123 Internet Group, a digital marketing agency based in Milton Keynes, have donated an interactive 3D building scan worth £4,000 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) who provide accommodation and support for families with sick children. The local agency carried out a ‘digital twin’ model of the newly refurbished Oxford House, allowing would-be visitors restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic to virtually tour the building instead.
Situated close to John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford Children’s Hospital, Oxford House is one of 11 RMHC residential buildings across the UK, dedicated to housing families near to specialised children’s hospitals so that they can be at their child’s bedside in minutes. In these unprecedented times, the charity’s work is increasingly vital for families in need of support. Ronald McDonald Houses are designed to create a small sense of normality, with a ‘home away from home’ feel that helps to lessen the emotional stress on parents, also providing financial relief. 600 families stayed at Oxford House in 2019, with the longest family stay at 126 nights. But since its renovation in May 2020, it’s been running at a limited capacity due to social distancing restrictions, with RMHC unable to welcome guests other than those in residence.
This is where the power of digital proves its worth. Helping the charity to overcome these physical challenges, 123 Internet Group captured a 360° digital scan of Oxford House, room by room. Generated through the Matterport platform, this ground-breaking ‘walkthrough’ technology creates a fully immersive digital tour experience, connecting rooms by letting the user simply click, drag, swipe or tap to move around. It works in a similar way to Google Maps Street View, but with the added benefit of being able to venture inside. From the safety of their own homes, users can now explore Oxford House. There are 62 bedrooms, which can support over 1000 families each year once social restrictions lift, along with kitchens, laundry facilities, day rooms and a garden to help create a more homely feel with space for children to play outdoors. Virtual visitors can learn more about the stories behind the rooms and the families staying there, as well as the history of RHMC and its mission.
Scott Jones, CEO of 123 Internet Group, said:
“The digital twin is an amazing way to showcase the incredible work that RHMC have put into Oxford House. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support this charity and the families they care for, especially so close to Christmas. Many of us take our health for granted, and the festive season is a difficult time for families with seriously ill children. It’s important that we take a moment to reflect and give back to others where we can.”
To create the walkthrough tour, 123 Internet captured a snapshot of each room using a 360 camera to produce dimensionally accurate 3D scans with stunning digital clarity. The shots were then configured with Matterport’s automated Cortex AI (artificial intelligence) deep learning software to transform them into an interactive digital space. The scan is fully accessible on any device, anywhere, and shareable across social media, email, websites and other digital marketing channels. This creates unique opportunities for growth, engagement, reach and collaboration, helping to accelerate awareness of RMHC’s work and the families they help.
The scan is the first, all-important first step towards the charity’s digital transition. Key points of interest will soon be added, embedding interactive elements such as videos, images, voice clips, web links, and other resources to provide more information. A guided version of the Oxford House walkthrough tour with voiceover narration is also in the pipeline, where users will be able to join the tour at set times via a live stream.
123 Internet Group now offer digital building and rooms tours as a fully managed service, adding another string to their bow alongside the popular strategy, SEO, web, social and media services that have cemented their reputation as a leading digital agency. The scan for RMHC, however, was complimentary.
“This is our Christmas gift to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. We have built a great relationship with the team and I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve been able to achieve together this year. I hope everyone enjoys the digital tour as much as we do, and encourage them to donate whatever they can to this wonderful cause. I speak for the whole team at 123 when I say we are excited to continue working with them in 2021 to build on their new and innovative digital foundation.”