Experiential Advances: AR vs VR

20 Sep, 2023

Pushing the Immersive Experience – where are VR and AR taking us?

As a brand experience agency, our expertise lies in challenging perceptions and introducing new visions. As such, AR and VR have become essential tools in our event armory over the last 8 years, unlocking new capabilities, unique insights, and experiential moments.

Despite a relatively slow start, the global virtual and augmented reality market is now really accelerating, growing from $13.4 billion in 2018 to a predicted $142.4 billion this year.  One standout is the clear trend toward convergence of AR and VR, as we see more and more multifunctional devices come into play. Their impact is quite literally fundamental – with the technologies’ ability to reshape how we see the world with a blend of natural and synthetic vision, it can change our interactions with each other, as well as the private and public spaces we occupy and move around in.

AR and VR are also starting to move from being tools for the few to technologies for the many, as we see real advances in terms of integrated AR into wearable devices and mobile phones.  This year alone the number of individuals using AR on their phones is expected to reach 1.4 billion and as content creation is becoming more accessible thanks to the advent of new tools, QR codes, and building blocks, this number could increase.

Apple are the next technology giant to announce their advancement into the world of extended reality with their Apple Vision Pro Goggles. A soon-to-be widely available device that combines your phone or laptop’s digital content with your physical space, potentially succeeding where Google’s glasses seemingly failed back in 2013. The Google Glass was revolutionary for its time but the lack of market awareness and willingness to adopt to new realities ultimately made the glasses a flop – fast forward 10 years and Apple may have just got the timing for the release of these glasses just right.

For the events sector, our clients are putting an ever-greater emphasis on delivering deeply immersive experiences and engagement, and we are continuously researching new ways of translating this into event strategies and spaces. Interactive product demos, the ability to experience complex environments, or take a deep dive into a technology feature are key “must haves” on the corporate event strategy list.

For VR, there is a move towards multisensory experiences – building on what users can see with the addition of touch, smell, and even taste. The more realistic we can make the virtual world they are experiencing, the more immersive it becomes. SENSIKs pods have been a great advancement in this area, equipped with programmable actuators for heat, wind, airflow, tremble, light- and sound effects these pods are easily moveable and customisable to your requirements whether that be to simulate a flight experience or explore a new place.

Sensiks pod

*Sensiks pod

But perhaps the biggest potential game-changer we see entering the arena is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and in particular generative AI. One of the significant challenges with generating AR/VR content is the lack of 3D assets available for building content, and 3D modeling/animation has a very high price tag.  Generative AI could be a real game-changer and is already making its mark for 3D content generation.

Extended Realities, in no matter what form are enabling us to push the boundaries of what is possible and how we create deeply immersive experiences that set a brand apart. As the trends in virtual reality continue to grow, the boundary between the real and virtual worlds will become almost indistinguishable. The hyper-realistic experiences of today will likely mature into a standard feature, leading to a wholly immersive and interactive multi-reality future, particularly where events are concerned. What do you think the future holds?

Interested in how the Extended Realities could enhance your digital or physical event? Or would you like to know more about the brand environments we are currently creating for brands? Just drop us a line @ info@cookandassociates.co.uk