Around this time of year, strategists and experts reveal their predictions for the year ahead. We see it a lot in technology in particular, with a new set of observations every year, and a review in December of how right (or wrong) they actually were.
The problem is, while some of these predictions come off the back of research, industry knowledge and a deep understanding of the market, some of them are just guesswork. And it’s often hard to tell the difference.
But at Orbital Media, we don’t believe in guesswork. We believe in data – in hard facts and evidence. So rather than guessing what’s going to happen in 2019, we’re going to look at some of the key trends already happening in the world of augmented reality (AR) and social media, and share what we think that may mean for the future.
Facebook’s AR Glasses
Over the last few months, Facebook have been moving hundreds of their Silicon Valley employees away from the social networking site, and instead onto a new unit called ‘Facebook Reality Labs’ – a division focusing on a standalone hardware and AR.
After the reveal of the AR Glasses at their F8 conference in 2017, the AR Glasses have been an interesting project for the social media giant. The aim is to use a waveguide display with a two-dimensional scanner to project media onto the lenses. This way, wearers can experience AR on top of physical objects, like a chess set on a table, or a person’s likeness on teleconferencing platforms.
And of course, they plan to marry these with their own social media software, perhaps using Facebook Spaces to give users a fully immersive social media experience. While the glasses are still a way off from being available to the public, the team have at last confirmed that they are well underway, and we can expect a social media-fuelled AR hardware product from them. This will undoubtedly change the social media landscape in ways we can’t even fathom yet.
VR And AR In Teaching
As the technology gets more sophisticated, we are seeing a growing trend of companies using AR and VR as a training and educational tool. While it might seem a little odd, the actual uses being found for it are extraordinary, and allow students to practice anything from construction to flight training to complex heart surgery – without any real-world risk.
In medical fields, in particular, this has been popular since AR can help map out where veins, organs and tissue lie on the body and help train new doctors and nurses in both basic and complex procedure.
And since it’s an interactive medium, feedback and responses are more lifelike, allowing students to understand all the outcomes of both positive and negative performance in a new and more effective way. But while the medical field has been using AR to teach for a while, it’s now making its way into new industries. For example, American company Walmart announced that they are using Oculus Go headsets to train their employees in a range of skills, from compliance to customer service.
The military has been adopting both VR and AR for real-time readouts on their environment and training soldier performance, haulage firms have been using it to train drivers on hazard spot while driving. This is one of the areas where we think VR and AR will explode in 2019.
Blending AR and Social
Both social media and AR/VR are in for a lot of changes in 2019. But the question really is how will they work together? As the technology continues to develop, we expect to see more and more applications for AR within social media.
We already have some options out there – like the camera features and Facebook Spaces functions on Facebook and the AR filters on Snapchat, but the likelihood is that the two worlds will continue to grow and blend together.
We will see more platforms add AR functionality like Snapchat has (Instagram is already hinting at this), and it will become a powerful tool for developers, artists and businesses to create and promote themselves online. AR stories, live events, AR videos – all of it will be hosted on social media platforms and become a part of our everyday lives.
So what does this mean? It means that businesses who want to stay ahead in this fast-moving market need to embrace the new features as they come. The successful brands will be the ones who have a strong social media strategy that includes AR/VR and can build on it to create real engagement. If you’re not sure how to do that or where to start, don’t worry, that’s where we can help.
At Orbital Media, we are experts in developing VR and AR solutions, and creating killer social media strategies. Blending those skills together, we can help you create a new breed of social strategy that will deliver real results, even through the fast-moving times. To find out more, just get in touch with us today.