Very soon, proximity will no longer determine who you spend your time with. Augmented reality/ virtual reality (AR/VR) have questioned and changed the very fundamentals of physics and social engagements.
Communication objectives like immersive engagement, better ROI and higher share of voice are some of the parameters which are likely to be changed forever — thanks to the application of AR/VR technology using smartphones.
Consumer centric communication like checking out a new home before buying, assessing impact of a surgery using VR simulation, driving a car virtually or checking out a new travel destination before making purchase decisions are some of the ways brands engage. This is likely to be fast-paced thanks to factors like dipping in price points for hardware (read: VR gear/cardboards, etc) and the coming together of an entirely new marketplace of applications (both business and consumer). Here are some ways of how the AR/VR progression is likely to shape up:
r Retail made virtual: eBay set the trend by launching its e-commerce platform virtually in Australia. Consumers have the ease of seeing things virtually, checking out products and swiping in payment. Time-starved mobile consumers will be happy to use virtual experiences to see and shop products for which they were otherwise dependent on physical stores. E-commerce has set the trend and now VR/AR will take it to the next level.
Live events will be accessible to more people: With live feed made possible on YouTube and most likely on platforms like Facebook, we can expect 360 degree live streaming on social platforms, driving engagement. Things like the Rock On 2 music concert being beamed live and making youth across India swing to Farhan Akthar will be possible soon. The same can be done for IPL matches, football games or F1 racing, thereby bringing in a new genre of content for mobile phone apps of all broadcasters.
Education: Challenges of primary and secondary technical education will be handled using AR/VR. The teachers would be available to the remotest of schools.
Content and video entertainment: This space will implode and AR/VR will bring the immersive storytelling to consumers. The Guardian used VR to bring the essence of being in a solitary confinement — one could experience what emotions prisoners go through.
Screen-less future: AR will drive the screen-less future where data and information will conjure in front of your eyes using AR-enabled screens. The privacy issues have been laid to rest by Microsoft’s HoloLens which makes information more functional, like projecting key performance parameters about your bicycle while cycling.
Advertising turns to VR: With video entertainment, education, events and retail going VR, advertisers are bound to follow the trend by marrying creatives with technology and create content which immerses consumers in a make-believe world of the brand. Experiences like going through the making of a single malt whiskey before sipping it, is something which advertisers will lap up as a part of their advertising strategy when interspersed with generic VR content.
These changes will drive the pace of VR/AR in a big way and will help consumers and brands to progress to the next wave in mobile technology.
The author is CEO — APAC, Happy Finish