Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are already on their way to change our reality as we move into a new era where people experience various types of media differently. Already, the technology shows that it has the potential to transform a number of industries in the way the Internet did it a few decades ago, thanks to its ability to provide a totally immersive experience.
The recent report on the global entertainment and media industry released by PwC supports the idea that VR and AR will be incredibly disruptive. According to the document, VR is one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry, increasing by more than 20 per cent annually.
The impressive growth shows the increasing interest of the industry to the use of VR to provide content to users in a new, innovative way. As portable mobile and home VR and AR devices become affordable, the technology can quickly go mainstream within a decade, and impact multimedia communications in a big way.
Here’s how the use of VR and AR will change the way how we experience various media types.
Until 2019, industries such as energy and resources had the highest adoption of VR and AR, but now everything is about to change. The long-awaited arrival of 5G is finally able to provide further stimulus for the expansion of VR and AR in the consumer space. In 2018, video games accounted for 53 percent of all VR spending, which is a good sign that people are increasingly interested in VR headsets (that are finally able to provide nice experience thanks to 5G).
VR is the most impactful in the case of video games, and there are two main areas in which it changes how people interact with them: development and playing.
First, it will lead to the discovery of new ways of developing video games thanks to its ability to provide an immersive experience for the developers. For example, adapting RPG or FPS games to a new interface where the player can move freely can be a challenge. Next, the adaptation of sports games might also be a bit difficult for developers because the player will have to make quick and dangerous moves, e.g. a ball kick in soccer, so they will need to think about ways to ensure safety.
Second, the way people experience video games will also change dramatically. The players will now be placed in a much more realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment that will definitely improve their experience.
Using VR and AR in this field makes a ton of sense as immersive experience can help students to learn the material in a more engaging way. When they see something on a tablet or through a headset, there’s no need for the educator to provide long and complicated explanations. Instead, the class can focus on the hands-on experience and discussion of the material with the educator.
By adding tons of contextually relevant information, VR can help students with understanding how to complete assignments; for example, visualizing ideas and concepts on a tablet or another device can help to start thinking through the writing process.
“My students love it when when I give them the chance to use gamified learning,” says Dana Ottote, an educator and editor at WriteScout. “All of them have smartphones, so I often ask them to download educational apps and use them to make learning more fun.”
While VR and AR hold a great promise for education, it presents one challenge for teachers: designing lessons around the use of technology. That’s why the following tools are often recommended:
- ClassVR. Here, you can download and read example lesson plans online
- TopEssayWriting. Assistance with writing lesson plans based on specific VR tools and apps
- ClassyEssay. Custom lesson templates for teaching with AR and VR and writing & brainstorming assistance
- Expeditions app. An app developed by Google for using VR and AR in the classroom.
Museums and Art Galleries
VR and AR are starting to play a huge part in building a modern museum experience today. The ability to the technology to provide immersive experiences perfectly meets the requirement to ensure an interactive adventure for people. For example, a museum can use VR to allow visitors to visit distant planets, venture to the depths of the ocean, and even inside the human body.
Decision-makers in the industry are starting to realize that employing technology is not as daunting as it may seem, so the adoption has been increasing. For example, VR headsets can place objects in context and help with understanding their true nature and scale, thus putting the visitor inside an experience. As for AR, a museum can use images turned to interactive three-dimensional animations (AR) to allow people to interact with them or explore them more with a special app.
One amazing example of the use of AR is the Kennedy Space Center’s Heroes and Legends exhibit. It features AR experience showing the second spacewalk in history where astronaut Gene Cernan’s spacesuit overheated and he struggled to return to the spacecraft. To help the visitors to understand the real struggle of the astronaut, the exhibit shows the spacecraft and the hologram of Cerman over it.
As AR becomes accessible, more museums will adopt VR/AR to deliver immersive experiences and change the way they present media to their visitors.
Experiencing news instead of just reading or watching it will become possible with immersive VR and AR. The technologies could improve that by adding video and audio to the static version of digital media, thus introducing whole new interactive formats.
The UN is one of the best examples of organizations delivering news in the form of the 360-degree report. For example, this short story depicting the journey of a family of Syrian refugees is a one-of-its-kind, truly immersive experience that brings the viewers into the story.
Large news companies have already adopted this format to deliver the news. CNN, for example, has a website section with VR reports from all over the world (and beyond, too – they have an amazing report from the surface of the moon in 360 degrees). ABC News also boasts a similar section with a bunch of immersive reports covering a wide range of events, tours, and historical sites.
One big challenge that museums and art organizations face is delivering the message by using the new, never-been-used medium. Cooperation with writers, technology experts, subject matter experts, and curators will be critical to making a successful display. But this should be a temporary challenge, because, for example, tools like Grammarly, BeGraded, and Studyker can be used for writing and proofreading scripts of all sorts.
Although news agencies are just building the capability and expertise to deliver stories in VR, the presence of immersive stories in major organizations like ABC and CNN suggests that the day when the technology will become mainstream in the industry is quickly approaching.
Media and VR/AR: a Disruption Ahead?
VR and AR are giving museums, video game developers, education institutions, and news agencies to reach people in new and exciting ways. The adoption of the technologies remains low, but, as the research says, they are growing really fast in the media and entertainment industries. As more and more organizations find ways to use VR/AR in their work, the rate of adoption should only accelerate in the future.
Angela Baker is an aspiring blogger who works as a freelance writer at PicktheWriter and editor at Subjecto. She writes about technology, education, and entrepreneurship, and is currently working on a detailed guide on content marketing for small businesses. Angela is looking to inspire people to live up to their potential as entrepreneurs, educators, and writers, and experiments with different types of content.