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Advertising Week 10th Anniversary Official Guide

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Page 208 of 333

AW2017 207 Mixed reality is a blend of VR and augment- ed reality (AR). In VR, you encounter a fake world. You're not actually fl oating through space and shooting asteroids, even if it feels like you are. In AR (think Pokémon Go), most of what you see is real, except for cartoonish-looking implants overlaid onto your world. But in mixed reality, you experience mostly a real world; it's just diffi cult to determine what's actually there and what's not there. Microsoft has taken the lead in trying to usher mixed reality into the mainstream. In July, it expanded its partner program to create more applications for its mixed reality headset, the HoloLens. The possi- bilities remain endless for what this could mean for advertisers. But you just have to look at the latest applications of VR to begin seeing the shift. Jim Chabin, President of the VR Society, was recently at Sotheby's for a two-day event where he saw VR tools used to showcase art. Users could explore a paint- ing as if they were within the portrait, for example. He could easily see a time where this might be used by Sotheby's to attract connoisseurs interested in purchasing a piece at an auction—giving them a chance to view it through a three-dimensional lens—even if they were on the other side of the world. And, in a mixed reality setting, potential buyers could actually test to see how the portrait would look on their wall. "An enormous number of people are ex- perimenting with VR," says Chabin. "Every motion picture studio. Every major franchise." Another recent VR application is the USA Today Network's 360-degree storytelling feature, which launched in June. If you're watching closely, you can see the exhaust from a departing jet engulf a crewmem- ber on the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier. Dressed in yellow, he signals to another team member. If you're wearing a VR head- set and you turn right, you see another member in green run to where the jet just took off. Meanwhile, a third crewmember speaks into a radio, providing instructions. This vantage point takes something that has been seen by many—an aircraft car- rier—and turns it into an immersive experience. With mixed reality, this could look more like touring a docked carrier, and seeing the ship in action as you safely stroll along the deck. For advertisers, opportunities such as these are just taking shape. But they will transform how you interact with your cus- tomers. Take native advertising or product placement. The two could essentially com- bine into one, becoming a very powerful feature as more sitcoms offer shows in VR. Imagine following Phil and Claire of ABC's Modern Family as they shop for new furni- ture in IKEA. The viewer is no longer simply seeing a two-dimensional walk through a store, but potentially scanning various aisles as he or she follows other family members—and storylines—of the show. In-store, IKEA could take the concept fur- ther, creating a mixed reality experience for shoppers as they turn down an aisle to discover Phil explaining the benefi ts of certain shelves. None of this is mainstream yet, especially not mixed reality. HoloLens sales were only in the thousands, according to reports. And most of those went to developers—the people who will fi gure out how to make the technology worthwhile. However, as they have more hands-on experience with the platform, we will start to see the hype- train leave the station. Are you ready to get on board and give your video storytelling a rocket boost? • Hype isn't anything new in the virtual reality (VR) space. And just like an actual VR game, there are layers to what's real and what's fake. Yet the latest entrant— mixed reality—has already begun to show its amazing real potential.

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