Cronin’s 2020 vision: Tech that sees

Oct 12, 2016

The future of marketing. Welcome to the year 2020.

Imagine McDonald’s has invited you and the rest of the world to join them on July 24th at the summer Olympics in Tokyo. You purchase a Big Mac from the golden arches and plop down on your hover-couch to join Mickey D’s half way around the world. And we don’t just mean watch on TV — we mean sit right down next to Bono, Jimmy Fallon and the Hamburglar.

This is the future of marketing and it is already starting to play out in 2016. The NFL has begun experimenting with selling enhanced Virtual Reality (VR) experiences from the 50-yard line at stadiums around the country. NFL sponsors will soon be able to wrap their brand around the NFL action in a rich and compelling way.

Tech that Sees comes in three flavors:

  1. Augmented Reality (AR) – in AR you are able to experience a virtual world on top of a physical world. The Pokemon Go mobile application game is a terrific way to explain this technology. In the Pokemon app, you physically move in your real world and see virtual Pokemon characters appearing in the space you see. The physical actions you take on your personal mobile device will impact what happens within the virtual game.
  2. Virtual Reality (VR) – in VR you are transported into a world that does not exist in the physical sense. It may replicate a real world scenario (e.g. walking). You may be walking, but your sight tricks your brain into thinking you are walking on the red carpet at the Oscars.
  3. Mixed Reality (MR) – MR is the newest medium within Tech that Sees. MR is the merging of a virtual world on top of a physical world. With MR, you will start with AR experience and once you are engaged in AR, a virtual experience will enable you to alter the AR by taking physical actions. Imagine you were a doctor and were looking at an AR generated brain visual with a colleague. Now imagine the brain had a VR layer and you were able to cut open and pass to your fellow doc to evaluate.

The winners in 2020 will go beyond sight and marry up the other senses as part of Tech that Sees. This includes haptic experiences, audio cues, aromas and anything else that will provide the illusion that you are experiencing something beyond the physical space you are in.

How big is this trend? TechCrunch expects the VR and AR market will hit a combined $150 billion in 2020 (not including MR). This exceeds the GDP of Hungary, Puerto Rico and another 130+ countries according to Wikipedia.

At Cronin, we are excited to see how Tech that Sees will shape the future of marketing. Keep a watchful eye on this trend and push your teams to be proactive in identifying strategies that make use of this technology in a meaningful manner (Tip: Check out Facebook’s newly minted VR web browser Carmel).  AR, VR and MR may be the vehicles for delivering the message… but don’t lose sight of the brand objectives that drive the marketing efforts.

Check back next week to learn how Tech that Does will shape the landscape in the year 2020.

Now, back to the 2020 Olympics.  Did you feel the whoosh of air as Usain Bolt (who came out of retirement) sprinted past you in the 100 meter finals?


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