Fb Fellow Highlight: Pushing the boundaries of immersive experiences with augmented actuality
Every year, PhD students from around the world apply for the Facebook Fellowship, a program designed to encourage and support promising PhD students doing innovative and relevant research in computer science and engineering at an accredited university.
As part of our Fellowship Spotlight series, we highlight the Facebook Fellow 2020 Bill Fritz.
Bill is a fourth year graduate student in marketing at the University of Oxford, where he is a member of Saïd Business School and Green Templeton College. His dissertation is supervised by Andrew Stephen and Rhonda Hadi, and his research focuses on the impact of immersive technology on consumer behavior.
At first glance, Bill’s subject may seem unique among the Facebook Fellows. He himself admits that his path to a doctorate was quite unconventional. While studying at Prelaw, Bill took a number of alternative dispute resolution courses that piqued his curiosity.
“The courses really opened my eyes to alternative ways of helping people solve their problems out of court,” he says. “I realized that if we understand how and why people do the things they do, there is an opportunity to come to a solution that could improve their lives.”
This interest in human behavior led him to become a research fellow at a New York startup focused on improving the effectiveness of charitable giving. “My work at the startup showed me how technology and human behavior overlap,” he recalls. “How we can use technology to complement behavior and use technology to do good.”
At its core, Bill’s research is about: examining how immersive technologies affect consumer behavior and using that knowledge as a means of social improvement. This led to him completing a master’s degree in negotiation and conflict resolution and continuing his interest in a doctorate.
“I considered many different types of PhD programs, but ultimately decided that one in marketing that focused on consumer behavior was a perfect fit for my passion,” he says. “It was really a moment when the circle came full circle – studying consumer behavior allows me to use my creative, investigative, experiential, and problem-solving skills to better understand why people behave and make their judgments, and technology Consider interventions that can be used to improve people’s lives. “
Through the Facebook Research Fellowship, Bill is funding his research on consumer behavior in connection with big brands like Facebook, KitKat and Perrier. His current work focuses on immersive marketing – in particular, he examines how immersive technologies like AR and VR can influence behavior through the use of spatial audio anchored to a digital artifact.
Bill says, “I asked myself, ‘How can we do this work to create value and influence? How can we contribute to marketing? ‘”The answers to these questions put his research at the forefront as he explores how spatial audio can be used to create more natural, intimate immersive experiences.
To learn more about Bill Fritz and his research, visit his Fellowship Profile.