Orange Bus has made a senior hire and launched a new division to help firms capitalise on emerging technologies.

The Newcastle-based digital agency has appointed virtual reality expert Austen Atkinson as creative strategic director.

He’s previously worked for global organisations including Google, Virgin, BBC, Sky and The Sunday Times.

Austen Atkinson

In his new role, Atkinson will help the agency explore the potential of VR, artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies in the B2B, military, government, consumer and education sectors.

His appointment coincides with the launch of a new division, Orange Bus Futures, which will help organisations take advantage of these early-stage technologies, designs and processes.

Atkinson said: “I’m thrilled to be joining such a forward-thinking, progressive agency. It’s a great opportunity to lead the agency into a new dynamic era, with the launch of Orange Bus Futures set to diversify our offering and fuel future expansion.”

Julian Leighton, CEO of Orange Bus, said: “We’re delighted to have someone of the calibre of Austen on board. Our aim is to grow our reach internationally and the best way of doing that is to recruit highly talented people with the business acumen to spot new opportunities for us and our valued clients.”

Having spearheaded a significant VR project with Google last year, Atkinson hopes to develop ambitious new VR experiences with the tech giant in 2017.

Orange Bus, recently named Large Agency of the Year at the Northern Digital Awards, is exploring a separate VR initiative with Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff and is also Force India Formula 1’s official digital partner.