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Immersive Social Media Has Arrived - Here Are 3 Examples To Prove It


It’s perhaps hard to believe, but we’ve been sharing 2D photos and videos via social media for well over a decade. But change is coming!


A new generation of Immersive Social Media channels are literally bringing a new dimension to the way we all communicate online.


As well as enabling users to create, share, comment and rate others’ posts and images, with immersive social media users can also explore and interact with 3D environments and collaborate with others in a virtual space – delivering a richer, more compelling and personal way of sharing experiences and stories.

To clarify, when I refer to 3D, I mean objects that look and feel real because they have volume (volumetric 3D); you can see them from any angle (unlike the 3D photos currently available on Facebook), pick them up and even get a sense of their weight - helping to create a more immersive experience.


The arrival of immersive social media was made possible by WebXR technology; the ‘XR’ stands for Extended Reality, which is the term used to describe the family of immersive technologies that includes Virtual, Augmented and Mixed reality. However, unlike these technologies, you don’t need a VR headset to experience the Immersive Web - just an up-to-date browser!


Today, many of the leading browsers support WebXR, these include the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft IE and IoS Safari.


WebXR - Breaking down barriers and re-defining web content


The Immersive Web means experiential content is now more accessible than ever!


Unlike standalone apps and plugins, the leading web browsers give a fairly consistent user experience on different operating systems and across devices i.e. smartphones, tablets, desktops, and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets - such as the popular Oculus Quest. Browsers are also free, quick to download and widely available.


Moreover, immersive social media can bring users of different devices together in the same virtual space, enabling them to communicate and interact - creating unparalleled opportunities to socialise and collaborate!


Why brands, marketeers & communicators need to know about the Immersive Web


While some experts say VR is still some years away from mass adoption, the immersive web, by contrast, is here today, gathering momentum and creating new opportunities.


With PwC predicting that £1.39 trillion will be added to the global economy through immersive technologies, and IDC forecasting that worldwide spending on immersive will reach approximately. £130 billion in 2023, immersive content will become increasingly important.


And compared to traditional ‘flat’ content, studies repeatedly show spatial immersive communication achieves far deeper audience engagement; the more immersive an experience the greater the interaction, recall and emotional connection with audiences – important KPIs for communicators.


Three to watch in 2020


Here is Bright Immersive's pick of three immersive social platforms you can check out today. Check out below for analysis and suggestions on how you might incorporate these tools and the Immersive Web into your digital strategy.


1. display.land


This platform has the potential to do for photogrammetry what Instagram did for traditional photography – it makes it easy, fun, and social.


What is photogrammetry?

Put simply, photogrammetry uses 2D images of a scene or object and applies complex algorithms to estimate the camera positions to calculate depth. These results are then used to create a 3D model of the scene. While the resolution can’t match specialist laser scanners (yet), Display.Land is an exciting and innovative social platform that appears to be growing rapidly.


While an App and smartphone are required to create a 3D capture, the final captures can be explored in any WebXR compatible browser.


screengrab of Display.Land

What makes it social?

  • Content is displayed in a feed (see right)

  • Others users can like, rate or comment on your captures.

  • You can add points of interest to your models and assign hashtags, to make models easy to find.

  • Each 3D capture has a permanent link which can be easily shared.

  • Using the in-App social media sharing option generates an animated fly-through of the capture, designed to work on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Authors of 3D captures can download their content to edit or use in other immersive applications and even 3D printing!

  • Free to use

Why you might want to use it

  • 3D captures could help your brand or products stand out from the crowd.

  • As the photogrammetry quality improves, 3D capture apps, like Display.Land, are likely to replace 360 images / video virtual tours, which offer limited interactivity and can be costly to create.

  • Creating photo-realistic models with a smartphone can be a cost-effective way of creating a library of 3D assets for use with other immersive technologies.

Visit: https://get.display.land


2. Mozilla Hubs



In the words of its makers, Hubs enables you to “Share a [3D immersive] virtual room; you can watch videos, play with 3D objects or just hang out.”


This is a modest description of an immersive platform that has so much potential. Hubs uses WebXR so it’s accessible via a web browser and unlike other immersive online communities (such as Microsoft’s AltSpaceVR), you don’t need to install separate software. Users can create bespoke rooms using Mozilla’s browser-based editor program, called Spoke (see example above).


What makes it social?

  • Hubs offers a compelling immersive experience thanks in part to its use of Ambisonics audio. With Ambisonics, the ‘closer’ you are to someone the louder they will be - just like real life! This means you can hold multiple conversations in the same virtual space, if the groups are far enough apart. It supports cross-device virtual collaboration; you can share videos or their screen, annotate the 3D space and import and interact with photo-realistic 3D objects.

  • Every room created in Hubs has a shortened permanent link, ideal for sharing via traditional social media channels.

  • Open Source and free to use

Why you might want to use it

  • Sites like Hubs can provide a cost-effective, engaging immersive and collaborative, browser-based alternative to webinars that work across a range of devices, from smartphones to VR headsets.

  • Shortened links shared via social media to a branded Hub room could quickly ‘transport’ followers from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, directly into your branded space. Once inside, they could focus on your experience, speak with brand ambassadors or interact with like-minded followers.

Visit: https://hubs.mozilla.com/


3. Google Poly


Part immersive social media, part library of 3D models, immersive art, 360 tours and photos, browser-based Poly has positioned Google at the heart of the immersive web, AR, VR infrastructure.


Poly simplifies sharing and use of 3D models across different immersive apps (such as Hubs and Spoke) and devices. Currently, the quality of content varies, but this is likely to change as more apps like Display.Land are launched.


What makes it social?

  • Poly content is linked to a user’s Google profile. Users can ‘like’ content or follow their favourite creators, as well as share models via traditional social media or embed them in websites.

  • Many of the models are licensed for remixing.

  • You can auto-generate a social media-ready animated GIF of any of the models.

  • Poly is a free service. If you require a premium or secure hosting of 3D models, check out SketchFab.

Why you might want to use it

  • Host and share a range of brand-related 3D assets available for others to incorporate into their immersive experiences.

  • Embed 3D scans of products, objects or designs on your website to boost interaction and page dwell times.

Visit: https://poly.google.com


Immersive and incredibly versatile


Together these new social media platforms offer unprecedented levels of power to quickly and easily create a rich and versatile range of immersive social media content using a basic smartphone.

What do you think?


I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences about using any of the immersive social media tools above along with any other examples you have come across.


Let's Talk

If you would like to discover more about opportunities for your brand in the immersive space or learn more about how to create compelling content for the immersive web, please get in touch with us at Bright Immersive.

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