Echoes of Austin: It’s a Mixed Reality Future for Brands

Echoes of Austin: It’s a Mixed Reality Future for Brands

Total digitalisation and connectivity means a future of hyper-personalisation where brands will have to augment themselves and then communicate with a customer. One-to-one content marketing at scale.

SXSW gave me insight into some wacky and wonderful ways that the world uses AI but every great idea has great obstacles. We’re still a long shot away from AI being ingrained in our lives.

3D maps of the planet will enable a driverless car to understand its environment. Let’s say there’s an obstacle in the road whether it’s a person, car or tree, the car can understand if it was there yesterday. AI will enable the car to anticipate the obstacle’s next move – is it a child in the street, another vehicle? Once known, evasive action, or not, will kick in.

But a total transformation of our lives through mapping and machine learning will rely on infrastructure to change. For drones to become Amazon delivery bots to people who live in mid or high rises, landing pads outside windows or on balconies will be needed.

For brands such as hotel chains, it’s easy to visualise no reception and frictionless guest check-in or out based on AI or biometrics. But older buildings will need to be remodelled to fulfil the opportunities.

In everyday life, voice command bots will enrich our lives. Currently we worship at the altar of Alexa and Google Home. But why is it that we revert to the basics of asking “what time is it?” Because voice commands are easier than picking up a phone or even lifting one’s wrist.

Voice interfaces, like MR, are game-changing technologies. But one single technology will not dominate, we will default to whatever is easiest: could be voice, VR, laptop, WeChat, phone, email, maybe a good old fashioned letter.

Tech and innovation often starts in games – motion sensors in Wii, led to FitBit’s creation.  But it’s not all about entertainment. We already see VR advance medical science, for example those who are paralysed. A 12-month study saw patients get some motion back as synapses fired up when people visualised movements.  

At Washington University, burns victims are treated with VR because studies show that it is more effective than morphine. Separate studies look at fighting addictions, or treating depression with MR.

Large capital projects will benefit eg a ship build. The US Navy has operational VR in ship builds so the space can be walked through. The construction teams can remove virtual wall panels to check if pipes or wires line up.

So where will content creation go next? We have only scratched the surface and a huge leap forward is expected, particularly with a new generation of volumetric cameras that are only four or five years away. Experts say this tech is the holy grail of photo-realism and the computer graphics that allow for fully embodied, walk-around experiences.

The democratisation of this technology and MR natives will radically rethink our approach to content. MR will change people’s’ lives. There will be many ‘aha!’ moments when we suddenly realise a new solution to a real-world problem.  But let’s hope that won’t replace the need to be together as humans have done for a millennia.

Mark Terry-Lush
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