By JC Mendoza
The Future Looks Virtual
A recent report by global consulting firm Deloitte Global has predicted that VR will become a multibillion-dollar industry. With the immense foreseen market potential that VR technology presents, it comes as no surprise that various big players -- such as Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard and Sony PlayStation VR -- are already offering VR hardware.
The choices are abundant, but there is a clear lack of VR-enabled content -- content that consumers should engage with and view. This lack of content is seen as one of the biggest roadblocks for the advancement of VR technology.
Why buy a $US599 VR headset if you can’t use it in anything other than a pre-made VR deck?
Enter user-generated 360(o) videos.
360* of Reality
Imagine viewing your daughter’s birthday, seeing her blow a candle with smiles and giggles shown on her face, and you hear your wife cheering in the background. That's such a lovely scene, but with 360* technology that moment is taken into a whole new perspective -- an immersive and intimate one. With the use of a VR headset and a 360* image capturing device, you can record the moment as it happens in its whole entirety. 360* technology can now let you see your lovely wife’s smile and the attendees' gleeful disposition while your daughter blows the candles.
Now that’s immersion at its finest, and that is why 360* content will be the medium of choice for VR.
360* video content has been used more and more by news organizations, businesses and professionals since June 2014, when Google Cardboard made it possible for everyone to dip their toes into the fast-developing world of virtual reality with an affordable viewer.
Professional production is one of the main problems with the current set of 360* content -- it turns into solid chunks of unengaging brand promotion, lacking the crisp and authentic feel of user-generated content. The winds are changing though given that cheaper options for 360* content production are currently being released to consumers. With the barriers-to-entry of 360* content production drastically dropping, it would not be too long until the community gets their hands on the technology, which will result in an immense in-flow of user-generated content.
Our Virtual Future
360* video will be the next step for mass media. The immersion that could be experienced in 360* videos offers a new perspective of how people interact with recorded or live-streamed moments. This immersion, added with the cheap accessibility of 360* image-capturing devices such as Giroptic’s iO camera, enables the normal consumer to produce intimate and creative 360* content far above the current content seen in the community. This personalization of content will bring forth a new niche in social media and mass media, as suggested by the endorsement of 360* content by Facebook, Periscope and YouTube.
Given the endorsement of key players in social media content distribution and the product innovations by companies such as Giroptic, 360* content will soon hit mainstream status. Sharing videos in social media was seen before as a groundbreaking innovation, but that perception will become only a passing fancy when 360* videos hit the fan.
The applications of 360* technology can be further developed into complex concepts that can be applied to various fields of business beyond just social media. It could be anything from concert or sports event screening to digital mass marketing and corporate remote-assistance, to name a few.
VR can be said to be still sitting on the sidelines as a novelty. Granted, it’s trying hard to get in the game, but so far it’s still the favorite new toy of the cutting-edge crowd. It’s very possible that before too long, VR will be integral in all things tech, and that could open a new world for all of us.