This May, FRWD was handed a dose of reality, well, Augmented and Virtual Reality that is. Thanks to MIMA for hosting a wonderful event with speakers Zach Wendt (VR guru and president of MN VR and HCL) and Todd VanNurden (Microsoft Tech. Center Chief Architect).
The evening was a great medley of showcasing real life use cases for the latest buzz in emergent technology; Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality. First — let’s level set here. It can be confusing from a consumer standpoint to differentiate what AR & VR are, so here are some upfront definitions.
Augmented Reality: Super-imposed images & overlays to real life. Could be a head mounted display, but most commonly is simply a smartphone overlaying imagery and data to what the camera sees.
Virtual Reality: Full immersion of a computer simulated environment. Always requires a head-mounted display.
One of the interesting key points discussed was exploring the intersection of the two: what if we blend the real world inputs of AR with the immersive experience of VR? Does this mixed arena become something else? The speakers made a point to highlight yes, there is — and showcased applications Microsoft and others are working on to address this curious middle-ground.
Examples started with tractor companies utilizing AR in their marketing campaigns to show off spiffy new inner mechanics and soon dove into the deeper realms of VR and live video-gaming. While being able to fully immerse in a separate world is unique and mind-blowing, an area to keep an watchful eye is the mixed arena of AR and VR.
Zach and Todd spoke about the space between AR/VR where the real and digital worlds are integrated. With devices such as the HoloLens, companies are able to create more utility within marketing and other business realms/needs. Need to fix a complex pipe in your home? Or perform an obscure procedure? The HoloLens can help guide the way to victory.
There is much to be discovered and uncovered about Augmented and Virtual Reality, but it has come quite a long ways. It has been influential through different pain treatment methods, such as a helpful distraction during harsh burn recovery, or the ability to recreate events for those suffering with PTSD so they can begin to overcome triggers in everyday life.
We will definitely see an increase in AR and VR within marketing efforts in the near future. Home Improvement stores have already begun in-store experiences to show ‘your future kitchen’ or the use of VR on roller coasters to add thrill and profitable years to an expensive machine.
Like most things, success often comes from working in a team, bouncing around ideas and working together. When AR and VR intertwine, it seems anything is possible.