Here’s the Promise vs the Reality of AR & VR

The museum community has always explored and embraced fun and innovative ways to interact with visitors.  Especially since audio tours entered the scene back in the 1950s, museums have been experimenting with new technologies as a way to more creatively and effectively engage their audiences. Today, as museums and galleries continue to branch out, they are finding smartphones and apps to be an exciting way to connect with their visitors, and broader audiences, even from the comfort of their own homes.

One of the latest and most talked-about ways for people to enjoy the cross-over between art and technology are Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. VR is perhaps the more recognizable of the two, with the current state-of-the-art being big goggles that cover your eyes and ears and take you into another dimension. AR is actually turning out to be the more practical and readily available solution since anyone who has a smartphone can use it.  If you are wondering what AR is, think of it as a way to bring a real physical environment to life on your screen with layers of digital augmentation visible on top of it. For instance, some museums have apps where you point your mobile device at an object and you’ll see on your screen both the object you’re pointing at, and layered on top of it, background information about the artist, the object, and a carousel of other works by that artist.

While VR and AR solutions are wonderful ways to connect with your audience, they’re often very involved and cost-prohibitive to design, develop and maintain, especially for small to medium-sized museums and galleries. Thankfully, there are other solutions that get you most of the way there, but with far less demand on your limited time and resources.

CultureSpots is of course one such solution, and we believe, the most appropriate, effective and capable one for the vast majority of museums and galleries today.  With CultureSpots, you can rapidly publish intuitively-organized tours for your visitors that optionally include images, audio, text and links to anything else online (ex: videos, webpages, social media content, e-commerce storefronts, etc).  CultureSpots makes it super easy to get up and running quickly, with the control and flexibility you need to keep everything updated and relevant in real-time, all while keeping your costs way down, and visitor engagement up, since anyone with a smartphone can access it anytime, anywhere.  It’s all on the Mobile Web so that neither museums nor visitors have to download any new software/apps – it’s all online and available via any browser. All visitors have to do is point their smartphone camera at a little sticker on the wall, or enter a short URL, and POOF your tour content pops up!

If you’re interested in setting up a tour on CultureSpots or need help finding a way to reach your audience better, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens