How Mixed Reality Will Impact Brands

There has been a lot of chatter over the last few years about the potential of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AU), but the industry is still in its infancy. Combining the two was the next obvious step and it’s already happened as Mixed Reality (MR) is now a thing.

It’s expected to be worth $165 billion dollars by 2020 which is quite quick for an industry that’s just starting to evolve. But this fast-paced digital phenomenon is nothing new, so others need to be able to keep up.

But before getting into brands and MR, let’s look at the fundamental differences between the technologies.

VR, AR, and MR – What’s the Difference?

VR enables the user to be transposed. This means that it can provide the user with a feeling of being somewhere else via closed goggles or visors. It basically blocks out the surroundings and puts the user’s presence elsewhere.

AR places 2D and 3D digital content over the real physical world that you see around you. This enables users to unlock additional information that might be relevant to them. As a result, it turns the physical world around the user into digital media (like Pokémon Go).

At the moment, most of AR is generated by smartphones, tablets and integrated into mobile apps, but that’s changing rapidly. This phenomenon is basically MR as it’s another form of AR, but the real thing will be at a much higher level of complexity and more realistic than ever before.

As an AR and VR hybrid, MR is significantly more advanced than VR because it’s able to fuse together different types of technologies like advanced optics, next generation computing power, and sensors. As a result, all this technology in a single device will be able to provide the end user with the ability to overlay augmented holographic digital content in real time and space. This can make things look so realistic that it can blow your mind.

So how is this possible?

MR basically works by scanning your physical environment and building a 3D map of it to let the device know where exactly everything is located to place digital content into space in a realistic manner.

Further, it will also enable the user to interact with digital content by using gestures. This means that brands will have a massive opportunity to promote themselves in a new way.

Mixed Reality Marketing

Brands now have a serious opportunity to take advantage of MR to directly connect with their customers to interact, engage, and sell. Getting this process right will also have a massive impact on the bottom lines while making brand loyalty much harder to stabilize. 

Brands are already utilizing digital product packaging to tell stories and make an emotional connection with the target audience. This can now be taken to the next level by providing discounts on grocery carts or by offering exclusive 3D tutorials.

As core functions are based on acquiring a 3D understanding of the environment, brands now have an incredible opportunity to use great content to target and re-target their customers at different touch points.

The difference here, at least for the time being, will be the fact that a lot of this engagement will be sought after by the consumers. As a result, it will be pull-based via interactions with objects which will be valuable both to the customer and to the brand.

This will make it imperative to maintain high quality in advertising and messaging even in the face of fierce competition. As a result, it will be necessary for new filters and restrictions to be placed to protect consumers and their privacy.

Adblockers and a professional association with a set of rules to govern the new world of advertising will be important to avoid repeating what happened in the early 90s with the internet.

Here’s how brands can benefit from MR marketing:

Will there be Mass Adoption this Year?

The success of MR will depend on adoption rates, so the key driver here will be making these devices affordable to everyone. The Microsoft Hololens is the only premium device on the market priced around $3,000. But the device is not meant for a mainstream audience as it’s designed for enterprise and engineers. 

Magic Leap and Meta 2 might be more affordable, but we will have to wait and see. Further, with 5G Networks around the corner, the experiences won’t be slowed down or limited. Making compute function available on the cloud will also free up significant space and weight on the lens or headset.

So expect the clunky devices of today to give way for lighter MR glasses with spatial computing power. As such, brands need to get ready with their strategy because MR is about to blow up. And when it does, you want to be there to take advantage of the novelty and the opportunity before the competition gets out of control. 

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Featured image: creativeapplications.net

Andrew is our IT storyteller and copywriter. His current undertaking is big data analytics and CSS as well as digital design and branding. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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