2016 was the year when people truly stood up and took notice of Augmented Reality (AR). This was largely thanks to the global gaming phenomenon that was Pokemon Go. The AR game captured the imagination of millions of people around the world as smartphone users took to the streets to try to ‘Catch ‘Em All’. AR had suddenly jumped into consumers’ pockets – and they were loving it.
The annual ARVR Innovate Conference is one of the longest running conferences on this exciting area of tech in Europe. This May, hundreds of industry experts gathered in Dublin to discuss the present and future of Augmented Reality and we went along to bring you a debrief from the conference.
Storytelling through VR
The event was jam-packed with a host of exciting speakers, and one of the highlights was a talk by Natalie Whittle from the Financial Times. She took to the stage for a fascinating presentation on how the publication utilised VR to explore new forms of storytelling in their award-winning ‘Hidden Cities’ series.
The quirky project, created in partnership with Google, used VR to show hidden aspects of cities like Rio and Dublin with great success. Explaining why they had decided to explore VR as a storytelling format, Whittle said: ‘There is value in showing our audience we can tell stories in different ways…VR keeps storytelling fresh for our readers.’ She noted the project was logistically complex and required plenty of planning time. ‘With VR, we have to be a lot tighter and be confident things are going to stitch together well before editing.’
Game Changing Tech
Keith Jordan, CEO of AR company iTagged, gave a compelling case for AR as the next big game-changer, noting: ‘Augmented reality is going to change everything. Being able to bring digital content into the real world is a compelling scenario.’
Rumors are rife that Apple are planning on unveiling a pair of smart glasses very soon and Jordan predicted this area is going to be huge as we move from a heads down world – where we spend our time looking down at our phones and devices – to a heads up world viewed through smart glasses and objects. He showed the attendees some exciting, futuristic examples of AR that already exists, like cars with augmented windscreens and downloadable virtual toys that are capable of interacting with the environment.
On the Cutting Edge
There is a thriving AR and VR scene in Ireland, making it well placed to become a development hub for this emerging technology in Europe. If you’re interested in finding out more and meeting likeminded people, why not check out the next Irish VR meet-up.