Why the VR industry needs more collaboration to succeed
Seemingly everyday, there’s more news about how virtual, augmented, and mixed reality are the future and will be integrated into everyday life on multiple levels - and rightfully so, as there are seemingly unlimited potential applications for immersive technology.
But at the same time, there needs to be more communication, cooperation, and even mentorship within the industry for it to succeed. There is so much to share and discuss, in terms of best practices and lessons learned from a tremendous amount of trial and error, that to not do can set us back considerably.
Case in point, a critical discussion should be happening before we get too far down the VR path, specifically the impact of this new storytelling and content medium for technology and creative processes.
A new generation
When my two-year-old son watches videos on my phone, he gets frustrated with the scene not shifting as he moves the phone around.
This is one example of an undefined problem and also raises many questions about how, and in which form, Generation Z will expect to interact or engage with both 360 videos and photos.
As an industry, I believe we have start asking and answering basic questions about this new and emerging medium before we rush to the coolest next gadget, as it will require a new way to create stories and a new way to experience them.
So where do we go from here? It’s fair to say that the art of storytelling hasn’t been fundamentally disrupted in over 100 years. Sure, there have been incremental innovations specific to motion pictures that includes color, sound, 3D, and more.
But the fundamental building blocks of storytelling have been consistent for over a century.
Now we have the completely immersive storytelling available with VR, and it’s clear that it has yet to grab the attention of creatives, consumers, brands, and everyone in between.
Only a small percentage of content creators are familiar with immersive storytelling and of those, many believe the process is cumbersome and out of reach. This creates a scarcity of creative talent that could be developing incredible content using this new medium.
As an industry, we need to demystify the entire creative process by sharing best practices and teaching how to tell stories in a physical space versus a frame.
The tech and creative arms of the VR industry are already collaborating in completely new ways
In order for the new medium to reach the mainstream and stay there, it’s imperative that content creators adopt a new storytelling design language.
Tech companies could be the cavalry as they look to innovate new tools for creative communities and drive awareness through events like the Zeality 360 Shootout, which my company is spearheading with leading companies like G-Technology, SanDisk, and more.
The event is a first-of-its-kind industry event that will see five teams of aspiring 360/VR filmmakers and producers compete head-to-head in a two-day shootout ‘hackathon’ to produce the best 360/VR video at Levi’s Stadium.
The companies, coaches and judges participating in this event are leading the charge in driving more creators into content creation and sharing best practices to teach the next generation of creators.
Addressing the industry from the other point of view, new models for 'consuming' content have to emerge that deliver fundamentally new user experiences.
Solving the 'where to look' problem
These experiences need to be built from the ground up to solve new problems that emerge from a nascent medium. For example, we’re all used to being 'directed' when we watch a movie or piece of content.
When given free reign to look around, most of us have no idea where to look, so we could be staring at a blade of grass while all the action is behind us.
Does this problem get solved on the creative side or on the experience side? From my perspective, it’s both, and I founded Zeality to focus on such problems.
The growth of the VR industry and content hitting the mainstream is something that people have been anticipating for a number of years. Now that it’s finally becoming a reality, it’s incumbent upon industry players to solve the myriad problems that can plague any new medium.
The good news is that the technology and creative arms of the VR industry are already collaborating in completely new ways at an unprecedented pace.
For this to be a long-term proposition, however, we need to come together to learn how to share knowledge and communicate more broadly so that an increasing number of smart and engaging stories are available.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.