Extended reality in business is no longer just an intriguing novelty. It’s becoming an integral part of marketing, training and operations in dozens of leading companies all around the world. But what’s arguably even more important, it’s also almost omnipresent in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. How?
I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Well, let’s start by defining what we actually mean by extended reality or XR. In short, it’s an umbrella term used to describe immersive technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). It can mean any one of them but also a combination of two or all three.
Think of it this way, the X in XR stands for extended but is also like a blank letter that can be changed for the letters A, M and V. Practically, anything from Pokemon GO, through HUDs in cars, all the way to full VR games, is considered part of XR.
Your business with XR
One of the most exciting things about extended reality in business is its potential to revolutionize how we interact with consumers. For example, imagine being able to walk through a virtual version of your product before it’s even been created. Or being able to give a presentation in a completely immersive virtual environment, no matter the distance between you and your clients.
The global augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) market reached 28 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, rising to over 250 billion U.S. dollars by 2028.
How can AR help my business?
If you’re working in a B2C business, chances are your brand or company has an app for customers. Having such a platform is becoming a standard procedure. The benefits are obvious – you can distribute marketing and promotional materials directly to your customers, track data about their buying habits and effectively build a community.
So if everyone’s using branded apps for their business, what’s the next step? How do you stand out and gain a competitive advantage? This is where extended reality business solutions come in. Or augmented reality to be precise. If you happen to work in e-commerce, AR try-ons might be just what you need to increase sales and overcome one of the biggest challenges of online shopping – excessive return rates.
Or you could create an AR game themed around your new marketing campaign. This will make users eager to engage with your message and remember it. Adding scoreboards, on the other hand, will bring in some rivalry and possibly encourage your customers to invite their friends and relatives to the game. Giving out prizes for the top scorers is also a good idea.
What if you don’t have or need an app for your customers? After all, they aren’t always the go-to solution in B2B business models, for example. In that case, you can use AR for onboarding, training and communicating with your employees. This will make otherwise mundane tasks fun and increase knowledge retention. And who doesn’t want a more skilled and happy workforce?
But if for some reason, you would prefer not to develop an app at this time, we recommend considering using one of our ideas in a webAR experience. It’s super easy to implement and use. All you have to do is make users scan a QR code to enjoy the web app! One last option is to use an existing platform like TikTok and create AR filters for it. But more on that later.
Virtual reality in your company
Virtual reality is undoubtedly a fantastic tool for showcasing products, giving immersive presentations or touring your facilities with potential customers and clients. But there are still relatively few VR devices in use if you compare the number to the number of smartphones or PCs people own. How can you overcome this challenge?
You will either have to own at least a few headsets or develop smartphone-based VR experiences. Keeping a Quest in your office or bringing it along to industry events isn’t a big problem, but if you want to reach the most amount of people, the latter idea seems best. A lot more people have a Google Cardboard or similar devices, and if they don’t, you might be able to convince them to buy one as they are dirt cheap.
Finally, you should seriously consider virtual reality as a facilitator for next-level, supereffective employee training. Our experience has shown that it helps participants remember more of their knowledge over a longer period of time, and, what’s most important, it makes them truly interested in completing the process. Here’s an example of a soft skills VR training application we developed.
Meet your customers in the metaverse
The next digital revolution is around the corner. With the transformation of everything we do online to a more immersive, 3D experience, many expect metaverse platforms to be the natural successor to websites and mobile apps. So it seems wise to take action now when the metaverse is still virgin territory for branding and marketing.
The entry threshold is still relatively low, and there isn’t fierce competition. So this is your chance to become one of the original metaverse brands and establish a strong presence in the virtual realm.
Goals you can achieve with extended reality business solutions
Save money and time
As we’ve mentioned before, one way extended reality business solutions can help save money is by lowering return rates. This can bring up the sales margin of many products significantly.
Another XR idea that can save money is using AR filters for marketing. They have the potential to go viral, making you reach even millions of people for a fraction of the price you would have to pay with more conventional methods. You can read more about those in our recent article about innovative marketing solutions.
One more fantastic application for extended reality in business is VR & AR employee training. It’s automated, so there is no need to distract experienced employees from their duties or hire a trainer. Even if you decide to assign a supervisor to the training program, they will spend less time working on it.
Participants gain knowledge faster, too, because of how realistic and immersive it is, but also because it gives participants instant feedback. Finally, the training app you only pay for once can be used thousands of times. It can even have a customization module for effective use in different settings.
