Virtual reality is my most recent topic of interest. Over the past couple weeks, I have been monitoring virtual reality news & information and learning more about what it means. I would not classify myself as an expert in this topic, but more of an intrigued novice. This post will go over what I have learned about virtual reality and what that means for business innovation.
I recently had the opportunity to go on an industry tour with the Marketing Communication program at BCIT. We stopped at Metropolitan Fine Printers , an innovative print company who investing in virtual and augmented reality. The people at the Met showed us their new technology. What looked like a regular piece of paper in “real life” showed a 3 dimensional person in augmented reality. They explained how there are many pieces of virtual reality in our everyday lives that we don’t see, but could tap into this potential with software called Layar. When you download the app, there are indicators as to where virtual/augmented reality is located. Users can then scan the print to view the virtual/augmented reality. For the print industry, this means a new market that has the potential expand and grow print technology.
Like the Metropolitan Fine Printers, many companies are investing in virtual reality. In 2013, IKEA released an app that consumers could download. The app allowed users to select pieces of furniture from the catalogue to view in their own homes. By holding up your phone to the area around you, users could set up furniture in the room of their choice and see what the furniture would look like before making their purchase decisions. Because the technology is so incredible, virtual reality is a difficult topic to explain in words. Watch this video to further understand IKEA’s campaign.
Another example of a retail company using virtual reality is Merrell, which is a global company that produces hiking and outdoor products. Using the Oculus Rift, Merrell was able to create a virtual reality called Merrell Trailscape, which was an intense hike that users “participated” in using Merrell gear. This technology allowed Merrell to show consumers what it would be like to use Merrell gear in real life and essentially gave them a product sample.
Entertainment companies can also invest in virtual reality. A couple years ago, HBO came to the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver with its Game of Thrones Oculus Rift. Although I don’t know the results of this, I can only imagine that it had a positive effect on viewership of Game of Thrones. I participated in the Oculus Rift and I can personally tell you that it was mind-blowing.
Although most virtual reality trials currently have limited reach, companies can expand its reach by pairing virtual reality with a great marketing campaign. This way, the reach is much more broad and companies may gain brand ambassadors of the people who participated in the virtual reality. This innovative technology may pave the way for a new way to communicate with consumers.