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This Week’s VR + AR News: Ballin’ Out

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Is the happiest place on earth inside of headset? In addition to wowing techies with its virtual ball toss, Disney invites everyone to be their virtual guest in a Beauty and the Beast VR experience.

Real ballers also go hard in VR. Intel, Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA partner to stream #MarchMadness in VR. Rather jam than slam? Universal Music partners with MelodyVR so thousands of concerts can be accessed in virtual reality.

Money shot, slam dunk… but wait, where’s the ca$h? Is it in VR or AR? Maybe it’s not so black and white. Maybe VR is the next “TV” and AR is the next “mobile” — coexisting, each making its own imprint on our lives.

To aid with your indecision 2017, here are tips for investing in augmented reality and here are strategies for making bank off of virtual reality. Full hearts, empty pockets, charged headsets, can’t lose.

6 Ways to Invest in Augmented Reality
VentureBeat — Dean Takahashi

Super Ventures has sorted out the landscape of AR startups and has come up with six areas of opportunity for AR hardware and software, areas where investment dollars could make a big impact. There are bionic vision, natural input/output (I/O) and interaction, 3D-ifying the real world, world building, telepresence, super intelligence.

The Washington Post Preps Its Augmented Reality Push
Digiday — Lucia Moses

Virtual reality and its lower-tech cousin, 360-degree video, got a lot of attention from publishers last year. But VR is expensive to do, there aren’t a ton of viewing devices in use and the use case isn’t always clear to editorial. Then there’s the trick of convincing the advertisers who’d be helping to pay for it all. It can be easier to scale AR, which involves inserting digital elements into real world representations. The ideal story to incorporate AR is one that relies heavily on visuals so AR can show what the story is describing; has a long shelf life; and has options for people to explore.

7 Best Uses of Virtual Reality in Marketing
MarTech Advisor — Lisa Griffin

Although only in its infancy, VR is beginning to make a clear impact on brand marketing through engagement and visualizations. Tom’s Shoes has a VR chair that transports people to Central America. Lowes created an app to help customers visual their home improvement plans. And the New York Times has used VR to let readers to intimately connect with stories.

The Emerging Business Strategies for Monetizing Virtual Reality
VentureBeat — Dean Takahashi

A lot of people love the experience of virtual reality, but not many have figured out the business side of it. The fledgling medium for games, entertainment, and many other applications has sprouted a lot of startups, but not much revenues yet.

Apple’s Next Big Thing: Augmented Reality
Bloomberg — Mark Gurman

Apple believes AR will be an easier sell because it’s less intrusive than VR, and eventually AR devices may replace traditional smartphones and computers. The global market for AR products will surge 80 percent to $165 billion by 2024, according to researcher Global Market Insights.  

Why VR vs. AR is an Obsolete Argument
VentureBeat — Hunter Jensen

Think of VR as the next “TV” and AR as the next “mobile” — coexisting, each making its own imprint on our lives. AR is shaping up to be the next big thing that intertwines itself with the world we live in, enhancing our experiences in day-to-day life. The ability of VR to fully immerse people in environments and let them engage with those worlds will be wildly entertaining and educational.

Universal Music Pacts With MelodyVR in Virtual Reality Deal
Billboard — Marc Shneider

Universal Music Group has entered a multi-year, non-exclusive licensing deal with virtual reality startup MelodyVR. MelodyVR has recorded 1,000-plus shows with more than 500 acts worldwide to create a virtual concert library.

Lessons Learned From VR Ads
Multichannel News — Brad Phaisan

OmniVert measured heat-map (eyeballs) tracking, time spent in the experience, and click-through-rate for the display units. All data suggests that VR experiences gain higher attention from audiences.

Adobe is Looking into Customer Journey Mapping Service for Marketers
VentureBeat — Khari Johnson

Adobe’s new Journey software may include ad placement in VR environments, voice interactions to help brands engage in voice channels, and personalized dynamic content creation.

Here’s how to watch NCAA March Madness in VR
TechCrunch — Fitz Tepper

Six of the March Madness games — including the Final Four national semifinals and National Championship game — will be streamed in VR. The games will be available via the new NCAA March madness Live VR App available for Gear VR users in the Oculus Store. Charging to view games in VR is a departure from the model taken by other broadcasters like FOX Sports, which typically just requires VR viewers to authenticate with their cable account. The project is the start of a multi year partnership between Intel (who is powering the tech), Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA.

