Speaking via live stream at NewImages Festival on Thursday, Tony Parisi, global head of AR/VR ad innovation at Unity Technologies, and one of virtual reality pioneers, made his point clear: real-time technologies that entertain us today will be used to help us work and communicate in the future.
During his keynote speech “The Real-Time Revolution Is Here,” Parisi noted that while VR is reinventing storytelling, it’s also being used to help people learn, train, build and be productive, and with AR, digital content can be seamlessly integrated into the real world. “These two technologies taken together, they are the future. It sounds like a far-flung future, but the fact is that it’s all happening today,” he said.
The world is changing, he said, moving from content that’s still, static and asynchronous into real-time, dynamic, high-production value 3D graphics. “There are very few people using digital devices today who did not grow up on them. Kids are used to virtual and augmented reality games and stories. And yet the tools most folks are using in most businesses, including entertainment, are mired in late 1990s, early 2000s paradigms. Unity is here to change that.”
Mentioning the platform’s successes, Parisi added: “We asked ourselves what are the kinds of tools we would need to power industries outside of gaming. When you have a hammer, everything can look like a nail, but the fact is that the video-gaming development platforms are designed for video gaming. The second thing we started to think about was the user’s journey.” Going through examples like Pokemon Go, made with a Unity engine, “Dr. Seuss’s ABC – An Amazing AR Alphabet!” App, Wallace & Gromit’s first venture into augmented reality with “The Big Fix-Up,” or even the collaboration between IV Studio, Nike and House of Hoops on four commercial spots, delivered on time also thanks to real-time techniques, he said: “First, it can cut costs, second, it can greatly accelerate the time it takes to produce your final result. But it’s more than just saving time and money. You can experiment. It opens up new venues for creativity.”
For live events too, the technology is having an impact, as proven by John Legend’s concert on the virtual music platform Wave. “In these challenging times, it gives creators and producers a way to be fruitful, productive, and gain a living. This is incredible and we are just seeing the beginning of it.” But, as Parisi also pointed out, the question everyone has been asking is as follows: Is it going to stick? “There are a couple of indicators that this could be hitting big time,” he said, mentioning “Crow: The Legend.” “It was an incredible piece of VR created by our friends at Baobab [Studios] featuring top talent like John Legend and Oprah Winfrey. It won four [Daytime] Emmy awards. This is an incredible achievement.”
But while the technology is already changing entertainment, it’s also about how these tools are going to be used for everything else in the future. Like Unity Reflect, used by an architecture firm in New York. “I don’t know if you have ever done home renovation, but these folks are pretty traditional. So to see a building crew and general contractors excited about real-time technology… They were talking to a reporter from the New York Times, and this fellow showed him the interactive iPad application. He brought the reporter to a stack of blueprints, and said: “This is the way we have to do it today. Someday I hope we can do it that way [pointing at the digital devices].” This is just one way in which real-time technology is helping people to get the job done. The world is going real-time 3D and Unity is here for it.”
The 3rd edition of the festival wraps on Sept. 27.