Top 5 New AR/VR Experiences For Brands
By Jack Maddalena
What’s the difference between AR & VR?
AR is a technology that super-imposes a virtual image/layer onto the users’ real-world view. By using the existing environment and overlaying virtual layers on-top, an experience becomes much more immersive.
VR is a fully artificial/virtual experience with an interactive 3D image or environment. Users require a VR headset and can use additional controllers (with sensors) or even Haptic Gloves – HaptX gloves simulate realistic touch, force feedback, and precise motion tracking.
Facebook’s AR Ad Platform.
Facebook took a leap of faith with Augmented Reality (AR), announcing at its 2018 F8 conference the release of AR adverts in Facebook users’ news feeds. The incredible variety of paths this platform unlocks looks to take the marketing-world by storm. Brands will now have a platform accessed by 2.234 billion users.
A perfect example could be an AR camera filter within the ad, allowing users to ‘try on’ the products. Nike had already proved the success of Facebook’s features, with their limited-edition Kyrie 4 Sneaker selling out in under an hour via Facebook’s Messenger app.
The AR Creator Studio has too recently been publicly released – enabling mass accessibility and efficiency. Since 1/3 customers find Facebook videos to be the best medium, it’s no surprise that this platform will be successful.
Six Degrees of Freedom on Standalone Devices
What’s 6DoF you ask?
It’s the freedom to move up/down, left/right, and forward/backwards.
This is often referred to as a rotation around three axes: pitch, yaw, and roll.
The biggest challenge with using VR headsets, is the lack of mobility-freedom.Plugging the headsets into a computer creates a restriction on users’ mobility within the experience. Most VR experiences have been confined to small room spaces due to the requirement of tracking cameras.
Thus, the solution was to either create 6DoF for mobile phones or remove the wires from headsets.
Standalone headsets like HTC’s ‘Vive Focus’ are ready to take the VR market by storm. High resolution 3K screens, water-repellent padding, a vast content library, and of course, NO wires. The headsets’ multiple cameras track the real-world in real-time for maximum immersion within the experiences.HTC’s main competitor here is Lenovo’s ‘Mirage Solo’. Designed for ergonomic comfort, the Mirage Solo allows users to be immersed for long periods of time, with a 2.5-hour battery life and a 110-degree line of sight. Users can even create and share their own immersive VR experiences – with the Mirage Camera.
The team over at VRCraftworks have worked hard to produce a mobile accessible 6DOF software. This enables the mass audience to view a product before they see it for themselves or even before it’s made!
By giving users the ability to move around the experience and inspect out/inside the product(s), there’s no longer a need for show-rooms. The only requirement: A mobile phone.
Easily accessible, users can just ‘pick up and play’, opposed to needing an expensive VR Headset. This also opens more doors for Brands, as events like Brand Launches will not only be more memorable and effective, but cost, time, and space convenient.
Leap-frogging the market, their software allows mass accessibility to the 1.2 billion mobile phone audience, this tech truly has endless possibilities.
AR/VR isn’t limited to mobile phones/headsets, with Lightform, an AR enabled projector.
The 4K camera simultaneously scans and captures the surrounding environment, with automatic calibrations and wireless data transfers.Projected AR is quite remarkable, for example users could redecorate their rooms with AR projected all-around. The most astonishing feature, is its projection distance, rumored to project from 3m to infinity!
Brands can look to apply this eye-catching technology in many ways, from 3D realistic visual mapping for architecture and other designs, to homeowner-apps for ‘re-decorating’, this piece of tech could project brands into a new world.
Holograms – HoloPortal
The next piece to the puzzle comes with HoloPortal by DoubleMe. By capturing real-world motions of people or pets in real-time, at multiple camera angles, a highly accurate 3D Holographic model is created.
This essentially gets as close to a face-to-face discussion, without having to step out of your room. Holograms are finally here!
This has the potential to revolutionise video calling, most beneficial for corporate conference calls. Over at the FuseBox in Brighton, they’re lucky enough to have access to 1/3 HoloPortal’s in the UK.
The kit was first launched in Ravensbourne at the end of 2016. Brands could use this to provide the ultimate business meeting, or even use it to produce holographic visualizations of their products – creating a new experience all together!
‘Just a Line’ is Google’s experimental example of this technology, a simple noughts and crosses game – but in a shared, AR space.
AR is much more accessible than VR for the mass audiences, and so companies like Google and Apple have released multi-user functionalities in their AR kits.
This opens many doors for Brands, as now not only can they create an interactive, multi-user application to promote their Brand, but could look to explore gamification opportunities. These apps could also be used for designing or selling purposes for brands, in addition to an interactive game.
At Google’s I/O 2018 conference saw the release of ‘Cloud Anchors’ in their ARCore. This will let developers create multi-user apps where devices share a synchronized augmented environment. ‘Cloud Anchors’ supports Android & IOS.
Apple’s ARKit 2.0 too has multi-user capabilities, with improved face tracking, 3D object detection, and realistic rending. This kit is designed to enable multi-user by working phone-to-phone rather than sending and then sharing the data sent to the cloud. This gives us a little taste of what’s to come with Apple’s AR headset – coming as soon as 2020.
Apple have also teamed up with Pixar to create a new AR format called USDZ, enabling the experiences to be shared and used in Safari, Mail, or any other part of Apple’s ecosystem.
Mapbox is a perfect example of a multi-user application without gamification.
Built with live location tracking data, turn by turn navigation is now accessible in the Augmented Reality world.
“It could eventually be that you put in contact lenses and you don’t need to look at a phone anymore. We’re really right at the beginning of the big bang with AR and understanding just how it can make everyday life better for people”
— MICHAEL VALDSGAARD, IKEA’S DIGITAL LEAD.
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