I had the pleasure of chairing a panel at the annual ARVRinnovate conference. The brainchild of Alex Gibson, now in its 6th year and growing from strength to strength. With a lovely family feel to it. Like a reunion. It is on my calendar for next year.
Some light reading
AR and VR are fascinating. Here are a few blogs I wrote about the topic:
The business case
What I asked the panel to consider is what the business case is for AR and VR in the context of marketing and sales. I am unconvinced. The hardware is still too clunky and too hardware dependent, so the distribution of your message is still a big issue. One panellist, whose job it is to promote AR and VR in Northern Ireland, did not think the sector was feasible without the public sector seeding the sector.
I can see the overall massive potential. I can see the business cases for sports, training and gaming. Another panellist told the story of how VR helped quadruple the amounts of funds raised for a good cause. Because VR is very good at hitting people emotionally. Which should be a good thing for brands and marketers.
I asked the question of where this will be in 20 years, taking into account the exponential speed of technology developments in wearables, AI, neuroscience, IoT, computing power, 5G, etc.. Got some good interaction from the audience, but most were sceptical on how quick this would go. That always amazes me. Because I think we are very close to AR and VR going internal as an extension of our brains, eyes or glasses. Read this article about wireless contact lenses as an example. Once it goes internal all bets are off.
One panellist described the future world as an AR/VR platform (now known as the world of Dave), where everything can be augmented. That got me worried a bit. One of the last presentations was by Niall O’Driscoll, Co-Founder of vStream. A fantastic presentation about how VR can help with mental health issues, pain relief, behaviour (for example how to stop smoking). It also shows how powerful AR and VR are in the potential to manipulate.
In a world where currently platforms are a winner take all environment, that is something that should worry you. I referenced “The Four”:
The four is a book that everyone in AR and VR should read.
Because it is not only about the business cases, which are already there and will undoubtedly grow exponentially as the technology and possible applications develop, but it is also a big question of ethics. Humanity is at stake (if we are not already a big part of simulation). Maybe the sector should also take this book at heart: