What the Cool Kids are Talking About

Jason Powers, Chief Technology Officer Brightline Interactive
March 4, 2015
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CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is every technologist’s dream – a playground filled with the newest and most innovative technology. I had to attend this year to not only appease my inner-nerd, but to realize the potential of the next generation of technology for Brightline Interactive, and most importantly our clients. I was a man on a mission. So, three days in the Las Vegas sun immersed in technology unleashed my boyish enthusiasm and gave way to a bounty of new technologies to hack.

The next generation of VR and AR led by Oculus Rift and Gear VR, though not my single most fascinating technology at the show, was palpable. And for good reason – the offerings available and in the works are pretty awesome. However, the content is lacking and needs both refinement and focus.

Following a viewing of the static, VR trailer for The Wild, I gleaned inspiration for how the most compelling content could be generated. First, the video content should be created using a stereo 360 camera to provide depth on short fields of view. The image resulting from a regular 360 camera like the Ladybug is too flat because both eyes are seeing the same image, as they would if you were looking at the TV. Second, any non-user-initiated motion must be smooth and slow to minimize motion sickness. With that, my mind took off into the wealth of possibilities.

I can see any major brand using VR technology to create an event experience, using either live or canned content. A particular fit is Subaru, a major sponsor of Rally America, a sanctioning body for natural terrain rally car races. Picture this: you’re at a rally car race, and you’re able (virtually) to jump into the back seat of your favorite team’s car. You ride along cutting back and forth between views from inside the car and from a drone flying next to or above the car. This is totally new, and the additional immersion of VR makes relatively mundane in-car footage into a white-knuckle user experience.

Another vision of mine involves creating a VIP experience for Absolut, a major sponsor of Coachella. Imagine a VIP party backstage with a set of stereo 360 cameras on tripods or roaming around. Another camera is configured to a drone flying low over the crowd and onstage. Concertgoers gather inside a tent as a virtual Heads-Up Display floats in the air in front of their face. Paired with LEAP Motion, users make hand gestures to select their point of view. This level of immersion makes the user feel as though they are really there and brings the content front-and-center while providing a technologically advanced, luxurious branded experience the marketing and tech teams will love.

Virtual reality offers a world of possibilities and hasn’t scratched the surface of its potential. With dedicated resources and the abundance of new technologies, VR content will change the game for experiential marketing. It took no more than a few days at CES to see the future, and it keeps the cool kids in technology and marketing talking to each other.

Tags: CES, Drones, Oculus Rift, Technology, Virtual Reality

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