NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Howes Products has added another level to its digital Howes Hall of Fame with the use of virtual reality (VR). The new technology provides visitors to the online “hall” with an immersive 360-degree panoramic experience.
Howes, a developer of fuel additives and lubricants, introduced the Hall of Fame in 2020 as part of the company’s centennial celebration. The Hall of Fame, which began as a simple fly-through video with a few clickable “hot spots,” highlights people, places and things that have made positive impacts on the trucking and agricultural industries.
“We were thrilled to build out the Hall of Fame to what it is today,” said Rob Howes, executive vice president of Howes Products.
“It’s beyond important to us to have this platform dedicated to these amazing people, places and organizations,” he said. “Everyone should know what a tremendous role they play on these industries, and how imperative the industries themselves are to this nation. The more attention we can bring to them, the better.”
With the addition of VR, the Hall now provides an interactive, “all-access” experience. Visitors can look up, down and all around from 12 points in the Hall to explore various exhibits. The Hall of Fame is packed with vivid graphics and interesting information about trucking, farming, the Howes company and, of course, the Hall’s honored inductees.
While the updated version of the Hall of Fame will remain available to all, this year, Howes is taking things a step further.
Visitors using virtual reality headsets with access to AltspaceVR, a social VR platform, will soon be able to dive into a remarkably immersive experience when visiting the site. This virtual experience is as close to the real thing as one can get, according to company. The Hall will offer plenty of places for AltspaceVR users to explore, along with items to examine and games to play. Visitors can even interact with each other in real time.
“This is probably one of the coolest things we’ve ever had the privilege of creating,” said Erika Howes, vice president of business development at Howes Products.
“Not only is it something new, fun and exciting, but (it’s) something that has a true purpose, something that calls attention to the industries that we are so proud to be a part of, industries that are the backbone of America, and most importantly, the heart of these industries — the people and places that keep them moving,” she continued.
“Having a place to go to celebrate these folks is just awesome,” she added. “The fact that anyone can visit, at any time, from anywhere, makes it that much more special. Now, not only can everyone see (the Hall of Fame) in a super-cool way, but people can truly experience it, which is incredibly unique. We’re proud to be the pioneers of something this different.”
This VR experience will be launched at the Howes booth (#14172) during the Mid-America Trucking Show, March 24-26 in Louisville, Kentucky. The booth will have a full Hall of Fame set-up, allowing visitors to preview inductee videos and Hall of Fame memorabilia while waiting to try out the VR. Those who prefer not to step into the virtual world were able to watch through the eyes of others via a big-screen television that broadcasts the user’s point of view.
To top it all off, the first Howes Hall of Fame inductee of 2022 will be announced.
“It’s great to finally be able to be around people again. We’ve wanted to announce inductees in person since the beginning, and this is the first time we’re going to be able to do it,” Erika said. “What a great combo package to be able to meet the newest inductee, then ‘step into’ the Hall of Fame world. Everyone is truly buzzing with excitement.”
After the show, the virtual experience will be accessible to anyone with VR headsets that support AltspaceVR. Users with their own headsets will be able to create personalized avatars and meet fellow visitors from all across the globe, right inside the Hall. Visitors to the site who don’t have VR headsets will still be able to access the 360-degree panoramic version of the exhibit, which is quite a journey in and of itself.
To date, inductees in the Howes Hall of Fame include:
- Ellen Voie, co-founder and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association;
- Iowa 80 Truckstop, known as “The World’s Largest Truckstop”;
- Tony Justice, a singer, songwriter, storyteller and truck driver;
- Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit organization that fighting human trafficking; and
- Peterson Farm Brothers, “Depicting what it is to be a farmer today.”
The newest inductee will be announced at MATS later this month.
To nominate a candidate as a potential inductee for the Howes Hall of Fame, click here and fill out the entry form.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.