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Can we trust our senses in the future?

What is real, what is virtual? At the moment we can still tell the difference…

Virtual and augmented reality: the potential is  a promising potential, but where it will lead us is difficult to assess. So much is certain: Virtual and Augmented Reality will have a lasting change on our lives.



"Beam me up, Scotty". We may have to wait a while for teleportation (that said, it already works at quantum level). The good old Holodeck from "Starship Enterprise", on the other hand, is already knocking on our door.


Virtual Reality - which is basically a contradiction in terms - will significantly change our (media-related) perception. And not only that. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will have a significant influence on future developments. In the broader sense, Augmented Reality describes the augmentation or extension of  human perception by computers. In the narrower sense it usually refers to fading in additional visual information or objects. Bringing these two worlds together is often referred to as "Mixed Reality" (MR). This is where Virtual Reality differs significantly: VR completely excludes the real world and replaces it with a virtual visual and acoustic world. The viewer jumps into a new world, so to speak (immersion). The THOMSEN GROUP International Strategy Consultants have - alone on the basis of their contextual and strategic alignment - always turned their attention to new technologies, societal developments and to what will matter to us 50 years from now. For instance, we were the first strategy consultants to have a 3D printer in the office to understand and move with the technology right from the start. 


But what can we expect from virtual and augmented reality? The technology is as yet still in its infancy. One can get an impression of what might be possible in the coming years by comparing a good old 24-needle printer from the 1980s with a high-performance 1200 DPI colour laser inkjet printer of today. 

A number of interesting areas of application in addition to the gaming industry, which was the first to make use of VR, are already on the horizon. "Immersive Journalism", a term that has been bandied around for a few years, could find the perfect stage in VR. "Immersive Journalism" means providing people with a much closer and personal impression of a situation than photos, texts or videos ever could. The viewer is "live" at the scene, can experience events directly and therefore get a better feel for the situation. This is where VR becomes an empathy machine. Cinema will experience a new dimension. In the VR future the 3D blockbusters of today will appear like lame ducks when we fight alongside the Na'vi against the evil colonialists in Avatar 3.


There are - surprise! - many other usage scenarios in addition to applications in entertainment and journalism. VR and AR will also herald in a new era in sales. Mountaineering sports manufacturer Mammut is already using the beginnings of VR in its "Project 360". And Audi will soon you let you sit in your new car and configure the vehicle in the comfort of your own home. The possibilities really are endless. Whether it's Marriott's "Teleporters" that allow people in Los Angeles to explore the streets of London or the beaches of Hawaii or the travel agent's office where any destination can be "visited" before embarking on the journey. Medical technology, engineering, industry, education and communication - VR and AR will revolutionise many different areas. It is not by chance that Mr. Zuckerberg spent 2 billion dollars on acquiring Oculus…

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