Upskill your workforce
XR has many potential applications in training. Let’s start with VR. It can be used to create realistic simulations of work environments or give employees a way to practice new skills in a safe and controlled environment. This way, they can experience the consequences of bad decisions, like neglecting safety rules, without the risk of being harmed.
AR, on the other hand, is an excellent tool for creating an appealing onboarding experience. For example, augmented reality can be used to create an interactive tour of your office building. Or you can make a minigame aimed at integrating newcomers. Remember, AR experiences can be accessed from most smartphones, so they’re available for anyone and anywhere. They also don’t require any expensive infrastructure.
Finally, you can use mixed reality for training in more specialistic fields. Or when there is a need for a hands-free experience with instruction being overlaid onto the physical world. MR devices are on the more expensive side, but they can prove extremely useful in professional settings.
For example, an MR application could help technicians in maintenance and repairs by indicating parts that need attention or giving instructions about the next steps. This would lower the entry threshold for new technicians and help experienced ones make fewer mistakes.
Overall, XR has the potential to revolutionize corporate training programs by making them more immersive, engaging, and efficient.
Now, let’s discuss a few extended reality business ideas that can help you increase your sales and revenue. We’ll talk about a few specific examples to demonstrate the opportunities that lay ahead, but in no way will we exhaust the topic. Obviously.
So one fantastic idea is to showcase products in virtual reality. Of course, this isn’t a viable option for every industry. But we can think of a few where it’s almost surprising how effective VR presentations can be.
Take real estate, for example. Say you have a client looking for a two-bedroom apartment in the city. You have five places in your offer that match their requirements. Now, if you were to drive to all five locations with your client, you’d both waste time and money. And you’d pollute the environment.
Why not invite them to your office and give them virtual tours on a VR headset? Photorealistic, immersive tours with a natural feel. That can at least help narrow down the options and visit only one or two of the places.
Similarly, car dealerships can use virtual reality to show vehicles they don’t have on the spot. A VR presentation of a car will have a more significant impact than showing even the best photos and visualizations. And it might be just what’s needed to convince a hesitant customer.
Moreover, your VR showcase app can have a built-in configurator. This way, customers could see exactly what the vehicle with their chosen equipment, paint and bodywork would look like. Finally, you can even offer virtual 360° test drives!
Extended reality business solutions can also make work more effective and productive. How? They can greatly aid the designing and development process of vehicles, buildings, machinery and other complex systems.
First of all, collaborating in a virtual environment means team members can work efficiently despite being located in different parts of the world. This way, you can hire top talent from very remote locations, giving you a better-skilled workforce. What’s more, it’s easy to create and work with prototypes in VR. There’s no need to physically build them when creating 3D models is a lot cheaper and faster.
You can also use virtual and augmented reality for realistic 3D simulations. With minimal effort, you can analyze how light at different times of the day illuminates a room or how a car would like with various interior designs. More complex simulations are also possible with a little more coding. For example, you could test how small changes in a car’s bodywork change its aerodynamic properties.
Facilitate remote work
With the switch to working from home during the 2020 pandemic, we got access to many great tools for remote operations. VR & AR can further increase the quality of work done outside of the office. Immersive training and onboarding from anywhere is a prominent advantage, but there’s another great solution available with virtual reality.
With the rise of platforms like Horizon Workrooms, you can create a full virtual office space virtually anywhere! You get the chance to customize your surroundings but also use VR and MR for communicating with your clients and colleagues. You can all collaborate and work with 3D models just as if they were physical objects.
True extended reality in business
What do we mean by true XR? We believe that extended reality business solutions can bring even better results if you combine two or more immersive technologies into one complete solution. That’s what we’d consider an XR-specific solution. Otherwise, you can just call it either a VR/AR app or a metaverse experience.
For example, you could use both augmented and virtual reality during onboarding. The augmented reality app could serve as an interactive guide to your office building, while a virtual reality training platform could help newcomers get to know more about the company, its culture, procedures and more.
As you can see, extended reality & business really work well together. If you want unparalleled results and effectiveness, you should definitely consider using XR in your company, at least to some degree. What are the top benefits?
- saving money and improving productivity
- developing creative marketing strategies
- effective training and skilled employees
- facilitating and improving remote work
- increasing sales and revenue
Drop us a line if we managed to spark your interest. We’d love to work with you on making your business even better with extended reality!