How XR Technologies Will Change the Way We Interact with Customers
While VR and AR have been around for a long time, the last three years have seen massive development and mass access to both technologies. When Inception was founded in 2016, we knew that we were on the cutting edge, the wild west, of immersive technologies. Seeing them grow and change over the last three years has shown us just how valuable they can be as storytelling tools. Today, Inception operates one of the most successful VR entertainment apps and is developing an array of AR and VR solutions.
Inception works closely with selected brands to create immersive storytelling experiences that engage their audiences. Whether the content is for a product launch, an announcement, an event or to create a ‘wow’ experience for potential customers, we work to carefully assess the needs and develop an experience using the right balance of VR and AR to help tell their stories. What is clear is that there is a spectrum that spans AR, VR and MR – for ease, we will refer to them collectively as XR – and that this spectrum provides an opportunity for so much more than immersive video games, but will impact every vertical from medicine to real estate, from entertainment to education.
2018 in particular has been an interesting year; as Jeremy Dalton of PwC says: “We’ve built a strong foundation this year and launched some great content. We’ve also learnt a lot about what works in VR, and this motivates us to produce better and richer content that will appeal to everyone.” Hardware is developing, with the current market comparable to the current generation of games consoles: PlayStation, Microsoft, Oculus and HTC are competing to lead in the living room, while the mobile headset market is being led by Samsung and Google. New standalone headsets have been released this year from Oculus and HTC, which have brought technology to a new level of experience and accessibility. Perhaps even more so, AR has exploded in 2018, with almost all mobile phones being AR-enabled. This gives AR a kick start, and enables massive reach in the lead up to the mass availability of AR headsets. Microsoft’s Hololens has already been released, and Magic Leap’s long awaited headset is due for release some time in 2018. Even as these headsets and others start to gain popularity, the reach that mobile AR provides will bring AR into a more mainstream content consumption position.
As we move forward, it’s clear that immersive technologies will change the way we create content – for both entertainment and advertising. With the emotional connection and immersive experience that VR and AR bring to the table, creators are starting to understand that these technologies, coupled with creative knowhow and storytelling expertise, are excellent ways to connect with audiences and customers. Virtual Reality has already begun to revolutionize the ways in which consumers experience entertainment content and the entertainment industry engages with its consumers. VR content is immersive by definition and is therefore more interactive and engaging than standard content. VR provides viewers with the freedom to explore different angles and perspectives within a specific entertainment experience, changing the way in which footage is recorded, produced, and experienced. We see an array of approaches to help companies reach their target audiences in an impactful way. We have generated branded placements in VR, VR commercials and AR campaigns for a wide array of companies such as Toyota, David Intercontinental, created event and virtual tours for Cisco, and completed additional projects for Universal Studios, HP, Just Eat, and more.
Our campaign for Cisco to bring a new spin to their annual event included VR elements to welcome attendees to the event and set the tone, AR elements allowing visitors to explore different Cisco offerings in a new immersive way, as well as an AR Camera Filter for Facebook which encouraged attendees to share photos of themselves across the social network. In our work with Grey Goose, we created a 360 experience that captured the spirit of an exclusive event they held at the Tel Aviv Museum called #FlyBeyond. This campaign proved to be very successful in the end, with 95% positive brand recall, 10x more reach than page population, and 8x more reach than other page videos. The piece was so successful that we have been commissioned to produce a second brand storytelling VR experience for the Grey Goose brand which will be released in the coming months. What’s important to understand is that the KPIs to measure these campaigns are different. In the short term these campaigns generate a buzz. It’s not about direct conversions and more about image, virality and PR. That said, we are already seeing campaigns starting to move from the innovation box to mainstream advertising and we believe 2018-19 will see this trend continue and grow.
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