Decoding the New Age: VR, AR, SM, AI, what do they all mean? PROMAX UK conference 2016

Frank Radice

Frank Radice


AR – Augmented Reality
“Augmented Reality is a combination of real world environment and digital, computer generated information – and it is the technology that will rise to the top of the ‘new normal’. The potential impact it will have on all areas of life, including business, cannot be understated. More than anything else it can have a practical, day-to-day impact that make people’s lives better. The huge explosion of Pokémon GO earlier this year is one such simple example of the real world, combining with digital and producing a result that was a world-wide phenomenon. One of the real advantages it has over Virtual Reality (VR) is that it does not require any additional headwear like VR headsets, and the results can be just as impressive.

In a hands-on sense for businesses, the possibilities are endless. Technologies like Siri mean that you only have to speak into your phone to find out where the nearest restaurant is or what the weather is like. Soon this will develop further and you’ll be able to ask it, for example, where you can buy a loaf of bread? To which you’ll be told where you can buy the bread, how much it’ll cost, how that compares to other nearby shops, where the bread came from, how long it’ll stay fresh etc… Visibility and accessibility for businesses will be increased hugely by the improvements in artificial intelligence (AI). The way it combines with mobile phone technology will be key as everybody carries a smart phone.”

VR – Virtual Reality
VR is the flavour of the year. Everybody across sectors like gaming, sports, the media, entertainment etc are all trying to think of the best way to incorporate VR into their businesses.

VR is an immersive experience that can transport you to any setting, fictional or real life, and includes interactive elements. The future of VR is as limitless as AR. Before long, viewing films will be done using a VR headset, people will pay to be able to witness a Premier League football match as if they were actually there watching it.

The downside to VR is the awkward hardware that is required. Headsets and gloves are an integral part of the experience and are often hooked up to a computer as well. This makes VR harder to include in everyday life.
Companies are finding alternatives but AR is expected to supersede VR eventually.”

SM – Social Media
“The impact and relatively sudden importance of SM is huge. However learning how to use and harness it properly is important.
Video is the holy grail of social media, as is having effective content and materials – without which your channels will not generate conversation. Conversation is what is important is social media, it cannot be a one-way interaction. A back and forth between fellow users is what will get your channels noticed.

SM also allows businesses a direct route to the screens of millions of users via notifications. An email is easy to ignore, a flyer in the post box is easily thrown in the trash can, however notifications grab attention and force the user to act on it.
SM is also a very cheap, business-effective tool to employ – it is more than just marketing. We are still so early on in the development of SM and already its importance is unparalleled.”

AI – Artificial Intelligence
AI is what really turns people’s heads. So many associate AI with scenes from The Terminator movies, in reality it is much more subtle. Siri on an iPhone is a mild form of AI. What is so intelligent about AI is its ability to learn and memorise, so that it becomes personally tailored to the user, it learns what you are interested in, what music you want to hear etc.

Eventually, this technology is what will result in driverless cars and in-house robots that make a genuine difference and improvement in our lives. That is the re-occurring theme throughout all of these tools – they are being developed to improve our lives.

For businesses – this technology will change the kind of work that is produced, no matter what kind of business you are in.”