Originally featured on Seven Tide.
Written by Kelly McCoy.
At residential construction shows throughout the U.S., contractors expect to see samples of the latest building products: roofing, insulation, tools and more. However, this year, visitors to JLC Live New England at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence (New England’s largest residential contractor trade show), encountered an unexpected adventure when The Ultrex Virtual Reality Experience from Integrity was revealed on March 24th in the hallway right outside the show’s main entrance.
“Contractors will never think of Integrity windows and doors the same way again,” said Keenan Burns, Chief Operating Officer of A.W. Hastings & Co, the sole distributor of Marvin Window and Door products in New England and eastern New York. “We wanted to create a totally new way to engage with Integrity and exemplify how this unique material outperforms and outlasts vinyl, roll-form aluminum and every other fiberglass composite. It’s one thing to make these claims, but quite another to offer an adventure that won’t be forgotten.”
A.W. Hastings partnered with Inphantry to create an Ultrex adventure that puts the user through a Rube Goldberg-style challenge to escape the room in which they find themselves. Each activity reveals a key point about Ultrex and its superior properties. Over the two-day event, a steady stream of contractors and industry leaders lined up to try The Ultrex Virtual Reality Experience.
“We designed the five-minute experience to be challenging, so escaping the room wasn’t always achieved on the first time through,” said Inphantry Co-Founder and Creative Director Kevin Lee. “We kept a Leader Board going on the outside of the booth, which encouraged contractors to come back to beat their friends. The competition was great and the multiple rounds further embedded the brand messages. ”
Lee shared that while they had designed VR experiences before, he was not a big fan before this project. “We used a whole new platform on The Ultrex VR Experience,” he explained. “In the past VR was about you standing in one place and things happened around you. With HTC Vive, we were able to create a much more immersive virtual reality experience than ever before. The participant has to move in the space, walk around freely and interact with an almost infinite number of virtual objects and tests. The Ultrex environment included a ceiling above, a floor below (that was glass) and four walls. The clarity is stunning, which makes something like the skill test we created all the more exciting. This advanced platform allowed our team to take VR to a whole new level with this project.”
Since its debut at JLC Live, The Ultrex Virtual Reality Experience has hit the road in New England and Eastern New York, popping up at a robust schedule of events hosted by Integrity dealers throughout the region.
This Virtual Reality “road show” is only one project that has been the result of the combined vision and talents of A.W. Hastings and Inphantry. The two companies have partnered on the country’s first Marvin Experience Center at 7 Tide in Boston Seaport, where smart technology has been leveraged to offer architects and homeowners a high-touch, high-tech experience inspiring them to think about windows and doors in a whole new way. Phase II of the Marvin at 7 Tide experience is currently under development at Inphantry with more exciting news on the horizon.