Virtual Reality – Bringing the Customer Experience to new Levels
Did you know that a large quantity of Ikea’s catalog images do not showcase actual products? In fact, a large portion of the catalog’s images are computer generated. Technological advancements have come a long way in a very short time. It’s important to note that catalogs aren’t alone in benefiting from a computer-generated face-lift. Product commercials, such as this one, can be 100% computer made. While computers have come a long way in what they can let us do, there are devices which leverage this content and provide us with a level of immersion rarely seen before. I’m taking about Virtual reality.
While virtual reality isn’t new, the technology has recently been picking up speed in the tech world. With Facebook’s purchase virtual reality company Oculus earlier this year, the momentum behind the technology hasn’t ceased to increase. With the commercialization of a consumer ready virtual reality product next year, what does it mean beyond the realm of gaming? Is it significant for brand manufacturers and retailers? Will VR be a trend, or reserved solely to gaming or will it reshape how consumers all over the world interact with brands and products?
I was only recently made aware of those new technologies, by my colleague Nicholas Goupil. He introduced me to products such as the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR, which are products poised to participate in revolutionizing the gaming industry. While not a “gamer” myself, it was nearly impossible not to think about the commercial possibilities.
Gaming aside, what does it mean for brands and retailers? Could this new wave of VR products provide customers with experiences that will redefine product merchandising?
Some thoughts on use cases for Virtual Reality
- Travel and Hospitality – Become a globetrotter from the comfort of your home. (Japan example)
- Real Estate – Walk thought a house as if you were there.
- Test drive a new car’s interior from the comfort of your home
- Movies: forget 4K resolution, how about full 360 degrees 4K real time recording and playback?
- Sport events: experience replays or the game in full 360 degrees motion
- Concerts: Have the best seat in the house (no pun intended)
Clearly, VR products like the Oculus Rift are still in development, with consumer products promised for 2015. With the company’s recent acquisition of Nimbus AR, a company focused on making the VR experience a more natural and interactive one, the future of such a product seem endless.
What are your thoughts and expectations with VR? Do you think it will be life changing for consumers and businesses? Rendering large volume digital assets is no longer a issue today. For me Virtual Reality will open total new ways to envision customer experience in 2015 and beyond.