Analyst Brief: What Do VR and AR Mean for Local?

Oculus Rift Consumer Edition

The biggest topic in the tech world today — and coming out of last month’s CES — is virtual reality (VR). Occulus Rift consumer units begin shipping next month and an entire value chain is forming, including the sector’s first industry association.

But what does it mean for local? In the past, we’ve speculated VR’s potential applicability to local discovery (think: Restaurant tours), or home services. Your plumber could diagnose your leaky faucet remotely in 3D. Brave new world.

And the discussion isn’t complete without VR’s cousin AR. Augmented reality could have even more applicability to local search & discovery, given that it overlays graphics on the real world.  And it could be more ripe for business models.

We’ve examined AR for years, but the difference — and the hard part — in today’s developments involve moving the interface from the smartphone to wearables that sit closer to your eye. But challenges abound, as Google Glass has learned.

In any case, it is an area that will move quickly and is worth watching for anyone in local media and advertising. We unpacked what you need to know in our Analyst Brief series. The latest episode is below.

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