To help you become more familiar with immersive technologies, we've compiled a jargon-free FAQ.
Q. What does immersive mean?
A. Immersive means being completely surrounded by an experience or environment that dominates some or all of your senses and focus.
Q. What are immersive technologies?
A. Immersive technologies are computer systems that create a partial or complete artificial sensory environment that surrounds a user and creates the illusion they are somewhere or someone else.
Examples of immersive technologies include: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR) and 360/ 180 degree videos. Increasingly, these technologies are collectively referred to as Extended Reality (XR).
Q. How do immersive technologies work?
A. Immersive technologies work by using computers to either entirely replace or supplement the sensory information our brains use to make sense of - experience - the world around us.
Using computer power, creators of immersive content can create artificial digital sensory elements that make up any experience.
Q. What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
A. Virutal Reality is a technology that uses location-tracked hand controllers and an audio-visual headset.
The headset completely blocks out information about the user's real surroundings and replaces it with digital content. The tracked controllers and headset enable the user to mirror their real-world physical movement with the movement in the digital environment.
Together, audio / visual sensory elements combined with the freedom to move create the illusion that the user is completely surrounded by the digital environment, creating an experience of immersion.
Q. What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
A. Augmented Reality is a technology that uses a device with a screen to supplement (augment) the real world with additional sensory information or data.
By using the camera and screen on a smartphone or tablet, the user can add layers of information and 3D objects to their real physical surroundings.
Access to the layers can be triggered by a device reaching a specific location or by the camera recognising a preset shape, object or pattern.
Q. What is Mixed Reality (MR)?
A. As the name suggests, Mixed Reality combines traits of both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
Similar to VR, it uses a head-mounted tracked headset that is usually attached to a powerful computer to generate objects that the wearer can interact with and scenary to explore. Unlike VR, however, the wearer can still see and interact with their real physical environment.
Mixed Reality supplements the wearer's experience of the real physical world, like AR. But the use of the tracked headset and connection to a more powerful computer increases the complexity of the content and overcomes the limitations of exploring the environment through the frame of a smart device.
This smooths the blend between the real world and the digital, which can give the headset wearer a more immersive experience than traditional AR.
Q. Why focus on immersive technologies and experiences?
A. The ability to create immersive experiences marks the start of a new technological age.
Digital immersive experiences are fast emerging as a new way of communicating and all the signs are that the hardware (headsets & controllers) will become a lifestyle technology.
In the immersive age we are no longer restricted to just passively watching content on flat screens or within frames. Instead, recent developments in computer graphics, processing power and data transfer speeds, mean we can surround ourselves completely or partially in computer generated 3D worlds and stories.
For audience of immersive content, scientific studies show communication through experience is significantly more powerful than other communication mediums. Immersive experiences have a greater recall, longer interaction times and stronger emotional engagement than traditional 'flat' communications.
For individual creatives, organisations and companies and brands, this means immersive technologies are opening up a new frontier for expression and communication.
Creating immersive experiences digitally is also considerably cheaper than creating physical experiences in the real world.
With applications ranging from the arts, entertainment, manufacturing through to health care, immersive technologies are well positioned to transform all of our lives.
To find out how bright immersive can support you or your business to unleash the power and potential of immersive technologies, please get in touch.
Q. Do I need to know how to code or programme to create immersive content?
A. No. There are many intuitive Virtual Reality-based tools and drag-and-drop content creation desktop Apps that make creating content for immersive experiences and virtual reality easy and accessible, if you know where to start.
Actually, the tools and technology are just a small part of creating exciting and rich immersive content. The biggest requirement is to understand the ingredients and principles of creating experiences and making the mental shift of thinking in four-dimensions.
These are all areas we cover in our workshops.
As your immersive projects become more ambitious, you may feel motivated to learn some coding skills to take your innovation to the next level, which is great, but not essential.
Q. How immersive is Virtual Reality technology, such as the Oculus, Hive or Valve ?
A. This is a completely subjective question because there are many individual facts that can affect an immersive experience. These include:
The content, story or narrative - Is the experience created engaging and stimulating?
Physical– Am I comfortable or is the hardware affecting my concentration in some way?
Contextual – Am I required to have this experience for training? Do I know what to expect? Do I have sufficient time?
Individual – Am I willing to suspend disbelief and allow myself to become immersed?
Come along to one of our workshops and learn more about creating great immersive content and how to overcome these challenges.