I recently read an article in Campaign Magazine that was titled: 'I’m sure Shakespeare would have loved 360-degree video'. The article gave an insight into the growth and significance of immersive video, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in brand marketing.
So, what are immersive experiences such as VR and AR and how are they different?
Virtual reality (VR) is the creation of an artificial digitally simulated environment. It places the individual within the environment and often gives them the ability to interact with their virtual surroundings.
Augmented reality (AR) uses the real-world as its canvas on which to overlap virtual information and objects to produce a new rendering of an environment where real physical objects co-exist with digital objects.
VR and AR Usage
There are currently a number of ways that people can have an immersive experience, either:
on their PC,
video game console or
Users can either use their screen, or use a headset.
For the casual user of immersive technology the best VR headsets of 2017 according to PCMag.com include the Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream View, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and the Sony PlayStation VR. An inexpensive option - Google Cardboard - is also sufficient.
How AR and VR can enhance a customer journey
The Campaign article made me consider how the application of VR and AR technology could increasingly enhance the overall customer journey and experience, as well as influence the purchase of a ticket for an event.
In a recent article in The Stadium Business, B.J Vander Linden (CIO) at Larry H Miller Sports and Entertainment predicted that immersive technology - including augmented reality - will be commonplace in sports arenas within the next 20 years. A good example of this is Fox Sports activities in Australia, where they used augmented reality graphics within the stadium NRL 2016 with Viz Digital Studio and Spidercam.
I suggest that the emerging VR and AR technologies will become increasingly commonplace within the sports and live entertainment industry quicker if there was a common and scalable connected platform, or strategy, by marketing agencies for venues and event organisers to deploy, monetise and increase the customer experience.
Going forwards, an events success will in part be linked to how memorable experiences are including the integration of immersive technology when shared on social media.
Theatrical events, live music or sporting events are now looking at how this opportunity to provide captivating immersive experiences using VR, AR or a disrupting combination of the two fits with how their brand already communicates, the appropriateness of their content and the needs of their audience.
AR and VR in the future
Before exploring more sophisticated uses of AR and VR, there is an opportunity to integrate this technology into the venue map.
Many consumers purchased a ticket after looking at the availability and prices shown by a venue map, so they can decide where to sit and enjoy the performance.
As a consumer, what if they could experience a performance snippet from their desired seat before they buy? Will their view be obscured? Can they see the performers?
A venue map is a graphical interface that enables event organisers to create a detailed plan of their venue. Ticket buyers can use it to interactively and easily determine which tickets have been sold and which tickets are still available for purchase for an event.
An immersive experience rather than providing a 2-D image of the view from a seat could influence a ticket sale.
So what else is possible? Part II - coming soon!