Virtual reality in its current form, and with its futuristic potential, is seeded commonly in everyone's mind these days.
But in the end, is VR just a trendy medium? Perhaps VR is a flash in the pan, but more likely is that it will have lasting, game-changing applications to branding professionals and digital marketers for many decades to come.
As part of our inner human nature, we are always seeking new environments and new user experiences. Therefore, it is no wonder that for almost two centuries, we have been developing technology designed specifically to create alternative, "virtual" spaces for exploration and personal escape.
Nowadays, in our fragmented, split-channel-split-attention modern condition, the daily, ritualistic escapes that we continue to seek, have become part of our habits and patterns of being. With enough time and enjoyment, these habits then define our identity and place us firmly within the tribes that we feel we belong.
But to win over the consumer, customer, or user in these moments of escape, is no easy task. We are selective with our time and money, so the war is fought on these battlegrounds with brand strategists who want nothing more than to permanently connect these escapes to their client's brand and to the hearts and minds of the customer.
With VR, it is evident that branding professionals who define, imagine and create the most memorable customer experiences in physical or on-line spaces have the growing potential to design these experiences in the virtual environment. But as with any new medium or technology, VR must become widely accessible and adapted before it can be capitalized and adapted to common branding principles.
Whether we are working with VR as the front-line for our branding practice, or simply want to embrace our exploration of the unknown, VR is likely to evolve persistently and be a part of our reality for many decades to come.
To understand the future of VR and fathom its long-term role in design, branding, and marketing, we take account of its history, origins, and development.
Part One of our history timeline (designed and narrated by Sarah Kushner) begins with the invention of the stereoscope in 1838 and moves through to 1987 when the term "Virtual Reality" was first mentioned.
Infographic: Designed and narrated by Sarah Kushner