical industry for years but it is now our job to keep the momentum going and accelerate it. The metaverse is on the horizon and KVA is racing towards it, and I’m very excited about it.

Yep, my daughters are right…geek!