Susan Cummings, Richard Saggers and Andrew Chitty

The frontier of future formats

Immersive Storytelling-Hero

When there isn’t a vocabulary for what you’re doing, you know you’re onto something special.

This is where Susan Cummings and Richard Saggers from Fictioneers – trailblazers in immersive storytelling – find themselves.

Fictioneers has created a unique storytelling methodology and software framework that allows creators to design, assemble, simulate, and publish immersive real time storytelling experiences. Dubbed a new marketing frontier by Forbes – immersive storytelling is a broad term that refers to augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR), which are combining to captivate people’s imaginations in new and innovative ways.

Susan Cummings, Richard Saggers and Andrew Chitty, UK Research and Innovation’s Challenge Director for audience of the future, explain what immersive storytelling is and how businesses can use it regularly to enhance everyday lives.

Immersive Experiences

Our guests are also on hand to demonstrate where strides forward are being taken, namely in retail, healthcare and automotive. “Retail has certainly been leading the charge and becoming more experiential in terms of starting to use augmented reality and making it more of an experience as opposed to just shopping,” says Susan Cummings, and Andrew Chitty adds that “Healthcare adjusted fantastically quickly to the use of augmented reality in training, so expect to see pharmaceutical products with augmented reality boxes – as a standard you pass your mobile over them and they tell you things about them.”

Customer experience is another area every brand wants to enhance and when it comes to immersive storytelling, Richard Saggers sees there being great potential: “Say I’ve ordered a car and I’m going to get it in two months’ time. If I can be engaged by a brand in the story of that car, in the story of the building of my car, if I can engage in the narrative experience rather than just waiting for my car to arrive in 60 days’ time then I’m going to have a very different engagement with that brand.”

And as we begin to plan for post-pandemic life, events are another area that harbour huge interest in this space. “Most of us won’t be able to get to the World Cup or to the Olympics, so what’s the home experience that we can have where we get to feel like we’re a part of it, and not just watching it on television?” asks Susan Cummings, “Or imagine if Marvel launched a new Avengers film with a story over a week that leads to something happening in Times Square and you need to get there and be involved? We’re building augmented reality to be distributed in video and on social media so this is all about the glue that binds everything together and takes users on a shareable journey.”

Of course, not everyone can get to somewhere like Times Square, which is where immersive storytelling’s broad appeal shines through; it has the ability to foster a community that feels fully involved and is able to interact irrespective of geography or location.