What is immersion in the virtual reality context

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We’ve been here before with VR, but now more than ever the climate is right for it to take hold as a serious medium for brands and consumers.

The great hype that we see surrounding Virtual Reality is fascinating and at the same time an opportunity to educate people and brands on what it’s all about.

As a medium, VR has been around for a long time. That said, there is a perception barrier where most people think it involves a headset and entry into a gaming environment. The reality is that VR has come a long way from there. We can now live stream VR-ready video to smartphones making live events and moments of significance accessible to a wider audience. And, we see more and more industries eager to jump on the VR wagon and experiment with the technology in order to find the right way to use it for both their own and their customers’ benefit.

But what is it that makes VR so different than any other broadcast technology we have seen so far?

The secret lies in immersion; the literal meaning of which is ‘deep mental involvement’. People have been immersing themselves into books, theatre plays, movies and other forms of visual stimulation for many years now. The reasons behind people wanting to immerse themselves are varied – from education, to entertainment and religion or simply wanting to put a bad day behind them.

And immersion is so important for people because it’s the only way our brain can actually absorb and digest information correctly. Without immersing ourselves in an environment or topic of interest we are never able to understand exactly what is happening in that environment (fictional or not) in order to come to a conclusion or simply make the most out of the situation.

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So VRs’ biggest promise is that it can help people immerse themselves in different topics of interest. From live music concerts and theatre plays to taking a virtual walk around a university campus or overlooking a surgery from the doctor’s shoulders like we were in the room next to the doctor. VR can make us feel like we are living a moment of time at a physical location anywhere in the world while still allowing us to immerse in that moment like no other broadcast medium can do in this day and age.

We think Tim Cook’s recent comment about AR having bigger potential than VR is true and at the same time a proof point that VR is all about immersion. Cook believes that the reason AR will become bigger is that it’s more social than VR eluding to the fact that Virtual Reality allows people to immerse themselves in an experience rather than sharing it with other people like AR does. VR technology serves a very different purpose and as we pointed out above, its’ end user benefit is a realistic immersion.

And why is this immersion useful to people? Because every piece of technology that has been invented or created has led to people adapting it for the enhancement of their lives. In this case the promise is that Virtual Reality will help people get a better understanding of the world by being able to explore it in detail without having to physically be present somewhere specific.

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Social platforms flourished on the basis that communication is a fundamental human need...if immersion proves to be another fundamental human need then VR could be the next big thing!

 George Kapellos is Head of Marketing and Partnerships at Mativision

About Mativision

Since its inception in 2008 by Anthony Karydis, with offices in New York, London and Athens, Mativision provides truly immersive experiences for brands and businesses by combining high-quality 360˚ video and Virtual Reality (VR). We were recently ranked 5th amongst the 10 fastest-growing interactive companies in London (Datafox, 2016).

Our mission is to use our proprietary VR& 360° technology for the greater good by establishing the proprietary VRinOR® platform as the global go-to destination for VR-based medical training content.