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Discover the latest trends on-the-go. This is a quick topic recap of one of the five biggest AR/VR trends in May identified by SparkAmplify. The pandemic has brought about some creative uses of AR/VR technology - in this case virtual showrooms of different forms. For more information on SparkAmplify’s monthly AR/VR topic analysis, please visit: https://www.sparkamplab.com/
During the COVID-19 pandemic, much physical interaction was restricted, resulting in plenty of activities being put on hold. Adapting to this sudden lifestyle change, many turned to online and virtual avenues to (temporarily) replace the level of interaction we were so used to having.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology has been used in innovative ways during this time. While ARVR have existed pre-pandemic, their use became ever so important in contributing to the ‘new normal’.
Here are two instances in the past year that ARVR has been creatively employed to transform experiences.
Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) has become renowned for its commitment to showcasing unorthodox artworks with the aim of stimulating conversation among visitors about social issues, as noted by Bandwagon Asia. Festival director Gaurav Kripalani says that the festival is inspired by technologies utilised during the pandemic to bring the arts into people’s homes, such as streaming performances online.
However, this year, the immersive aspect is brought across through virtual reality - thanks to The Observatory’s Demon States.
The Observatory is a rock and experimental band hailing from Singapore, and their piece at SIFA this past May integrated virtual reality with our physical world. There were a total of 4 installations in 2 locations, all with VR and physical elements. Briefly, they were a reflection of the human psyche during the pandemic period and its effects on mental health.
Demon States is an example of VR technology becoming increasingly mainstream, introduced to provide alternative experiences from the traditional, familiar art practices.
The retail sector was definitely one of the most heavily impacted by the pandemic, as social restrictions meant physical stores had to close. India-based two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp found a solution to this, through their partnership with AR start-up Adloid, to create a virtual showroom.
This replicated the physical retail shopping experience, without the need for people to venture into public spaces - especially when many might still be hesitant to do so.
Hero MotoCorp’s virtual showroom comes in the form of a web app, functioning closely to a physical store. Customer service? Solved through the provision of virtual sales assistance. Want customised products? Feel free to browse through the many different variations available as you please, without having to feel like you’re inconveniencing staff.
Will AR technology completely replace physical retail stores in the future? Only time will tell. But as of now in 2021, the option is available as an alternative.