Thomas Hintzen, Communications Manager, Venista Ventures, recently went to the Websummit 2015 in Dublin. He saw that virtual reality is becoming reality so he shares some thoughts on new possibilities
“It’s been a while since Edwin Link invented a machine called ‘Blue Box’ creating somehow the first experience of a virtual reality for soldier trainings during World War 2. At almost the same time his namesake Edwin Land came up with the first polarizing technology, inventing goggles that made it possible to see an image consisting of two different polarized images and matching them through his filter technique. You might ask yourself why I start my article on this year’s Websummit in Dublin, which I recently had the chance to attend, with such a sophisticated look into science history.
The reason is that, finally, after more than 80 years of development and endless articles throughout all the decades on this particular subject, virtual reality is now a REAL thing. Virtual reality is coming to customer’s homes and the most important thing in my view is: mobile is the driving force.
Even though everyone has heard of virtual reality and has seen some over-engineered documentaries about the potential of it, only a few people tend to know that virtual reality is already available for all of us. It was the talk of the town during the Websummit conference and dominated panels touching on different subjects like sports, content or marketing. As Miles Perkins, VP Marketing Communications of Jaunt, which is one of the players driving virtual reality, pointed out during his speech, virtual reality will have no problem getting its users because distribution will come via mobile phones. What he means is that several manufacturers have built their sets around smartphones and therefore the barriers of entry to virtual reality seem to be very low for all of us. But what is virtual reality exactly? What is the benefit of Google’s cardboard or other new products?
Using these new gadgets you’ll be able to enjoy cinematic experiences even more. You can sit at home watching a U2 concert with your goggles getting the full concert experience as if you were standing in the front row eye to eye with Bono. During another winning presentation Mary Spio, CEO and founder of Next Galaxy and Akim Millington, Head of VR Sports & Entertainment of Next Galaxy, showed some cases in which virtual reality can improve the experience of live sports events. Former NFL lineman Millington pointed out that quarterbacks could even use their product to train specific situations and see play calls over and over again. Okay, that won’t have an impact on the television viewers, but wouldn’t it be cool to see Tom Brady wearing some futuristic glasses on the sideline during his next Superbowl?
Aside from potential uses for the players of various sports, the new technology will surely make it way more entertaining to watch games at home. That leads to another interesting aspect. Whereas we will probably only use virtual reality for distraction and entertainment purposes, the VR technologies even offer an interesting new channel for marketers.
Imagine you are watching a UEFA Champions League game of your favorite team from your couch. You’ll feel like being in the stadium, gathering the beautiful atmosphere and at some point you might start cheering with the other fans in your fan section. That is where advertisers could capitalize on your experience. A beer company might pop up one of the perimeter ads right into your eye to enhance your desire for a cold beer. But also the teams themselves could feature some ads for their new jersey or any other merchandising item.
One last use case that I, the media-addicted person that I am, like specifically among all these new possibilities is the new forms of journalism which are enabled by virtual reality. The New York Times has recently shipped Google cardboards to all of its print subscribers. At the same time the famous newspaper will roll out its first virtual reality app which already contains two virtual reality video stories. One which will enable the recipient to walk through New York City as well as a 11-minute documentary about refugee children from Ukraine, Lebanon, and South Sudan which is backed by the United Nations.
You see that virtual reality opens up some interesting possibilities for the mobile industry which is why I had such a great time in Dublin; and we’re all sure to have fun in the future trying out different things with virtual reality. I think even the two Edwins would love to see what has become of their groundbreaking ideas. Now we have to wait if virtual reality will achieve its breakthrough. I will ask the aforementioned guys next year in Lisbon during Websummit 2016.”
Communications Manager, Venista Ventures
Thomas Hintzen holds the position of Communications Manager at Venista Ventures. Already during his time while working for one of the main mobile operators in Germany, Hintzen gathered experience in the field of SMS communication. Hintzen, a media management graduate, joined Venista right after his graduation in the summer of 2013.