POV: Windows 10
Mindshare Point of View
Microsoft provided a view of what the near-future holds during the Windows 10 event that took place last Wednesday. The biggest focus of the event was its Windows 10 update called Creators, set to launch in early 2017. Microsoft boldly stated that “this update will do for 3D and ‘mixed reality’ what Gutenberg did for printing”. As such, the larger implications for marketers and brands are around a world of 3D - making the physical world around us digital and bringing 3D elements of our real world into a virtual experience. As companies such as Facebook, Google, and Samsung create products and experiences for a world of VR, Microsoft highlighted how consumers can create and experience this space in an affordable way.
DETAILS AND IMPLICATIONS:
There are three main areas of focus:
1: MIXED REALITY
Defined as including virtual reality, augmented reality and holograms. With the Windows 10 Creators update, anyone can create 3D objects by scanning them with an app and then uploading them into mixed reality, which will be powered by the Microsoft Edge Browser on a mixed reality headset (including Microsoft HoloLens).
The great news is that mixed reality will become more affordable to the masses. Companies such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer will deploy mixed reality headsets for Windows 10 Creators devices starting at $299. You only need a Windows 10 Creators OS to use one and there is no need to buy high-end computing work stations like you currently need to do with Oculus Rift.
During the presentation, Microsoft showcased an example of how mixed reality will help with home design. With your mixed reality headset, you can grab virtual home items from a web site and place them in your kitchen or living room to see how they would look. You can walk around them and if you really like the way they look you can purchase them.
In response to the growing phenomenon of eSports, Creators now includes the ability to broadcast your gaming experience with friends as standard. As competition is fierce in the gaming space, Microsoft also now allows you to create tournaments among friends in something called the ‘Arena’. Although this wasn’t specifically discussed at the event, in the future brands could work with Xbox in this space to sponsor local and national tournaments.
3: PEOPLE and COLLABORATION
What’s crucial for Microsoft products is allowing the most important people to send information to you and highlight when that information comes through. Cross-screen messaging and devices have a big role to play here, especially with products like Skype. The ability to capture and elevate connections and community are core. Microsoft showed off a 3D developer community, where anyone can upload 3D images and share and collaborate with others in mixed reality and online.
The main takeaway from the event was the ease and simplicity with which consumers and brands can create 3D experiences. Mixed reality should certainly be viewed as a growing opportunity for brands to interact with consumers offering truly unique and positive experiences. The affordability is also a big plus here – there’s no need to purchase additional computing power or a new phone for this. You only need a free download of Windows 10 Creators. It will certainly be interesting to see what Apple comes back with in response.