Sports Illustrated Brings Its Latest Issue to Life Using AR/VR
UPDATED 5/4/17: SI has stated that they won't be augmenting its Swimsuit Edition. Although, this could be a sign that the company may do so in the future. If they already have all the tech set up for the latest feature, then they are already half way ready to augment other SI editions. So get ready SI fans and download the designated Life VR app, because you are going to need it to point it at these specially marked SI pages.
AOL, the Verizon subsidiary that secretly seems to own lots of unrelated companies, also owns a pretty cool media AR/VR company. One that is all set to help you view the latest edition of Sports Illustrated "Capturing Everest" in a lively new way.
RYOT Labs is AOL's first step into next reality. The media company wants its subsidiary to bring you branded AOL augmented and virtual content, starting with the magazine that loves to keep your attention focused on none other than its leading ladies.
To be clear, this isn't going to be one of those silly QR code readers that no one ever knows what to do with.
According to RYOT co-founder and CEO Bryn Mooser, in a statement to Variety, think of the image itself as the QR code.
If that sounds way too next level for you, then just imagine pointing your phone at that infamous cover photo of Kate Upton and watching her turn into your own movable hologram adorned with Snapchat-esque filters. Gets you thinking, right?
Mooser goes on to note that AOL wants to lessen the gap between print and digital. RYOT has also been experimenting with AR enhancements for Elle and Cosmopolitan, and wants to continue bridging the print divide with other Time Inc. titles by using the Life VR app. This tag team of Time and AOL/RYOT makes a ton of sense, Time used to be a corporate sibling of AOL before both companies were spun off from Time Warner. (Which itself is in the process of potentially merging with AT&T.)
Not to be left out, parent company Verizon got into the picture too by providing RYOT Labs with what was, according to Variety, "some technology help." So, that sounds super vague. We reached out to RYOT for clarification but did not hear back as this article was published.
It is a possibility that the Life VR app may provide some competition for other augmented devices out there, such as the Microsoft HoloLens. While extra fun, the HoloLens is a separate device that an everyday consumer might not always want to carry around. Either for practical reasons or because it'd be super weird to wear one on the subway. The Life VR app, on the other hand, is something that requires you to use the same device you use every day anyway — your smartphone. No extra work or equipment needed!