According to a recent report by Greenlight Insights, social media is king for the future of Virtual Reality.
What do we mean by that?
Out of over 4,000 consumers asked, 77% said they want more social engagement VR. Makes sense, really.
If virtual reality is to appeal to Generation Z and Millennial in the long term – and not just for the next quick tech fix – then these are the voices our industry needs to listen to.
They don’t see social engagement as merely face-to-face. They don’t recognize barriers posed by distance. Time of day no longer holds sway as it once did.
Contrary to popular belief, VR and social media engagement aren’t awkward bedfellows. Playing games, watching videos and communications are all highly ranked as social VR activities.
But the same survey found only 28% of people who own VR sets use them daily. 39% say they use their VR sets at least every week, but 19% say it’s about once a month.
So where does that leave us? Clearly, there has to be a drive to make sure those VR headsets gathering dust become part of daily life once more.
Could social media engagement be the answer? Imagine telling your younger self that in 2018, global communications – via social media – would be in the palm of your hand. It sounded a bonkers idea back then, even as ‘Friends Reunited’ gathered pace in the early 2000s.
It took vision to recognize how technology can change our lives. The people who created Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin – they saw how the future would unfold. Social engagement happens in so many different ways, here in 2018, and it’s all thanks to those visionaries.
So let’s drill down into the practicalities.
We know that using VR – in some cases – means you’ll be wearing a headset, with your vision restricted a screen inches in front of your eyes. Sounds rather anti-social, right? Wrong.
Adding social elements, such as Facebook Spaces, is changing that. Imagine being able to meet up with friends in a 360° environment, create objects and avatars, and explore the virtual world?
You could even pick up a VR controller and make a start on creating a few models – but since they are in a 3D space, it’s very easy to get going. Then imagine being able to tilt, spin and work with these models in that 3D space?
That’s what Facebook is offering right now and if I’m honest, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t invest in technology without knowing it will be a hit. Well, not often.
CaVRn is a custom-designed, 22ft circumference dome that uses short-throw projector technology and spatial audio to create a unique ‘floor to ceiling’ experience without the need for headsets.
Essentially, CaVRn allows groups of users to experience VR in a single environment. Socially.
CaVRn was used to great effect by McDonald’s Charity of choice, Ronald McDonald House Charities, at the Spirit of Children Gala in Salt Lake City.
Laduma created an exclusive VR experience based around the work of RMHC across the world, with particular focus on Morocco. Groups of people were immersed in a VR world that left an unforgettable impression of what RMHC does to help families in need.
And you know what? They did it socially. Together. In a group. However you want to term it, CaVRn can now deliver the social VR experience that users – and yes, that includes Millennials and Generation Z – crave.
Social engagement via VR doesn’t just mean headsets, social apps and gaming. It’s about a shared experience, with friends, family and even colleagues.
Yes, social can be king for the future of VR. But in so many different ways.