By Erika Howes
Introduced in 2020 as part of Howes’ centennial celebration, the Howes Hall of Fame was created to acknowledge and honor unique achievements across a broad spectrum of categories within the trucking and agricultural industries. A digital platform that lives online, the Hall is designed to highlight the people, places, and things that have made positive impacts on these essential industries and to serve as a thank you to them for their contributions. Beginning as a simple a fly-through video with a few clickable hotspots, last year, the Hall underwent its first major renovation.
Thanks to its initial upgrade, the Hall became a much more interactive destination. It now offers a 360° panoramic experience. This means visitors can look up, down, and completely around on their chosen device, giving them an all-access view from 12 different places within the Hall itself. It is jam packed with amazing graphics and interesting information on truckers, farmers, the Howes company, and of course, the incredible inductees. “We were thrilled to build out the Hall of Fame to what it is today,” stated 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. 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.” 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. As close to the real thing as one can get, the Hall will offer plenty of places to explore, items to examine, fun games, and even enable visitors to interact with each other in real time. Erika Howes, VP of Business Development at Howes Products gushes, “This is probably one of the coolest things we’ve ever had the privilege of creating. Not only is it something new, fun, and exciting, but 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. Having a place to go to celebrate these folks is just awesome. The fact that anyone can visit, at any time, from anywhere, makes it that much more special. Now, not only can everyone see it 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 new and exciting virtual reality experience will be launched at the Howes booth (#14172) during the Mid-America Trucking Show, taking place March 24-26 in Louisville, KY. 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 would prefer not to step into the virtual world can watch as friends and family head in, via a big screen television casting the user’s point of view. To top it all off, the first inductee of 2022 will be announced, and in attendance. “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,” explains Erika. “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 unparalleled virtual experience will continue to be accessible to anyone with virtual reality 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 without virtual reality headsets will still be able to access the 360° panoramic version, which is quite a journey in and of itself.
Ever growing and expanding, the Hall will continue to take on a life of its own in both its digital and virtual formats. You can be a part of that growth by helping to choose the next inductee. To nominate a candidate as a potential inductee for the Hall of Fame, simply visit https://www.howesproducts.com/hof and fill out the entry form. Be sure to check out the Hall of Fame and explore all it has to offer.