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 In ae-ideas, SXSW


Michael Steps into Virtual Reality

Yesterday, I had a hands-on experience with virtual reality. I attended a session at SXSW called Dude, Where’s My Par? Making Virtual Reality Golf. The session covered how the PGA is starting to use virtual reality as a content marketing piece. However, I won’t be focusing too much on that aspect of this session. This session was only a precursor to me actually stepping into virtual reality.

This was my first, real-life exposure to what those in the tech industry call ‘VR’. I’ve always been fascinated with video work. I’ve also been known to occasionally enjoy playing video games. VR takes the two to the next level.

During this session, TJ Won from Oculus VR spoke about the upcoming trends and ‘game-changing’ possibilities of VR. Alex Lindsay from Pixel Corps broke down the technical aspects of shooting video in 360 degrees. Both of these speakers predict that the success or failure of 360-degree video will determine the future of VR.

Here’s a picture from 3dPrint.com of a GoPro, 360-degree video rig:


360 degree video rig from 3dprint.comTJ Won expects sporting events (in particular boxing and MMA) to be the first, major live broadcasts in VR. Users will literally be able to move around the ring during competition to get a view like never before. Now, don’t get too excited, this type of user experience is still five to ten years away.

One of my biggest takeaways from this session is that virtual reality is the anti, omni-channel marketing platform. Think about it. If you’re in a virtual world, it’s pretty hard to casually read a Buzzfeed article at the same time. It will be very interesting to see how VR becomes monetized in the future.

Right after this session I ran into our Analytics Specialist, Ethan. We ended up going to McDonalds SXSW Experience House. This is where I strapped into a virtual reality headset, headphones and controllers.

I’ll be honest, I was pretty skeptical when it came to the idea of escaping to another reality. Now that I’ve done it, I think it’s pretty cool. So far, VR has been the biggest trend I have seen this year at SXSW Interactive 2016. I don’t know if I’ll ever purchase ‘at home’ VR, but I’m definitely glad I gave this a try. If you’re at SXSW this weekend, take a few minutes and check VR out.

Our team had a blast on the first day of SXSW, and there’s a lot more to come. Don’t forget to follow our team throughout the weekend with #AEGetsWeird!


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