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As the Mobile World Congress 2017 fast approaches, we have been reminiscing on the highlights and technical innovations that were showcased at last year’s MWC. Year on year, new pioneering technologies are presented as the ‘next big thing’ but the rise doesn’t always live up to the hype after Barcelona.

Virtual Reality

If you attended the event last year, you will recall that virtual reality (VR) took a prime position in the new technology showcase, with promises to solve huge problems that marketers have around brand engagement and awareness. Even Mark Zuckerberg incorporated virtual reality into this Key Note presentation stating, “VR is the next platform, where anyone can create anything they want”.

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VR is an experience that allows people to be completely immersed in the content that they are being shown, allowing them to focus on the message. The impact will be greater on the individual as it evokes strong emotions that are linked to real life behaviour. In addition, our brains are configured to remember events linked to locations, which makes VR the ideal solution to make a marketing campaign memorable when utilising familiar surroundings.

MWC16 led the commercial introduction to virtual reality, with key displays from Samsung and HTC to name a few. 2016 has seen exciting developments throughout the year by many global brands beginning to integrate VR into their marketing strategy. We have compiled a few interesting uses of virtual reality that have caught our eye in 2016.

VR is being used as a tactic to demonstrate attributes and features, especially in the automotive industry. With 80% of people looking to buy a car using some form of digital process according to Accenture Global Survey, it has become essential for the automotive to connect with their audience and show aspirational lifestyles in different ways. Jaguar Land Rover held the first ever virtual reality launch of the Jaguar I-PACE Concept where HTC Vive users can experience the reveal moment through a VR app.

The Indian car manufacturer Tata Motors are set to open 5D virtual reality showrooms to provide customers with simulated virtual test rides. Other brands such as BMW, Audi, and Jaguar Land Rover are looking to include VR in their marketing and retail strategies in the next year.

The sporting world has also been an avid participant in the growth of VR. Headsets are being used for players to improve their skills in an extension to the traditional on-the-field practice. As well as players using VR, customers can now buy tickets to VR NBA and NFL matches with NextVR claiming that it is ‘the next best thing to being there’.

At the end of 2016, famous Chelsea captain John Terry launched his VR Football Academy allowing users to tour the Chelsea dressing room as well as get tips and advice. Manchester City have also released a brand new football-watching experience for their fans to enjoy the highlights of the most immersive fixtures.

An interesting use of VR has been the ‘No Small Talk’ series, the BBC’s first VR talk show. This experience allows young women to sit in a conversation between Cherry Healey and Emma Gannon about the big ideas that underpin daily life. This move could see VR being incorporated into our daily entertainment on a larger scale than just marketing.

What next?

Predictions for this year’s MWC have started and it looks like the Internet of Things and Smart Homes will continue to be hot topics, we’ve even heard that ‘Hearables’ will be one to watch this year. Other speculations predict mobile phone launches from LG, Nokia, Huawei and Sony as well as gadget launches covering a whole range of technologies from AI to Drones.
We’re heading out to the MWC 2017 in Barcelona on the 26th February for the sixth year in a row. Watch out for our updates from the event and we can see if the predictions live up to the hype!

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