Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile trade show, took place a few weeks ago. As usual, there were plenty of big announcements to excite the mobile world.

The key topic that crossed over from hardware brands to social channels was virtual reality and how it is evolving.

Virtual reality was, at one time, far off in the future, but it was clear at the MWC event that most of the technology behind VR is becoming more accessible. Also, people are becoming more accustomed to the vivid experiences.

Virtual reality, a technology touted by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, was a hot topic at the Mobile World Congress this year.
Virtual reality, a technology touted by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, was a hot topic at the Mobile World Congress this year.

With Samsung releasing Gear VR and Google beginning to sell VR in the Google Play Store, it’s clear it’s becoming available to the masses at an accessible entry point. With Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg showing his support for the technology, we are likely to see this in a lot more mainstream situations.

The future of VR is, therefore, not just confined to the gaming world as it once was, and there are massive opportunities to transform consumer experiences and even business meetings.

Alongside VR, 360-degree cameras were also a massive announcement from Sony to Samsung at MWC, as well as recent news that GoPro recently spent US$105m on Replay and Splice, two video-editing companies. These strategic acquisitions help address the challenge of content filmed on GoPro devices that has been difficult to edit and share.

As these new technologies become more involved in daily experiences, consumers will come to expect brands to be communicating to them through this medium. Therefore, brands need to consider VR as a new channel to interact with their audiences and ensure their advertising is relevant and not intrusive.

VR is just one element that made up a packed event in Barcelona, but one that mobile specialists and brands alike need to take note of and apply to their communications strategy before they are left behind. It’s important for brands to consider that VR needs to be used for the right moment, using the right tools, rather than just a novelty.

It will be interesting to see what brands get this right in 2016 and beyond!