You know aside from the independent, I love to read the Daily Mail’s travel section. And these day with the move to fully digital, I get my near daily dose of reading as I get on my way to work on the train.
Today; this is what piqued me. Google treks (click here to read the article).
You know I use google maps a lot. A LOT. Cannot emphasize it more. Why? Because its there and we very frequently pick up driving destinations from it on our road trips. Besides, it has a street view which can be really useful to identify landmarks while driving in a foreign country.
Now, you can do the same with trekking. Thanks to Thai triathlete Panupong Luangsa-ard, there is now so many places off the beaten track as they say – in our case off the road, that are available now virtually. And as the community of trekkers who join Luangsa-ard to lug around this laborious looking equipment around, surely one day google will be able to map out an experience for us all.
Just last week I posted this piece (click here to read) on digitization and specifically on virtual travel. Now this is really taking it one more level higher. I can envision now a convergence of VR technologies and content taking place in the not so distant future. One in which the travels and travails of the real adventurers feed a cocooned virtual audience.
You know there is this theory about disruptive technology (probably as real as it can be since it has occurred so many times), one in which a seeming innocuous innovation creates new markets and value propositions that disrupts an existing one. Many times to the point it kills the existing – remember film photography going the way of the dinos?
VR and the digitization of travel is one such potential for disruptive impact on real physical world travel. Why would we say that? For one, the merger of VR with content portends the potential for travel experiences to be sold as entertainment. And when this entertainment is in the hand of the masses, it becomes commoditized. What this potentially leads to is a dilution of the raison d’être for anyone seeking that real exotic travel journey experience. Not when anyone can do so by putting on your VR gear.
Yes there will always be some that remain unconverted – us included.
But you know as a whole (gaming) generation grows up with the imbued belief that VR is as normal as breathing, values will more likely than not shift.