How can virtual and augmented reality help you improve your business? Generally speaking, the potential of the two fast evolving technologies of today can be summed up like this: VR replaces the real world and AR adds to the real world. The evolution of these technologies leads to a decrease in prices and growth of accessibility to businesses of all sizes. VR and AR are growing out of being just part of a game industry into the field of corporate business. These technologies can influence a wide range of fields and potentially enhance efficiency, decrease expenses, and generally transform the way companies do business.
Before diving into specifics of use of AR and VR in business, consider an expert’s take on the future financial benefit from implementing virtual and augmented reality technologies.
Juniper research provided us with market study that showed that by 2019 the revenues for enterprises and industrial markets adopting AR/VR technology will be $2.4 billion. In comparison to 2014, when the revenues amounted to $247 million, we can observe a spectacular growth. Juniper predicts that business interest in AR will grow, but until the next decade, the integration won’t be so fast. Therefore, companies should figure out now how AR and VR technologies can help them improve their affairs.
Augmented and virtual realities are going to change business, as we know it today. The fundamental advantage remains AR/VR development for smartphones and tablets, because it leads to affordable hardware and intuitive understanding of these technologies. Maybe, in the future, evolution of these technologies will reach to senses like touch and smell.
Real estate embraces virtual and augmented realities
Real estate companies can improve the way customers experience home search, purchase, building and selling with the help of augmented and virtual realities. VR and AR technologies can improve your real estate business by giving customers the opportunity to see a sufficient number of places without actually having to go there. These technologies are way more efficient than just photos and videos, they let your customers walk around, research the space and imagine possible furniture arrangements.
Why should real estate be virtual
Real estate experts use VR to let customers tour all kinds of properties from all over the world by wearing simple VR headset and experiencing simulation of that property. Different applications can present a great variety of features, so a potential buyer not only walks the property but can also open doors and move furniture.
Therefore, VR experience is very interesting and immersive for a potential buyer, it is also a powerful tool for showcasing homes and expanding the pool of customers.
Augmented real estate – a new level of construction
AR is able to bring unique experiences for each part of the real estate industry. Augmented reality can become a great addition to standard procedures from the early steps of constructing a project to the final steps of marketing and selling.
With AR technology it is possible to design real-life, interactive home models which could present construction or renovation. Therefore, customers can start to customize property before buying process. In addition, the ability to interact with these 3D models and not flat pictures leads to a great ROI for real estate enterprises.
For example, the company Matterport not only made it simple to capture real-life spaces in 3D, but also made it easy to access through the virtual reality app. They presented a virtual scanning device that lowers the cost of three-dimensional construction. The unit from Matterport lets you tour the space from your mobile device or VR headset.
So let’s recap the benefits. AR and VR technology in real estate allows to:
- Lower the cost. These technologies can replace scale models, simplify the reconstruction and redesign.
- Provide worldwide reach. Anyone from all over the world can view your property with VR immersive experience.
- Customize every surface. Anything can be changed for a specific buyer: walls, flooring, fabrics, counters, and even furniture models and layout. So the property becomes a dream home.
- Capture every angle. With VR, a user can tour your property, not only inside of it, but also outside.
Reality technology is a lifeline for retailers
Integration of VR and AR into e-commerce is bringing us to the next level of online shopping. The opportunities are endless: virtual bookstores, groceries, boutiques, and furniture stores. Pretty much any field of e-commerce can use these technologies. VR is the future of retail and will help reconcile e-commerce with brick-and-mortar.
Your competition may already be using VR and AR
Let’s take a closer look at the existing VR/AR e-commerce arrangement:
- IKEA AR app. This particular app can fit the furniture from IKEA catalog into a buyer’s home. All that customers need to do is choose a desired piece of furniture and direct the smartphone’s camera towards the living space where they want it to be. The app will place the life-sized objects into your room. This way, a customer can look at more options and choose the product that will satisfy their needs.
- Topshop Kinect Dressing Rooms. In order to create an AR dressing room, Topshop has collaborated with Kinect. With this technology, it is possible to try out a garment without actually putting it on – a customer just needs to look at the “mirror” and instantly sees the result. This saves plenty of time for those who are in a constant hurry. As a result, Topshop attracts more customers.
- Shisedio Makeup Mirror. This technology helps women to try out different makeup looks without actually making up their faces. It takes a picture of a customer’s face and then shows what different products will look like.
- Sayduck Furniture Visualizer. Sayduck released an app that shows life-sized products though the camera on a smartphone. Customers are able to ‘place’ the items anywhere inside their homes and see for themselves how they look.
- Converse Shoe Sampler. This iPhone App uses AR to let buyers try on shoes just by pointing their smartphones at their feet. When a customer finds the right fit, s/he can buy it directly through the app.
- FaceCake app. The VR app scans a user and creates their digital copy that then appears on the screen. This app allows users to try out all kinds of products: clothes, cosmetics, accessories and more.
VR/AR in e-commerce – success is not a secret
Here are some advantages of VR and AR in e-commerce:
- Store location does not matter. With virtual stores, you do not need an actual construction. No energy costs, no rent. That is right, virtual stores do not require energy, therefore, your money is saved.
- No actual permanent employees are necessary.
- More customers. People who usually do not have time to actually go to the store and try out products are now able to do so.
- It creates engaging personal experience for clients. Integration of VR/AR technology brings a unique and fascinating feel to the whole process of shopping, so customers will be most definitely interested in trying out your proposal.
- Try out more items. With VR, customers are able to try out more items then they usually would, so it increases the chances of actual purchase and inspires customers to buy more.
