Immersive Reality and the Future of Content by Kit Brown-Hoekstra

The future of technical communication is visual and interactive. This statement should not come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to the changing demographics of the workforce, the maturation of the technology that facilitates this, and to customer expectations. We are already seeing heavy equipment manufacturers leaping ahead with training and service content. Some companies are using it to onboard new employees in clinical settings. Others are using it to help Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Newspapers and magazines seem to have daily stories about new implementations. It seems that the opportunities are limited only by our imaginations.

While only 5% of companies currently use AR/VR according to a recent survey by The Content Wrangler, many more are beginning to explore the possibilities. Tech Crunch, ABI Research, and Business Insider are predicting that by 2020 (just 2 months from now) the industry will grow to more than $100 billion dollars (Armfield et al.). We need to be ready when our companies start asking questions.

This year, LavaCon has an entire track on Tuesday dedicated to immersive reality topics (see the schedule):

  • Virtual Reality: Immersive Experiences with Real-World Application, presented by Jill Knight of Deloitte Digital.
  • Beyond the Hero’s Journey: Immersive Storytelling Through AR/VR, by Nisha Burton of Reflective Brands and Design Reality.
  • Creating Impactful Content for Immersive Technologies: An Education Revolution, by Elise O’Brien of Beach Day Studios.
  • Why AR/VR Sucks—If You Don’t Do It Right, Joshua Young, Design Reality

There are also three workshops that take a deeper dive into the possibilities of immersive reality:

  • On Sunday: Immersive Design: A Practical Approach to VR Storytelling, led by Andrea Zeller and Nadine Anglin. This full-day, preconference workshop teaches you the principles of immersive storytelling and how to build your own story in VR.
  • On Wednesday (there’s still room!):
    • Morning: Let’s Play! Discover How Some Companies are Using AR/VR. A morning lab where you can play with some of the technology and see how some companies are using immersive reality to improve customer experience. This is an open house where you can come and go.
    • Afternoon: Content Strategy for AR/VR. Joshua Young, Berry Braster, Rob Bannerman, and Nathan Bowser will discuss practical ways you can integrate immersive reality into your content strategy.

These sessions are just the beginning as we examine the potential impact of immersive reality on not only the way we work and interact with our content, but also the skills we need. Along the way, we also grapple with the ethical and accessibility considerations and the practical issues of creating a strategy and architecture that supports AR/VR where it’s appropriate to do so.

Sign up for the workshops! Join us for the sessions! Take the survey and tell us about your experiences: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2QHD367.