NEXT/NOW is a cross-experiential design firm specializing in multimedia and digital exhibition design. The company employs an all-in-one team of over 40 people, including huge art and development teams that specialize in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Projection Mapping, Kinect, and multi-touch interactive installations for events, festivals, and exhibits, museums, retail, and corporate settings. They frequently leverage emerging tech solutions like AR, VR, XR, and generative art in their work.
Alan Hughes, the company’s current CCO, co-founded NEXT/NOW in 2010. He had the foresight to concentrate solely on providing ‘digital interactive experiences for real locations and spaces’. He was on the cutting edge, attempting to link consumers with brands via innovative technologies. In 2010, with only three people, that was the beginning point. Since then, the company has only grown bigger and better.
“We are completely focused on creating ‘digital branding experiences in physical spaces’ — creating unforgettable moments of connection between people and brands, in trade show exhibits, retail spaces, museums, and corporate environments,” said Alan Hughes.
NEXT/NOW has produced remarkable experiences for major brands such as Intel, Under Armor, NBA, and Samsung throughout its twelve-year history by working entirely in-house.
NEXT/NOW was tasked with creating two large multi-touch video walls flanking the entrance and a custom augmented reality application for Jeld-Wen’s new headquarters in North Carolina. Each wall is customized to immerse visitors in the Jeld-Wen brand by offering information about the company’s ethos, advertising, social media, timelines, worldwide reach, collaborations, training centers, and instructional films.
When visitors enter the showroom, they are given a tablet and shown many vignettes depicting various residential and commercial windows, entrances, and doorways. Customers can modify the style, design, and color of various window and door solutions using an original NEXT/NOW program to receive a hands-on look at each of Jeld-Wen’s products. The customers can then bookmark their favorites and email them to themselves as a sales tool.
Chevron wanted a unique “under the hood” look at how long-term use affects moving vehicle and engine parts, so NEXT/NOW created a custom AR marketing solution for them. The software then displayed how Chevron’s patented solutions reduced wear and extended the life of these crucial pieces of equipment after highlighting major friction spots. Attendees were able to go deeper into the app by moving around the animated items in real-time and seeing exactly how the sections were affected. The traveling application was a hit from coast to coast, with over a dozen stops across the country.
John Deere asked NEXT/NOW to design a groundbreaking immersive projection-mapped digital experience that uses dynamic pixel-mapping projected on a pure white 8R tractor to educate and thrill both internal and external audiences. NEXT/NOW created a 4-minute, complicated 3D application that mysteriously carried the tractor through a multitude of different locations, visual animations, and special effects by adding a 1224-foot partial-cube background. This extravagant projection mapping project was created in 12 languages and shown on two continents.
Kaiser Permanente, the NBA’s official health provider, sought to take advantage of its relationship with the league as well as its image rights with All-Star Steph Curry. As a result, for the NBA All-Star Weekend Crossover, NEXT/NOW collaborated with agency partner Octagon to create a gesture-controlled, larger-than-life three-point shootout in which spectators stepped into the shoes of the legendary point guard and fought for the highest score. Steph leaped as the supporters leaped; when they shot, Steph shot. A bespoke video shareable was emailed to the fan at the end of the activation.
Retailers today are using virtual reality to connect with customers, but practical obstacles are preventing VR from becoming a common occurrence in stores. Virtual reality experiences have the potential to quantify consumer interactions. NEXT/NOW’s objective is to build engaging and experiential VR experiences that’ll drive a company’s narrative and branding.