5 reasons the UK is leading the immersive revolution
Professor Andrew Chitty, Director of the ISCF’s Audience of the Future challenge, gives 5 reasons why he thinks the UK is placed to make the most of emerging immersive experiences.
Professor Andrew Chitty
1. Creative talent from start to finish
“From the moment an idea is conceived to its execution, the UK is world-class at creating intellectual property. The Harry Potter franchise is a great example – a global phenomenon worth an estimated $25 billion (around £19 billion), and it all started with a children’s book written in a café in Edinburgh.
"There is no single reason why for such a small country, we have such a big impact on the global creative market. Rather, it is a host of elements that have come together to foster a productive, creative climate. We’re not just great at publishing, but our museums, galleries and broadcasting are all world-renowned. We have world-class performers, designers and special effects teams.
"All this means that people around the world are investing in making films in the UK. They’re also attracted by our infrastructure, facilities and supportive tax regime. It would be hard to point to another sector of the economy that’s as globally competitive as our creative industry, and this all means we’re extremely well placed to bring immersive technology into our ways of working.”
2. Creative industries driving technology innovation
“The UK’s strong creative industries are driving the development of technology by articulating the changes they need to see. Here, rather than big companies developing technology which the creative industries have to learn to use, the creative industries are dictating their needs and expectations. It’s a different kind of collaboration which gives the creative industries agency, as well as that innovation is driven by strong user cases.
"Immersive experiences have the potential to revolutionise all aspects of the creative process in the UK, in particular production. Designers can use immersion to create production design for feature films, and directors can co-create alongside writers in a world they’ve created. Decisions will be made live, rather than back-fitted in post-production, and that’s a huge change for the industry. It’s one we’re ready for and are already embracing.”
3. World-class research base
“The UK’s creative technology research groups have been growing over the last few years, developing closer links with creative industries both in the UK and worldwide. We have a world-class basis of solid applied research to build on, where creative industries businesses have set a challenge, and researchers have responded. And that’s recognised globally.
"The Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Creative Economy Programme demonstrated the importance of a strong research base in the creative sector, acting as a pilot for the Audience of the Future programme.
"Now, with the Audience of the Future challenge and the creative clusters, we’re moving to the next level. These programmes are turbo-charging R&D and innovation in the creative industries, so that these sectors can be even more successful.”
4. Bringing the audience along
“There’s no point in innovating if you’re not going to bring your audience along with you. Programmes like the Audience of the Future demonstrator projects create a changed audience experience – developing genuine ‘things’ that people will be able to experience.
"The UK’s creative industries recognise that the timeframe is crucial if we want to succeed in changing audience experiences. In the next 18 months, we need to ensure that people will be able to experience these things for themselves, and that’s what the demonstrator projects are aiming to do.”
5. Joining up with other industries
“One of the most exciting things about creating these new, immersive experiences is that they create opportunities in other sectors. From education to medicine, healthcare, construction and training, these will all benefit from the developments taking place in the creative industries. In fact, immersive experiences are already being used to train surgeons right here in the UK. This could be huge in the healthcare industry, which is moving more towards self-care. Its biggest challenge is engaging patients, which we can help with.”
"The UK’s creative industries are uniquely placed to support these industries because we understand how to gain peoples’ attention, how to engage an audience and how to tell a story. We have huge experience in recruiting users. And that’s what audiences are in any sector: people you’ve recruited and engaged."