Posts Tagged virtual-reality

Ready for Takeoff: Three trends for riding the wave with travelers of the future

It feels like everyone is constantly on vacation – and filling up our Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook feeds with the minute details of their flight paths, what they are eating, and the amazing adventures they are enjoying. Taking ‘bragcations’ have become so ubiquitous that you are probably starting to wonder how people in your network have both the time and the money to do so –  and when your next vacation is!


This should be only good news for Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), as 90% of travelers have online touchpoints for research or booking, up from 58% in 2006, according to a study conducted with high-end Chinese travelers by GfK. Furthermore, this trend is moving into mobile – by the end of 2016, the majority of online travel bookers from the US will use their mobile device to book their travel according to emarketer’s estimates of digital and travel research and booking.

From a business perspective, the name of the game is consolidation as Expedia and Priceline together own 95% of the market share following their acquisitions in recent years. This is spurred by the need for volume to make up for the small amount they make on every transaction. Their shared scale gives them enhanced negotiating power with their travel partners. The individual OTAs appear untouched by the holding companies to keep brand loyalists on board and keep their business models differentiated. For instance, when Expedia acquired Travelocity in January 2015 for $280 million in cash, it was a stated strategy that they would leave the Travelocity brand intact – with Expedia’s brand spokesperson quoted as saying “the Travelocity team will be part of the Brand Expedia group within the Expedia, Inc. family allowing it to tap into Brand Expedia’s scale and expertise while still maintaining a strong independent brand.”

However, from a consumer point of view, it can feel like there are too many places to start looking  – KAYAK, Trivago, – the list goes on. The number of startup options is overwhelming too – with Hipmunk, Skiplagged, Hotel Tonight and others all trying to reinvent how we book and experience travel. The plethora of choices available to help you make your choices can stop you in your tracks before you even start exploring your next trip. Consumers often resort to being price-driven (rather than brand-driven) since they can’t make sense of all the places to look.

Given this competitive climate, how can OTAs make meaningful, differentiated stakes in the ground about why to go with them?

Future traveler trends lend themselves to provocations of how OTAs to ride the wave to win with the traveler of the future:

  • Travelers are looking for more ways to discover and explore their next travel experience before they book to make sure they are making the right choice for them – while also feeling like they are getting a unique experience that hasn’t been done a million times before.
    • How can OTAs extend the enjoyment of the travel experience to booking by making discovery and exploration a thrilling part of process – rather than a price-driven item on the ‘to do’ list?
    • How can OTAs share a bit of the experience to come while keeping some of mystery of what is to be discovered (akin to what a movie trailer is to a full-length feature)?
    • What is the potential for interactive video content and virtual reality technology that can immerse travelers in a travel experience before any money is put on the line?

  • There is also a shift towards seeking more authentic and localized experiences while traveling (this is in stark contrast to the cookie cutter, consistent experiences that ruled the early stages of travel).
    • How can OTAs tie meaningful local experiences into their suggestions and offerings?
    • Could offering homestays, connections with local “peers,” and experiences that can’t be found in guidebooks give OTAs a unique edge in the market?
    • What is the potential for AI-enabled digital assistants to develop highly personalized travel plans without the time commitment on the part of the traveler?

  • Travelers are looking for vacations that help them escape from their daily lives – and the mental escape is just as important – if not more important – than the physical escape.
    • How can OTAs offer peace of mind regarding the traveler’s home life while they are on the road (for instance providing services to assure travels that their home is secure)?
    • What are options for helping travelers mentally escape from their work obligations in this age of always-on connectivity?

While the travel booking market is saturated in terms of number of players, OTAs can cut through the competition by innovating from a consumer benefit point of view. Meaningful differentiation can arise by understanding the core needs travelers have today and tomorrow, then ideating on how your business can solve for these needs to fit into their lives. The outer bounds of consumer wanderlust are yet to be seen — and the potential for growth within the travel industry is immense.

At antedote, we love to hunt down new opportunities for our clients and have a range of approaches and award-winning tools and techniques to do this. Get in touch with us at to learn more.

The Empathy Machine

VR Oculus Empathy Virtual Reality

What if you could put on a headset that allows you to feel exactly what someone else feels?

Verge publishes fictional stories bi-weekly – not to be confused with their news- and one especially caught my eye. It is called “The Empathy Machine“. The author describes his fictional experience at CES trying out the PathoGlyph Wavelength, a device that allows the wearer to feel the complete emotional journey of a person other than himself.

If virtual reality hijacks our eyes to show us the world through someone else’s, the Wavelength hijacks the whole nervous system.

It is a provocative piece, describing this “empathetic immersion” as the next great medium after virtual reality.

