#SMWLDN: Waiting for AR to become boring

(It’s a good thing, we promise.)
As part of Social Media Week London, Text100 chaired Beating the Hype Machine: A Useful Guide to Mixed Reality, a discussion featuring representatives from Google, Wareable and Tata Communications

(It’s a good thing, we promise.)
As part of Social Media Week London, Text100 chaired Beating the Hype Machine: A Useful Guide to Mixed Reality, a discussion featuring representatives from Google, Wareable and Tata Communications

As part of Social Media Week London, Text100 VP of Creative Technology, James Holland chaired Beating the Hype Machine: A Useful Guide to Mixed Reality on BFI Stage 1

Not just virtual

David Blanar, a Brand Partnership specialist at Google, talked about using people, places and things to build up layers of context around Mixed Reality scenes, so that the technology creates a seamless transition for the user from real life to a virtual world.

He also warned against attempting to shoehorn VR and AR into any story, instead advising that mixed reality be used to bring a moment to life, rather than trying to drive a user down a linear narrative path. As an example, he showed a video of an Augmented Reality app that brought exhibits at a tank museum to life, offering cut-away and exploded animations to show inner workings in ways that couldn’t easily or safely be replicated in real life.

Not just visual

When we think of Augmented Reality, we imagine an overlay of the virtual onto what we see around us, says Sophie Charara, Features Editor at Wareable. Who blew our minds a little when she showed us examples of Augmented Reality that didn’t involve visual elements at all.

One stand-out example was an earpiece that offers voice assistance based on all the usual factors of location, calendar, voice queues, etc. but with the added context of body movements, such as nods, and taps. This level of context means voice assistants have a deeper level of intelligence and usefulness; imagine Siri sensing that you’re rushing from your movements alone, and offering relevant information without a vocal prompt.

In a slightly wackier take, she also showed us yoga pants that employ haptic feedback to buzz parts of the wearer’s body if they slip out of the correct positions.

Not just advertising

Amit Sharma, Associate VP at Tata Communications showed us how Mixed Reality can be a potent tool when it comes to telling the hidden stories of Tech. Using lots of headsets, he showed over 8,000 people in his company how their work contributes toward exciting outcomes, such as enabling F1 champion Lewis Hamilton to communicate effectively with his entire racing team to ensure he’s racing at optimal efficiency, maximising his chances to win.

Amit also called for the whole tech industry to begin working together on common standards and access to Augmented Reality technology, rather than siloed developers attempting to answer the same questions on a device-by-device basis.

Not just exciting

James Holland, Managing Consultant and Head of Creative Technology for Text100 ended the discussion on an upbeat note; He heralded the era of AR becoming boring as a good thing;. As the technology in our pocket improves, he said, AR will become just another tool in everyday use. A Mixed Reality IKEA catalogue that places items directly into your home, for example, or an AR measuring tape app, already accurate to 2mm; it’s clear to him that boring is the best possible future for AR.

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