With more and more accessible VR (virtual reality) hardware coming to market, and more relevant implementations of AR (augmented reality) appearing daily, it’s clear to see in 2019 neither method of delivering digital content and experiences has lost their momentum; especially in the business world.

Now, businesses are turning to AR and VR to convey a wealth of content and information,  deliver enriching customer experiences, provide educational resources for employees, the list goes on. It’s already estimated 48% of companies will be implementing AR and VR into their strategic business plans over the next few years.

AR and VR are only going to get bigger, better and more mainstream, so it’s time you started weighing up whether a move into this space is viable for your business’ growth. Remember, hardware accessibility is no longer the huge challenge it once was, and both could now have some very practical purposes within your business.

Here’s a few examples and predictions of how AR and VR have already, and could continue to enter the business world.

Staff Training

KFC have introduced a kitchen-based training experience on the Oculus Rift. It’s a much more efficient and cost-effective way to train staff.

Delivery firm UPS have also started to improve their driver’s safety by introducing a VR training program that replicates the experience of driving a real delivery truck on a realistic streetscape. Students learn how to identify typical road hazards in a way that appeals to their younger audience. It’s an innovative way that demonstrates how UPS are using technological advancements to prioritise employee safety and the communities they serve.

Imagine sending new members of staff a headset with a pre-loaded training video, or walkthrough of the premises showing the fire escapes, access points, and other employment basics. You could teach health and safety rules within the warehouse, and demonstrate what happens when things go ‘wrong’ in a safe and non-threatening environment. You can also test, track and audit the person’s actions within the VR world.

Medical / Health Sector

Doctors can train and learn with virtual human bodies, perform basic operations and see anatomy working at a level never seen before.  They can explore up close what happens when a body becomes wounded, and try out new tools.

Patients can see therapists, have meetings and consultations from the privacy of their own home, saving time and travel inconveniences. Private healthcare professionals can also see more patients throughout the day – earning more money.

Physiotherapy and Pain relief, a study by the University of Washington Seattle and the UW Harborview Burn Centre showed that full VR immersion, for those undergoing physical therapy after a skin graft, acted as a distraction and subsequently reduced pain levels for the patients.  Going through stretches, mobilisation of limbs, and other experiences can help the real-world body get better from inside a virtual experience.

Terminally ill patient experiences can make those final few weeks much better.  A person can get to visit the Taj Mahal, talk a walk down Venice Beach, or revisit the place they got married. LOROS, who provide hospice care have started to offer special VR films to give terminally ill patients a chance to see the world and familiar locations – all from their beds.

Engineering

Seeing internals of big machines, learning to diagnose and fix mechanical problems, and using real math-based physics get to try things that wouldn’t be possible in the real world. There are lots of ways that VR can start to reshape the engineering sector, here’s a few examples:

Product Design such as new car designs. You can get to walk around, touch, open doors and see the new design in full scale views on real city streets.

Factory Process Design when design meets production that interaction can happen around a full working digital representation of the factory line design, seeing the scale and requirements before a single belt is installed. Ford have already started to provide their designers with VR headsets so they can see, edit and interact with vehicle elements in the digital world.

Building Modelling no longer the need to master 3D controls on a flat screen, view the building or complex right in front of you, and get proper scale viewings and see from any angle easily.

Product Demonstrations

Exhibitions and events are a great place to showcase new products.  So why not showcase new hardware, equipment, machinery, electronics and daily uses of your products in a 3D world? It’s much better than a looping video on the screen. You can immerse your audience in your product, and really create that lasting impression.

Retail

With the latest smartphone updates, retailers have been able to adopt AR technology into innovative customer experiences.

Ikea have released an app called Ikea Place which uses Apples iOS AR technology to help make shopping at Ikea much easier. 

The app allows users to place Ikea furniture in any room. You’re able to reposition everything and anything in the room, you can move items closer or further away from each other and see the item at different angles. Whilst this app isn’t perfect yet (due to it not encompassing Ikea’s entire catalogue), it eases the challenge of visualising how a particular piece of furniture will look before making the purchase.

To create a similar type of AR app, you can look into app developers and begin working on how to create the perfect AR app for your business whether it’s selling furniture or training employees on how to use equipment.

So what’s next for your business? Do you plan on taking the plunge into AR and VR?


Sam Furr

Tappable Founder & Head of Product Strategy

Sam has been developing apps & mobilising businesses for over 10 years and founded a successful award-winning, international digital app development & product design agency; Tappable. Whether you’re after a commercial, enterprise or consumer-facing product, Tappable will help turn your opportunity into a mobile-first solution that delivers.