sovanta AG is a German middle sized company. Founded in 2009 they were among the first bringing SAP software to the iPad. Since then the main goal is to simplify business processes for their customers and make complex SAP operations accessible for the end-user.
Most of the time I worked there as a Windows App developer. Maintaining one of sonvantas’ main products and develop several new Apps from ground up. As I was always pushing AR and VR in the company we were able to acquire some projects in that areas. That’s what I want to write about here.
The Klima-Arena is a museum being built in Sinsheim next to the soccer arena and the technic musuem. Our project is the main attraction and presumably the first exhibit you enter, if the queue lets you.
I was given the tech-lead for that exhibit, which was quite a challenging task. Our simulation will run on four high-end media servers outputting to a tunnel made of 112 55″ curved OLED TVs. The servers communicate via local network to display an experience part movies, part real-time rendered 3D animation – and most exiting – part game. This game will be played by 16 people at the same time with custom made controllers.
During the project I coordinated a team of up to 6 developers. As our 3D Artist weren’t experienced in building for game engines I also took the role of a technical artist, coordinating their efforts. One of the large challenges was hitting our performance goal of steady 60 fps where each media server has to render a resolution of 5120×5760 pixels.
With my experience in developing games and inexperienced designers in that area (as our designers mainly are UX-Designers) I also took a role in the concept of the whole experience.
Check-out the latest media coverage (german TV).
We called it marrying Job Simulator with Power Point. In the beginning of 2018 we were called to build a VR app which was supposed to introduce a tracking process of tobacco. The goal of a new EU directive is to track cigarettes exactly in each production and delivery step, so that smuggling will become much much harder. Our customer provides the infrastructure and hardware for that process, which was very tiresome to explain via Power Point slides.
I made the concept for the whole application and was given the tech-lead. Building the application on Steam VR for the Windows Mixed Reality Headsets we were able to equip the sales people with a mobile VR application to engage customers in a very modern and memorable way. The player was guided through the whole production and delivery process and taking part of it as well. At some stations filling up pallets with boxes of cigarettes, packing packages of cigarettes in boxes and always scanning each step so it’s acknowledged by the system. The application described the happy path. At almost every step you were able to dive deeper and check the process behind on huge presentation slides in VR.
The best moment in the project. After the first presentation where the customer came out of the VR he was so excited about what we did that he spontaneously just hugged me.
AR Sales App
For Apples AR-Kit we built an application for another customer who wanted to place his products directly in the customers site during the presentation. because during buying and actual delivery could lay months, he wanted to take pictures with the virtual products in the customers building and send the documentation along with the product.
For this purpose me and my team developed an application similar to Ikeas Place app. Because not all of the sales people are familiar with the latest tech trends on-boarding had to be as easy as possible. We also delivered more value in building a UI around the placing with a real connection to the customers backend. The sales person saw his filtered list of customers and which products they might be interested in the most. This was my first time connecting an Unity app with a SAP backend 😀
We weren’t able to acquire real projects to develop using Microsofts HoloLens. But we have some of those and I was eagerly building prototypes. We use them frequently for customer events at our site.
Two really cool apps came out of this. An indoor navigation app, where our office is mapped in the HoloLenses space and our customers can be navigated to the next station of the event.
The other one is an app to place virtual furniture in a room, cooperatively. Every “Player” has his own palette of furniture to pick from, but everyone is seeing what the others are doing.