Every week there seems to be a new application or technology introduced that promises to revolutionize the world of brand experiences. So much so that keeping up with event technology can be a full-time job.
How to decide which technology is right for a given brand, live event or audience is dependent on the resources, budget, audience’s needs, the strategy, the environment, the brand narrative and even the brand’s history (to name a few). So ask yourself two questions:
- What story is the brand trying to tell?
- How does this application help deliver the message in a personalized, compelling manner?
One of the biggest trends that we are all going to see over the next year is the use of virtual reality and augmented reality. Though closely related, VR is about creating entirely digital worlds while AR is about enhancing reality with digital content.
The applications for these technologies will become more evident as these technologies mature and prices come down, but we can already see the impact they can make in the branded experience world. They won’t just be for creating engagement opportunities for audiences, but will also be an integral part of the design process. In other words, VR and AR can be just as useful behind the curtain as in front of it.
- Visualization: In terms of design visualization, VR and AR are creating some breathtaking possibilities. With VR, designers and clients will now be able to preview their designs before anything goes into production – in three dimensions, in real time, and with all the context of size, scale and depth available to them. In the future, as AR technologies become more refined, clients might even be able to preview their designs and experiences in real-world spaces. These applications aren’t just tools to help us tell stories, they’re also the tools that will help us design and build the worlds our stories take place in.
- Content: VR and AR are just starting to come into their own, and consumers are showing a keen interest. Facebook has invested billions in Oculus, and its developers are working on creating avenues for consumption of 360-degree VR content within users’ timeline feeds. The infrastructure is developing, so now it’s up to us to create the content to fill it.
- Engagement: As far as engagement, the research is very promising. Studies have shown thatthis technology can be an incredibly powerful emotional engagement tool, even more so than TV. There’s a widely held belief that VR and AR have the potential to increase empathy, which in turn could result in a deeper, more authentic connection with audiences. Some brands are even using the technology to let users experience life through another person’s eyes.
Consider that we’ve only just scratched the surface of VR’s potential. You have likely come across VR and AR to interact with products virtually, visit travel destinations or environments you’ve never been to before, or experience concerts or sporting events from the front row. In just a couple of years of content creation, our ability to tell impactful stories has already increased by leaps and bounds. As developers get accustomed to using VR and AR as storytelling tools, I think we’ll start to see them dramatically expand the use of these technologies and push their limits. In the hands of our most creative people, there’s no telling what new applications are out there that we haven’t even seen yet.
Therein lies the power of VR’s evolution. The internet was around for years before people discovered that social sharing was the key to driving content adoption. There’s a good chance we’ll see the same growth with VR and AR.