The Double-Edged Sword of Emerging Technologies

Do you remember your first iPhone or smartphone purchase? What was the one reason you had to have it and did it transform some aspect of your life? Our moment was in 2008, my wife and I were running the agency with a newborn in tow, she was stuck in the car with a sleeping baby in the backseat and needed to check her email. That was when she knew we needed to get the iPhone and as they say, the rest is history. Today, almost 10 years later we benefit from using these devices in ways we couldn’t predict.

Virtual Reality and even Augmented Reality is proving to be trickier to take mainstream because there is no immediate benefit to the consumer in everyday life. Especially since the idea of having a device attached to one’s face in some way is more off-putting than a device in one’s hand or pocket. I have a feeling that is going to change, and quicker than we may think. There are mumblings that the next iPhone will encompass some aspect of Augment Reality. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, was recently quoted as saying, “I regard it as a big idea, like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining.”

New technology is a double-edged sword. We want to be among the first to gain from it but are hesitant to apply resources without a clear cost/benefit proposal in place. Remember google glass? That doesn’t mean that the technology was flawed, Google Glass failed to gain commercial success because it wasn’t clear to the customer what problem it solved or why they needed it. When it comes to VR and Augmented Reality, without a clear problem/solution scenario in our everyday lives the technology is now mired in a classic chicken or the egg scenario. Hardware exists and it’s getting better and cheaper every day while software environments are in their infancy without a clear mainstream outlet. Time will certainly bring this problem into perspective as we begin to see tech behemoths like Apple, Facebook, Netflix and Youtube offer the technology in various forms as part of their ecosystem.

VR is becoming big. Technical standards are being established, making development and prototyping tools more powerful and accessible for developers. As platforms like Google Cardboard and Oculus grow, their distribution channels are lowering the barrier of adoption for developers and viewers. The medium is maturing, so the content is becoming much more engaging, with rich storytelling, which almost forces big production companies to move into the field. Things are definitely happening soon.

So why should I care about VR & AR and where would I start? 
If the next iPhone contains some form of Augmented Reality then that should tell you that it’s closer to becoming a player in our everyday lives than we might expect. Given that, here are several applications in business and education where we’ve seen the potential for companies to reach consumers in new ways.

VR PROTOTYPING
Our first example involves is a display company that handles design, development, and production for clients around the globe. Part of the process of developing displays for retail involves either shipping a prototype to a client or having the client visit the office to see the display in its rough form. Our partners are currently developing the virtual prototype environment which allows customers the ability to view their product in VR. This also gives the users on both ends the ability to manipulate their product in real time and share their feedback along the way. Now new design ideas and updates can be shared within minutes instead of days. The caveat is that the display company will have to send a programmed headset to the client and provide instructions on setup. That seems less difficult than having the client try and assemble a shipped prototype

EDUCATION & HEALTHCARE
King’s College Hospital, in the UK, has developed the app for children who are due to enter an MRI — magnetic resonance imaging — machine. More on that here: https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/17/uk-nhs-hospital-virtual-reality-mri-scan/

SHARED EXPERIENCE
If you were in the room last night during President Trump’s State of the Union address and could walk the isles where would you go? Who would you sit next to? Would it have been interesting to see the reactions of members of congress to the speech in real time? but today you only see what the cameras will show you. That’s starting to change, here is an example of a live streamed speech by President Obama in 360°. Thought that some of us may miss him so here you go.

How We Live Streamed President Obama in 360°

Thinking and creating using VR & AR can enhance or your brand’s story in a meaningful way. Being a pioneer in such an engaging technology will make you the customer listen to every word and action in a way they haven’t before. Our team has been making strides in this segment and we are excited about the where the future will lead us and our partners. If you’re curious about how VR/AR can fit into your marketing plan, contact us to learn more.

 

Jeff Klein

Creative Director

One Hero Creative, Inc.

(336) 747-9998