Yachting Partners International (YPI), the Monaco-based full-service brokerage house, has announced a new venture that seeks to revolutionise marketing in the superyacht industry. YPI has created a new virtual reality system, developed by the innovative Dutch company Bricks and Goggles, that will allow owners to virtually ‘walk through’ a superyacht concept with unprecedented access. SuperyachtNews.com speaks exclusively with Russell Crump, YPI’s sales director, about the new system and why it is so desperately needed.
“The bottom line is that no matter which way you look at it, the marketing in yachting is archaic,” starts crump. “It relies on brochures. You need to capture an owner’s interest by showing him a picture on a piece of paper or an iPad. So I decided to do something new.”
Having had the technology explained and suggested to him by his, then, 14-year-old son, Crump went to see the technology for himself in a shopping centre where the Oculus Rift was on trial. “Once I had had a look at it I thought, ‘oh my god, that is the future’,” he explains.
After discussing potential projects with a variety of British companies and being both impressed by the technology and distressed by the bottom line Crump met the “Dutch geniuses,” with whom the project began to take form.
“At the same time as wanting to develop virtual reality, I was putting together the 105m Raptor project and we decided to use it as the basis of the virtual reality project,” continues Crump. “It’s much more than just the type of 3D renderings sometimes seen in yachting today. With our Oculus development you can see the textures of different interior materials and zoom-in if you want to see something in more detail.”
The Raptor project was penned, both exterior and interior, by H2 Yacht Design
As well as showing the concept as it is, using the YPI development, you can change the colour palette of the walls, ceiling or flooring and change the materials or decorations.
“During a new build most yachts encounter variation orders and change orders because their projects do not accurately reflect the image they saw on paper,” explains Crump. “We are going to reduce the necessity of a variation change order by creating it virtually for the owner. You can change the colour of the sofa, you can change the paintings, or you can say ‘I don’t want that here, I want it over there’,”.
Once the owner has made all necessary decisions concerning variation change, the information will feed back to the architects who will draw them out, the information will then pass on to the virtual reality team who will implement the changes into options within the programme. Thereby allowing the owner to get a sense of how the adaptations will appear before committing to anything contractually. “The contract could be based on the latest version of the virtual reality file,” Crump adds.
It is now widely accepted that it is not only the owners who are the key decision makers when it comes to the design of a yacht. Captains and engineers are increasingly being brought into the fold to add their valuable opinions to key areas, as at the end of the day, it is they who will need to run and maintain the vessel.
With this in mind, YPI’s programme will allow engineers and captains to view engine rooms and bridges to ensure the layout is to their liking. This may be achieved by amalgamating the 3D images, that all manufacturers have at their disposal, in accordance with a concepts general arrangement.
There has, in the past, been attempts to implement such a system but Crump explains that previous attempts have fallen short because they have not respected the power and complexity of the computers required to create the images.
“Where everyone falls over with virtual reality, which is why I know they can’t do it properly, is because they are using normal computers. They simply are not powerful enough,” he says. “The key thing with this technology is the computer you need to power it; I’ve seen one powered by an apple laptop – and it was rubbish.”
YPI's portable custom rig
YPI’s computer is custom made and fit for purpose and Crump believes this promises to deliver where others have failed.
“I have shown some heavy hitters in the yachting industry and their reaction has been ‘o s***, you might have just changed superyacht marketing. It is still not quite ready to go to market, but I think we might be there within the next eight weeks.”