The technology is getting smarter and doing more than we ask for it. In this post, we talk more about virtual reality and augmented reality and how companies can experiment with virtual customer experiences.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
When it comes to virtual reality and augmented reality, we may think primarily about games, entertainment, and geeky special interests. But VR and AR gadgets will be integrated into our life patterns and at a rapid pace, we will see more and more companies experimenting and developing interactive virtual environments for brand and products. Although technology is the most advanced in the gaming world, but we also see strong development in construction, care, and rehabilitation, pedagogy and education, fashion and training. But what is virtual reality and augmented reality, and what sets them apart? They have a lot in common but offer quite different experiences.
What is virtual reality?
In virtual reality, we are completely surrounded by the digital world. VR glasses close out all other fields of view that are not focused on the virtual world. The VR world presented to the user is either designed and created entirely with data simulation, or created from merged photographs. Therefore, the VR environment has no reference points to the physical environment the user is in. This total immersion causes VR to trigger sensory experiences, through sight, hearing, feeling, and smell.
What is augmented reality?
Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality aims to change and reinforce elements of what we see in front of us. Virtual objects and detailed information are added to our real-time visual impression, but we still see the physical environment around us.
Is it happening now?
Changing our immediate experiences of the surroundings has long been debated. It is a classic theme in science fiction and a common expectation of the future of technology. Previous ventures include IBM and Microsoft’s Star Trek-inspired Holodeck, Google’s 2013 Glasses and Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. None of the products received any major audience wind. (But no one has missed Nintendo’s revenge on Pokemon Go this summer). So what’s different now? The VR revolution really took off in August 2012, when Oculus Rift started its Kickstarter project.
In short, nearly $ 2.5 million had been raised and after eighteen months Facebook bought the company for $ 2 billion. Other heavy players who have invested in VR are Google, Sony, Samsung, HTC and Microsoft. Goldman Sach expects AR and VR to have the same rapid development as the PC and smartphone.
In the “worst” case, this is an $ 80 billion market in 2025. But the technology in and around the VR / AR units is being improved and developed for private use, rather it is a value of 180 billion. But in addition to high confidence and high hopes, we also have the technical opportunity to actually mass-produce VR and AR products. Still cruelly expensive, unfortunately, but still.
Create new brand experiences
Virtual reality and augmented reality trick our brains into experiencing things. We know they are not true, but still get physical reactions. We get scams when we see simulated high altitudes and we like to back when an animation gets too close. This astonishing experience is enticing and carries great opportunities. For companies, VR and AR can be used to give the recipient new experiences of a brand or product.
VR for companies
The imagination sets the limits on how VR can be used in market communication. But it is important to create a VR experience with specific goals. If this year’s goal is mainly to launch a product and drive sales, a product display may be relevant. Rather, it is about strengthening the brand, a storytelling-based company presentation is more relevant. Two methods of marketing with VR are 3DVR and Computer-generated worlds.
The VR360 uses multiple cameras to create a 360-degree image. The images are seamlessly joined together to form an image that completely encloses the field of view. Together with Samsung Electronics, Marriott Hotels has launched VR Postcards that showcase travel experiences in 360 degrees.
CGVR consists entirely of graphics and data-generated content. Designers and data animators have created virtual worlds, more or less independent of physical constraints. As a marketer, there is now room to connect products and companies to brand new surroundings and stories. One of the major benefits of CGVR is the ability to create interactive elements within virtual reality. With gloves and brackets attached to the VR glasses, the user can touch and use objects.
For marketing purposes, there will also be brand new ways of advertising within the virtual worlds. Virtual shopping centers or location-based products will become commonplace and users can shop directly in the VR environment. The segmentation opportunities that follow will probably be completely unique.
AR for business
Just like VR, AR will also provide breakthrough alternatives for companies to create interactive and tailor-made communication. Sales, marketing and support functions will be revolutionized when customers can apply digital modules themselves in their physical environment.
Faster product development
Being able to deploy a virtual prototype is perhaps the easiest AR application to see in front of you. AR ties together sketches, 3D models and the final product. Today, physical prototypes work best for presenting product design. With virtual prototypes, the manufacturer can interact and change the object in real-time, in collaboration with the client. This type of product development can create new interconnections between different internal teams. Faster modeling and design results in faster production chain.
So far, most products have only been available to customers in 2D. AR can deepen the interaction between a marketing campaign and the customer. By displaying products in 3D, the customer gets more information and can experience the properties of the object in a way that was previously impossible.
A lot of money has been invested in virtual reality and augmented reality and it won’t be long before we can interact with these technologies on a daily basis. Goldman Sachs has looked at what the market value for various industries will look like in 2025 with VR and AR.
Market development with VR and AR:
- Video Games Value: $ 11.6 billion Estimated users: 216 million
- Live events Value: $ 4.1 billion Estimated users: 95 million
- Video entertainment Value: $ 3.2 billion Estimated number of users: 79 million
- Retail Value: $ 1.6 billion Estimated users: 32 million
- Properties Value: $ 2.6 billion Estimated number of users: 0.3 million
- Education Value: $ 0.7 billion Estimated number of users: 15 million
- Healthcare Value: $ 5.1 billion Estimated number of users: 3.4 million
- Military Value: $ 1.4 billion Estimated number of users: 0.7 million
- Engineering Art Value: $ 4.7 billion Estimated number of users: 3.2 million
It is not difficult to imagine that virtual and augmented reality will also become more social products and that users and software will soon be able to interact with each other. Maybe we will create our own avatars and share experiences with each other remotely. We will probably be able to work, be entertained, exercise, travel, relax and socialize in virtual worlds rather than what we might be prepared for.