An Evening With the Experts: Best Practices for VR/AR and Brands

Earlier this week, Mike DiGiovanni participated in An Evening with the Experts where he sat on a panel to discuss best practices for brands in both virtual and augmented reality.  Panelists included Suzana Apelbaum (Google Zoo), Andrew Klein (Spark Foundary), Cortney Harding (Friends With Holograms) + Isobar’s Mike DiGiovanni.The panel was moderated by Adweek reporter, Marty Swant

After a night of interesting discussion, Mike shared some key highlights and takeaways.


As a technologist, It’s fun to see more and more people getting interested in VR and venturing into the tech side of things. For instance, we learned that many people were experimenting with downloading game engines — that’s something a lot of career programmers don’t even do.  Throughout the night we talked to filmmakers, clothing designers, giving recommendations on how they might dive into the interactive side of VR experiences.

While interest in the tech side of things was apparent, there were still a lot of questions around the specifics; i.e. what hardware should they be investing in to get started in content creation.

Another big takeaway focused around emotional experiences.  The panelists all noted that these tend to be the most memorable of the non-interactive video experiences.  Of course there are challenges in evaluating these experiences because it is hard to gauge emotional reactions in real-time when someone has a VR headset on their face. In addition, you don’t want to break immersion by interrogating consumers during the experience.

All that said, there is still a  need to chip away at barriers to entry. The pricing needs to come down and, simultaneously,content quality and variety need to increase.

The content problem needs to be solved, both in terms of discoverability and quantity/variety. However, even if we solve the price problem, there is a general consensus that the good experiences are too expensive. And, therefore, even if every household had a VR headset, there’s still a ton of friction in getting the content in front of consumers

Another big problem is the effort required for an end user to commit to a VR experience. From having to connect a bunch of wires, go to a specific place in your home, or giving up your phone for a while because it’s used in your headset ,you have a massive context switch that’s not totally necessary with other media. You can’t multitask. You shouldn’t let your toddler play with toys while you’re in VR.

After a long discussion around VR, the conversation shifted.  When it comes to AR, the web format seems to be what everyone thinks is going to be the tipping point for massive AR usage. Small, easy to access AR experiences that don’t need an app download is  key to getting this stuff be commonly used.

It was wonderful to be part of such an insightful conversation around AR/VR best practices and I look forward to see where brands take emerging technologies in the future.