Immersive experts: Q and A with Mike Harris

Ahead of our Remixing Reality Studio Session, Head of Immersive Mike Harris shares his story and explores the big question:

Why is the centre-ground of learning shifting to immersive?

Hi Mike! Can you tell us a bit about your background in immersive tech?

My track record in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) goes back six years. My experience in that time comprises researching, scoping, overviewing and delivering projects, creating operational processes as well as outsourced production and content partnerships.

I progressed from a web and mobile app production company to heading up the delivery of client campaigns for the then emerging Augmented reality company Blippar. I was there for four years during which time I moved from London to New York, engaging with a huge variety of clients discussing the adoption of new technologies and areas of evolution.

Since then I have worked at Inition with my previous (and now current!) colleague Olivia, where I was developing innovative immersive tech experiences including VR and AR, projection mapping, installations and experiential campaigns.

Most recently I worked alongside the team at Imagination, creating AR and AI campaigns for Jaguar Land Rover’s global auto shows.

What was your first, best or most memorable encounter with immersive content?

My first memory of AR was triggering a $5 bill when researching blippar. The app changed the five dollar bill into a public campaign for Barack Obama during the 2012 US presidential election.

My first contact with VR was Catatonic, a Horror Experience that put you in a stereotypical 1940s psychiatric hospital. It reminded me of a game I use to play as a child with my grandparents, where I would be blindfolded and they would tell a scary story and get me to interact with things with touch and taste. I was really interested in how the tech convinced me of certain feelings and sensations, even though I knew they weren’t real. I could immediately tell that was powerful.

Why did you decide to take what you’d learned in your career into the field of L&D?

I wanted to move into a sector that offered benefit to users and engage a wider audience. Technology is forever finding its next best purpose, and here we have the opportunity to actively create its path.

When we talk about the evolution of technology, we need to understand the way it catalyses change, offering extraordinary new business capabilities – when applied appropriately.

The impact of that growth needs to be aligned up front, so that the technology can advance in ways that create the best benefits and the best results for learning, collaboration and performance in the workplace.

How does immersive change the way we produce digital learning content?

These technologies can be your safe place to foster a disruptive mindset to engage your audience. We are pushing the boundaries to create content that is accurate and visible from a first- and third-person perspective enabling users to really engage with and adhere to scenarios that are useful to them and change the way they work.

What do you think the future holds for immersive learning content, one, five or ten years from now?

This is some way ahead, but it’s not too early to start thinking about the emergence of a post-digital world. We as a society are nearing a turning point in digital enterprise, where more businesses will have completed their digital transformations than not.

Digital-era technology, which emerged as a differentiating advantage years ago, is now expected from every business. It really is the new normal.

But its impact is still changing the relationship between businesses and society, and the expectations of individual people. These technologies are here and more and more content is becoming accessible as the larger hardware and software entities evolve.

Growth reports indicate these technologies are not likely to go anywhere any time soon and will only get stronger…..


To join Mike at our next Immersive Learning Studio Session on June 25th, register via the form below:

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