Our latest Breakfast Club took us into the fascinating realm of Augmented and Virtual Reality. Awane Jones of 5th Wall surveyed the current landscape in terms of technology, distribution, and major players, and led us through some case studies. 

In sports and entertainment, we saw the possibilities for audience expansion through the sale of “front-row” VR experiences. A visit to the museum with an AR-enhanced iPad app gives viewers extra layers of information on demand. Online virtual tours for real estate, hotels, and resorts give a major boost in ROI for those offering them.

It’s tempting to think of AR/VR as gimmicky, but Awane pointed out the empathetic effect of being virtually placed in someone else’s shoes. He showed how the United Nations used VR to give donors the experience of being in a refugee camp, and subsequently far exceeding their expected donation projections.

Questions from our audience focused largely on the dollars and sense of wading into AR/VR projects. It is still a pretty expensive proposition at this stage, so if you are pitching these kinds of ventures to clients, you must identify the concrete benefits of the technology, not just the “gimmick” factor. But as each day goes by, the technology is getting more accessible on both the production and consumption side, and Awane pointed out that those who are curious can get their feet wet with a minimal investment in a consumer level 360 degree camera, sharing their experiments easily through Facebook.

We want to thank Awane for sharing his thoughts and expertise with us, and to those of you who dropped by to check it out. 

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