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ZeroLight: 10 Years of Innovation

It’s been 10 years since ZeroLight set out on its mission to transport the latest visual technologies and user engagement from computer games to the car-buying experience. 

We’ve had an incredible decade packed with innovation and world-firsts, while working with global carmakers on projects and products that have set the standard for the automotive and visualisation industries.

We asked ZeroLight’s CEO and Co-founder, Darren Jobling, what his highlights from the past ten years have been, and what’s around the corner.

How did ZeroLight get started?

ZeroLight started out as an offshoot of a video game development studio based in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England. The studio’s specialism was car racing games, which was how ZeroLight established its niche in building digital customer experiences for some of the biggest car brands in the world.

Our first official project was in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover for the launch of the all-new Jaguar F-Type at the 2011 Paris Motor Show. The experience turned out to be the world’s first real-time 3D interactive car configurator, which paved the way for visual customer experiences across the automotive sector.

Since then, we’ve continued to work with carmakers eager to level up their buying journeys and earn customer attention, both in-person and online. By making the latest visualisation and cloud technologies easily available via the ZeroLight platform, we’ve kept pushing what’s possible.

What sets ZeroLight apart?

It’s simple to complete one-off, small-scale experiences for automotive retail. What’s difficult is scaling these experiences efficiently across territories or dealerships, which is where we have developed one of our strongest differentiators. 

This was epitomised by our global rollout of 3D cloud-streamed experiences for every Audi vehicle, in every configuration, across all Audi markets, way back in 2018. This is a feat that has never been matched in size or scale.

Now, we’ve bundled up our decade of experience streaming interactive visual applications into our new enterprise-standard cloud streaming solution, OmniStream™. OmniStream empowers brands and creators to scale their own Unreal, Unity or Autodesk VRED experiences so they can be experienced by anyone, on any device, globally.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during ZeroLight’s journey?

The secret to ZeroLight’s success lies in our people. The best piece of advice I could give to a startup in a similar position to ZeroLight’s in 2014 is to find great people, train them, and mentor them. Don’t impede their progress, keep politics out of the organisation, and instil the confidence they need to believe they can succeed. Most importantly, celebrate failure.

At ZeroLight, we choose to celebrate failure because it’s an essential part of achieving something that has never been done before. It can take a few attempts to build something that’s truly innovative and at the cutting edge, but that’s ok; every failed attempt increases the probability of eventual success.

What’s ZeroLight’s biggest achievement?

As you can see in the video above, our biggest achievement has to be the consistency and pace at which we are able to innovate at scale to add value to our clients’ retail experiences. From the first genuinely connected customer journey with Lucid Motors, to the first real-time cinematic driving configurator with Mitsubishi Motors North America, we are continuously pioneering new ways to surprise and delight consumers with digital visualisation.

It’s also important to say that our track record of achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the support of visionaries within each of the OEMs we have worked alongside. Thank you to all those who have believed it could be done.

What’s next for ZeroLight?

We’ll be continuing to ferociously develop our platform to break down the hurdles that prevent brands from accessing and using innovative visualisation technologies in their retail journeys. 

In-keeping with our legacy of embracing the latest tech, this year will also see us embrace generative AI for a game-changing use case, as well as helping OEMs realise the promise and potential of OpenUSD with their existing digital twin pipelines.

Here’s to the next 10 years!