Based on the 1989 film Back to the Future II, we’re supposed to be riding around on hover-boards, or flying around in cars at this point in our timeline of technology. That isn’t necessarily true (this hoax had us believing!), but technology as a whole is advancing quicker than most can keep up with while impacting the way we live and interact. Computers, the Internet, mobile phones, and tablets have impacted us firsthand. If we only go back 20 years, personal computers (PC’s) were rare in households, cell phones were not “smart”, and Google was just an idea. Technology has shaped the way we do business, our home life, and the way we learn. On a smaller scale, I want to focus on two current trends in technology that could affect us directly as an agency. What gadgets will we be using? How will we connect with audiences?
Let’s start with “smart” watches, a technology that’s in its early stages, but hoping to become main stream. A trend in the past couple of years has been adopting the power of our smartphones onto other devices, and smart watches offer us a platform on which to do it. Wearable’s like Fitbit, FuelBand, and Jawbone were really the start of this smart watch revolution, but now companies are shooting to bring more than just basic workout information to your wrist. There are now multiple smart watch options on the market, and all set out the goal of delivering information from your mobile phone without the need to actually grab your device. Features like push notifications, voice search, app integration (Lyft and Eat24 leading the way), and some models giving you the option to change your watch face everyday, smart watches could make connecting with the information you need quicker and easier. Google and Apple are leading the way in creating their respective mobile phone operating systems for the watch hardware, and Apple’s iWatch won’t be released until early next year. Technology like this excites us at Three29 because it gives us another piece of hardware to bring creative experiences to. Will smart watches take off? Only time will tell.
Augmented reality, or virtual reality, is the next piece of hardware that’ll be a skyrocketing topic of discussion in the next few years. Nintendo took a stab at virtual reality back in 1995 with the Virtual Boy, but it never really took due to various reasons. Oculus Rift began the VR revival a couple years ago hoping to bring the VR concept to the hands of consumers everywhere. What started with a focus on video game experiences has begun to evolve into something much bigger. Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $400 million (cash), FB stock, and goal incentives back in March. At first this purchase seemed way off track, but when you think about the potential VR offers, it doesn’t seem that insane. The potential lies in the software and experiences that can be created with VR headsets. Think about the opportunity to explore the Grand Canyon in a classroom through a pair of goggles that give you a 360-degree interactive experience. Take a stroll though the Pyramids of Egypt (at scale) to deliver and educate a student more than them just reading about it online. This sounds crazy, but it’s not that far off in my opinion. Even on a smaller scale, the idea and possibilities that lie in creating an interactive business or brand experience through virtual reality might become a new trend. Imagine a website that is fully interactive through a VR headset. The developer kits have been released, now it’s up to creative minds (and possibly agencies similar to ours) to build these experiences.
Is all this technology good? Bad? That’s up to you to decide, but what we do know is advances in technology will continue to happen, and at exponential rates. As an agency that stays on the cutting edge of technology, hardware like smart watches and virtual reality get us excited about the experiences we can create in the future. Look how far our digital experiences have come in the last 20 years, imagine another 20 more. Jump on and enjoy the ride.