12 innovations around Christmas - 5: Connecting to family

A common part of the lead up to Christmas is writing a letter to old friends and distant family. Details of the family happenings filled up letterboxes across the country. For some, it’s as simple as love and best wishes in a Christmas card. Letting others know we are thinking about them. Well wishes and love from the family still flow today, but how much has this changed?

Advances in electronic communication, even since the year 2000 have changed the way we interact with the world and those around us. The post brekky phone call from Aunt May interstate is still alive in some households, but we seem to be shifting towards more electronic ways to communicate. Does an email suffice at holiday time?

These days, it seems a birthday card or Christmas wishes have been replaced by a text, a post on Facebook or pics sent through Snapchat. The simplicity of these tools allows people to connect across the world, without the need for a physical address. The message or photo is instant - no more waiting for the mail to arrive. A digital address for people to connect to you only needs an internet connection and an account.

There are always predictions about the ways we will communicate in the future. Two big concepts that are making headway into the public realm are Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

Virtual Reality allows people to fully immerse themselves into another world without travel.. Products like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are examples of what is happening in the VR world. Showing the potential value of VR, Facebook, currently the world’s largest social media company bought Oculus VR the maker of Oculus Rift in 2014 for USD $2 billion.

Augmented Reality is similar in nature to VR, but overlays onto the real world, through devices like our mobile phone or tablet. If you have seen or played Pokemon Go, then you have witnessed some of what AR can do.

Highlighting the value of names in branding and marketing these products, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Facebook, Snapchat and Pokemon Go are all trade mark applications or registered trade marks with IP Australia and can be found through our trade mark search tool, ATMOSS.

Would you consider spending time in a VR or AR environment to connect with friends and family during Christmas? Does it allow the connection you want from these events?

16 December 2016