Tele2 — Inside a stranger’s mind
How do you launch a new unexpected product offering in a country where they settle for average?
Tele2 is a Swedish telecom company that provides phone and Internet services. They are re-launching in a big way to become the best data provider in the country and asked us to create a campaign to showcase a killer offer: a 100 GB data plan good on 9 different devices.
In Sweden, a lot of discussion around connectivity tends to be negative, especially when it comes to controlling our exposure to media that can alter our outlook on our surroundings and the world. What if we made a campaign to show limitless connectivity in a way that changes our perspective?
Together with Tele2 we showcased the endless possibilities of connectivity by allowing customers to step into the minds of 9 personalities from all over the world, including Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing,” “Robocop,” “House of Cards”) — live. Like the movie “Being John Malkovich.” But for real.
A female drifter in Dubai, a body hacker in Seattle or a shitty robot-maker from Stockholm: You see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel. To enhance the experience, you can also experience the person’s pulse, galvanic skin response (sweat) and emotions.
We broadcasted 9 live streams in 5 countries during a 2-month world tour. Before we started, we had each person read, run and draw to calibrate their own unique brainwaves and heart rate.
Tech & Tools
Shot in first-person, and by using several sensors, we measured each personality’s heart rate and sweat level. The data was translated live into audiovisual effects using WebGL and Web Audio technology.
We made a custom backpack which included a 3D-printed rig for all the hardware, for example a Raspberry Pi to collect the sensor data. Camera footage was sent to a color grading box in the backpack, which we fine-tuned per location, to improve the footage quality.
The footage then got sent, scaled down and compressed, to a streaming service together with the audio and sensor data. All the material included timestamps, so it arrived synced up for the user in their browser on either desktop, tablet or mobile. Through a real-time post-production system, the sensor data was translated into audiovisual effects.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to the hardware part was to have a stable 4G connection, especially when the avatar was mobile. The solution was to create a fallback system with three different sim cards simultaneously broadcasting. If one sim card would drop, another took its place.
Together with the client, we researched each location to prepare each individual set and evaluate local internet networks. With a small team we flew to all locations to set up the scenario, instruct the person to whom we strapped on all the gear, get the hardware up and running, ensure a solid internet connection and shoot press photos and film.
Based on the EEG (brain sensor) data, measured via a Muse brain sensing headband, the footage was treated in a way that it was presented warmer or colder, representing the emotions of the person. We built a custom iOS app to record the brain activity via the headband and sent it to our admin API.
“Beta waves are connected to an alert state of mind, whereas alpha waves are more dominant in a relaxed person. Re- search has also shown a link between alpha activity and brain inactivation, which also leads to the same conclusion. This beta/alpha ratio could therefore be an interesting indication of the state of arousal the subject is in.”
“Psychophysiological research has shown the importance of the difference in activation between the two cortical hemispheres in the reaction that test subjects show towards stimuli. Left frontal inactivation is an indicator of a withdrawal response, which is often linked to a negative emotion. On the other hand, right frontal inactivation is a sign of an approach response, or positive emotion.”
During the live broadcast you could see on which emotions the color grading and border were based by hovering over the colored info icon.
Users could pan the browser view 220° to embrace the immersive audiovisual experience. By holding the spacebar or tapping and holding on their device, they were able to immerse themselves further into the stranger’s mind through live audiovisual effects, like hearing their heart rate and breathing.
The heart rate sensor was also used to display a live pulsating displacement effect on top of the live footage when the sensor noticed a peak in the person’s heart rate. Both the displacement effect, the heart rate indicator and the heartbeat sound effect were played based on the person’s live heart rate.
The start of each of these effects could also be recognized by the colored border of the broadcast which would triple in size during the effect. Increasing the border size also helped focusing even more on the experience.
During the live broadcast we wanted the users to be in contact with the person they were following. Our solution was a cheers button in the bottom right corner like Periscope or Facebook Live. Once the amount of cheers reached certain goals the person would be notified about this via their headset.
Together with the cheers button you would also see live cheers floating up from other people watching the live broadcast. Your own cheer was differentiated by a red heart floating up, instead of white. This was to give the experience a sense of community and a feeling that you weren’t the only one watching, like how football fans and their reactions at a match are sometimes as interesting to watch as the match itself.
Also the response on social was great, including the people we filmed.
“It’s kind of freaky that people are able to see my pulse.”
– Simone Giertz, Aftonbladet Newspaper
“It was so amazing and so funny! …it was exciting, weird and cool!”
“I laughed so hard when her heart rate raised from 120 to 146 when she thought she had burned out the servos.”
Each broadcast was archived on YouTube and available immediately after the live event. Users could also set SMS reminders to get notified minutes before a broadcast was going live.
On each location we had to set up a control room to manage the live video, audio and data streams via our custom dashboard app. The dashboard app enabled us to set data thresholds for each person’s experience in real-time. It also allowed our client to make changes past the live event, should they want to alter the archived video.
The live experience was built using WebGL, optimized for mobile, with a CSS fallback for older devices. From a tech perspective, the WebGL version consists of a video texture applied to a sphere together with an effect composer with added shaders for emotion colors, brightness/contrast, zoom blur and heart rate effect.
Throughout the website we used similar WebGL effects and interactions to prepare the user for the live experience. For example panning an image with different angles by moving your mouse or holding your finger from left to right.
The backend powering the experience and admin app was built to withstand large amounts of traffic without impacting performance. This was achieved by implementing a microservice architecture where we could scale each service individually to meet real time traffic demands.
One of the more interesting services had the purpose to keep track of all users and to provide them with real time updates. Typically one would use a public WebSocket channel for this and broadcast the same message to multiple users, but due to some specific requirements, we had to emit private WebSocket events to each connected user. To solve this for thousands of users without loosing the real time aspect, we divided the workload between multiple workers, thus achieving a vertically scalable solution.
We entered the lives of many different people, for example body hacker Amal Graafstra injecting RFID chips in Seattle, USA. Drifting in Dubai with drifter Noor Daoud. Business woman Cristina Stenbeck with her friend Steve Angello in the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Or climbing a clock tower in Stockholm with high-altitude instructor Anna Lundh.
We received 36,5 million earned media reach. More than 36 million reach in social media. And hundreds of thousands reactions in social media.
This project was a collaboration between Edelman Deportivo (concept), Your Majesty (website & films) and Wolfmother Co. (prototyping & hardware)
More designs, photos and videos can be found on the Behance case study https://www.behance.net/gallery/47877427/Tele2-Settle-For-More