People think about the future when they hear “augmented reality” and “virtual reality.” The reality is that AR and VR content is already here and is not new.
AR and VR were both in their early forms 200 years ago when Charles Wheatstone invented the stereoscope in 1838. He used separate images from each eye to create 3D effects.
AR and VR reached milestones over the next century. These include the first novel that predicted AR/VR technology (1935), the first VR machine (1956), and the first VR headsets (the 1960s and 1970s). AR and VR technology developed rapidly with the advancement of computer technology in the 1980s. By the 1990s, people could purchase VR headsets for home use or watch sports on networks that used AR to enhance viewing.
AR was a popular smartphone feature in the 2010s (remember Pokemon Go?). AR and VR content were all around us. Brands across all industries adopted it. Think VR house tours on real-estate websites, AR-powered virtual dressing rooms where customers can try on clothes before buying them, and 3D views from Google Maps of any location around the globe.
Despite these advancements, VR and AR content has not yet been widely adopted by consumers. Generally viewed as a novel but not-totally-necessary technology, it remained on the fringes even as its capabilities gradually refined.
That is until 2020. It was a world full of digitally connected customer interactions that no one could have imagined.
The pandemic has reenergized AR and VR technology adoption.
The customer experience is changing across all industries with AR and VR content.
Customers expect interactive, full-featured experiences online.
AR and VR can be used by content marketers to go beyond telling a brand story to put customers at the center of it.
AR and VR — The “Before.”
AR and VR content was stuck before the pandemic. This was the period techies refer to as the “trough” of disillusionment. It is a phase where emerging technologies are forced to adopt new technologies when their early-adopter and experimental implementations fail.
Although AR and VR technology was available and there were many successful uses-cases, it still struggled with the “chicken-and-egg” syndrome that is common in the tech industry. Developers and users waited simultaneously for the other “go first.”