- The right choice. This possibility of tying out more items the chance of buying the most suited one is increasing.
- Decrease of returns. With the ability to actually try out products, online shops can minimize returns.
Big opportunities for small businesses in VR/AR technologies
Candidate interviews will never be the same
Interviewing candidates can be really challenging if the people are located in another country or city. Therefore, VR comes in handy. In a virtual conference room, you can meet your candidate face to face and actually see how he reacts to certain questions and analyze his body language. This way you can get the most accurate impression of personality of your candidates without having them come to you.
By using VR training sessions, you can minimize time and costs usually spent on teaching a new hire. The training program can be recorded once and then used multiple times. This type of training lets employees interact with objects and other people. This particular method can even lead to employees being better trained.
VR meetings cut down expenses
Nowadays companies spend as much as $31,6 billion on international travel yearly. Some small businesses can’t afford it. One solution to this problem is virtual reality meetings. You can attend a face-to-face meeting without the need to leave your office, or conduct more meetings so as to get more good deals. It not only saves you money but also time.
Marketing grows strong influence with AR and VR
Here are some reasons to go augmented in marketing strategy:
- Noticeable and unique technology. Today these technologies are still considered an innovation, so in order to attract your customers and provide them with fascinating personal experiences you can use AR and VR. This way you can outsmart your competitors and highlight yourself from the rest of them.
- Augmented reality brings more shares. AR creates buzz around your business. It increases sharing on social media and, as a result, brings new customers.
- Personalization with AR. This technology beats standard media content every time with its level of engagement. It gives marketers a chance to create unique content that can express one’s individuality.
- Stronger engagement. Interactivity, which lies in the core of AR and VR, makes your content way more exciting and motivates customers to choose your product repeatedly.
Here are today’s examples of VR/AR use in marketing:
- Coca Cola’s VR sleigh ride. Coca Cola is a big brand that always tries to stay fresh and relevant. Therefore, it created a VR sleigh ride where people could fit themselves in Santa’s shoes and fly over the country.
- McDonald’s happy meal VR headset. McDonald’s is known for its legendary marketing strategies. This time the company adopts a new trend of VR and uses it to their benefit. They turned the happy meal boxes into cardboard VR headsets “Happy Goggles”. This way people get exciting experiences and McDonald’s gets to utilise its happy meal boxes, so nothing goes to waist. In addition, they are supplying customers with an app to go along with a headset in which customers can go skiing.
- Boursin Sensorium. Boursin, soft cheese supplier, hired BEcauseXM and HammerheadVR marketing agency in order to create a VR project. This VR experience takes you on a journey through a fridge with delicious treats. This cheese company sets the bar high. Click the Oculus link to try it out.
- Volvo – XC90 Test Drive. Volvo made an app to promote the launch of XC90 SUV. This app can take you on a country ride in this new car model. This way Volvo gained a modern feel to the company and showed themselves relevant.
Why EdTech loves AR and VR
AR and VR provide limitless opportunities to teaching and learning processes. These technologies create real-life immersive and interactive experiences. Nowadays medical students can learn to do surgeries in virtual reality, astronauts can train for space missions and school kids get fully engaged in history and biology lessons. With AR and VR, it is possible to create virtual classrooms, immersive videogames and virtual libraries and museums.
Now let’s find out what the market of VR/AR EdTech looks like today.
EON Reality revolutionizes the classroom
EON Reality has changed the way teachers use technology in the classroom. EON Creator gives students and teachers an opportunity to create blended learning environments. With EON experience portal, teachers and students are able to share their work. In addition, with EON coliseum students and teachers can meet virtually.
VR lectures – the sky’s the limit
Immersive VR Education created an app called Lecture VR. It can imitate a lecture hall in VR, with additional special effects. Lectures within this app include images, videos, and immersive experiences, which make it more efficient. Students from all over the world are able to join the lecture, so education becomes more available. For example, a lecture about Apollo 11 can take place inside the space shuttle.
Museums – away with the boring rules – thanks to AR
The Gamar company is trying to integrate AR into a museum. Gamar’s app combines specific locations with interactive experiences and needed information. The rules of museum usually forbid to touch anything, so this app provides a user with additional information and a closer look at the exhibit. It can even make a museum experience more interesting for kids – this way, they can play and learn at the same time.
Virtual travel becomes a big deal
The travel industry is adopting VR/AR technologies at an exponential rate. Why is that, you’ll ask? The thing is that travel requires investment, so people naturally want to know what they are getting into. Therefore, virtual tours are an evolving technology. People could experience travel before an actual trip, so they would know that this option is the right fit for them. Augmented reality can bring an additional layer to conventional travel. For example, it could place the signs on the street, give information about sightseeing so your navigation would become easier.
Let’s take a look at some existing examples of VR and AR in travel industry. YouVisit can take a user on a virtual trip to anywhere in the world by using Google Cardboard headset. Travel looks like a movement in a 360° video. That means you do not need to leave home in order to travel and can now choose your next trip based on VR experience.
Virtual reality goes to space
VR takes over the world, they say. But this is not quite accurate now. Virtual reality now explores the possibility in the space. A company named SpaceVR is working on sending virtual reality cameras into space, so anyone could explore the Universe. That means that they have developed the world’s first virtual reality satellite. For now, cameras are capturing video information around the Earth’s orbit, but the company intends to launch cameras into the Solar System.
Technology disrupts today’s business development. And thought we’re getting used to that, we know a simple truth: if you’re not part of the solution,…you know it, right? Want to be part of the evolution and benefit from the use of modern technologies? Take time to consider how reality technologies can help your business. Your business success depends on timely decisions.