Virtual reality is a topic that has been heavily discussed for a number of years now, but is now becoming a fixture in people’s lives, highlighted by the Oculus Rift being released in the UK this week.
There is no doubt that virtual reality is an impressive form of technology – but it’s primarily aimed at gamers as this is the easiest way to create an immersive experience. So, how can this experience be translated into a business context?
One example of a business using VR to immerse its customers in the value of the company comes from AT&T and TOMS – a shoe shop that gives a new pair of shoes to an impoverished child every time a pair is sold.
The two businesses teamed up to create a 360 video called A Walk In Their Shoes, documenting the journey of one TOMS customer from California as he travels to Colombia to meet a child that benefits directly from his purchase. This has helped both businesses empathetically connect with their customers, solely through VR.
However, VR in the B2B market is still very much in its infancy. This is why we at Omobono are taking the lead by breaking into this new territory and establishing its huge potential with our clients.
There are five key factors when applying VR to a business:
Consider your audience
VR in the B2B market is largely unexplored, so many people working in these businesses may be new to the technology and reluctant to engage with it. VR isn’t for every audience, so evaluate them first before making the investment.
There are endless opportunities with VR, so make sure you highlight the ones that are relevant to the business. This will create confidence in people who may not have tried the technology before.
Create a ‘try before you buy’ experience
This point is particularly relevant if you have a business that has never applied VR to its strategy before, as you want to give them the best chance to experience the technology’s opportunities – and hopefully show off what you can offer too.
IKEA is a good example of putting this into practice.
The retail giant created a VR app, the IKEA VR Experience, which brings the user a virtual IKEA kitchen in real world size.
Consumers can use the app to explore one of three differently-styled kitchen room settings, with the ability to change the colour of cabinets and drawers. This allows consumers to experience exactly what their investment will look like and creates confidence in the business.
Engage your customers in a story
One of the main selling points of VR is that it allows the user to have a 360 experience of a certain situation, as in real life. However, the more there is to see, the less the user remembers.
With both high media and public interest in VR, the market is starting to become crowded with businesses wanting a piece of the action
This means you have to make sure your core story is engaging so the user is not distracted by what’s happening around them.
A really engaging use of VR comes from Marriott Hotels, who created a 4D sensory experience to virtually transport the user to London and Chicago. Building one of the first VR applications outside of the gaming and entertainment industry, Marriot created a ‘travel booth’ which allowed users to explore the black sand beaches of Hawaii or the top of London’s Tower 42.
Whilst wearing the headset inside the booth, the 4D technology allowed users to experience different parts of the environment, such as temperature and moisture. This allowed the user to become fully immersed in the environment and see what Marriott Hotels can offer.
Create amazing content
VR offers businesses an opportunity to capture attention and engage with their audiences.
But for this to be effective you must create amazing content that means something to the user, whilst also getting across the company’s messaging. Content that takes you on a journey, but remains simple to understand, continues to be the most successful.
An example is The North Face who took its customers on a virtual journey to Yosemite National Park and Moab, Utah, alongside global athletes Cedar Wright and Sam Elias.
During this experience the users trekked landscapes and climbed mountains. The North Face recognised the type of activities its customers would be interested in and gave them an experience they would want to recreate in real life, with the brand’s products.
With high media and public interest in VR, the market is starting to become crowded with businesses wanting a piece of the action.
The best content will always be the one that offers uniqueness, allowing users to experience something different and encouraging them to remember your business.
A prime example of this was created by aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, who rigged a school bus with a variety of ground-breaking tech to make the view out the windows look and feel like Mars.
Schoolchildren were then taken on a virtual tour whilst actually driving down Washington DC streets. The impact of this work was highlighted at Cannes Lions this year where it won 19 Lions – more than any other piece of work – demonstrating the power of being disruptive.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.