It’s easy to understand why a person might be confused about what the heck is going on with emerging immersive technologies.
What does that even mean?
First, the emphasis is on technologIES as in there are many that are impacting one another. To keep it simple, I’ll stick with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This may not be a perfect metaphor, but I often liken the technologies of VR and AR to Microsoft Suite products (Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel). To be clear, VR is the use of computer generated imagery or 360 video that allows a user to feel “presence,” a sense of being there; immersed via a headset providing a 3 dimensional experience. AR is a digitally created image that is placed in the physical world, think a digital image of Donald Duck sitting next to you at lunch.
As for Microsoft, anyone from fashion designers to brain surgeons can use Powerpoint for any purpose and Excel has probably evolved in ways the inventors never thought about.
In a not to distant future, immersive technology will be just as ubiquitous. Can you guess by looking at the woman below, what exactly she experiencing? No.
By themselves, VR and AR, are agnostic to purpose. It’s only in the application does it bring meaning to the user. And there are tremendous uses that will affect ways we live and work from going to the doctor or selling sneakers.
As a storyteller in tech, I am constantly trying to help inventors, entrepreneurs and investors explain their vision clearly, increasing the odds their audiences will understand and relate. It can be incredibly challenging. How do we put words to something that has never existed before?
I was honored to work with some visionaries at a recent health care accelerated run by NYC Media Lab and Publicis Health. I was incredibly impressed by how quickly these teams-working on AR applications from optimizing physical therapy to engaging young women in preventative healthcare- were able to revise their initial attempts at articulating their vision and prototypes.
The most important effort each of the six teams made was to zone in on what their audience members might relate to as a human being, and as a professional. It can be as simple as a question: how many of you have had physical therapy? In a group of adults chances are most and right there the odds are more likely the listener will be interested in what comes next.
Obviously, there is much, much more to telling a story, but like all things sometimes sticking to one point is a worthy mission.