For most of the Wavelength’s “tracks,” PathoGlyph developers construct and place different feelings at key places in the story, the way a film editor might layer audio cues. They’re electrochemical cocktails that produce generic sensations — approximations of sadness, joy, or even complex concepts like jealousy…

Wearers can try out the PathoGlyph Wavelength and choose between different “tracks”, from Henry, a lonely big-eyed hedgehog’s search for a friend to Syria, a bystander’s perspective during a Syrian bombing. The story paints possible opportunities and concerns such a device could bring – from bringing about true empathy to bringing about psychologically damaging effects.

Of course in the real world – that device doesn’t exist. We cannot simply strap on a headset that will allow us to feel the emotional experience of another person; but we can build our empathy skills as people.

What we do have are emotionally intelligent researchers who have developed strong interpersonal skills to be able to empathize with and understand the people they are learning about. And in a world where the message of being more consumer centric has been touted over and over again – many marketers and designers are still sadly out of touch with the very people they are reaching/designing for.


Whether you are creating cleaning products for working mothers in the suburbs or marketing apparel for millennials in the city – you have to understand the world as your consumers see it; or else you miss the mark.  It is a difficult skills to not let your own personal perspectives subconsciously influence the way you imagine others to feel. Our researchers have honed in on important empathetic building skills to be able to paint the true emotional journey of the consumer and draw deep insights that can inform products and communications that will truly resonate.

Of course it probably would be simpler to just put on a Polygraph Wavelength. But until then, empathetic researchers will be the closest we have to stepping into someone else’s shoes.

Virtual Reality takes you inside the mind of a schizophrenic


The internet is flooding with the buzz around virtual reality technology and the huge tech giants who are trying to dominate the space. Facebook bought Oculus Rift. Samsung launched Gear VR. Microsoft debuted HoloLens.

But in the midst of all the chatter, I had came across an innovative use of virtual reality that piqued my interest because it was used for purposes beyond gaming culture, beyond better ways to make shooting zombies more realistic.

What was refreshing about this project was that the virtual reality headset was used to help build empathy for a stigmatized group who is hard to understand.

In the Daily Dot article, Selena Larson describes her uneasy but eye-opening experience using the Oculus Rift in a simulation project called “Mindscape”. Viscira designed the simulation for a pharmaceutical company to help their potential clients understand how schizophrenia feels like. And unlike audio tests or videos, the immersive experience produces a deeper and longer impact on the user.

In the simulation, Larson walks into an elevator for a job interview and hears whispers inside her own head and from strangers, telling her “You will fail”. And even though she knew the entire experience was fake, she couldn’t help but feel completely uncomfortable, even after the headset was taken off.

With the recent hype around virtual reality, I look forward to seeing how the technology will be leveraged in industries like healthcare, pharma or research. Beyond gaming and entertainment, industries which most people associate with virtual reality, there are huge opportunities for virtual reality and other emerging technologies be used to solve tough industry challenges, gain deeper insights into people’s behaviors, and help us transform the way we think and live as humans.


antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. 

To learn about antedote’s latest innovation and insight tools, please click below for a free demo:

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A Gastronomical Virtual Reality Experience


Gastronomical Innovation

Project Nourished by Kokiri Labs is a fascinating project that attempts to re-create the full sensory experience of eating, sans the actual food. Intended to help people with allergies and dietary restrictions, the project is a curious exploration into how different technologies can be combined to simulate the eating experience.

By combining an Oculus Virtual Reality headset, food detection utensils, motion sensor, and aromatic diffusers, Kokiri Labs hopes to allow people with food related illnesses to eat to their heart’s content, without the negative consequences.


Allergic to seafood, but want to eat prawns? No problem!

Diabetic, but want to eat a strawberry pie? Why not!


The project was actually inspired by the Lost Boy’s imaginary feast scene in the heart warming 1990s movie, Hook (check out the clip below).

Although a seemingly far-fetched solution, we love how this idea taps into the latest technology and pushes for innovative ways of thinking to solve problems. We look forward to seeing how this project evolves and how other labs use emerging technologies like Virtual Reality to solve other existing challenges.

antedote is a strategic insights and innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, and we have helped many of the world’s leading brands like Pepsico and Unilever to garner deeper insights about their consumers and identify opportunities to grow their brands. To learn about antedote’s latest award-winning innovation and insight tool, please click below for a free demo:

Learn more

Travel Innovation: Virtual Reality Takes Off


An industry first, Qantas Airways together with Samsung recently introduced a 360 degree Virtual Reality experience for their travelers. Now on select flights, First Class travelers will be able to be transport to any virtual world (imagine immersing yourself in your favorite blockbuster movie or exploring tourist sites of your final destination before you even land) during their long 14 hour flight from Australia to Los Angeles.

At antedote, we thrive on tapping into the newest technology to uncover new insights and drive innovation for our clients. That is why we love watching how different sectors integrate emerging technology and are following the evolution of this exciting new medium as it moves from gaming to travel.

As virtual reality becomes even more refined and more realistic, researchers can also look forward to leveraging the technology to create immersive experiences for subjects in conceptual scenarios, without spending money or time creating physical prototypes.