Collaborating to explore a mixed reality
Combining augmented reality, virtual reality, and the metaverse, read how Reality.House is aligning brands and pop culture through a platform based on digital community-building in this interview with Alex Semenzato, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships for Talenthouse.
Can you explain how mixed reality has become a part of our daily lives?
Mixed reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time. Practical examples can be found on the TV when we watch sport and the overlay graphics are shown on the football pitch or tennis court. On our phones with fun social sharing AR filters via Instagram and Snapchat plus more practical uses like the IKEA furniture app; where you can see a digital sofa in your living room and check for size.
How do we make VR/AR accessible?
It’s all about education and making people aware that this technology is here right now and not 20 years away. Most people have a smartphone that is able to support AR experiences and with the distribution channel being through the most popular social platform like Instagram and Snapchat – augmented reality is something a lot of people are using and they just might not know it.
The pandemic rapidly increased digital transformation across all industries but we have seen a huge increase in adoption for AR
For virtual reality, we still require headset hardware and this can be expensive, so not as affordable as AR. However, compared to a few years ago… current VR headsets are more affordable than they used to be.
How do we eliminate the need for personal technology in order to interact with the metaverse?
Ah, that’s a hard question – I think hardware, glasses, phones, headsets will be around for a long time
Why do advertisers need to pay attention to the metaverse?
I think it’s comparable to the .com boom, the metaverse is web 3.0 and you’re either part of it or you’ll be left behind. Today consumers are more connected than ever and we are evolving to a time where brands will create holistic multimedia and digital experiences that facilitate both the digital and physical worlds.
How does Reality.House actively champion diversity?
Reality.House is part of the Talenthouse Creative Network and for the last 12 years, we have democratized creativity. As a collaboration platform, we enable brands to have access to a diverse community of 1M creators located in 195 countries worldwide. So in the simplest terms, we are supporting brands to collaborate with diverse creators.
The virtual economy will become as important as the physical economy.
Besides facilitating connection, we are community first and have a community team that is dedicated to ensuring representation and equity. With mixed reality, this creative format has generally not been diverse in representation. There is still a lot of work to be done, however Reality.House champions POC, female, non-binary, LGBTQA+ creators and this is reflected in the stories we tell through editorial, magazine, and video content.
What brands are doing a good job in the VR/AR space, and what lessons can we learn from them?
The main players are the tech platforms or are pioneers and investing heavily in this technology such as Snap Inc, Facebook, and Apple. The pandemic rapidly increased digital transformation across all industries but we have seen a huge increase in adoption for AR during the pandemic with so many people in lockdown…this was one way of escapism and many people got used to these unique digital experiences.
Mixed reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time.
For me personally, the brand that is always trying new things and executing them well is Gucci. They have been early adopters across the spectrum from being one of the first to create virtual try-on shoes with Snapchat, creating an experience in Animal Crossing plus their latest, Gucci and Roblox. Creating a virtual Gucci Garden space in the game and dropping limited-edition virtual bags which sold for $4,115 (350.000 Robux, the game’s currency), which is more than the $3,400 retail value.
What is it like running a magazine about digital space?
It’s incredible. I learn something new every day and I love learning about the creative process and inspiration from the incredible creators we showcase. Also, it’s been great to hear so much positive feedback from our first issue ‘The Future Issue’ which is available to read as a digital edition and print edition.
What will the next few years look like in the AR/VR space?
It’s super exciting, we are on the cusp of a lot of experimentation and new waves of creativity. We will see more brands getting involved, demand from consumers, and the virtual economy will become as important as the physical economy.