ARe we there yet?
There is an information overload in our time, and we need to sift through endless inventions and technological developments clustering our digitally built world, to keep up with the times like we do our coffee.
Wonders of tomorrow
Now, more than ever, the world is drowning in images and screen interactions. Our daily interactions whether on WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, are built on the exchange of information through images. We are a world held together and separated by screens. It is the age of capturing the imagination and, realizing thoughts and ideas through the innovative use of technology.
With Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) starting to change how we perceive our surroundings, it’s time to consider their potential as new marketing channels. Visualization has reached an all-new level of seamless exchange with AR and VR. While they have filled us with wonder, it may be too soon to deem them commercially successful.
Looking back, standalone campaigns dominated marketing trends. However, the focus will shift to creating visual stories using VR and AR. We have already begun to see an increase in the use of 360 videos of Augmented and Virtual Reality. This opens up a world of opportunities for content creation.
So, how can marketers make use of AR/VR?
First off, marketers can begin with 360-degree videos and live content.
A professional 360-degree video can be made easily on a wide variety of apps. Therefore, marketers can create content without investing in a film crew. The advantage of this format is that the immersive VR experience is supported on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Since 360-degree videos are becoming popular, it is one of the easiest ways to boost your audience engagement.
The Live feature on various social media platforms, works well for business events like webinars and conferences. However, they can also be used to capture everyday happenings such as workplace culture and soft launches. Live videos offer increased visibility to your brand, as a larger set of viewers will stop by for a peek. It’s also a great place for your audience to stop by for an impromptu chat!
Industry applications of AR/VR
AR and VR tools can callow marketers and salespeople conduct live demonstrations of a product before purchase. For example, office equipment can be superimposed on an existing space to check if the setup is visually appealing and ergonomically suited for employees. Chances are, this kind of interaction will increase the probability of purchase as compared to simple online shopping.
Real estate and architecture are two other industries where AR has wide-ranging application. Apps can provide experts with a better understanding of measurements and spaces. Smart Reality’s augmented reality mobile app is an excellent example of overlaying computer-generated designs and architectures for a visual aid of the final structure.
And lastly, AR and VR have even conquered the travel industry. Imagine being able to put on a headset and take a virtual tour, while sitting in your kitchen. AirBus’s video is an amazing example of a virtual tour and product placement in a virtual reality world.
Examples of brands using AR/VR
- Ikea, fashion apparel, and other beauty brands have been using AR to help consumers make purchase decisions. For example, Ikea has created a mobile app by using AR technology to place pieces from their catalog in a customer’s environment. By simply placing the catalog in a room and aiming a smartphone camera at it, the app will accurately grab the dimensions of the space and place a lounge chair, desk, table, or any piece of furniture that’s true to size.
- Mercedes showed off its latest SL model with a virtual drive on the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Users were treated to a realistic driving experience allowing them to peruse the interiors and even peer through the sunroof as the car navigated the road.
- Lenskart has introduced a virtual trial room feature, where its buyers can try on spectacles before they purchase them. Buyers can click a selfie through their webcam, and pick out glasses that best suit their face captured using a 3D feature.
- MakaanView allows users to look for houses simply by moving their phone around. The app has a number of other cool features as well. For example, when you look for nearby properties, your phone goes into camera view and you can point the phone at a tower to see how many flats are available for rent.
There’s absolutely no doubt that augmented and virtual reality world are on their way to the top of the marketing chain. However, they are an expensive undertaking and it doesn’t look like it will work for many B2B organizations at the moment. If you’re an organization trying to work out how to fit these into your marketing efforts, don’t sweat it. We are still a few years away from an affordable, plug and play habitat.