21 Apr 2017

The phenomenal growth of Virtual Reality in the last two years has seen an increasing succession of iterations in the events world, from on-stand gamification to virtual venue tours and product reveals, but despite its rising popularity there is still a lot of confusion about what virtual reality (VR) actually is – particularly when compared to augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). We’re here to help enlighten you as to what’s what and which you should use when!

AR and VR are often mistakenly used interchangeably but there are distinct differences.  Virtual Reality enables users to see and “move” through a virtual environment, it’s a completely immersive experience which shuts out external stimuli through the headset.

Augmented Reality on the other hand, enables users to still view the real world around them, with an added layer of information or interaction digitally overlaid – it’s generally achieved without a headset, with mobiles and tablets often being used – and has generated some fun viral marketing campaigns as brands have enabled their customers to unlock interactive content on their devices.

The success of the AR game, Pokemon Go, has also really naturalised the interaction between real and virtual worlds, making it acceptable for brands to make their digital worlds a part of and an extension of real-world, and paving the way for Mixed Reality or hybrid reality as it is also sometimes called, to take things to the next level.

The key strength of VR – its ability to totally immerse a user in a world – can also be its biggest drawback. Brands sometimes lament the extent to which the device intended to engage their customers also has the potential to inherently isolate the customer from them.

Mixed Reality offers an opportunity to redress this – merging the real and virtual enables the brand to become a part of the user’s experience rather than a redundant bystander. Instead of a virtual venue tour, MR facilitates a guided virtual venue tour, instead of showcasing a completely simulated version of a product, MR enables the real-life product to be displayed with additional data or animation overlaid, providing a deep-dive behind the circuitry to explain the inner workings for example.

Combined with the use of story-telling, which brands are getting increasingly effective at, this is an exciting development with a wealth of opportunities to wow audiences with stunning content, whilst also guiding and educating them to ensure key messages are conveyed.

Hopefully, we’ve made the differences between VR, AR and MR clear – but we’ve barely scratched the surface of the opportunities they present in the events industry. Next week, we’ll share our thoughts on future developments in virtual environments and give an insight into some of the projects we’ve worked on, and what VR, AR and MR are being used for in the world of events.

To learn more about how DBpixelhouse are using VR in the events world, and other creative ways with event tech click HERE

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