Paul's VizWorkshop

Crafting 3D realities since 2005

The Mainstream’s View of AR

September 26, 2020

Established companies view AR as another marketing medium.

I recently read this VentureBeat article The AR/VR ecosystem — Are we there yet?

Rant on Market Reports

Who reads these kinds of reports? Well I did. But who takes it seriously and changes their strategy because of it. I imagine fortune 500 C-suite folks where AR/VR is another potential channel/platform? Another medium on which to flog their energy drink or “AI powered growth engine?” AR/VR is simply tactics to them, another channel thats it’s all about gross numbers.

Despite the report’s title, the first half speaks to an outsider’s perspective: Is this new medium ripe for exploitation with our existing products and customer relationship roles? This is the mindset of a disrupted business in waiting. A more fruitful mindset: How will this new medium change my work and relationships with people.

Stuff I Learned

As someone deep in AR/VR, reports like these are good reality checks. As a mass medium, yeah, AR/VR is not where mobile phones or TV are. But, is there another way to fit AR/VR in the media landscape? Is AR/VR simply another window on 3D simulations, which are already huge on desktops, mobiles, and the web.

A key takeaway from this AR/VR skeptical report: we must try different things. We can’t all be making 3D avatar chat with game engines. High Fidelity has pivoted from highly expressive avatar heads; to simply getting avatar chat going; to 2D wedding venues with voice chat. That is admirable.

Selfie Rant

Also, stop calling Snapchat selfie filters AR. At least for market analysis purposes as I don’t see a corelation between video filter traction and AR traction. Yes, selfie filters and AR both use computer vision and 3D graphics, but the looking in vs. looking out camera perspective is fundamental.

AR adds to the world around us for our personal edification. Selfie filters are a content creation tool for sharing, like a green screen in video production. Is it AR if the selfie filter uses the back facing phone camera and everyone around you are rainbow barfing furries? The source of my confusion: is AR a tech stack for manipulating video or or a new medium? Both, until the culture develops a more nuanced understanding of the technology and the applications.