AR/VR Signs in Social Media and PR

virtual reality

What does Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Mean to Social Media? Cathy Hackl Tells All.

And the future is here. Virtual Reality (VR),  Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR) – these aren’t science fiction objects, these are the up and coming technologies that will change your world. We sat down with a pioneer in the enhanced reality industry, Cathy Hackl.

Virtual Reality, Voice, and Vision

Cathy Hackl is not only at the forefront of AR and VR technology, she is an author and Emmy-nominated communicator. She has her finger on the pulse of the ever growing and changing industry. Cathy started as a journalist and transitioned to public relations and social media 10 years ago.

 

Getting involved with live video (and being one of the first people on periscope) introduced her to VR. She views virtual reality as “the next iteration of storytelling”.

We asked her to explain in simple, tech-illiterate language what exactly all these realities really are. We already have enough on our plates with one reality, much less four!

  • Virtual Reality: “Virtual Reality creates new worlds. It creates an immersive, new experience that takes you out of the world.” These are experiences like ‘Clouds over Syria’, a VR experience that allowed for users to experience a refugee camp in Syria.
  • Augmented Reality: “Augmented Reality adds to your world, it adds a layer of digital effect or visualization on top of the real world.” Cathy pointed out that a game like Pokémon Go is a great example of AR.
  • Mixed Reality: “Mixed Reality is when you add VR and AR elements to your world and you are able to interact with them because they map your space and you can interact by moving and the spatial mapping reacts to it.” Essentially Mixed Reality technology takes into account what is going on in the world and where you are – for example, “If Pokemon Go used MR then Pikachu wouldn’t appear inside a table; he would know the table was there, and either appear next to it or on top of it.” Mindblown.

How To Get Involved in Virtual Reality and Social Media

The technology is still in its infancy. But there are multiple ways that even a complete novice can get involved and start learning how to utilize VR and AR technology: 

  • Snapchat Lens Studio – Anyone can download Snapchat Lens Studio in order to create lens, filters, and 3D animations. You don’t even need to know how to code, very accessible.
  • Facebook AR Studio – This program is a little more complex than Snapchat Lens Studio, but still very accessible to new users. Facebook AR Studio has a partnership with Sketchpad to create 3D posts so that you can have a representation of what you are talking about – this application will eventually go into AR so that 3D posting can be mainstream.
  • Oculus Rift’s Quill –  Quill is a tool to create VR technology that works with Oculus Rift. It is touted as a bit more on the design/artistic side.
  • Amazon Sumerian – Anyone can get involved with Amazon Sumerian, similar to Snapchat Lens Studio and Facebook AR Studio, and use it to create AR/VR/3D content. However, it is a bit more complicated than the above, and therefore may be a little more challenging technically for a novice user.

Where Will We See VR/AR in The Workforce?

The short answer is everywhere.

  • Public Relations
  • Social Media
  • Gaming
  • Exhibition
  • Education
  • Design
  • Art
  • Scientific/Engineering Application

There are amazing opportunities to become an early expert in virtual reality. Right now is the time to get into VR. The industry is still forming but it will literally change the way that we interact with technology in every way; as Cathy puts it, VR/AR is “changing the future of content and the future of connection.”

The Business and Marketing Opportunities with Virtual Reality Are Endless

As the technology develops, anything we can do in real life will be replicable in VR/AR and eventually in MR, and by being digitally accessible it will mean you can do anything, with anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

There are already many interesting applications.

  • A Salvador Dali museum has digitized a tour that you can go on virtually, using VR to visit. 
  • NBC’s Left Field is using VR to bring relatively boring content to life. 
  • Lisa Buyer is hosting online yoga and meditation classes through SacredVR, a VR social media site that seeks to create spiritual communities through VR applications and technology.
  • AltSpaceVR is a social media community that enables users to don VR avatars and meet up, play games, or attend virtual events together no matter how far apart they are. 
  • Samsung has a VR headset platform that works with certain models of its mobile phones.
  • Google has a VR platform and multiple headset options. They are aiming at making the technology less expensive and more accessible.  
  • Snapchat is betting on AR, they consider themselves a camera company now. AR will be huge for cameras in the future.
  • Facebook has Oculus, one of the biggest players in VR, and they are also doing a lot of work in advertising spaces with AR.

There are billions of dollars already at work to bring these technologies first to life and then to you.

If the biggest tech companies including Amazon, Samsung, Google, Facebook, and Snapchat have already bought in, what are you waiting for?!

Photo credit: Cathy Hackl