Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard about VR.
VR stands for Virtual Reality – a computer-generated stimulation of a three-dimensional image or environment.
It means experiencing things through our computers and mobiles that don't really exist in the physical world.
ARE 360° Videos also VR?
360° Videos are video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omn-idirectional camera. or a collection of cameras.
During playback of the video, the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama.
There is a confusion in terms. Sometimes you’ll hear about Virtual Reality (because of Facebook Oculus) or 360° videos (Google’s Cardboard).
In a Virtual Reality setting, the viewer leads. With 360°, it's the other way around – the viewer is experiencing a story happening around them, and not to them.
Google and Facebook
Google Cardboard democratised Virtual Reality — making it affordable for anyone, but it's far from a truly immersive experience.
In this year's global conference, Google started to close the gap with announcements of their Daydream headset improvements.
Facebook is also running the VR race, and recently announced a new platform ‘Facebook Spaces’, where users can hang out with their friends through VR using their Oculus Rift device.
Users can build and customise their appearance, hang out with friends and show them Facebook photos and videos.
Many companies are ‘experimenting’ with the concept, activating currently at special events with limited audiences, or building their 360° Videos and utilising websites, YouTube and Facebook.
Although it is taking a while for companies to grasp onto the concept, VR and 360° videos are becoming more popular and accessible.
This concept is particularly exciting for companies with high visual assets and appeal, think Real Estate, Automotive, Entertainment, Fashion and Travel industries, who can offer their clients ‘try before you buy’ VR technology.
While there’s no doubt that VR is going to play a role in how brands market and engage with their customers, it will take time for companies to learn how the technology can be of true value.
People’s tolerance for informal marketing is at an all-time low and they need to quickly feel that their engagement is being adequately rewarded — or they’ll remove the headset and go elsewhere.
As the technology becomes more widespread, agencies must help to guide clients on how to utilise VR in a way that aligns with their brand and helps them to achieve their business goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lucio Ribeiro, is a co-founder and lead strategist of Online Circle Digital where he works with Fortune 500 brands in developing their digital marketing strategies and execution. He is considered a thought leader on digital marketing; authoring articles in digital innovation and strategy, speaking at seminars and judging global awards.