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If you’re thinking of buying an immersive space, you’d be forgiven for being a bit overwhelmed by the range of options out there. Since Igloo started over 15 years ago, we’ve seen a growing number of companies offering immersive spaces which is testament to how great they are for visualisation, simulation, collaboration and engagement.  

But the truth is, even immersive spaces that look similar on the surface can vary hugely. We often hear from users and integrators who feel let down after going with another solution, because the space they installed ended up being a one trick pony, confined to limited use cases, with little content flexibility, and poor usability.

Igloo immersive spaces are built to be robust, flexible and accessible to everyone. And we believe one of the BIG things that makes us different is Igloo Core Engine (ICE), our specialist operating system for immersive rooms.  

ICE is unique because it’s a software platform designed specifically for immersive spaces. It brings together over 15 years’ experience designing and installing immersive spaces all over the world, and developing the software that runs them. And with all this experience, we’re pretty confident we know what makes a good immersive space.   

So, if you’re thinking of purchasing an immersive space, please take a good look at what’s on offer. Think hard about your use cases and how an immersive space could help you and work smarter and faster, and communicate ideas better. And be sure to ask each provider some searching questions. Here are seven for starters (and, to provide a benchmark, we’ve provided the Igloo answers):

1. Can the software running the space handle multiple types of content?

An effective immersive space should be able to display 360° video and images, game engine content, 3D models, digital twins and much, much more. It should also make it easy to display all the freely available immersive content on the web with no need to configure any content in a complicated backend system. ICE was created for exactly this, to handle any content, in any format from any source.

2. Can the software handle multiple use cases?

It goes without saying that more content flexibility means you can get more use out of your immersive space. ICE not only offers unparalleled content flexibility, it also has loads of built in features for video conferencing, screen sharing, livestreaming, presentation, and working with cloud and web-based content. Just take a look at the case studies section of our website to see the many ways different clients benefit from immersive spaces, often using them for multiple different use cases.  

3. Does it work with curved screens?

Why do only a handful of immersive space providers offer curved screens? Because accurately mapping 360° projection onto curved spaces is actually very complicated. Even if you’re looking to buy a flat wall system, asking whether your provider has experience with curved or unusually shaped spaces might be a good indicator of how capable they are at immersive visualisation, and that they’re not just stretching out 2D content to make it look immersive. ICE can power any display hardware, no matter the shape or size. This includes our range of cylinders, cubes and domes, as well as large-format displays, such as power walls, LED screens, and clusters of screens.

4. Is it easy to use?

There’s no point in having impressive technology if cumbersome usability and overly-complicated workflows put people off using it. When exploring different immersive spaces it’s always worth asking to see the different user interfaces, and how easy it is to access, trigger and configure content. We created ICE with the everyday user of digital content in mind, and offer a choice of interfaces - so, if you can use a phone or a PC, you can operate an ICE-powered immersive space.

5. Does it all run using one piece of software?

Lots of immersive spaces are patched together using an array of disparate components and software applications - rendering them inherently unstable, making it difficult to switch between different content types, and adding to the complexity of the user experience.

In creating ICE, we drew on everything we have ever learnt about immersive spaces (and, remember, we’ve been in this business for +15 years), and we combined all that functionality into one powerful, elegant, easy to use package.

6. Does the content in the space appear true to life?

One of the most loved features of ICE is True Perspective. It automatically applies the correct, true-to-life perspective to 3D models, so you don't have to. It also means you can adjust the perspective in real time, depending on the position of the primary viewer, and you won’t find many immersive space providers who can do this.

7. How much real-life experience does a provider have, and how many reference customers could you be introduced to?

We don't know of any other providers that have worked with more clients or more industries to deliver more installations in more countries than Igloo. For starters, you could take a look at the case studies section of our website and find out about 83 companies who’ve kindly agreed to share their Igloo experience publicly (of course, there are plenty of others, but they tend to be a little more secretive).

Ready to explore Igloo further?

And finally, any immersive room provider worth its salt should make it easy for you to experience the technology for yourself. That’s why Igloo has demo spaces all over world in London, Shopshire, New York, Toronto and Dubai, where you can see a range of different products in person, or book yourself in for a virtual demo.

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