Immersive Technologies such as Mixed Reality (MR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are rapidly entering everyday life through the media and entertainment industries. Immersive experiences are becoming possible through the combined efforts of the tech industry, which is building consumer glasses and apps, and businesses that use these glasses and apps to enhance smart technologies already in place. Today, MR, AR and VR are often thought of as changing or warping what we see and how we experience what we see. However, MR, AR and VR should also be thought of as an additional layer of knowledge or advancement to human vision.
Companies are approaching Immersive Technologies in many very different ways.
Immersive Technologies have the ability to transform the media and entertainment industries by building more engaging ways for people to connect. Verizon Ventures portfolio company The VOID, for example, is developing a full-body immersive VR platform that allows users to walk freely, touch and smell the environment around them in order to virtually connect gamers with each other in new worlds. Taking a different approach, portfolio company 8i advances human communication by transforming videos from an array of cameras into a photorealistic 3D hologram of a human that can be viewed from any angle, on any device.
Many companies are now asking how they can use these Immersive Technologies to build better solutions to modern problems. In a recent Forbes article, “9 Powerful Real-World Applications Of Augmented Reality (AR) Today”, author Bernard Marr writes about the ways that developers are answering this question by disrupting industries using AR.
While MR, AR and VR are used in these cases to improve user experience and create a more interactive interface on apps, they also have the ability to assist in life-saving situations. Verizon Ventures portfolio company Edgybees, for example, uses streaming data to create a clear and collaborative 3D interface of the most complex operational environments, which provides public safety workers the mapping tools to act quickly and safely in natural disasters. Immersive Technologies are also being tested in the medical field in various ways, such as by helping medical students practice procedures, allowing doctors to see patients remotely, and providing surgeons non-visible information during surgery.
There is a misconception within the media that expanding Immersive Technologies will replace the need for human workers who perform portions of these tasks. However, MR, AR and VR are actually tools that can augment the human brain to help people perform their jobs better and more efficiently. Expanding the reach of what the human brain can accomplish in a shorter period of time has the potential to create whole new companies and industries--and jobs.
As MR, AR and VR implementations continue to expand, we may be approaching a future in which everything is viewed through a second lens of intelligence. This is not a hyper-technological society to be feared, but rather an opportunity for the media and tech worlds to focus in on improving human life holistically.