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Have yourself an immersive experience

Fancy a trip to Mars today? Nowadays it’s virtually possible – just give the image below a spin! It’s like Christmas has come around again when we look at the latest emerging technologies; Oculus is making its latest Rift available for the consumer market this quarter; HTC opens up pre-orders for the Vive at the end of February; and Ricoh is already selling their Theta S, an amazing 360° camera, for just €399. The consumer is in for a ride this year as brands line up to compete against each other to develop the most immersive experience. This article aims to give you an insight on key developments in some vertical markets.

You’ve probably seen, read, or played it – Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the most successful blockbuster to hit the theatres in 2015. To take the hype up a notch, it’s now possible to experience a new form of Star Wars entertainment by downloading the Star Wars app. Inside, you will find a powerful VR feature called ‘Jakku Spy’ that embraces a new technology and storytelling technique, and making you part of the resistance. And now to step outside the world of science fiction, and into the Dominican Republic. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit franchise recently introduced their first VR app. The 360° video experience unlocks a new way for consumers to interact with the supermodels featuring exclusive behind the scenes content. Keeping your attention to the article at hand, HTC is taking a different approach and has transformed a secret location in East London into a Virtually Dead zone. A ticket to this event will allow you access to a horror production that takes place over half a kilometre, where you will be terrified, amazed, and left wondering whether the world is really about to end.

Scary examples aside, Google is pushing boundaries in the education market by bringing the Google Cardboard into the classroom. Under the umbrella of The Expeditions program, more than 500,000 students have already taken school trips to Buckingham Palace, and the Great Barrier Reef. The great benefit of the Cardboard is that it works with your iPhone or with almost any smartphone that is running on Android software. The design of the cardboard can be easily customised, and the price can go below €10 per unit, therefore making it accessible to a lot of people to use the platform.


So why should we encourage the use of smartphones inside a classroom? The above may just sound like a one-time fun game, but research done by the University of Udine tells us the opposite. The effect of an immersive experience for flight safety training has proven to be greatly positive! Research by Chittaro and Buttussi (2015) showed that a serious immersive game gave users a knowledge gain that is maintained after one week, where statistically, people who used the card suffered a significant loss of the acquired knowledge after one week. The immersive game was able to produce more engagement, negative emotion (eg. fear), and physiological arousal than the safety card, a factor which can contribute to these positive impact on knowledge retention.

Creating an experience that influences emotional arousal is key to improving the quality of the learning and can be a game changer in any vertical market.

Technology advancements are changing consumer expectations, therefore, requiring companies to take a different approach to retail. As described by PSFK, one of the 10 pillars delivering the new shopper experience refers to ‘Democratise Access‘, opening the door for consumers to take advantage of services and experiences that were previously too exclusive or expensive. Research by Forbes shows that the amount of AR and VR devices sold will rise from 2.5 million last year, to a whopping 24 million in 2018, resulting in a market worth of more than $4billion. Being at the beginning of this growth rate, VR commerce, like much of the VR industry, is small and experimental. This does not hold off start-ups like Ghostline to become visible in the market and provide an analytics platform for virtual reality, allowing developers to uncover the true value of their VR experience. Taking the advantage of the data at hand, there is a lot to be learned on how to create more effective immersive experiences.

Video: A short impression of the recent disruption workshop at MOBGEN

How can we help
MOBGEN:Lab is the research division of MOBGEN, set up to investigate disruptive innovation with a focus on mobile technology and interface. We have the ambitious aim to identify and map the trends across the design industry that will create changes in the way we interact with brands, products and places.

Why do we investigate?

– For technical knowledge gathering

– For entrepreneurial opportunity

– Based on a client insight or request

– Because it is fun and exercises our creative muscle

What do we deliver?

– Technology research

– Disruption workshops

– Client innovation projects

– Entrepreneurial tracks

If you’d like to find out what we could do for you, feel free to send a message to Sebastian.

Research paper reference:
Chittaro L., Buttussi F. (2015). “Assessing Knowledge Retention of an Immersive Serious Game vs. a Traditional Education Method in Aviation Safety”, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 529-538.