Jan 25, 2023

Back to the Future: Creating digital imprints of the past

  • digital
  • technology

As digital technology pervades every aspect of our lives and enhances the way we interact and experience the world, globally, brands are increasingly exploring the phygital format, where storytelling has started traversing the boundaries between physical and virtual spaces, bringing alive narratives and stories in a relevant context that can add value to newer, younger consumers.

Over the years, brands that have been able to stay relevant are those that use digital platforms and technologies to reimagine processes, introduce efficiencies, become more sustainable, and elevate experiences, ultimately leaving an indelible mark on the minds of consumers.

As pioneers for 125 years, Godrej & Boyce (G&B) has often been at the forefront of using new technologies and innovations across its businesses to help further its strong customer-first approach. In the digital age, from enabling faster solutions to facilitating better digital intelligence and interaction with smart products in real time, we have implemented innovative digital solutions at scale.

Godrej’s ideas have always been aligned to India’s. From being a vocal advocate of the Swadeshi movement in the early part of the 20th century to being a champion of ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ in the 21st century as India pursues its ambition of becoming an economic giant and a global superpower, we’ve stayed rooted to our values while embracing the future. The adoption of digital as an imperative has been a crucial aspect of our growth journey. As we mature in our journey, right from our manufacturing processes to our engagement with customers and other stakeholders, greater use of digital technologies and platforms have remained constants.

Godrej Archives, the business archive of the group since the past 25 years, is a perfect example of this amalgamation. For a unit whose primary function is the preservation of the past and the group’s history, our archivists painstakingly filter every piece of history that will help future generations understand our values, spirit and character, reside forever on the cloud. Technology, after all, is limited by our imagination and how we choose to use it.

This year, as part of our 125th anniversary, we were able to launch a virtual 3D tour of our ‘Back to the Future’ exhibition. As a physical exhibit, it has existed since 2017, providing interested tour takers an immersive experience. This virtual tour, however, opens up the floodgates of history of the Godrej group, to virtually anyone on the world wide web. Since the launch of this virtual tour in June last year, we’ve already had users from over 40 countries visit it and an impressive engagement rate of 86%.

The virtual tour is a 360-degree walkthrough of the exhibition that includes close-up views of archival records, audio snippets of oral histories of employees and a digital video booth showing videos of the corporate past of Godrej. Considerable effort has gone into evolving the digital look of these artefacts as close to the original as possible. So much so that apart from size and colour even surface texture such as rust marks have been replicated!

The 3D & AR element adds to an elevated experience as visitors engage with artefacts realistically. For instance, the interactive 3D refrigerator model reveals its various compartments and allows the user to explore the insides while the 3D typewriter experience is enhanced as it makes its usual click clickety-clack sound as you type on your own desktop/smartphone keyboard!

Through this digital replication of artefacts, we are not just attempting to bring them closer to audiences but also creating virtual assets that will outlive their physical counterparts. In a sense, it is not just today’s audiences but also tomorrow’s who will be able to access this rich history.

This virtual 3D tour is just one among the various initiatives through which we have been able to take interested visitors into a journey of our past while engaging with them meaningfully in the present. The digital future holds many promises including web3 initiatives such as the metaverse and NFTs, among others, and we are excited to explore them all with our stakeholders.

Take a virtual ‘Back to the Future’ tour here: https://archives.godrej.com/virtualtour/