The Virtual, Visual Future

by Sean Ogino |

As we move further into 2013, new technology continues to inspire and amaze at an increasing rate.  Not only are we witnessing the demise of the personal computer with the continued widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones, but technical advances made in all industries are exciting to watch as well.  Fully electric cars are no longer an un-economical concept, but a completely viable option offered by several manufacturers.  We are also becoming increasingly interconnected as high speed internet connections weave their way across the globe and internet-connected devices proliferate.

But one of the most exciting developing technologies is the ability to interact, control, and share highly visual experiences.  We can see this in extremely high resolution video technologies, augmented reality, and gesture-based software like Xbox Kinect.

This innovation has made its way into the office with products like Panacast — offering a unique panoramic video conferencing experience. It utilizes a special webcam that connects to any iOS device via the Panacast app.  What makes this webcam unique is that it is composed of six different cameras that have had their feeds synchronized for one 200 degree video image that’s 2700 pixels wide and 540 pixels tall.  Any part of the resulting high resolution image can be zoomed and scrolled to using the app.  It is technology like this that will humanize our remote interactions, by bringing a more realistic experience to videoconferences.

In e-commerce, images have now become fully fledged online stores thanks to companies like Stipple.  We all know that sharing images of products has never been easier and never have we had as many channels to do so, but now Stipple has taken that sharing to the next level by enabling people to browse multiple images of a product, view related products, and actually make purchases on Facebook or Twitter right from a single shared image.  The in-image stores integrate with the merchant’s existing purchase system, so Stipple isn’t the one handling user data.  If we have learned anything from the quick rise and fall of F-Commerce, it is still yet to be determined whether there will be a mass buy-in for technologies like this.

To look even further into the e-commerce future, companies like Augment are targeting e-commerce sites, catalogs and sales people out in the field, offering a platform where 3D models can be uploaded to let customers visualize products/designs embedded in their environment in “real size”.  The applications of this technology are limitless, and have significant conversion rate and engagement benefits (because if you know what the couch will look like in your living room before you buy it, you’re much more likely to keep it).

The interplay of all these rapidly developing technologies and enhanced user experiences over time will certainly give us an idea of what will resonate with consumers and what to expect in the future.  What we can say with certainty is that the divide between online and offline is rapidly disappearing and the line between augmented and actual reality is becoming increasingly blurred.  As for what the future will “look” like, we’ll just have to wait and see.

By: David Palic


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