The Immersive Experience – VR
Right from the my illustrious first days watching cult flicks like Hackers, Tron, Total Recall or the Matrix for the matter, VR Or Virtual Reality has always been a glowing ember in my subconscious with a need to fan that into a fire or rather a thirst for what was out there. Now before I regress and start talking about why I prefer Dark City to the Matrix, maturity played a huge role in that realisation.
On Tuesday I attended a Virtual Reality Training, Simulation & Education Session for the Commercial industry held by Real World VR in the city thanks to the invite of a good friend and former colleague. Held at the Loop Project Space and bar, which is usually rife on a grimy Saturday night with disambiguated progressive music and rampant chakra-aligning conversations.
The Session included:
· Emily Harridge from Visual Playground & PLaTO Reality
· Nathan Guerra from Google Expeditions
· Stephanie Andrews from Deakin Motion.Lab
· Stephen O'Leary from University of Melbourne
· James De Colling from Zero Latency
It did start with the mostly prosaic but nevertheless humorous display of the world of VR used to create training simulations to acquire a forklift licence as narrated by Emily Harridge. Followed closely by the illustrious Professor Stephen O’Leary from the University of Melbourne who gave us a fairly decent rundown on operational simulations and the psychology behind the strength of the stroke.
Then came the highly animated Stephanie Andrews – Now let me give you some background on this great lady - a genre-spanning career revolving around the intersection of art and technology.
Technical Direction at Pixar on awe-inspiring computer animated films is just one of her avatars. Funnily enough a similar topic of conversation permeated that night, with chatter about embodiment of the cognitive and emotional systems of the user confluenced with exploring ideas of spatial interaction and more. [This was my highlight] From then on the night was peppered with chatter about zombie FPS interaction on steroids with James De Colling - and the illustrious Google Expeditions project with Nathan Guerra.
There was also chatter about VR and Marketing and what has been done and what can be done. Picture this – You are about to buy your own home for the very first time when you head into the Real Estate Agent’s office to enquire about existing properties. Instead of you meeting him repeatedly, property after property with your lack of time – he hands you Google Cardboard branded with his brand of course and you download an app that already has the properties shortlisted on them based on your selection. Boom!! You are viewing properties at the flick of a switch in Virtual Reality.
A recent Goldman Sachs report projects that VR will rise to be a $3.2 billion market by 2025. Thanks to the rise of more affordable, accessible and sophisticated headsets from Oculus Rift, virtual reality is becoming an incredibly immersive way for brands to engage consumers and customers.
Some great examples:
Brian Shuster, co-founder of the online virtual world, Utherverse said “Virtual reality will be an explosive, guerrilla-style opportunity for anyone who is a marketing visionary. “Real-time, immersive interactivity has the potential to revolutionise many industries that were hardly touched by the flat Web such as real estate, convention and classroom education; and will also re-revolutionise industries such as shopping and entertainment.”
The possibilities are endless; however there is also the cynics who believe Augmented Reality is the future as well. In my opinion both technologies are setup for marketing genius. Retail in particular.
What seems to be exciting to consumers is a new immersive world where content and brands are increasingly intermixed. This is a change that challenges the relationship between content and advertising. Where that takes us is clearly unknown, but it’s going to be quite a journey.