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In Part two of our wrap up on “Cutting the Cord on traditional broadcasting” session we want to explore more detail around VR or Virtual Reality and AR, Alternate Reality also known as Augmented Reality as they could potentially apply to Live Streaming to a ministry’s online campus. Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality are Defined as used in (Fan Fiction for similar reality with a different version of events, as well as AU, Alternate Universe which is based in a different time & place).

Augmented Reality is defined as a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.  Several camera manufacturers like Nokia and GoPro are building 360 cameras to capture and process content in all directions to provide a realistic multi-dimensional representation of being in a specific space or environment. Consumers can already go online to select and visualize pieces of furniture in their home. Gamers have been playing local and online games in AR for several years. As technology advances, we will continue seeing more VR and AR enhance everyday living.

Virtual Reality is making great strides in the online space. Facebook purchased Oculus to leverage spherical videos in their news feeds. In the short span of 5 years Facebook went from text only to the posting of images, then video-on-demand and most recently Live Video and VR is not far behind. Virtual Reality is defined as “…a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body” or as an “immersive, interactive experience generated by a computer”.

AR and VR could prove another great way to enhance the engagement of online viewers as ministry continues searching for new ways to make their online campus attendees feel more immersed in the worship experience.  As costs of production equipment, software and bandwidth continue to come down, and consumer adoption rates increase, either technology could prove to be a positive impact for online ministry growth. Anytime a church can enhance the online experience it will make the viewer desire to physically attend and experience the real deal.  Just like sporting events and concerts, as long as ministry delivers an exceptional worship experience, viewing on a mobile device or flat screen can never replace the real thing.  The key is compelling content and flawless delivery.