Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), once only found in sci-fi movies, are now on the verge of seriously disrupting a number of industries – from education to media and entertainment to healthcare, says Gagan Singh, tech strategy expert at Telstra.
As an example, Singh points to travel agents who are using VR to offer customers unparalleled experiences, such as a “virtual walk through the streets of Venice and its hotels”.
“Marketing and advertising applications [such as these] are enabling customers to try a virtual version of a product before buying, which has increased conversion rates,” Singh adds. “That helps the customer to make more informed decisions and has increased the conversion rate.”
On the other hand, these applications are giving retailers live insights into how customers are shopping, says Singh, enabling them to offer a more personalised retail experience.
These kinds of immersive experiences are enabling user discovery through innovations such as 360 degree content, volumetric content and spatial sound, he adds. “There are some strong building blocks to be leveraged there.”
Augmented reality is overlaying digital information onto the real world, augmenting our experience, giving us access to additional information which is not available otherwise.
Whereas virtual reality would be giving you a fully immersive experience; for example, you want to take a walk in Venice right now or you want to join your favourite club playing in a stadium. All you need to do is put on your head-mounted device and then you are there.
These technologies are going to have an impact on different industry segments like travel and living, media and entertainment, training and education, retail.
Gaming is one of them. There are virtual games which people can really transfer themselves into and they just become part of the game itself.
You talk about marketing, advertising, where products are allowing you to try the virtual versions of their products even before buying it. That helps the customer to make more informed decisions and has increased the conversion rate.
It gives the retailers live insights on how their customers are really shopping, which is really cool.
So it has potential in almost all the segments and it’s just about creating the right use case for the relevant industries.
It’s an emerging space – a really, really exciting one – and has potential to disrupt and complement many existing and probably new, upcoming industries.
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