AccuWeather’s New App Presents Forecasts in VR
Marketing Dive — David Kirkpatrick

AccuWeather is launching an Oculus-powered virtual reality app for the Samsung Gear headset. The app will provide users with 360-degree video content for severe weather events, including extreme close-ups of a tornado in Colorado, that has almost 1.5 million YouTube views.

Are AR and VR Ads Compelling Enough?

According to a survey by Vibrant Media, more than ¾ of respondents said they haven’t purchased VR ads for their clients. And almost nine in 10 hadn’t purchased VR ads. However, VR and AR ads were noted as “very compelling” marketing channels, cited by close to half of the executives. Another obstacle is understanding what constitutes virtual and augmented reality. Only 25% of the respondents in the YuMe survey were even aware of the concept of AR, even though this survey took place at the height of the Pokémon Go craze in summer 2016.

Report Predicts AR and VR Headset Shipments to Approach 100 Million by 2021
Road To VR — Paul James

A new report from the International Data Corporation predicts a near 10 fold increase in the shipments of augmented and virtual reality headsets in the next 4 years. Despite the focus on VR’s entertainment prospects, IDC sees the technology’s wider appeal to other verticals as key to its growth predictions.

Dancing and Creating VR Music at SXSW 2017
VR Scout — Devin Embil

Not only can you immerse yourself in what used to be known as a ‘music video,’ but some of the VR experiences on this year’s SXSW Interactive lineup even allow you to compose your own melodies. Show It 2 Me utilizes Google’s Tilt Brush, while The Melody of Dust lets users combine 87 different songs.

VR, AR Headset Market Growing 58% A Year, To Reach 99 Million Devices
MediaPost — Chuck Martin

According to a new study by the International Data Corporation, the virtual and augmented reality headset market will grow 58% a year for the next five years. Total VR and AR headset shipments will see explosive growth from 10 million units last year to 99 million units in four years.

VR Was Hot at SXSW, But Can Marketers Capitalize On It?
The Drum — Nick Barber

For relatively low cost, brands can experiment with immersive content to differentiate themselves from the competition. At SXSW, vendors exhibited transformative technology such as VR, AR and 360-degree videos. But marketers should be cautious, as just a few years ago vendors said 3D would be the next big thing.

What is the Future of VR and AR?
Media Village — Simon Applebaum

As the smart TV infrastructure expands, so will the opportunities for immersive entertainment.  Verizon Ventures’ Paul Heitlinger believes that while AR has the ability to win greater public acceptance, VR will have its place because of the emotional response users get.

Cutting-Edge Martech? 65% of Brands Have No Plans to Invest This Year
MarTech Today — Matt McGee

Bynder surveyed hundreds of brand managers and CMOs– respondents said that virtual reality (24%) and machine learning (23%) will have the biggest impact on marketing during the next five years. Augmented reality (17%), beacons and chatbots (12%) round out the top five.

Disney Shows How You Catch a Real Ball in VR
Engadget — Jon Fingas

Disney Research scientists have developed a motion capture system that lets you grab a ball just as intuitively in VR as you would without a headset. This type of technology advancement has limitless practical applications for integrating virtual reality with real-world activities.

Sephora’s Latest App Update Lets You Try Virtual Makeup On at Home with AR
The Verge — Ashley Carman

Sephora is joining multiple other companies in recognizing the importance AR is going to play in future beauty product shopping. The makeup retailer introduced a “Sephora Virtual Artist” this week in an update to its iOS app.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ in VR Delivers Disney Magic You Can Touch
Mashable — Adario Strange

Coinciding with the theatrical release of Beauty and the Beast, Disney is releasing a VR experience in the Oculus store.

Pottery Barn Introduces Augmented Reality App
San Francisco Chronicle — Benny Evangelista

Williams-Sonoma hopes to lure tech-savvy customers to its Pottery Barn brand by offering a limited augmented reality smartphone app that lets shoppers see how a product looks in their homes before they buy. Pottery Barn worked with Google to create 3D Room View, but the catch is that the app will work only on phones that run Google’s Project Tango technology. So far only two phones — the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus ZenFone AR — have Project Tango.

Each week, we bring you the most relevant stories covering the business of virtual and augmented reality, which we produce with our partner Vertebrae, the native ad platform for VR/AR.