In the past few weeks, VR technology and 360 videos made a huge splash in the world of brands. Apple and U2 kickstarted the Vrse app during the band’s tour also including several other experiences like films and documentaries.
Facebook now incorporates 360 videos that work seamlessly with or without a third party tool (VR goggles or Google Cardboard for instance) using mobile phones’ gyroscopes; Google’s Youtube is releasing its entire video library (!) with the 360 functionality, opening the Pandora box for future content.
Media and entertainment colossus WWE announced they were going to start to roll out their VR experiences; and finally, the New York Times launched its VR app that will undoubtedly change the way news and information is consumed.
And it was exactly with the NYTVR app that I’ve had an interesting debate with my colleagues at VML: always trying to think ahead of the curve, we’ve started to come up with ideas and trying to predict future behaviours from people all around the world. The potential for someone to be fully immersed in other places, even in the other side of the world, is now far greater than ever before.
In recent months, the rise of livestream services like Meerkat, Periscope and Facebook’s livestream (for some key influencers for now) brought the power of “LIVE” to our phones with a touch of a button. Now imagine that you want to jump into a public demonstration, a riot, a concert, or into the middle of the action of any sports event.
VR/360 videos combined with realtime immersion allows us to do that right now.
Forget VR as we knew it, imbued with futuristic 3D cheesy 80’s dream-like universes, very Tron-esque. The only thing that is being left behind right now, not living the moment, is our body. And we’re only talking about a matter of few years until we actually start feeling what’s happening somewhere else, due to nanotechnology and inserted wearables into our living selves.
Now, what’s really interesting for the present day and upcoming months for brands is how these will utilise all of these new and exciting features. Most brands struggle to find their tone of voice and ownership related to certain cultural or even own events. Relevancy to the brand (and thus, to their ‘fans’) is something that quite often isn’t achieved due to a lack of strategy or creative angle that can bring added value to both ends. But now, people can be transported directly into a brand’s perspective or point of view about any specific topic or moment. It’s deeper than a simple broadcasted message or comms piece.
People will be one with their favourite brands, have an unique experience through them and brands will be able to own events, moments and/or subjects like never before. And that’s what VR is capable of doing. Not just create parallel universes, as there’s still a lot to discover in our own reality.
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