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#SingularityUSouthAfrica2019: Extending reality - Why, when and how to leverage VR and AR for impact

These are the highlights of Rachel Sibley's presentation at the SingularityU South Africa 2019 Summit.
Rachel Sibley delivering this presentation at the SingularityU South Africa 2019 Summit. Image supplied.

We are swimming in data. In a world where data and information are so rich, what becomes scarce? Information consumes a resource - your attention. How do you augment AR and VR in a business today?

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Information overload


A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. Your attention is one of the most valuable resources you have so the way we model, access and deploy information changes the world we create.

We’ve moved from model to abstract. Everything today is in our pockets. Our smartphones are our cyborg brains.

So how do we navigate this information overload? AR and VR is contextualised information.

These technologies provide experience in a moment of time, a moment that matters now. Cognitive scientists are only just catching up.

VR for brands - what's all the fuss about?

Virtual Reality (VR) has received a lot of airtime over the past few years. For retailers, in particular, the technology offers completely new ways to reach their audiences. But are we thinking about this in the right way?

By Glenn Gillis 27 Sep 2019


Cognitive ecology


Access to education is not fully democratised yet we learn in an education system based on the written word. What if we could feel interactive and embodied learning? This is where VR and AR come in – they’re both tools to learn in fundamentally new ways.

The applications of these experiences will change our lives going forward and the proliferation of digital worlds. What kind of problems can we solve differently? The history of great ideas is not about the ideas themselves but about the representation of these ideas. You cannot scale an idea without being able to represent it (well).

We’re still caught in the paradigm of print. The printing press was an amazing revolution in human knowledge but it also constrains us as there are now many more ways of knowing, learning and understanding. How can we gain more of the world’s knowledge in a multi-sensory paradigm? Virtual worlds which will fundamentally change our perception and allow us to alter different experiences.

VR/AR/gamification - Placing your customer inside your brand story with experiential marketing

I've curated four examples of experiences created using technology or a combination of technology and tactile, to give you ideas to use in your industry to capture the attention, or rather the adoration, of customers...

By Keletso Nkabiti 2 Oct 2019


Hardware innovation


With VR, the form factor has changed exponentially. From wired to mobile to mixed reality, we can now move seamlessly between these worlds. We’ve moved from military to enterprise and are slowly heading into the consumer space. As Tim Cook said: “Life without AR will be unimaginable in a few years.”

As price points diminish, the consumer marketplaces open up. But to get AR and VR right, you need meaningful content as well as hardware that provides a good user experience.

How AR and VR will transform the retail experience

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have the potential to shake up the customer experience by individualising retailers' offers and enabling customers to visualise products in different settings. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in AR online and in-store, according to Gartner...

By Fundisiwe Maseko 4 Apr 2019


What kind of reality do you want to create?


AR and VR allow us to do things more efficiently (if well-designed) and think entirely new kinds of thoughts but we need to leverage this technology to understand its long-term cognitive impact.

We still need more research on the development of VR and AI from a security and ethics perspective. And what about digital rights? Who owns your data? What makes sense – ethically – as a society?

Embrace the grey area between pragmatism and imagination.
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