Virtual Reality in a new light

Technology consumes our lives, right? Whether we like it or not, we’ve become connected to one another full-time as we get submerged in the digital world. As a media-based company, we thrive on our love for all things creative and we’re always looking at different platforms to reach new audiences. 

Virtual Reality is one of the latest technologies to appear on the market and one that we have most definitely got our teeth into. The main use of VR is for storytelling, where it has the ability for users to become active participants in a new reality. Whilst most VR experiences can be lots of fun, we’ve found a gap in the market and have pushed VR in a new direction.

May 21st 2018 marks #ChildrensHospiceWeek throughout the UK, where time is dedicated to raise awareness for the thousands of children who have faced great difficulty throughout their lives; who need our support in a variety of ways. At Orchard, we’ve been working hard on creating VR experiences that really matter, and have launched a new service that will benefit thousands of children across the UK.

Children Looked After – A child’s journey through the care system is an experience that puts the viewer in the shoes of a child going through the foster care process. It takes an emotive approach and demonstrates the true -sometimes gritty- reality of what some children are exposed to.

So why are we using VR to drive empathy to the user?

It’s been argued that media-coverage of tragedy can be so overwhelming that, for charities, it actually makes it harder to gain any support, especially financially. Using VR with a more empathetic approach can tell stories in a fresher, more engaging way; taking away this element of being overwhelmed and putting the user in the front of the narrative where it becomes real. Research shows that this direct approach can benefit charity organisations because once the user is positioned in such an emotive narrative, they are more likely to absorb the true reality of the struggle in front of them. This has led to increased donations for these charities. Research also shows that fundraising has become the third most used reason to use VR (8%), following closely behind Healthcare (10%) and Entertainment (13%).

Children Looked After puts our users in full 360 view of a child who is going through the foster care process. From being taken away by social services, to being bullied at school, to moving in with a foster family for the first time- all of these situations are extremely challenging.  The user can see, hear and be part of this environment through the point of view of the child. Placing ourselves in a different point of view can really drill through the importance of the charity and the seriousness of the story they are telling.  

Our launch of Children Looked After is one of a kind in our industry and we are hoping we can raise awareness to the importance of using VR for fundraising, as an example. From a business point of view, Virtual Reality has the power to drive charitable donations because it engages audiences in the right way, no matter how emotionally-challenging the experience may be. The UK care system has never used technology like this before, and we’re super proud that our innovative technology is helping in the fight to raise awareness and support for serious issues.

Please contact glenn@thinkorchard.com for more information. 

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