We recently caught up with Phil Hasted, Director of Gooii Ltd. – an award-winning website design and app development company.
Phil and his team specialise in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mobile Ticketing, as well as apps and websites for commercial, education and heritage.
Hi Phil, tell us a bit about how Gooii got started, and how it’s grown…
We started about 20 years ago – the other Directors and I had been working for another design company and wanted to take things in a different direction. We had innovative ideas and there were new technologies we wanted to try, so we started Gooii to do things our own way. Since then, we’ve grown beyond the initial four directors but we still aim to give a really personal service to our customers. The directors still work as designers, project managers and developers, which means if a client rings us, they get to speak straight to a director who understands and is working on the project.
Can you tell us a bit about your work and the kind of clients you support?
We’ve got a large number of clients, Nottingham County Council has been a big one for us over the last two years, we also work with Nottingham City Council on transport projects – we did the Nottingham Contactless website, that allows people to go online and view the journeys they’ve made on the tram and buses. We also worked on NETGO!, which is the Nottingham tram app, and the feedback’s been excellent as it’s really fast to use – including downloading the app. You can have a ticket in your hand in under 20 seconds.
What would you say drew you to Antenna?
We had an office for many years on Castle Boulevard and that was an old mill, it was a lovely office but it got sold to make way for student flats. We were looking for somewhere else and then I heard about Antenna. Our new office suits us really well and everyone’s very friendly here. The place has such a nice vibe to it and when you bring clients in, they are suitably impressed as well. In our last office, you’d see people come in and their eyes would light up at how good the space was, and you get that same impression when walking through Antenna’s reception into the restaurant.
The meeting rooms are great too, and we love the restaurant – the food’s good quality and the fact that they’ll bring it to your room is a nice touch. Plus, the fact that everything’s serviced is fantastic and you’ve got an excellent IT team here – if something needs fixing or changing, someone’s here within minutes. Any landlord, given a reasonable amount of time will get things done, but here it’s just so instant, plus all of your bills are included – as a business in a post-pandemic era, it gives you what feels like a lot of security, and it allows for more flexible working – you don’t have to worry if everyone’s not in everyday – and it works really well in this new environment we find ourselves in.
Your team’s latest project saw you create the world’s first interactive holographic movie for the 5G Connected Forest project… tell us a bit about this
The 5G Connected Forest Project focuses on delivering 5G connectivity to Sherwood Forest and the surrounding area. It’s delivered by Nottinghamshire County Council and is part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. It paves the way for research areas to investigate the role of 5G in delivering visitor attractions for all ages, and protecting the sensitive forest environment through robotic environmental management and live monitoring. Gooii is involved in the visitor tourism element, we used Augmented reality (AR) to create an interactive holographic movie called “Robin Hood: Arrow Through Time”, that visitors can experience in the heart of Sherwood Forest.
It took us 2 years to learn and develop the different technologies necessary to create the experience. The experience mixes live action video with CGI elements, using a unique holographic headset and backpack based sound system. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), which transports the user to a different location, which could be another country, the jungle… even space – with the AR tech we’ve produced you still see the same location, but our digital content is added to the real world – Robin Hood and his band of outlaws literally appear in front of you.
Sound is an important element of AR headsets and glasses. Hearing the swoosh of a sword as you watch a battle or an arrow flying past your head can make an experience feel much more immersive. By appealing to an extra sense, people feel captivated by the adventure.
We also use lightweight bass speakers you wear as a backpack. They’re incredibly comfortable and enable us to produce cinema quality surround sound. We also use vibration so you can feel the experience. A ghost flying through you, the sound of your heart beating as ghost approaches or being hit by an arrow elevates these experiences to a new level not possible with traditional forms of entertainment.
Better yet, it allows you to use your hands to interact and fire arrows right back. There are different story options that play out based on your actions, meaning you can control the direction of the story producing different endings – we think it’s a world first!
We’ve used the same technology to create a ghost walk at Rufford Abbey, where you walk around a room as a group and you can see ghosts walking out of walls. The ghosts interact and talk to you, and it’s really impressive. We’re also able to create unique ghost hunter experiences, so it’s different each time you visit.
What future plans are there for Gooii?
We’re currently extending some of our existing projects, including new features and content for the Rufford Ghost Walk. We’ve also got some exciting new projects on the horizon… although we can’t say much about these due to non-disclosure agreements. We’re looking to get some Film and TV Production students involved in these projects and might look to take advantage of Antenna’s links with Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies and NTU. We are interested in doing filming, and a lot of what we use for the holograms actually comes from a filming basis, and so it’d be interesting to work with some film students on more holographic content – even if it’s just to help us test.
Should members of the Antenna community want to learn more about Gooii or reach out, are you happy for them to get in touch?
We’d love to make new connections with potential clients and collaborators. If you see me or my colleagues around the building, please say hi and otherwise, just come up and see us at s25.
Find out more about Gooii and the innovative products and services they offer here
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