I am fascinated by virtual technology and how brands can use it to help their business stay competitive. Virtual reality has gone from zero to early adoption very quickly. The revenue forecast states it has gained more momentum than mobile and social combined. Augmented/Virtual Reality revenue forecast to hit $120Billion and disrupting mobile by 2020.
Let’s answer a few common questions that we hear about virtual reality.
What is virtual reality (VR)?
VR is 360-degree exploration with visuals, sound and movement. This computer generated environment lets users experience a different reality. The equipment is as simple as a headset that holds your smart phone to a more complex system with sound and hand held objects to interact with the VR environment. Virtual reality replaces your entire world. This is different than augmented reality. This experience augments your reality with the real world. Think of it as an overlay. Augmented reality will be another subject but it is good to understand the basic difference.
Why should you consider VR?
I believe there are two main reasons businesses should consider adding VR to their brand.
- Eliminate multi-tasking: The user is immersed in your brand and on one screen; not multiple screens and not multi-tasking.
- Memorable: Users have an amazing experience within your brands virtual reality creating longer lasting and sharable memories.
What are virtual reality viewers?
There are two types of virtual reality viewers. The first type is one where you plug your IOS or Android phone into the VR viewer and use your own headphones to dive into the VR experience. Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR would be examples of these viewers. Your smartphone becomes the VR screen.
The second type is the stand-alone unit. This option is more complicated and requires additional VR equipment. A stand-alone unit has a built in screen, gyroscope and accelerator. A couple examples of these more advanced viewers are Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
How should you get started?
Most of us are just beginning to learn about virtual reality. Purchase a VR viewer to fit your smartphone.
- If you have an IOS or Android phone, purchase a simple VR viewer such as Google Cardboard. Once you have the viewer, here are a few apps you can look at to help bring the understanding of VR to life.
- Check out a few fun VR apps and start experiencing this on your own. These are VR apps that can work with a simple VR Viewer such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR.
How can brands use virtual reality?
There are many ways that brands can connect users to their brands using VR. Here are just a few:
- Experience the movies
- Real Estate: Design and see your home before it is built.
- Shopping: Tommy Hilfiger, Dior and AT&T are launching VR shopping solutions.
- Education: Test your skills on the space station, practice open heart surgery.
- Tourism: Show off your brand in a 360-degree format. Let the user experience.
What will the future bring?
Brands are using VR to create experiences that deliver clear messages. Brands continually work to tell their story. They have been working to differentiate their messaging and grab the user’s attention through many mediums. Mobile took this to a new level and people could easily engage or ignore a brand. Now with VR, the user is immersed in the brand and we have their undivided attention.
Many things have to happen for this to hit the mainstream and allow all brands to create VR experiences. There is a lot of money being invested and brands are scrambling to get involved. In the meantime, take time to understand how VR is changing the landscape. One day we may all be meeting up in some virtual reality.