Up until this point we’ve only ever known screens that got smaller and that we got closer to, but also more immersive and personal, with ARKit and ARCore we see the next chapter in advertising. An entirely new experience that could change how we think about media and advertising.
The screens in our lives have followed a consistent accelerating journey, from the Cinema screen in the 1850’s to the TV set in the 1950’s to the desktop, laptop and then phone, we’ve got ever closer to ever smaller screens, screens that have become more personal, more immersive, more interactive and more intimate. If you ever doubt how these screens have changed, think about how happy you are for your TV to be repaired, but how worried you are unlocking your phone and passing to a stranger.
With remarkably few exceptions, storytelling and information has merely pulled from older media to a newer frame – the first radio shows were just newspapers read out, and newspaper homepages today look remarkably like homepages of 100 years ago, just on digital platforms. We’ve not made a single new ad format since TV ads of the 1940’s. We may think Branded Content or Native Advertising is new, but Soap operas started in 1937 and the Michelin Guide goes back to 1901. We tend to do very little reimagination around new possibilities and a lot of reduction around new limitations.
With smaller screens come smaller “frames” to see the world. These frames have dominated advertising and storytelling. They’ve limited both the physical size of any unit, but created conventions around time too. Radio ads have been 10 seconds, TV ads 30 seconds, pre-roll now down to 6 seconds. We’ve have both spatial and temporal limits.
For these reasons and more, I’m excited about the potential of alternate realities to expand the canvas of creativity, and more so how that will impact our industry. It’s something I look forward to diving into deeper at the upcoming Moxie FutureX Live conference focused entirely on these technologies. Here’s a sneak peek at some of my thinking:
While AR and VR may have first entered the world with similar physicality, as something silly you put on your head, that made people gawk at you uncomfortably, they offer very different ways to think about the world. VR has always been about taking you somewhere else; the first VR headset in some ways was like the book, a chance to remove yourself from the here and the now and be transported almost magically to another universe, a world where anything was possible. AR was in some ways the opposite, rather like a Map, placing you in this moment in time and this location, but giving you extra information to make decisions, to do more, to explore more, to be even more in the moment. What these devices had in common was a barrier, or several. First, they required the user to purchase a brand new device, whether a complex HTC vive setup with PC and headset to a disposable Google cardboard. They needed to then be configured, apps needed downloaded and then worn. Within these steps lay ample barriers to adoption.
ARKit from Apple and ARCore from Google and the enhanced operating systems and hardware they need offer something totally different: An AR like experience through existing equipment, but most of all with existing behavior. They offer the chance for normal people living normal lives to whip out their phone and be transported. We’ve always spoken about online and offline as if there was a line. We have a latent muscle memory of dialing up and accessing the internet, more than anything else these new technologies offer a lineless world, a hybrid reality where what’s real and not real blend. Dinosaurs can walk us to work, fireworks can set off when our friends walk past, we can see both the status updates and locations of people augment our view.
Good technology embellishes our lives. It allows us to do more like we’ve done before and extends what we did before. Great technology changes how we see the world and how we behave. Even more profound technology and combinations of it are so big it’s hard to see what comes of it. Today we see AR on phones as a way to lay out IKEA furniture, to measure rooms and items, to see where are our friends are and how to get home. We can draw in 3D, we can leave digital memories and photos in places, the list of what’s possible now is amazing, but not life changing.
This article was originally published on Forbes. Read more.