How AR, VR and MR Can Revolutionise Consumer Tech

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Yesterday, we were proud to be a part of Tech UK's series of panels and demonstrations around Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality and how together they are helping to shape consumer technology.

Our CEO, Max Doelle took part in a panel exploring the overall immersive ecosystem and how the enterprise and enterprise clients are ultimately leading the push in terms of exploration and adaptation of these revolutionary new technologies.

The panel was led by Ed Greig from Deloitte while the other panelist were Rebecca Gregory Clarke (VR Digital Catapult), Sue Daley (TechUK) and Jeremy Yates from Zappar.

To begin the discussion every participant made a statement about their viewpoint on the current immersive technology ecosystem. All panelists had a smiliar consensus of agreement with the need for a cloud infrastrutcure to connect devices and simplify the handling of immersive technologies a strong point of contention.

Notabale other mentions in this early forray into the ecosystem were the need for a general  fundamental increase in the consumer demand for immersive tech and the compatibility of soft and hardware between devices and different infrastructures.

Enterprise leading consumer tech adoption

Concerning the need for a VR/AR eco system Max referred to the challenge of technology adoption: people need to be able to try different use cases and be convinced about the potential of AR ,VR and MR. In order to become available (and affordable) for consumers, the technology would have to be adapted by businesses first as the story of 3D printing shows as one example.

He also highlighted the importance of the right training for users to reduce the general learning curve for immersive technology. Poor instructions in the first instance can lead to bad user experiences and cause doubt and even a dismissall of 'new' technologies.

We see this firsthand at Kazendi when users try out Microsoft HoloLens for the first time. Max commented that: 'When people try to make the basic hand gestures and fail they often take the device off and say it's broken.'

We do have a robust entry demo process to combat this but at the consumer level, and this is as true for VR as much as it is for MR and AR, there is little room for error when learning curves are concerned.

Discussing differences: AR, VR, MR

As the panel had the general focus of all immersive technologies one of the questions arose about AR, VR and MR and where they currently sit in the mindset of consumers.

While they are al known as 'immersive technologies' and can be programmed by the same development platform such as Unity3D, Unreal Engine etc. the target audience and sectors vary significantly. In spite of the varying differences between the platforms, all panellists agreed that a good consumer experience must be achieved in order to turn existing interest in in this sector into an actual consumer demand.

For further reading on the difference between AR, VR and MR we have created an informative blog series to assist consumer and enterprise users navigate the immersive ecosystem.

Moving forward for VR, AR and MR

The last question for the panel was what he or she would do to move the VR/AR eco system forward if money were no issue. This was an interesting question that stirred up lively debate amongst the panellists.

One of the ideas put forward was to grow people's knowledge about the technology by funding digital foundations. Another point mentioned about the need for fundamental implementation of AR and VR into people's everyday life such as China's AR Cafés and wider acceptance of new digital experiences.

All panellists would also like to see brands having a higher budget for innovation and immersive tech to pursue their digital strategies. We have seen this bear fruit for instance with our partner Segro's win at least year's Digital Impact awards showing that it is worthwhile for comapnies from an ROI point of view to explore the technologies available to them.

Giving his position on the point,  Max reiterated the importance of having people's first experience with the technology: he suggested providing experience centres for an all around experience to convince people of the great potential immersive technologies have in several sectors.

Enterprise leads the way for immersive technology

It was clear that a general consensus for the panel was that the enterprise has a big part to play in terms of wider adoption from the consumer point of view. Experiences such as our own HoloXO brand experience or Ralph Lauren's/New York Times Winter Olympics activation allow brands to create real value for consumers as well as brand equity and loyalty for themselves. That is not to mention the increased level of analytics and metrics that immersive experiences can garner for brands operating at the consumer level.

The rest of the day was filled with other panels looking at different aspects of AR and VR from a consumer point of view. We thank Tech UK again for inviting us to be a part of such an informative event.

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