360° immersive content is here.

Prepare to be amazed. How far can it go?

Youtube 360, virtual reality, GoPro 360, Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift… 360 degree video technology and platforms for its use are hitting the market putting the consumer bang in the middle of the content and closer to the action than they’ve ever been. These technologies are delivering a hugely immersive experience and represent a big step on from 3D TV and films in terms of usability and accessibility.

Here are two prime examples of 360 video in action. Watch the links on your iPhone or smartphone. Look up, down, left, right, all around as they play.

http://youtu.be/ADOLtyLeS-4
http://youtu.be/H6SsB3JYqQg

The experience speaks for itself. It puts people in places they would never be able to experience for themselves. You’re part of what you’re watching.

Imagine the range of uses.

David Attenborough could take us to amazing places in the natural world – sitting in the trees with a pack of grooming gibbons, diving with giant manta rays soaring past, attach the camera to a drone and you could even fly with the albatross or eagles.

Put it into a battlezone and the news headlines become a far grittier representation of the harsh truths of conflict.

Give it to thrill seekers and their friends and relatives can share the view from skydives, rock climbs or the view from Everest.

Imagine seeing Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Stratos jump from the edge of space in 360 mode…

Use it as a training tool and RNLI lifesavers-to-be can experience rescues and real life scenarios before they’re in those situations themselves.

Trainee astronauts could float through the International Space Station familiarising themselves with layout before they blast off.

Renting a flat or buying a house could be done totally online with a real life walk-through.

Imagine Facetime 360…

The list goes on.

Brands, businesses, places and people will be able to share what they see and hear like never before.

But will all real-world experiences be replaceable?

Will virtual tourism become a thing? Will people wander around the Taj Mahal from the comfort of their living room?

What does this mean for brands?

Firstly, you can’t own it but you can use it.

Prices for these cameras are already accessible at an individual consumer level. They will adopt it. It will be part of their world. They’ll be sharing their travels and free time like this in no time at all. Life will be captured un-cropped and without borders. It will be uploaded directly to social media at the click of a button. The technology won’t be owned by brands but brands can create content and improve the way they entertain, engage and improve levels of service.

Secondly, it’s adds a really interesting dimension for advertisers.

Immersing the viewer like this creates a feeling like no other media. A truly interactive ad – does that overcome some of the ad avoidance? Could you also advertise multiple products in one ad using different areas of the 360 degrees to showcase each – a 3-in-1 scenario perhaps? It throws up interesting possibilities whereby consumers looking at different parts of the ad could have a different experience to others.

Brands should be looking at how they can use it to engage their consumers more, provide a better service or product and help tell their story in greater detail.

 

Will Rees-Hooper

20.11.15