Digital Reinvention

Virtual solutions: Driving immersive experiences and business outcomes

1990-2000, the decade of internet evolution,

2007 onwards was the rise of cloud, mobility, cognitive & analytics,

2016 and beyond, Augmented reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR) solutions are picking pace and are proving to be the next dimension in digital reinvention.

The extended reality platform, which merges AR and VR technologies to drive customer experiences is emerging on the horizon.

AR/VR adoption is expected to accelerate over next five years. As per IDC, AR/VR spending worldwide in 2018 is expected to touch about US$ 27 bn.

By 2025, AR / VR market opportunity comprising the head mounted devices for AR / VR, software development and specialized services for AR / VR is projected to be around US$ 120 bn.

The use-cases for AR / VR in the Enterprise & public sectors such as Healthcare, Retail, Engineering, Real estate, Education etc. will rise as the technologies mature and user awareness increases. To elucidate enterprise use-cases of AR / the specific objectives they serve, one could memorize the acronym, ‘VECTS’

V: Visualization

In early 2014, Jaguar Land Rover launched a new virtual reality solution for its dealerships in a bid to unite the digital and physical customer experience of purchasing a luxury car. The virtual experience gave prospective customers the ability to configure and then experience their own Jaguar or Land Rover model using sensory-based technology.

Similarly, to improve the visualization and analytical abilities of retailers, a Augmented reality shopping advisor which runs on a mobile phone or tablet was built for a UK retailer. It photographed and captured the current status of the store’s aisles including quantity and location of products and then connected to the retailer database to identify the images. It compared the current display with the planned arrangement and instantly superimposed information that revealed insufficient quantities, missing products or misplaced items

E: Entertainment

Entertainment brands are now seeing AR as a great marketing opportunity to build deeper bonds between their characters and audience. Iron Man, Minority report, Avatar have had AR featuring in the films. Augmented reality games are the front-runners in the gaming industry. For example, fans can now experience what it feels like when Tony Stark puts on his Iron Man Suit as Hasbro launches its Augmented Reality Experience featuring the Marvel character

C: Comprehend

An augmented reality (AR) technique involving 3D visualization of myocardial scar which can assist physicians in evaluating and treating cardiac damage during electrophysiological interventions like ventricular tachycardia (VT) ablation. With AR it is possible for healthcare professionals to comprehend the medical issue, since in this case, it may not be visible to the naked eye

In an engineering utility set-up, whether it is a compressor unit or a large turbine, the field service person can repair a piece of mission critical equipment with the help of AR. Today, these technicians can arrive on-site with AR glasses or headsets which provide the underlying data for the equipment and thereby diagnose / solve the issue efficiently

T: Training

A European bank uses VR solution to not only educate customers about their offerings but also train employees on emergency situations such as a disaster management in case of fire, bank robber situation etc.

In a high technology industry where there may be automated and fairly expensive systems at work, it may require a simulated environment to train new employees without risking any major losses. In such a scenario, companies can leverage virtual reality solution which can provide an immersive experience wherein the employee learns in that process through a guided virtual tour

S: Inability to ship

In exhibitions & seminars, it may be difficult to move or ship a complex or heavy equipment in the exhibition hall. However, with a virtual reality solution it is possible for any prospective customer to actually operate the equipment and learn from the experience

Virtual solutions applications abound in industries; whether it is virtual tour in Sydney harbor for a tourist planning a trip down under or a mobile assist in visualizing décor & designs for home improvement using AR, or increasing efficiency or saving labor cost with smart AR glasses in a consumer goods warehouse or usage of AR for repairs & maintenance in an automotive factory. With cognitive layer on top of augmented reality applications to make it intelligent, industries will see significant benefits from immersive technologies in the years to come.

Digital Strategy Lead, IBM GBS I/SA

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