“Everyone is trying to decide the rules of VR and AR, because it’s a big mess. By Hugh Langley”
It’s tough for media makers. Technology is changing fast. I’ve sat in dozens of corporate offices the past few years listening to executives, in great frustration, try to figure out the future. The future products, team make up; right mix of skill sets who can build media products that- they desperately hope- will dazzle consumers and enterprise clients.
We have learned, the wizard that is technology casts inventions faster than corporations can respond, and there are far more questions than answers; basic questions like what is virtual reality, is 360 video really #VR, or mixed reality, what is that? What kind of content will cross over from enthusiastic gamers to the masses? Will it be news, entertainment, enterprise applications that drive demand? What are the ethical questions we know of and how do we prepare for the ones that will come up? Who should be in the room thinking about these questions? Developing products? Commercializing?
It’s enough to make anyone avoid topic, dismiss the immersive tech trends and concentrate on clicks through rates; though as the media giants know well, there are no easy answers there either.
This article by @HughLangley on Wearable.com, titled, “Everyone is trying to decide the rules of VR & AR, because it’s a big mess,” is dead on. Mess might be a strong word, given, it’s not intentional but merely a function of monstrous evolution of new technology. But he speaks well about the struggle, and attempts by many including, the IEEE, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and CTA, the Consumer Technological Association, to take the first step.
It boils down to the first step. And executives might think about that as they build teams or look at internal teams grappling with the future. New challenges, call for new thinking. Not new as in, radical, but new as the makeup of the people tackling the questions.
We know this. With each new evolution, from books to radio, to network television, to cable television. Two basic things have happened: 1. Someone had an idea, then it was eventually executed and 2. That new something drew a cross section of people who had little, if any direct experience because inherently no one could of since there was previously no product and no market.
The iconic Bill S. Paley, founder of the CBS network, as the story goes, started in the family cigar business and ended up in network television in a quest for advertising distribution. Or take, Geraldine Laybourne, who started as a teacher and went on to built Nickelodeon into what we know today and co-found Oxygen television, selling to NBC Universal.
There are endless examples for a simple point. Digital consumption is today, it is the future. Immersive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality are also the future, though we have little data to know for sure what it will look like in five, ten or twenty years. If history is any guide, the people who drive discernible change are unlikely to be the usual suspects.
We are at a point in time where keeping an open mind will in hindsight look like a brilliant strategy. That is to say, look at people who have successful track records in tech, or film or digital and then something else, perhaps in education or journalism or art, then keep looking, perhaps they are stage set designers or carpenters and so on who have a great interest in these emerging immersive technologies. The wider the aperture of each individual involved, the more profound the collective will be in seeing new possibilities.
I am betting a lot on this. The “unconventional” team will win and they will win big.