Unveiling the Future: Spatial Computing for Brands
Technology never sleeps, and neither does innovation. Lately it feels like every week there is a new and exciting development that brands need to account for, and Apple’s announcement of their first spatial computer, the Vision Pro headset, is no exception.
The rise of spatial computing is poised to reshape the landscape of marketing and customer engagement for brands.
If you’re curious about how the blending of our world’s digital and physical layers will change marketing and customer engagement practices, you’re in the right place.
In today’s post, we explain spatial computing, explore its current applications and future potential in advertising, and highlight the rewards you can reap if you embrace this technology early.
What is Spatial Computing?
Spatial computing is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of technologies that are blurring the boundaries between our digital and physical realities.
There’s a lot under the hood, but broadly speaking the tech integrates augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), computer vision / sensor technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to create real-time interaction between digital and physical environments.
Devices like the Meta Quest (virtual reality) and the Microsoft HoloLens (mixed reality) have been pushing this frontier forward for years now, but we’re about to enter the next exciting wave of change.
As our user interfaces, apps, and digital content migrate from flat screens into mixed reality 3D spaces, brands will be presented with a new opportunity for audience engagement that is rich in untapped potential.
Essentially, spatial computing is all about seamlessly blending digital and real-world elements together so users can interact with virtual objects in the most natural and intuitive way possible. When we can steer experiences using just hand gestures, eye movements, head tilts, and haptic feedback, our digital interactions become as easy as human interaction!
(Somewhere out there an engineer is throwing their computer across the room after reading that definition, but it covers the broad strokes.)
You walk into a futuristic Amazon retail store where you can try on any outfit using AR. Plus, an AI algorithm shows you real time recommendations based on your past purchases and preferences. You know it’s just a 3D model, but somehow the fabric drapes realistically on your body and it matches the lighting in the room. It looks real! You find a shirt you like, blink twice to buy it, and use Apple Pay to purchase.
There are plenty of B2B use cases too.
Imagine you’re building a new corporate campus or designing an automobile. With a spatial computer, the conference table becomes your canvas as you fine tune your design in real time. You pinch your fingers together to zoom in on a particular element, add a couple designer flourishes, and save the updates using a voice command.
You could even design an entire robotic factory floor and optimize the human-machine collaboration of your facility with full fidelity visualizations of efficiency levels and outputs.
These are not far-off futuristic fantasies, but real-world applications of spatial computing that our team is helping build today.
Leveraging Spatial Computing in Advertising & Marketing: Current Capabilities
In the world of advertising, we’ve already spent the past seven years helping brands disrupt their competition with spatial computing technology like AR/VR, the spatial web, and more.
Today’s consumer smartphones are so powerful, you don’t need an Apple Vision Pro or a mixed reality headset to experience the first wave of spatial computing experiences. (And not just because the headset pricing is a bit high!)
The latest iPhones and Android devices come equipped with seriously advanced tech like augmented reality, computer vision, LiDAR, and more.
All of this translates into more accurate spatial experiences that are as seamless and realistic as they’ve ever been.
Many brands are already harnessing the power of spatial storytelling in advertising by launching AR effects and lenses on social media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram.
Last year alone our AR work helped brands earn over 40B+ impressions alongside millions of user generated videos on the world’s most popular platforms.
Social AR lenses allow customers to do things like interact with a brand’s products as an immersive experience and have been shown to drive considerable results at all stages of the marketing funnel. Some success stories include virtual makeup try-ons for e.l.f. Cosmetics, product visualization filters for Samsung Electronics, 3D shopping games for Amazon Prime Day, and many more.
Think spatial computing isn’t moving the needle for businesses yet? Think again.
We recently collaborated with TikTok and Universal Pictures to create a Branded AR Effect to help promote Halloween Ends that placed a knife-wielding Michael Myers into users’ real world spaces. To date, the Branded Effect campaign has garnered 13M views, 664,000 likes, and 43,000+ user-generated videos made by 34,000 unique creators.
Beyond social media advertising, the biggest brands on earth are already getting to work launching fully immersive ad experiences that stretch from the physical world into digital worlds and video game ecosystems. With the launch of Google’s Geospatial Creator, people with little to no coding abilities can now create world-anchored, immersive experiences in minutes. Thanks to tools like this, brands have more opportunity than ever to add their own spatial layer to the real world.
Leveraging Spatial Computing in Advertising & Marketing: Future Possibilities
While today’s spatial content is largely accessed through mobile phones, the future of spatial computing in advertising is boundless. Or more specifically … screenless.
As technology evolves, we can expect to see hyper-personalized ads that leverage these new technologies in highly creative ways.
Tired of seeing the same billboard on your way to work? Imagine your smart glasses swapping a static display for dynamic personalized messaging based on who is looking at it. AI content algorithms and computer vision can make this possible.
Need to repair your car? Open the 3D repair app and a customer service rep will walk you through the fix in 3D. They’ll call out exactly where and what you need to do and put a blinking outline around the specific pieces you need to fix.
Want to see a live concert from the comfort of your own home? Bring the performance into your kitchen and transform your counter into a 3D stage for the artist to dance across while you put dinner together.
We recently partnered with EMI Records, Epic Games, and WPP to experiment with a similar concept and brought Bastille's latest album to life as a VR experience on the Meta Quest 2. The experiment, which seamlessly blended Bastille's physical performance with virtual elements, created a totally unique, never-before-seen spatial music experience. As cool as it was, it's just the tip of the iceberg of what spatial experiences of the future will be.
The Benefits of Spatial Computing for Brands
Spatial computing offers a plethora of benefits for brands. In the immediate term, brands can create unique experiences that resonate with consumers on a personal level, which can lead to increased engagement, interactivity, and personalization. We already see this with the social AR effects we’re launching for brands on social media.
In the long term, spatial computing will help drive new best practice for fostering brand loyalty and gathering insights into customer behavior. By understanding how consumers interact with their virtual environments, brands can optimize their offerings in both the real world and the virtual world to meet customer needs more effectively. As spatial computing technology advances, these benefits are likely to become even more pronounced.
Spatial computing represents a significant opportunity for brands, particularly in the realm of advertising.
And it’s not pie in the sky – it’s actually already happening today.
By creating immersive, interactive experiences, brands can engage with their audience in entirely new ways. And as we move into the future, it's crucial for brands to consider how they can leverage spatial computing to stay ahead of the curve.
Want a partner who can help you make the most of the opportunities? Give us a shout.