Today, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augment Reality (AR) have transcended general hype and aspirations of entertainers to offer real, valuable, VR/AR for enterprises. And, some good news: while VR and AR technology is no longer relegated to the entertainment sector, VR for business and AR for business unlock new – even entertaining – ways for organizations to interact with their customers and their employees.
For example, in an adept marketing move, unconventional superhero Deadpool – or rather, an AR version of him – occupied 7-Eleven’s app, appearing on customer selfies to scribble out images with his red marker, guiding users through the app experience, and enabling them to unlock new experiences and gain bonus points to apply as cash savings. Ever lively, AR Deadpool also changes, programmed to pop up in new places every week.
Thanks to Deadpool, 7-Eleven customers – and even those who weren’t before – can download and application, engage with it, and, perhaps become the ultimate business gold mine: a loyal customer.
While not every application for VR and AR involves superheroes, VR/AR for companies can represent improved efficiency, reduced costs, and greater collaboration. In some cases, it may even resemble some of the best technology science fiction writers have imagined over the years, allowing users to feel a bit like Tony Stark without the iron suit.
VR and AR for Business
When businesses aren’t relegated to only the real, physical environment, they can communicate, interact, and plan with unprecedented flexibility. Immediate applications for VR and AR for business include to the ability to:
- Cross geographies without business travel. On the heels of the teleconference and video conferences, augmented reality in a business meeting allows employees across the globe to manipulate data. Not only does this transform conference calls into working sessions, but it also cuts company spending on travel expenses, and reduces productivity loss to downtime during travel.
- Include remote workers in a virtual office. Not only can VR connect offices around the world, it can also include remote workers in a home office, incorporating remote workers virtually with their in-office peers. And as workers increasingly demand flexibility, this may usher in a new potential for companies to embrace flexible working policies.
- Help customers see themselves with a product. Companies can meet the often-cited need to see or a experience a product by offering an AR version of it, allowing the customer to virtually interact with it. For example, beauty company Sephora offers an AR app that captures the shopper’s face, and then allows her to apply more than 3,000 shades of lipstick to her image.
In the same vein, hotels can offer customers the chance to “tour” their facility before booking, vehicle shoppers can experience a vehicle from the comfort of their own home, or furniture buyers can rearrange new furniture in an AR version of their living room.
- Revolutionize visual design. Companies that use product design can realize costs savings by moving physical or even computer modeling to an AR or VR environment. And, in an AR or VR spaces, users can test – remotely – without using a physical product.
- Provide engaging, virtual, training. Organizations can offer employees VR job training. For more dangerous roles, like soldiers who need to practice tactical execution, not only does a VR environment represent a much safer format for training, it also includes costs benefits and allows for engaging training that moves outside the theoretical.
- Eliminate wasteful processes. Manufacturing companies can keep employees on the floor more often by arming them, virtually, with directions, thanks to products like Google Glass. Instead of stopping a production flow to reference directions from a paper source, factory workers can keep instructions, safely, at their fingertips.
VR/AR in Action
Many enterprise organizations are already realizing the benefits of AR technology.
The Shanghai-based producer of the first VR180 3D Camera, Lucid, announced its plans to integrate its computer vision through partnership with device makers for dual-camera phones, security cameras, drones, and laptops. The dual camera is a key facet of Lucid’s technology, which uses t
he strategically placed cameras to combine machine learning and historical data to allow for real-time depth measurement. And this isn’t just a nice line on a product spec sheet – this measurement en
ables a host of features, including high q
uality photos, VR or AR object tracking, gesture control, and even facial recognition.
In an actual case science-fi predicting reality, Minority Report’s science consultant has launched Mezzanine, a mixed reality room that realizes the concept portrayed in the movie. The solution isn’t a fit for everyone, as it requires space and comes with a hefty price tag.
On a smaller, but perhaps more relatable scale, Google Translate now offers real-time translations from images in the real for example. For example, a diner at restaurant with a French menu can point the camera at the text and voilà: the English translation appears.
Professionals seeking more screen real estate can capitalize on Virtual Desktop, an app for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive that, with a head-mounted display, presents users with, as the name suggests, as virtual desktop, able to be generously extended and to support web browsers, streaming, and software applications.
As with any emerging technology, there are hurdles to overcome. For example, in many instances, consumers can only access the AR with an app download. For businesses, while AR may help realize costs in the long run, the 3D technology that drives AR can be pricey, and the massive amount of data required to power AR can be challenges to obtain and store.
VR and AR appear to have matured beyond buildup, with an estimated 685 VR and 737 AR startups launching to drive technology in the space. And according to Business News Daily, some experts predict AR and VR tech will achieve wide-spread use as early as 2020.
We can help you determine how VR and AR fit into your organization’s strategy as valuable applications. You can read more about how TechGenies can support your organization’s technology goals here: https://techgenies.com/techgenies-advantages/.