It’s 2018. The new year has come, but we have no idea where this road is going to take us; which is exciting. Steadily, every year the past three, I’ve witnessed increased interest, engagement, activity and work in emerging tech experiments and products. May there be many more in the year to come.
The idea virtual reality is an isolating experience and thus won’t scale to the masses without a multi-user winning application, always puzzles me. There are plenty of challenges, yes. Indeed, it’s a tall order to ask someone to strap on an awkward chunk of plastic over their eyes. And if they do it, there’s gotta be a serious reward. Lots of brilliant people around the world are working on that part right now, as I write.
As for isolating. Yes and No. No matter what gadgets or technologies come to bear there are many things that humans like to do alone or better yet can really only do alone, like:
I could go on, but I won’t. You get the drift. Many centuries and many gadgets later, we are reading more books than ever. I bet nothing in the world, at least in my lifetime, is going to change that. Virtual reality will find a place as it’s singular purpose is realized. I’m beting on that too.
“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.
We know it’s Springtime when the LDV Capital Vision Summit hits a New York City stage.. Compelling, informative and oh, so cutting-edge. It’s the only conference I know focused solely on visual tech from lidar sensors, to computer visualization, augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning and so on. For two days we learned all about evolving visual technologies. The applications are increasingly broad from autonomous vehicles, demographic patterns, digital video networks, and medical uses, among others. Check out the full 2017 lineup.
I bring this up to say, seeing is believing.
From machine learning to artificial intelligence, many technologies are converging with visual innovations in new and exciting ways: portable MRIs, cars that break while you are driving as it “see” trouble ahead; mobile “television” networks and so much more. Yet, as new ideas become real, it’s hard to imagine – for those of us not in the lab working day and night- what these new tools and services are, how the work and why they matter. Seeing what the inventors and entrepreneurs are making real is powerful, and not all of us can make it to summits like LDV Vision. Yet as I learned, human beings process visuals 60,000x faster than text, visuals are incomparable in helping the rest of us understand how a particular innovation may be meaningful to us in what we do or the sector we work in.
Thanks to innovations in computer processing and high resolution video, inventors have the ability to relatively inexpensively make video content and it is appreciated.Here are two of my favorites this week:
CN2 Augmented Reality, the enterprise AR solution company. They provide amazing clarity in direction be it for Ikea furniture assembly or training for increasingly complicated equipment from printers to industrial machines.
There are few things more compelling than seeing something for yourself, in person. The next best thing is a cool video. I live for cool videos, especially good ones that show exactly how one might apply new technologies like #VR and #AR (sometimes the people-like robot videos are a bit overwhelming). And the internets does not disappoint. Every day, week, the videos are popping up like tulips in spring time. I do wish someone would aggregate them in one place. We have so much to learn about how to make content, that every example chips away at what might be possible. Thanks to all the creators who take the time to make the show-n-tells.
This is my very favorite this week: Faster Than LIght. A New Monthly Augmented Reality Comic from Image Comics. It’s a beautiful expression of the potential for #AR experiences. Enjoy.