Interconnected experience specialist Engage Works hosted the return of its Techspectations event this month at its innovation lounge, Flux, this time shining a light on the world of 'Mixed Reality'. There has never been a more exciting time for brands to connect with their audience in new and engaging ways, and this regular event (as part of Engage Works’ series of events, Techspectations) seeks to explore the different phenomenon set to impact on businesses in the near future, with practical demonstrations, and insights from thought leaders.
With the 'year of VR' (Virtual Reality) drawing to a close, Engage Works has spent the last few months looking at the next innovations set to disrupt the business landscape, and Mixed Reality was a clear top trend, set to boom in 2017. The event explored the next level of Mixed Reality, multiple user experiences and the merging of visual and tactile dimensions with invited guests having the chance to be one of the first to experience the Microsoft HoloLens first hand in the UK, and witness the world’s first multi-user HoloLens experiment – which has the potential to revolutionise the way Mixed Reality is used. Flux is the first commercial enterprise and venue in the UK to be able to offer the Microsoft HoloLens to its clients for demos and events.
The discussion was led by three thought leaders in the field. Amelia Kallman, head of innovation at Engage Works, set the scene with an introduction to the Mixed Reality landscape. 'In the last year we have seen significant growth within the virtual reality sector, including the ability to collaborate across geographical locations – demonstrated today between Flux London and Flux Dubai,' says Kallman. 'Virtual reality can no longer be thought of as a gimmick or novelty, we have to start looking at the bigger picture and lasting impact of this platform. 2016 may have been the year of virtual reality, but 2017 is going to be the year of mixed reality. By 2020 the virtual reality industry is projected to be valued at £30 billion, whilst augmented/mixed reality is projected to be valued at £90 billion in comparison. Mixed reality is going to change the future of computing as we know it, and by 2018 we will start to see the lines between VR, AR and MR blurred into single devices.’
Richard Vincent, founder of FundamentalVR, gave a fascinating talk on Mixed Reality and Haptics. He discussed how the line between virtual and augmented reality is disappearing, describing virtual and mixed reality as the next computing platform. Vincent also provided a demonstration of VR and haptics, developed by FundamentalVR, for attendees to get hands-on with.
The final speaker was Maximillian Doelle, a digital strategist and prototyper at innovation studio, Kazendi. He describes the Microsoft HoloLens as the greatest revolution since the smartphone, offering a truly immersive experience to potential customers and consumers.
The highlight of the day was the practical demonstration of the Microsoft HoloLens. This technology is redefining how we see the world, and is set to disrupt whole industries and change the future of computing. The HoloLens projects 3D holograms on to reality that can be viewed in 360 degrees with audio to match. The holograms can be interacted with and manipulated through gesture and voice activation, and because it overlays the virtual you’re your real environment, you never have to exchange one reality for another.
Techspectations will return in 2017, with dates to be announced shortly.