What is Mixed Reality
How people interact with brands has changed. They seek information on their own terms. They have expectations above and beyond what was traditionally expected of advertising. Mixed reality offers experiences to these new consumers who are used to instant information and social sharing. Currently the two most popular forms of mixed reality are augmented reality and virtual reality. Both of these are continually evolving with technology and are well established in delivering behaviour changing experiences.
Augmented reality filters (AR) take our everyday environment and layers it with digitally generated content. Augmented reality filters have many uses, the most popular in recent times being Instagram filters. But the technology has far more uses than adding puppy-dog ears to your social posts.
For example, take the augmented reality Android training manual we created for Google. The interactive training manual used augmented reality to teach staff some of the more complex connection features. Because the manual was supplemented with augmented reality, staff could digest the complex material via engaging animations – something that may have been very dry if delivered solely in print.
Another great example from IKEA allows users to select a Christmas tree from the existing range and place it anywhere the user likes.
Functionality Through Augmented Reality
Like all communications, finding the right medium that delivers your message is often hard to identify. Augmented reality filters can help consumers have a better experience with products before purchasing and has become a key customer conversion tool. We have brought everything from sneakers to entire buildings to life via AR, and in each of these cases, we delivered a much deeper and more engaging experience than would have been possible with traditional media.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Although we’re not at the “Ready Player One” level of VR yet, over the last few years we’ve seen the category explode in popularity. This is in part due to the Google Cardboard headsets which are inexpensive and are a perfect entry point for new viewers. Along with this we have Facebook and their development of Oculus headsets. Again these are relatively inexpensive in comparison to virtual reality setups a few years back and offer people a new way to explore different worlds via a social lens. As you might imagine, in a time of COVID and global lockdowns, the Oculus was a game changer for many.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, VR is a next natural step up from the internet. What we mean by this is, the web offers brands a way for customers to interact directly with brands via an interface. VR is no different, but it has the ability to connect on a much richer, tactile level. VR headsets and controllers simulate in the real world by allowing people to grab objects and walk around. This tactile experience allows shoppers to virtually “experience” products before they purchase them, which makes it an incredibly powerful tool with a considerably higher conversion rate.
The Future of Mixed Reality
As technically advanced as all this sounds, we are still only at the cusp of what mixed reality has to offer. Over the next year we are going to see huge advances as headsets and social integration are combined. As of Oct 2021 Facebook has rebranded itself as Meta with their new focus being Virtual worlds. As you can imagine, this is huge. At the same time headsets like the Varjo XR3 give us a glimpse into the hyper-real vision the future may hold.
Although not technically a mixed reality process, projection mapping has the potential to deliver similar other-worldly experiences. Projection mapping works by projecting graphics or animations on existing structures and tricking the viewer’s eye into seeing a combination of both realities at the same time. This effect is really powerful and when executed well, can bring the experience of mixed reality to an enormous scale. This is because, unlike VR and AR, viewers don’t need to wear headsets or view anything through a camera. Projection mapping can be viewed by thousands of people at a time and with the integration of web-based apps like Remotey©, the experience can also be interactive.