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UNIT9's William Hill VR Experience Puts You On the Race Horse

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Live demonstration to be held at William Hill panel discussion at Digital Shoreditch Fest 2015
UNIT9's William Hill VR Experience Puts You On the Race Horse

UNIT9 production studio are experts in creating disruptive technology, and has made it its business to innovate with clients who dare to take a leap. One of whom is William Hill, one of the UK’s largest bookmakers for sports gambling. Partnering with UNIT9, William Hill wants to revolutionise live sports gambling by introducing a product that makes use of live data and virtual reality technology to enhance the live sports experience for consumers.

William Hill and UNIT9’s ‘Get In The Race’ is the world's first product to deliver a live sports event in virtual reality for consumers. Currently at prototype stage, the objective is to let users experience a live horse race in a 3D virtual environment.

The ‘Get In The Race’ MVP launches at the William Hill Digital Shoreditch panel today, to demonstrate the user experience potential of this revolutionary product. Panel attendees will be able to experience a past race - the 18.10 race on 18 February 2015 on the all weather track at Kempton Park. Using real data collected with GPS trackers placed on the horses, the MVP recreates the race in a sophisticated 3D virtual reality engine, using the same data that the final product will in real time. 


‘Get In the Race’ features a 'Head Up Display'’, which users can activate when looking down at their horse, which displays its heart rate, stride length, distance remaining and race position. The experience will be completed with a re-engineered virtual reality Jockey Helmet, which users will wear while sitting on the back of a polygraphic Horse installation, to better enjoy their chosen jockey’s view.

The advanced phase of the ‘Get In The Race’ product will allow customers to experience live horse races, real time from the point of view of the horse and jockey of choice. “Get in the race” will literally put you in the race. Using the latest GPS technology and a databank of tracks, horses and jockeys, the sophisticated system will recreate the races real time in a 360 virtual, game-like, environment that puts you in the “saddle”. Customers will only need a smartphone and Google Cardboard device (costing less than £8) to experience a revolutionary 3D experience, as if they were in the race itself.

“Get In The Race is the result of a direct innovation collaboration between William Hill and UNIT9. It is an emerging technology product with the potential to disrupt the future of live sports entertainment. Developed using UNIT9's Innovation Phase methodology and our lean start-up philosophy, we hope to get the Digital Shoreditch audience excited about the user experience potential of VR for live events,” says Henry Cowling, UNIT9 VR Creative Director. “The time is ripe for VR to disrupt the live sports category. With products like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR becoming readily available, consumers are increasingly familiar with the technology and are hungry for more. UNIT9 helps businesses, like our partners William Hill, to innovate with emerging technology trends.”

As Britain’s largest online gambling brand, William Hill is setting new trends in its industry, growing business opportunities by nurturing its innovation department and creatively collaborating with innovative technology powerhouses such as UNIT9. 

Jamie Hart, Director of Innovation & Customer Experience said: “We are very excited about this MVP and our partnership with UNIT9. We have very much enjoyed developing this product together and are proud to be launching it at Digital Shoreditch. ‘Get in the Race’ is the first time racing fans can experience this level of virtual reality, where fans can enjoy a real-life horse race in a 3D environment, “sitting” on the horse they have backed and watch every twist and turn from the jockey’s point of view. Customers will feel as if they were in the race itself.”

The ‘Get In The Race’ MVP prototype is the base for an open-ended VR product which is only at the very beginning of its life cycle, with the potential of mass distribution and adaptation into different avenues. It is one of several innovation projects that are being developed at UNIT9, including the Pretender Project, which explore what it means to control and be controlled through VR, and Speak Out, a presenter training tool using Google Cardboard.

‘Get In The Race’ will be presented at the 2015 Digital Shoreditch festival. Jamie Hart, Director of Innovation & Customer Experience at William Hill, Crispin Nieboer, Managing Director of the William Hill Shoreditch Office (Tech Lab), and Henry Cowling, Head of VR at UNIT9 will discuss the project during the  panel session ‘Beyond live action: enhancing the sports betting experience with VR, AR and wearables’ at ‘MAKE’ day, on Monday 11 May. The MVP will then be made available for testing.

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Creative Agency

Art Director: Karol Goreczny

Creative Agency: UNIT9

Digital Developer: Andrew Oaten

Digital Producer: Richard Rowe

Tech Lead: Laurentiu Fenes and Andrew Oaten

Categories: Gambling, Sports and Leisure

UNIT9 London, Mon, 11 May 2015 13:08:44 GMT