At the recent E3 games show in LA, Microsoft and Mojang unveiled an innovative new holographic version of video game Minecraft. Using Microsoft’s HoloLens, Mojang demonstrated how holographic gaming can offer heightened levels of immersive interaction and hugely improved capabilities, since the world in which users play is laid out in 3D, right in front of them, ready to be manipulated by hand.
Not only is this a huge step forward in the gaming industry, but it also represents a shift in the way the wider world can expect to communicate in the future. Microsoft have discussed the benefits holograms can bring in terms of engineering, architecture, medicine and education. However, HoloLens technology also offers huge possibilities for the business world.
With holograms, gone are the days of flat projector screens and boring PowerPoint presentations. People can demonstrate cutting edge products in 3D with just an initial drawing. Clients can be guided through new properties or environments. Important stats, figures and objectives can be sent flying round a room to iterate their importance. More immersive presentations will result in more engaged audiences.
Plus, there’s the potential to communicate in 3D; phone calls and video chat will pale into insignificance when you can chat to a hologram instead. International businesses could have virtual meetings where the CEO can sit right beside their colleague when on the other side of the planet. This means better communication and less restrictions; more people can work from home or wherever they please whilst still being available for direct interaction with colleagues.
Experiential application development and advertising
With holograms advertising could provide more vivid experiences for consumers in a way that is more persuasive than ever before. Think of holographic brand representatives who can interact with customers in public. The need for brand experience design would be bigger than ever, as businesses could set up events almost anywhere and encourage consumers to explore products or services in their branded world.
Consumers could be transported to a tropical beach as part of a travel agency’s marketing campaign, or given guided tours of their potential accommodation when considering buying a holiday. Clothes stores could allow consumers to try on virtual clothes in an instant, whilst real estate agents could show potential buyers around a home without even having to leave the office. People could completely redesign their homes in 3D time and time again, and architects can map out holographic building in just minutes.
HoloLens could help businesses to pitch and sell to consumers by making it easier to immerse them in their products and services. Yet it could also allow consumers have a better buying experience, too; holograms allow them to get to know a brand, product or service far better and make more informed buying decisions.
Will HoloLens take off?
The Microsoft and Mojang Minecraft integration is exciting for gamers, but in reality with the technology still very expensive (estimated between $500 and $1,000) it’s unknown how successful it will be.
If, however, developers were to concentrate on utilising the technology for the business world, they may see a good response from corporations looking to invest in technology that could truly drive sales. The average gamer may not have hundreds of pounds to splash out on virtual reality, but a business could and many may be tempted to do so if they could see it increasing sales and offering a solid ROI.