A couple years ago I attended Photo Plus Expo in New York City and had the chance to meet Jim Malcolm from Human Eyes, a company that is in the business of augmented reality. At that time in 2016 our conversation was casual as we discussed the technology and the potential future of AR in the photography industry.
In 2017 at the same trade show, I saw him again and his excitement was visible. He said “this is going to be the year”. A few months later, he emailed me again asking if I would be at the Consumer Electronic Show, because AR is starting to take off.
Since that email, the industry blogs I follow have been blowing up with news and chatter about Augmented Realty and Virtual Reality.
Overall spending on AR/VR is forecasted by the IDC to reach $17.8 billion globally in 2018. This is an increase of nearly 95% over the 2017 numbers. The International Data Corporation is predicting that spending in America alone, will reach $6.4 billion.
So how does this affect us as nature photographers and what do we need to be looking for? At the heart of what we do, we are storytellers. AR/VR will become a new tool that we’ll be able to utilize to tell the story of our adventures, our photographs and our journey. As the industry is looking more towards influencer marketing and grassroots to tell their own story, AR/VR will be the next big wave for those who want to build their platform and have brand sponsorship.
Be prepared for a hefty price tag. The Vuze + (created and distributed by Human Eyes) runs at $1,1,95 for the bundle. Before you run out and grab your 360 degree camera and VR/AR headset, it’s going to become important to learn about the production of this new technology. As Mr. Malcolm advised me, there’s a right way to record VR and a wrong way. However, the possibilities are endless for those who take the first steps into this exciting new territory.