Brands may have different business methods, but all of them have a fundamental common goal: to engage with their audiences effectively. Internet and digitalization have opened immense opportunities for brand communication.

In recent times, while considering web design and new marketing and media strategies, one tends to come across phrases such as ‘immersive experience’ and ‘augmented reality’ (AR). Immersion is a term often interchangeably used for virtual reality (VR) these days. Immersive experiences inadvertently offer the ‘wow factor’ necessary to catch a consumer’s eye.

As machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) become more sophisticated, so will immersive experiences. The devices that deliver those experiences will inevitably get smaller, with a higher image resolution, faster data handling, and inbuilt AI.

BUSINESS BENEFITS

Companies are anticipating remarkable business benefits from immersive digital experiences in areas like maintenance, logistics, field service, and medicine. VR and AR promise to accelerate, simplify, and extend existing business processes while creating new ones that weren’t previously possible.

For $8 anyone can buy a pair of Google Cardboard VR goggles to explore 360-degree visual environments on a smartphone, but that’s just the beginning. The British Army uses a 360-de¬gree VR video for recruiting; Lowe’s has its VR Holoroom where customers can build a mockup of their kitchens and bathrooms with new cabinets and appliances.

EXPANDING REALMS OF POSSIBILITIES

VR and AR hardware has exploded onto the scene so quickly that the realms of possibilities seem to be expanding by the day. The speed at which these technologies are evolving is a good reason to get excited about the possible ways they could be used, from design and maintenance to customer service.

BUILDING A CONVINCING DIGITAL WORLD

With the available technology at present, a 100 percent immersive experience that’s indistinguishable from real life is impossible.

To make technology truly immersive, we need to align it with the physical world. That’s going to require more sensors to make more objects interactive, technology infrastructure powerful enough to create convincingly realistic 3D models and screens, glasses, and other interfaces smart enough to not just show data, but interpret it and allow us to interact with it.

INCREASINGLY COMMONPLACE TECHNOLOGY

Potential use cases for immersive digital experiences will include both the highly specialized and the mass market. At the consumer level, we’re likely to see easy-to-handle devices that add data overlays and immersive input to all kinds of experiences, from shopping and education to gaming and movies.

Those could, in turn, give rise to open source platforms that make it easy for the public to create, crowdsource, and share their own VR and AR experiences. Immersive digital technology is increasingly going to become commonplace, even if one argues that there’s no substitute for the authenticity of the physical world. It will change our entire sense of what’s real, what’s relevant and what we can tangibly affect.

GET IMMERSED IN EDUCATION

How we work, learn, play and connect with each other is redefined almost every decade, and much of it has to do with the advent of new computing platforms: first with personal computers, then smartphones and now with immersive technologies.

Immersive technology, the world’s next big computing platform, has the potential to revolutionize the education sector. Immersive technology does things modern computers can’t and completely redefines our relationship with information, much like the revolutionary platforms that preceded it.

Today we have a variety of VR applications focused on productivity, art, data visualization and much more. The Microsoft HoloLens is a great example of this. Not only can it create holograms that look and feel real, the HoloLens understands your environment – it knows where your furniture is, your walls, and everything else, and uses that information to seamlessly blend digital and physical worlds into your perception of reality.

Immersive content is not bound by the laws of physics, meaning that creators can orchestrate ‘impossible experiences’ at relatively low costs, be it taking the viewer to the moon, to a beach in California, or some castle 500 years in the past. For education, this could be everything.

Biology, for instance, is usually taught through textbooks, slides, and drawings. But some startups, like The Body VR, are taking an immersive approach to education, letting you travel the human body in person and actively interact with it instead of just looking through images in a book.

Other examples include MyLab, a mixed-reality chemistry app that gives students a holographic periodic table they can use to spawn and combine elements on the go, and Universe Sandbox, which allows you to navigate the universe as you visit physically accurate star systems and also create your own.

The kind of data you can collect from immersive experiences is the stuff of dreams for personalizing education like never before.