The Speed of Adoption
It’s unlikely that at this point you haven’t encountered someone in your home, office, or just on the street somewhere playing Pokémon Go. This game is dominating social media, blogs, even earning a “Mania” rating and its own section on the front page of a major metropolitan news site. The question is what can the AV world do with this new sensation sweeping the world? At the moment, not a whole lot, but think about it means in the grander scale of technology.
For the last decade the commercial AV world has seen the shift of the technology that people are using at home finding its way into the boardroom. Its human nature to want to find the most comfortable and convenient way of doing something and then duplicate it. People seek out familiarity. As technology has become commonplace in everyone’s lives the use of it has only expanded exponentially.
A tweet flew by the other day stating companies that didn’t exist 12 years ago. The full list included Twitter itself, YouTube, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat, Instagram, Spotify, Fitbit, WhatsApp, and Dropbox. Thinking honestly, how would your day be affected if these companies didn’t exist today? Would you have even found this blog without Facebook or Twitter? The point is that when technology becomes familiar and commonplace to the point of being fully ingrained in people’s lives they seek the ability to include it in every aspect.
Pokemon Go is the augmented reality (AR) example of something that has reached a mass adoption of technology. Is it simplistic? Yes. Is it something that takes little effort for entertainment for those that participate? Certainly. These are the kinds of reasons that it’s so widely adopted (beyond the fact that Pokemon also comes with a built in fandom).
The extrapolation of the use of AR has wide spreading properties for the AV community. Think about the idea of an AR presence greeting you at your new job and guiding you around the office and surrounding area. Point your phone at something and tap it and a member of the staff pops up to tell you about it (credit for this use case goes to Nate Schneider). The same could apply to a local celebrity providing a tour of the city they’re known for (also Nate’s idea), or museums, landmarks and any other tourist attraction. Think about being guided around Boston by Matt Damon, or New York by Robert DeNiro.
How about a sports stadium? People are often found looking at their phones to check fantasy stats while a baseball or football game is taking place. What about raising those phones to track the distance of that last home run? How about the speed of the pitches? Even going so far as to overlay the statistics of the baserunner at first and the likelihood of them successfully stealing second against this pitcher and catcher while applying real time analytics of the fantasy sports site and it’s app which you’re already using.
Yes, the argument can be made that this means people will be living their lives entirely through their phones and it takes away from the social aspect of it. That is, of course, unless they can pay enough money for a luxury suite were the glass wall looking out over the field now as an integrated transparent OLED display that allows a user to log in with their own account to the service of their choice.
The same would apply to football as the impact measurements show when a running back and linebacker collide at the goal line, the vertical leap of the wide receiver shows as he goes up for that fade pass, and the speed of the punt returner tracks as he breaks through the defense. All these statistics are now tracked by the respective leagues, so why not display them on the individual viewer’s devices in real time? With the data appearing on their devices there’s also the potential for gamification. Can the viewer predict what’s going to happen next in the game?
Accessibility from AV
People live with a device in their hands these days. Tying that device to their environment is only going to get easier as companies seek out more ways to get deeper user engagement but they needed a reason to try that user experience. Pokémon Go is the proof that people will engage in the AR platform. While virtual reality (VR) had a strong showing at the InfoComm show this year, there’s a much bigger barrier to adoption than there is with AR. With AR there’s no need for goggles or the creation of the environment as the world around the viewer is the environment.
The tech is young and will develop quickly. Where the AV industry can play its part is by expanding the capabilities beyond just the phone or tablet experience and incorporating it into the user environment as a part of the viewing experience. AV consultants and integrators are the worldwide experts in creating environments through video and audio regardless of the content that’s come along. Now, we have to start making that content a factor of consideration when designing solutions with augmented reality just another tool in our arsenal.