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The present, the future & the challenges of AR/VR

Blog published by CW (Cambridge Wireless)

On Tuesday 17th September, CW ran a Future Devices & Technologies SIG event on the topic of immersive technologies from the perspectives of design, business outcomes, monetisation opportunities and killer use-cases which was kindly sponsored by NTT Data and hosted at their NTT Data Innovation Lab in London.

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Immersive technologies will disrupt the way that we as consumers and users interact in our daily lives and change the employee experience. Over the past few years, we have seen the development of many applications within the gaming, marketing and advertising spaces and these practices are now being embraced by other industries such as healthcare, engineering, telecoms and automotive.

However, the immersive industry still faces key challenges around business-cases, monetisation, user-experience and device adoption.

Future Devices & Technologies SIG Champion Nadia Aziz (Innovation Consultant – Emerging Technologies; Unbounded Future Ltd) asked the question ‘Is Augmented Reality the future of Social Media Marketing’, taking attendees through the process of quick creative ideations and developing AR stories for platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

Through AR marketing, brands can now provide an experience where the audience is part of the story instead of a passive viewer. Also, AR brings very useful experiences to enterprises, providing contextual augmented information. We are only at the beginning of #spatialcomputing, #cameramarketing!

 – Nadia Aziz, Innovation Consultant, Unbounded Future Ltd

Attendees then heard from Mariano Cigilano, (Creative Director; Unit 9) who went through the journey of Unit 9’s Hyper Project, a solution to disrupt the design process by integrating immersive technologies.

Consumer expectations are changing rapidly, demanding that brands and products understand ‘who they are’ and ‘what they stand for’ in an authentic way. Schuyler Simpson, (Vice President – Strategic Partnerships & Operations; Playfusion) took attendees for a deep-dive into ‘The Reality of Enhanced Reality’ and challenges with both finding the right organisations and creating an experience that resonates best with their audiences.

It was truly impressive to see the collective energy around these immersive technologies and how organizations are continuously pushing its boundaries to reimagine what’s possible.

 – Schuyler Simpson, Vice President – Strategic Partnerships & Operations, PlayFusion

After an impressive lunch overlooking the heart of London, Aki Järvinen, (Senior Experience Researcher, Immersive; Digital Catapult) outlined how to produce quick prototypes, both physical and virtual, to explore and validate immersive product and service concepts.

The final speaker of the event was James Watson, (Chief Marketing Officer, Immerse), who explained some of the key factors that employers need to be aware of when considering how to implement VR training programmes, going through step-by-step on evaluating, piloting and successfully implementing a VR programme.

A great venue and also a great mix of speakers and topics. It's clear that there is a real appetite for understanding the opportunities immersive technologies bring to the table, opportunities that scale across industry sectors.

 - James Watson, Chief Marketing Officer, Immerse

After all the talks, attendees banded together in three groups to design immersive solutions that could improve citizens’ quality of life and employee experience. Ideas that stemmed from this workshop include a prototype for a ‘concerned citizen’ to visualise the sustainability consequences of, for example, buying a particular product, historical recreations that can be used in towns via AR and VR technologies and bringing to life cookery books and the cooking journey to make for easier following!

From my point of view, while the talks were interesting, informative and educational, the real learning was in the workshop. Assuming no technology limitation: how do you come up with a compelling AR/VR use case that could not just be useful for the end user but also for the creators? Rather than rely on advertisement, how can a vertical and app creator benefit from the end user using an app? This made the group discuss loads of options, solutions and we went through a complete journey from discussing an idea to designing what the app should look like, who is the target audience, etc. The who group was very pleased with the outcome.

 – Zahid Ghadialy, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, Parallel Wireless UK & EMEA

Overall, the talks engaged attendees from the get-go and prepared them for a fun afternoon which allowed creative juices to flow!

Many thanks to sponsor and host NTT Data, our speakers, SIG Champions and of course, to attendees for bringing your ideas, (and selves) to this exciting event!

*View all presentations here

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