Augmented and virtual realities are two tending buzzwords for businesses these days. While the technology was first developed in the early ’90s, it was not until 2010 that the technology slowly gained traction. Since then, the technology is now used widely in applications across business, gaming, and entertainment.
According to Statista, the augmented reality and virtual reality market is expected to reach USD$30.7 billion in 2021 and close to USD$300 billion by 2024.
The long-term business impact of COVID-19 is yet to be fully realized; however, it has reinforced the need to innovate, boost productivity, retain talents, build customer bases and more importantly future proof businesses.
Understanding the potential impact of AR/VR and how they work is the first step in exploring how immersive technology could be successfully adopted to leverage and accelerate business growth.
What is Virtual Reality (VR) technology?
Virtual Reality (VR) in simple terms is defined as the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment for its users. Coined in 1987 by Jaron Lanier, virtual reality simulates the many senses of vision, hearing, touch and smell, while transforming the computer into a gatekeeper through animated images of a digitally simulated environment.
In a typical VR format, a user wears a headset, goggles, gloves or even body suits, which sends and receives information to be able to experience the illusion of actually being there in person.
What is Augmented Reality (AR) technology?
Augmented reality (AR) is defined as an enhanced version of the physical world, which is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound and other sensory stimuli delivered through technology.
One of the most famous examples of AR technology is the mobile app game, Pokemon Go in 2016, which quickly became a worldwide sensation. In the game, players locate and capture Pokemon characters that pop up in the real world, whether it is on your sidewalk, in a fountain or in your own bathroom.
Other examples of AR technology in everyday scenarios include:
- Your GPS or driving navigation system uses AR technology to create a designated route over the live digital view of the road.
- During football games, broadcasters would use AR technology to draw lines on the field to illustrate and analyze team gameplays.
- Military fighter pilots would see an AR projection of the plane’s altitude, speed, and other data on their helmet visor rather than glancing down to view them.
- Neurosurgeons use an AR 3-D projection of the brain in order to aid them in surgeries.
- The ground crew at Singapore’s airport wear AR glasses to be able to see information about cargo containers, thus speeding up the loading time process.
The future of AR & VR technology in business
AR/VR technology has emerged as a marketing and sales tool because it allows brands to create unique experiences for their customers via their mobile devices. With 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today, that is a lot of potential customers to reach. You may be likely familiar with the technology but have not considered experimenting and using it for any business marketing strategy.
While the technology itself has been around for some time, businesses are only just starting to learn and experience its true potential.
In the digital age, our consumer habits are changing from how and where we access media, to how we perceive and associate with brands. This shift in behavior is profoundly affecting both marketing and advertising activity, from attracting new audiences to retaining existing customer bases. By embracing this technology, brands can set themselves apart and connect with customers in new and exciting ways by putting the focus on their customer experience.
Experiential marketing is a key way for businesses to build strong relationships with customers. It has the power to make customers physically connect with businesses, maximise brand engagement and evoke an emotional response.
A great event has the power to connect people, as well as to educate and entertain. VR and AR technology have the potential to revolutionize how events are being organized and experienced both now and in the future. Blending reality together with creative digital content, thinking creatively and embracing new opportunities means the sky is the limit.
Ensuring that attendees have an unforgettable and positive experience is at the heart of any successful event. Adding an element of interactivity will gamify the attendee experience, enabling attendees to access resources during presentations and keynote speeches can be revolutionized with direct participation from delegates and audiences.
For events such as trade shows, product launches and exhibitions, augmented reality content can be visually stunning, giving brands a wow factor to increase customer brand engagement. Both VR and AR offer visitors the chance to explore and interact through customized elements such as colors and interiors, and inevitably helps to accelerate business growth.
The emphasis on personalisation has grown in business as brands discover the benefits of tailoring the user experience to achieve greater engagement. Personalising the employee experience can garner amazing results, especially when it comes to talent hiring, training, and retention. AR and VR offer exciting new ways to provide personalised learning experiences to employees, potentially boosting productivity and cutting HR costs.
The technology makes it possible for companies to develop personalised training programs that can enhance learner engagement. Employees can have more fun while they learn and get a “feel” for the concepts they will be implementing in the job. Putting the worker in a virtual environment can generate immediate engagement, increasing the odds of employees remembering and implementing what they learned later.
Employers can then grade their efforts and make changes or suggestions to apply to similar real-life situations in the future. If your company could benefit from better employee training or retention, consider an immersive AR or VR program to do the trick.
Choosing to implement new technologies at any company will not be without growing pains. Yet, setting aside a strong team, resources and ample time will bear the fruit you deserve. Leveraging the advancements in technology is the only way forward. Aside from the power of AR and VR technology, other tools are set to redefine the way people do business today and help accelerate business growth.
At Hashtaqs we can help to keep up-to-date with new-age technology and stand out from the competition.
Hashtaqs uplifts business through brand transformation and marketing advisory and implementation online and offline, internationalisation through business matching and community development.
Our consultancy work is supportable with a funding scheme of up to 80% for local SG businesses. Contact us for a consultation at +65 8868 1418 or email us at [email protected]. For more info, visit www.hashtaqs.com.