It was only when I had taken the Microsoft HoloLens off that I had appreciated what I had witnessed. For a few moments the digital displays on my Apple Watch, iPhone, Windows PC, even games consoles had been one and the same world. Graphics were no longer confined to screens, but a tangible real-world thing.
It felt so natural at the time, but the graphical human skeleton standing before me that Microsoft HoloLens had projected into my eyes felt real. It stood neatly on the floor, you could walk behind it, even stick your head inside to see different parts of the body. When I used the internet for the first time, I knew it was different, marking the next technological leap – the same emotions were with me when I took off that headset.
In the same week I saw the Virtual Reality (VR)/augmented reality power of Microsoft HoloLens at the Integrated Live show at the ExCeL London and then at Lansons’ GIANT healthcare event, held at the edgy start-up-esque venue The Coronet. The first time the headset was being used it showed how prototype cars could be engineered without physically having to build. At GIANT it was being used to train medical students about parts of the human body.
Just imagine, using augmented reality in healthcare could mean loading up a virtual human tragedy in front of 10 students to explore. Together they would witness the same simulation, knowing how to tend for different crash victims. Alternatively interior designers could load up the finished product of 3 months of work, before their work has even started. The possibilities are endless.
Whilst experimental digital marketing isn’t new, over the last 12 months the discipline has thrived thanks to the availability of VR and augmented reality. You can pre-order Microsoft HoloLens for £2,719 today, but prices will considerably crash over the next three years. It’s only a matter of time before this experimental technology becomes a mainstream consumer option.
The same applies for other technologies making our shopping lists. Virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana continue to become more intelligent, and Amazon’s Echo is bound to make shopping lists in the US and UK this Christmas. In addition, wearable technology such as fitness devices and smartwatches offer platforms for PR campaigns to target. A few years ago my mobile was just for simple games, texting and phone calls – today it knows my heartrate, GPS positioning, and even the number of stairs I’ve climbed.
The “diffusion of innovations” theory shows us the rate of how new ideas and technology spread. You can read more about the theory on Wikipedia. When the late majority adopt a piece of technology, such as smartphones in 2007/8, it’s easy to begin taking the technology for granted. Today the innovators are creating software for the early adopters to use on VR headsets.
As I write this, I can’t imagine taking VR or augmented reality for granted, but it will happen… fast. Will you offer it to your client first or will your client request it?