BMW went all out for the launch of the new BMW X2, a model that will play a big part in the company’s line-up in the future. As customers worldwide want more and more crossovers and SUVs, traditional car makers used to selling sedans and coupes by the truckload have to refocus and offer more of what’s in demand these days. This is where the X2 steps in and BMW made sure to make a splash with its launch, going where no other manufacturer dared before.
One of the most interesting tidbits about the whole marketing campaign surrounding the launch of the X2 was the BMW X2 Holo Experience Tour. Described a while back in an official BMW press release, it mentioned the usage of Microsoft’s Hololens technology as well as big words like ‘holograms’ and ‘interactive’, both being repeated time and time again. We got an initial idea of what the Germans were proposing back then but only recently we managed to test this new tech hands on.
Earlier this week, the people over at BMW Romania held an event in collaboration with Microsoft, inviting some media representatives to see first hand what this whole Holo Experience Tour is all about. This was the first time when this system was tested in Central and Eastern Europe and it’s exactly the same as the one used at BMW’s Welt Museum and HQ in Munich. Therefore, when the call came through I had to go down to BMW and see how this thing works first hand.
The Microsoft Hololens is basically a pair of goggles which also happen to house a mini PC of sorts. According to the Microsoft representative I talked to, it was quite a fast performer too, with SSD storage included and AC-standard Wi-Fi built in. Considering the holograms shown right in front of you have extremely high resolutions, I guess that only made sense. What surprised me initially was how heavy the Hololens is, as it needs a headband that goes around your head to make sure the glasses don’t fall off while you’re trying to see what I like to call Augmented Reality.
The system works flawlessly and it’s really easy to use. BMW put together a virtual showcase of the BMW X2 and once you have the glasses on, you can actually see the car right in front of you. The size of what you’re seeing can be adjusted and can even go up to a 1:1 ratio. Due to space limitations, our rendering was about the size of a small fridge but big enough so that I could see all the details that set the X2 apart. From the M letter on the M Sport steering wheel inside to different paint finishes and wheel models on the outside, I could basically see the X2 in various configurations as if it was right in front of me.
I can easily imagine this being used in the future for a host of other models by dealers worldwide, allowing customers to see clearly how their configuration would look like in real life. Not only that but you can walk around the car and open its doors and even step inside if the rendering is at 1:1 ratio, making this a unique experience in the automotive world today. But why did BMW go down this route to promote the X2?
“The X2 will appeal to a relatively new, young and digitally-savvy target group that is also looking for unique and contemporary experiences from communications”, according to Uwe Dreher, head of Brand Communication BMW. “The Holo Experience delivers the desired technical wow-effect, which we hope will maximize our appeal to this target group in a fun and entertaining way, using innovative technology.” Whether their target will be hit or not, remains to be seen, but from where I was standing, I could clearly see that this is the future and that the applications of such technology can be virtually limitless.