Last time, I touched on how, in this industry, we are essentially chasing augmented reality (AR) from behind. What we see on product packaging and the retail shelves is what was being produced months ago. By the time it shows up for us to see, it’s already out of date.
MJ Anderson, CMO of Trekk, which is on the leading edge of augmented and virtual reality, recently sent me links to two AR campaigns. One is largely what’s wrong with AR and one is everything that is right.
The “what’s wrong” with AR is the gimmicky use of augmented/virtual reality that, like the early days of QR Codes, often leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. It’s the mediocre “what did I bother” experience that, unless they are truly bored, makes people feel that scanning isn’t really worth the effort.
The experience is from deadmau5 and Absolut Vodka. Here is the assessment of the writer of RoadOVR:
Playing the experience on my Oculus Rift, I got the very clear sense that nothing I did in the app really mattered—from driving on the freeway to dodging sound equipment carts in a night club hallway—it all seemed like a trick to make you think you’re playing a game when in reality you’re just being guided by the hand through a hollow advertisement.
Sounds like just the kind of experience that will kill AR/VR before it gets started. Now compare it to where Anderson sees the real future of this technology in real solutions to real business problems.
In the other example, Fast Company described how architects are using AR/VR to create virtual spaces that solve real-world problems. In this use, architects are using virtual spaces to share their designs with team members, clients, and construction partners. Especially in large spaces, like the one being designed by IA Engineers for LinkedIn described in the video, AR/VR lets the architect share the virtual design with those who will be using the space. This allows users to experience a 360-degree, immersive view and provide feedback before the construction is complete. Changes can be made, if necessary, before it’s too expensive or impractical to do so. Another example given in the Fast Company video was developers looking to rent office space. While the building is still in process, virtual tours can be sent to prospective renters with the goal of renting as much of the space as possible before the building is even complete.
In uses like this one, AR/VR becomes a business tool like any other. It’s not fancy. It’s not promoted by rappers and movie studios. But it’s the kind of mundane problem-solving tool that rapidly becomes indispensible. As it does, it simultaneously increases users’ comfort level with this technology that will translate into other uses, including marketing.
What are some of the most commercially viable uses of AR/VR that you are seeing?