Is Virtual/Augmented Reality a Game Changer?
By Shane Klein on August 25, 2016 in Digital Marketing
I’ve recently acquired the Samsung Gear VR headset. Hello virtual reality, goodbye real world. And unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you know that augmented reality games like Pokemon Go have taken over. As I get more familiar with these platforms, I can’t help but ask myself “What could advances in virtual & augmented reality mean for the technology world?”
Let's start with virtual reality (VR). Most of the VR apps I’ve stumbled upon are strictly for entertainment, like games and videos, but someday, I’m sure both will have a place in our work and social lives. There are already apps that allow you to pick an avatar and virtually hang out with your friend to watch Vimeo videos.
And Facebook, who owns Oculus, one of the best known VR companies out there, has recently revealed “Social VR.” This VR app allows you to virtually hang out with friends in well known environments like London. If you're a Snapchat user, you know that you can augment pictures and videos of yourself to have all sorts of different features. Now I’m just making a prediction here, but in a few years I could see Facebook allowing you to upload images so that your avatar is based off of your pictures. And heck, maybe you could even upload a picture from a vacation and relive a moment from years back (How about you get on that Mr. Zuckerburg?)
How would virtual reality be introduced into people’s work lives? One example would be the architect companies that use VR to bring 3D renderings to life. It is one thing to look at flat images of a room or building, but it's a completely different experience when you feel like you are standing right in the middle of that room. Others are using it for marketing to give people an experience that favors and promotes their product. However, the biggest game changer for all of us desk-ridden office workers could be VR replacing our screens. Imagine strapping on some goggles while sitting at your desk instead of staring at a set of monitors. The beauty of this would be eliminating the mouse altogether.
If you’ve ever used VR Gear before you know that there is a little dot in the middle of the screen that acts as your cursor. Moving your head moves that dot. You could be completely immersed in a world with many virtual windows/screens- dragging and dropping things without your fingertips ever leaving your keyboard. Sounds pretty amazing to me, but maybe that would leave you with one serious kink in your neck. I guess only time will tell where this new virtual reality technology truly takes us.
And how might businesses cash in on AR? I believe Pokemon Go is just the beginning, but there's enormous potential for local marketers to get brand recognition as well as foot traffic from this blockbuster app. Many think that businesses will soon be able to bid on and buy lures for Pokemon at peak purchasing times. For instance, a local restaurant could buy a lure from noon to 12:30 and hope that additional Pokemon trainers show up hungry to buy some food while they’re there. There are talks of brands being able to sponsor PokeStops and potentially even virtual ads that show up while searching for Pokemon. All are ways to bring marketers to the masses in a very niche market.
Technology moves so fast. I’m confident that we are just scratching the surface and that where VR/AR is now will be completely different from where we are in the next 5 years. It is an exciting time and something all marketers should keep an eye on. Sometimes businesses can make a lot of money by being the first to embrace an idea or by modifying an idea to make it work for them. Is VR/AR something you can cash in on?
What do you think the future of VR/AR looks like? Leave your prediction in the comments!