Bringing Augmented and Virtual Reality to the Mainstream

Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at the Digital Hollywood AR/VR Experience conference, an event focused on the convergence of the entertainment and technology industries.

Our panel “360 Video and VR/AR – Content and Advertising – A Cross Platform Experience” discussed the current state of virtual reality and the common challenges of bringing it to consumers. We had a provocative discussion. Here are my takeaways:

  • Brands want to create high-end VR experiences for the coolness factor, but these are very expensive and have a very small audience since they often rely on location-based VR installations, such as trade shows. Lately there’s been a trend towards converting these high-end VR experiences into non-interactive 360 video renderings for mobile VR, allowing the content to scale and reach more people through social channels.
  • While there are limitations to current AR headset technology, there is potential for layering haptic and audio effects over reality, which does not necessarily require a headset. This would enable brands to create a cohesive, real-world experience without waiting for consumer AR headsets to fully mature.
  • There’s consensus the VR content is lagging in quality and quantity. Content creators need to try harder to use the medium of VR to its full potential. To make good on the promise of the “reality” part of “virtual reality,” there must be more than powerful visual and audio; we must be able to anchor ourselves in the virtual experiences. For it to feel real, we must be able to touch it.
  • Fragmentation of VR platforms has led to slow adoption. While there has been some collaboration, there is still evolution that needs to happen between design tools and platforms to lead to faster development of content at scale, including haptics. (We’re aware of this too; to help overcome this obstacle, Immersion is creating design tools that will help content creators “design once, play everywhere,” even for the sense of touch.)

Immersion is excited to keep exploring ways to bring VR to the consumer in more meaningful ways. Stay tuned for industry updates and what’s on the horizon!