360° And Virtual Reality, The New Logistics Frontier

During the latest edition of SIL Barcelona, the International Logistics Fair, anyone approaching the Port of Barcelona stand were able to get a unique view of the Catalan port through a projection using 360o technology inside a container. This innovative installation serves as a starting point to explore the emergence of these technologies in the logistics sector.

Posted on 08.18.2018
Image a cruise in the port of Barcelona, part of a 360 video made by Tururut. [Image of Port of Barcelona]
In previous editions, Port of Barcelona had offered an immersive experience by presenting this view of the port through virtual-reality glasses. In this case, the images covered the entire inside of a container. To create this spectacular installation, the port partnered with a young Catalan start-up, BROOMX, which developed a projector called the MK Player that can show 360o images to provide an immersive experience integrated into the space which can be enjoyed simply by looking, without the need for glasses or accessories.

Beyond “audiovisual”

Ignasi Capella, CMO of the company, talks about 4-D to refer to the experiences thatBROOMX produces: “It’s the new format in the audiovisual world which uses sound, projections and other sensory elements like motion, lights or fans, for example, to stimulate as many senses as possible”. With regard to the container which was adapted for SIL Barcelona, the goal was to “transport the people visiting the fair to the port so that they could learn about it, although it was also about innovation strategies, presenting the services it provides, etc.” Capella states that by not requiring glasses, the experience provided by the projector they have developed “does not isolate you from the world but instead brings you an immersive experience that you can share with others”.  
In order to project with this device, BROOMX partners with companies in the audiovisual sector: “We have developed the projector and the software, and we work with creators who adapt their 360o recordings to be projected in different spaces with different characteristics”. Likewise, “the software adapts the video to the characteristics of the space without the need to alter the original”. Nowadays, the MK Player is primarily used for entertainment, since it is installed in places like a handful of rooms in Catalonia hotels located all over the world. The videos shown come from audiovisual creators from all over the globe who share the images in the Broomx VR platform. Virtual reality comes to logistics Even though these initial applications seek to surprise their audience, Capella clearly understands that we will soon see multiple applications in the logistics and port sector. In fact, some of them have already been underway for some time now: “The most common application today is used to train operators. If we keep in mind the heavy machinery used in port work in an extremely complex environment, undertaking a training process through virtual reality or immersive systems may be more effective”.
Capella takes yet another step and imagines the role it could play in the control rooms of operations or logistics installations. “They become veritable data visualisation centres and will become particularly important when the first autonomous vehicles and vessels arrive”. According to this expert, virtual reality will help monitor and control this vast amount of data in real time. He says that one day, a port may even come to resemble the concept design that Rolls Royce launched in 2016. Until then, we can visit the ports of Los Angeles, Bristol and Rotterdam in an “immersive” way without leaving home.