Technology is gradually being introduced into all areas of our life, and as ever, business owners are doing their best to keep up. Medicine, education, science, construction, interior design, retail – all these industries are at a new stage precisely thanks to IT.
Just a few years ago, virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) realities were something that belonged in sci-fi flicks. No one envisioned their quick appearance and development in real life, let alone the broad business prospects of augmented reality and virtual reality.
If you want to know:
- How VR and AR are taking shopping experiences to a whole new level
- How global businesses take advantage of augmented reality and virtual reality apps
- What future is waiting for VR/AR round the corner
- How your business can benefit from it
What exactly are VR and AR
Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that allows users to immerse into a virtual but at the same time genuine environment. For example, a virtual 3D tour of an interior of a building which is still under construction. Software based on virtual reality technology implies the creation of an alternative synthetic environment. It provides fertile ground for the appearance of a separate product category that will offer the customer a fundamentally new range of services.
Meanwhile, augmented reality (AR) brings the buying experience to the next level adding layers of information on top of a physical environment, which can be viewed on an Android or iOS device. It is designed to provide the user with additional information about the environment and the objects immersed into it. For example, buyers visiting a regular store can review the characteristics of the selected product just by pointing the camera of their personal mobile device at it.
On the other hand, this technology works for the customers who want to try on a garment/some clothes but for some reason cannot or don’t want to visit a brick and mortar store. Customers can try on shirts or dresses without having to travel to the store.
To experience virtual reality you need a pretty expensive VR headset, or another dedicated device that is able to transform your smartphone into one (e.g./say Google Cardboard). In the meantime, all you need to do in order to create augmented reality is download an AR app from an official store to your mobile device.
Some nice examples of the technologies
GAP uses an AR app, being one of the first to leverage Tango (an AR technology by Google) to deliver an augmented reality experience to its customers. After the user confirms the size (to create a virtual 3D mannequin), they choose the desired item, view it, match, compare and get ready to make the right purchase.
Virtual and augmented reality startups, as well as the major companies like Wayfair, are now offering 3D configuration apps that transcend physical space limitations for furniture and interior design. This allows you to select fully dimensional items of furniture, choose color, size and shape and place them within your home or office through an augmented reality overlay.
Whether it is an AR app for the apparel retailer like GAP or a furniture app, both technologies can be easily implemented using the Unity3D platform – a multifunctional tool for the 3D software development.
How to benefit from VR and AR
A perfect formula for getting new opportunities in businesses is quite simple: combine the best of the digital and physical worlds and voilà – you open up a new level of customer experience. Such major industries as real estate market, interior design, construction, retail already reap the fruits of their labor/enjoy the benefits.
With the help of VR / AR apps businesses can:
- make shopping 100% personalized
- provide exceptional customer service all around the world
- involve customers in product design
As a customer you can:
- see and try items from digital catalogs from anywhere in the world
- discover new and preferred ways to shop
- make faster and more informed decisions
- give and get the real-time feedback on the items you wish to purchase
Nevertheless, the success of your future VR/AR app significantly depends on the way you are going to bring your project into life. One of the most important steps is to find the right custom software developer. May that be a virtual reality app development company or an augmented reality app development company, it should be able to deliver successful solutions that accord with all the specified requirements while adhering to time and budget limits.
So what are the advantages of using VR/AR in your businesses?
Standing out among the competition. What, if not the use of advanced technologies, can shake the confidence of competing companies? A harsh rivalry between brands that are not directly connected to the IT field can be easily eliminated by using the latest IT solutions (like AR and VR apps) to offer an unmatched experience to customers.
Showcasing the goods. Thanks to AR technologies, retailers can showcase their goods visually. For example, a furniture salon can let their customers see how a sofa or bed would fit in their apartment, as well as give estimations of the item’s cost.
Attracting a younger target audience. Virtual and augmented reality apps are currently fashionable among youth. They can be a good advertising for any company engaged in retail. The release of your application to Oculus Store or other similar app marketplace makes it automatically available to users of mobile devices who are constantly on the lookout for an interesting piece of software.
The most common application areas for AR and VR
Interior Design. Sometimes it is very difficult to imagine how a separate piece of furniture would fit into a completed interior. 14% of IKEA customers take home furniture that is the wrong size for its intended spot. For this reason, IKEA has released a special mobile AR application aimed at demonstrating their products in the most impressive and yet unusual way. The user is able to estimate visually how this or that commodity will fit in their interior. With its help, you can easily measure a cataloged nightstand or table to fit a specific place (be it a bedroom or an office space).
Construction. Due to the recent forecast, the global construction market will hit $10.3 trillion in 2020. Along with the fact that construction, architecture, and engineering are the likely pioneers of virtual and augmented reality, these fields already have/benefit from/enjoy lots of interesting and useful apps. Whereas mistakes are very pricey (up to several millions of dollars on big projects), augmented reality and virtual reality can considerably minimize the costs. Which is why the construction is currently benefitting of VR and AR.
Real Estate Market. Embracing innovations make it possible to experience a property personally without the actual physical presence/actually being present physically. Real estate professionals are successfully using VR 3D tours to help their clients evaluate properties from anywhere in the world. Some VR apps even support 3D configuration features allowing users to open windows and doors, rearrange furniture, etc., all simply by a stroke of a finger.
By the way, another very helpful tool for real estate professionals is 3D software. You can pop up a lifelike 3D model of a home that is completely interactive, with a possibility to modify features.
Ultimately, these technologies offer a 100% personal experience to prospective home buyers who can now see a building/construction project transform into their home with a personal touch and customizations.
Fashion industry. Every famous fashion brand, like Dior, wants to make its shows truly spectacular. In summer 2015, Dior released the virtual reality headset paired with the respective application that allows users to imagine themselves on the same podium with models and even watch the backstage area.
Computer games. The gaming industry was one of the first to adopt the technologies of augmented and virtual reality. For example, PlayStation consoles, which in the past could have been coupled only with conventional monitors and TVs, were recently complemented with a separate product called PlayStation VR – a headset that allows experiencing fully the atmosphere of game immersion.
Virtual reality apps and augmented reality apps are designed to eliminate user pain points, enhance customer service, and create the personalized customer experience. The successful VR and AR implementation into a business model can also highly affect the way people “see” the stores of future.
The successful use of the VR/AR technologies is evident. The amazing popularity of game apps (e.g. Pokémon Go) shows that a lot of consumers are ready to adopt this tech and are increasingly looking for VR/AR experiences.
What is certainly clear, we are going to see a rise in the adoption of virtual and augmented reality applications by construction, architecture, real estate market, interior design, fashion, and retail market in the near future.