Alternaterealities

With new headsets hitting the market everyday, it’s easy to get lost amongst the myriad of technologies and their purposes. For example, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive promise to transport you to other worlds, while headsets like the Microsoft Hololens, the forthcoming Magic Leap, and the all but defunct Google Glass promise to augment the world you already live in. Here, at NEXT/NOW we offer these next-generation devices to our clients in order to create mind-expanding brand experiences. But which is better and, really, what’s the difference anyway?

Consider the following a brief primer to get a better sense how these devices might serve you and your company:

For starters, the thing that all of these devices have in common are that they’re all fantastically cool. Seriously. You won’t pick up one of these and put it down disappointed. All of them will wow your customers and leave them talking about that earth-shattering experience they just had.

From there, the two devices split firmly into two camps.

The first, virtual reality, will transport users to a brand new world. Once the goggles are slid on, the space around is replaced with a digital environment or 360-degree video. Essentially the person is taken somewhere else entirely and can look around with perfect head tracking. Some, like the HTC Vive, even allow the user to interact using handsets that allow them to point, paint, pick up, and manipulate objects. We have used virtual reality activations to create gamified experiences that allow users to glide around beautiful mountain terrain for Glade’s “The Gift of Feeling” campaign, or to play a fun gesture based game inside a virtual GameStop to announce Cricket Wireless’s latest promotion. We have also used VR to take users on an award winning virtual tour through the year 2065 for Intel’s InsideOut campaign.

The other camp consists of both mixed reality and augmented reality. While both MR and AR are often used interchangeably, there is a key difference between them. Both involve the actual world around you as you see it, often through a clear lens or video capture, but the main difference is that augmented reality is often a digital overlay on the space. For example, the activation we did for the 49er’s placed fans in a video augmented with a digital overlay of the 49er cheerleaders and mascot, making them appear as if they were all cheering together. Mixed reality, on the other hand, is a digital overlay that interacts with the actual environment itself. Meaning, it maps the space so that the digital items react to existing walls, surfaces, and objects in the room, rather than floating through them like “ghosts”. Clients might choose either of these options if they wanted to enfold the users and their images into an activation or if they wanted to, say, introduce real-time information as customer interacted with a product… or even, if they wanted users to experience the look an experience of a virtual prototype before launch.

You can learn more about what else these devices can do for you and your customers by booking a tour of our showroom space located in Chicago’s West Loop. For more information and examples of our award winning activations explore our site at https://nextnowagency.com or write us at hi@nextnowagency.com.

Written by: Mark Matthews
Mark@nextnowagency.com